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Kathleen Brewin Lewis
Number of posts: 4
Email address: email
By Kathleen Brewin Lewis:
It is an early March morning on the Crystal River. Very early morning. My family is sitting and shivering in the helm of a pontoon-style boat, even though we’re clothed in black wetsuits. I’m thinking that this trip better be worth it, worth the long drive from Atlanta to mid-western Florida, worth this painful, pre-dawn rising, worth the efforts to tug a tight, thick wetsuit over my less then sleek frame as well as over the torsos of two wiggling children, worth the scowl on my husband’s face.
Whatever happened to Sunday dinner – where did it go? Was it packed up in the attic, along with the iced tea spoons, damask tablecloths, lace doilies, and sherbert dishes? Deposited in the cedar closet with the short white gloves, petticoats, and fox fur stoles? Truth be told, I believe it is buried under the shade trees in the cemetery where the women who cooked it now lie.
At least once a month when I was a child in Savannah, we went to Henny’s house for Sunday dinner, as soon as the 11:00 service let out at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension. Henny would have slipped out of the choir stall a little earlier to get home and get everything she’d cooked early that morning or the day before heated up.
Fruitcake is probably the most maligned baked good on the planet, the butt of countless jokes, and a dreaded Christmas gift. The website www.basicjokes.com lists 20 uses for a fruitcake that include using it as a boat anchor, a replacement for a Duraflame log, a doorstop, and a pencilholder. Another suggestion is to slice it up and use it for poker chips.
But I love fruitcake – always have and always will – for three reasons. First, I actually like the way it tastes. I like green cherries and candied pineapple and the scent of ginger and bourbon that wafts from the loaf when you unwrap it.
It all began last March, when I was sitting at my computer in the kitchen. I noticed this incessant tapping on one of my dining room windows. Thump, thump, thump. Thump. Puzzled, I walked to my window and espied a male cardinal pecking at the glass.
I knew that male cardinals sometimes went a little crazy during mating season, trying to run off would-be competitors, even if they were only self-reflections. But he didn’t let up. He started about 6:30 every morning and stayed at it until about 2:30, after which he took a break or nap or something, then came back to plague me as I cooked dinner. “What an idiot,” I thought. He was driving me crazy.