The day was dark, damp with gusty winds. The kind of day best spent with a book, a cup of something warm, and a cozy comforter. Instead, I needed to take my mother to her dentist.
There are perks in my car that make traveling on dark, damp, and gusty wind days tolerable. My seat heater was set to high, but there was another button pressed that made me smile. Do you know what this button on my steering wheel does?
So, channeling Jimmy Fallon’s thank you notes, I write a thank you post to this button.
Dear Heated Steering Wheel,
Thank you for being there for me when my hands grip the cold surface of the steering wheel. You slowly warm my frozen fingers. Because of you, I follow my driver’s ed teacher’s command to keep hands at ten and two. I admit, sometimes I do use eight and four, just to feel the warmth. My palms soak up your gentle heat. When you are on, my hands never leave the wheel. What a luxury you are! Thank you for keeping my fingers toasty!
If you ever get to experience a heated steering wheel, you will want one in your vehicle too. Trust me. 🙂
Did we really appreciate our unlimited human contact before the virus derailed our lives? Meeting up with friends (or relatives), enjoying a bite in a restaurant, saying good-bye with a hug are all actions in a previous lifetime. Hopefully, they will return to our lives.
March 8 was the last time I saw two friends in person. Impending stay-at-home orders were looming. I had belated Christmas gifts to deliver and feared if I didn’t do it on this day, they would never get delivered. The encounters were brief, no hugs allowed, just an elbow bump.
Through the days and months, we kept in contact with a couple of zoom meets, phone calls, and FaceTime. Our usual birthday celebrations were put on hold. Until one of us had enough. She decided we would gather in her backyard and spend an evening together. It was easy to find a date that was free, so it was settled, Friday, October 9, 6:00 p.m.
My friend, Tiffany, is the ultimate hostess. She has a flair for making any occasion special. The fire pit had a small fire going. A nearby table was draped with a tablecloth, multiple lanterns were lit, a pitcher of Autumn Punch waited to fill the copper mugs. Of course there were s’more fixings, but also hand sanitizer and wipes.
A cheese ball (shaped like a pumpkin, of course) and crackers were brought out for a snack before the main event – pizza cooked on the big green egg.
There wasn’t just one pizza or two, no she created FOUR different pizzas! Each one with unique flavors, all extremely tasty!
After pizza, we settled around the fire pit to chat and watch the dancing flames. Decorated pumpkin shaped sugar cookies (made by Tiffany) were the first dessert. It was so relaxing, being with dear friends and visiting. I had forgotten what it was like to be with someone besides my husband and mother. Soon the pokers for the marshmallows were brought out and s’mores were the final touch on the evening.
I hope you have a friend like Tiffany. She brings joy where ever she is. (What makes this evening even more extraordinary is Tiffany is an instructional specialist working full-time in an elementary school that is face-to-face five days a week.) I don’t know how she managed to create this perfect evening, but I am thankful that she did. (FYI – she sent two of the cookies home as favors.)
My fingers fumbled to get those plastic wrappers off the caramel block. I searched for the folded end to strip that cellophane from that nugget of sweetness. Clunk! Another one drops into the saucepan. Soon they are all unwrapped and I am left with a pile of wrappers which I stuff into their original bag as they flip and float around me. I proudly deliver the saucepan to my mother so she can melt them into gooey caramelness.
The apples are washed and each standing tall sporting a flat wooden stick where the stem used to be. Wax paper is waiting to receive the apple draped in caramel. I am waiting for the caramel to harden just enough.
That first bite is tricky. I have to use both hands. One hand holds on to the stick. A finger from the other hand pushes the apple against my teeth so I can get caramel and apple in the bite. If I don’t push hard enough, my teeth only scrape the caramel. Once the apple skin is broken, the rest of the treat can be handled with one hand.
Years later at a craft fair, I discovered apple slices drizzled with warm caramel. Yum! That is now my preferred way of having this fall treat. Of course I rarely get this treat these days. Unfortunately, my husband does not care for caramel. I have been known to buy a container of caramel sauce. You might be surprised to find out how long that sauce can last in the refrigerator. 🙂