Today I used my pressure cooker to tenderize beef bits to use in a batch of stirfry–in reality, it turned out to be chop suey.
I had vegetables from the freezer and some from the fridge. It’s the kind of meal that doesn’t take measuring. I just throw veggies into hot oil to get them cooking, add shredded beef, soy sauce, molasses, and ginger.
I hadn’t made this in quite a while. Bob had seconds.
The trouble was that partway through cooking I had the wish that I had a can of La Choy Chop Suey vegetables. That’s what we used when I was a kid.
I haven’t used this kind of canned vegetables in many years, but just thinking about a meal made by my dad gave me warm feelings.
I doubt if I’ll buy a can of La Choy, but if I do, I’ll make it the way Dad did.
The photo doesn’t do my chop suey justice. My meal was very good. I’m pretty sure, Dad would have approved.
When I was a kid, my dad told my sister and me stories about his childhood. They were all funny. Here’s one we always laughed at. Dad was a much better teller than he was a writer, but I’m still happy to have a copy of this story written in his own hand. I actually adapted it in my book Chicken Charlie’s Year.
My sister Bernice is only five years older than me, but
when I was five and she was ten, that made a big difference.
sister Bea was the best swing builder in the whole world, or so I thought once.
“Sure I’ll make you a swing,
Charlie. But it’s raining out, so I’ll have to make it in the basement. I’ll
get some stuff and tie it to the heavy wood beans. Okay?”
Well about a half-hour later there was my swing, a bicycle
tire and a kite string.
“See, Charlie, it’s a swing, only you can’t swing on it.
Get it. It’s only to look at.”
“What good is a swing you can’t swing on?” I asked.
“Well, don’t swing on it.” She went upstairs then.
guessed it. I didn’t make one full swing and there I went on my behind across
the basement floor. I ran holding my backside, hollering, “Ma! Ma! Ma!”
I thought I’d go back in time to the year I began writing my weekly newspaper column. This column shows me as a harried mother of three young children. Hope you enjoy this memory.
September 4, 1980
He put on his
jacket as he turned away from me. Heartlessly, he ignored the tears in my eyes
as he went out without a backward glance.
Without pride, I followed a few steps behind
him. He was leaving me today and there was nothing I could do to keep him by my
side. Robby was going to kindergarten.
Many a day this
past summer, as I pulled at my hair thinking of answers to his never-ending
line of questions, I looked forward to this day. Someone else would now have a
chance to try to answer his questions. I would have a breather, if only for a
few hours a day. (No one told me that in
a few years, the baby in my arms, Russell, would have even more questions.)
But now he is
actually leaving and I’m not rejoicing as planned.
Robby is not like
my impression of the usual first-timer. He is not clinging to his mother,
crying as if he is being abandoned. No, he is raring to go. He’s grown up … too
grown up. He doesn’t need me anymore!
Today, I again give
him into the hands of strangers. A short time ago, the stranger was the
dentist. That was for all of a half-hour with me fidgeting in the outer office.
He survived that experience better than his overly nervous mother.
This time I won’t
be in the next room. I’ll be miles away from my little boy.
I won’t be there even
if he cried. I’m sure he won’t—that is, if he doesn’t trip over his own feet
and fall down.
I won’t be near if
a big kid picks on my innocent 5-year-old. He’ll just have to learn to stick up
for himself. He has to grow up sometime. BUT IF ANY HOODLUM EVER DID TOUCH A
HAIR ON HIS HEAD…
I also won’t be
around when Robby accomplishes a learning feat. I’ll just have to wait until he
runs through the front door, waving his paper proudly.
I watched him climb
on the bus and I sniffle. “I’m alone…” There’s a tug on my arm. Becky looks
I pat her head and
say, “You’ll get to go to school when you’re five, Honey.”
“I know that. But
Mommy, when will Baby Russell quit eating my coloring book? Will he get a
bellyache if he eats a crayon? Can I help you clean up the kitchen floor?
Russell made me spill my milk. Does the baby like milk on his head?…”
What am I thinking
about? I’m not alone. It’s two long years before Becky marches off to
kindergarten (730 days to go) and five years before Russell follows (1,825 days
I don’t have time
for tears. I have to hurry to get something done before Robby gets home. He’ll
only be gone a few hours.
There are many pretty places in Wisconsin. One that is not far from our home is the Green Bay Botanical Garden.
One lovely corner (there are many lovely corners) is this spot in the Kress Oval Garden. The statue is of George Kress playing his violin for his wife.
I always like it as it depicts love in later years….Too bad Bob doesn’t play the violin, or any instrument for that matter. If we ever had a statue of us together, we would be sitting on the bench together.
This old apple tree reminds me of those living on our farm as it has seen many years. A nice place to stop and ponder the ups and downs of life.