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More notes from a country kitchen- 7/4/11

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Columnists

I waited and waited and waited and finally it came - summer!! Now that it is here I plan my day around leaving my air-conditioned house, getting in my air-conditioned car, and going to my air-conditioned place of work! Now, that is really dumb!! I like the really nice warm weather but don't care for the hot and humid weather. When we were kids I don't think any of us ever complained that it was too hot or too humid. No one I knew had air conditioning, and I think we had just one fan and it was a big, noisy one that probably was used to keep the kitchen cool. We managed to sleep just fine at night with the windows open and a light sheet on top of us. We played kickball and soccer and softball all summer long regardless of the temperature outside. The school sponsored a bus so we could go swimming in Decorah once a week and I remember we had a small plastic pool in the back yard that we could wade in and splash each other down. I think the only time we complained was when it rained and we had to stay inside. Couldn't find anything to do then. I know mom probably suggested cleaning our rooms, or dusting the furniture, or sweeping the floors, or ironing some clothes but that was not what we wanted to hear! None of us kids ever went barefoot - mom was sure we would step on a nail or get some kind of nasty injury on our feet! We had tennis shoes or "thongs" as we called those cheap sandals with the plug between your big toe and the next toe. The tennis shoes were those we had worn all school year for gym class. We knew we would get a new pair when school started in September. We also made and drank a lot of Kool-aid during the summer and also Wyler's lemonade. Another favorite treat was store bought popsicles. We never got a whole one - mom always broke them in half because she figured we would make a mess if we handled the whole popsicle! We liked making our own popsicles and would pour the Kool-aid into whatever paper cups we had on hand. Most of the time we couldn't wait for the Kool-aid to get completely hard so we ate it when it got to the "mushy" stage. Sometimes we would make ice cubes with the Kool-aid. Remember those horrible metal ice cube trays!! When the ice cubes were ready to come out you had to pull really hard on that metal handle and hope the cubes didn't go flying all over the counter and the floor! We thought it was great when mom got one of those Tupperware popsicle makers! We would freeze Kool-aid, lemonade, juice or whatever we could find. We very seldom had "pop" and when we did it was Spring Grove strawberry pop or root beer from the Villager, and then we got to split a bottle or else make floats with the pop and vanilla ice cream. My sister and brothers would make chocolate milk a lot with either Nestle Quick or chocolate syrup but I hated chocolate milk!! They usually had that as a night-time treat. Another thing we loved was when the 4th of July rolled around. Then we got to have those boxes of "sparklers" that were a nickel a box. We would light those and parade around the yard creating designs and all kinds of things. But you know mother, she was out there watching us, telling us not to run or chase each other because we might fall and poke an eye out!! Seems like whenever she told us to stop something it was because we might "poke an eye out"!! Another favorite pastime was hanging old quilts over the clothes line and making "tents". We would sit for hours inside our "tents" reading comic books or coloring or enjoying one of those marvelous popsicles!! What simple pleasures we enjoyed!!

This recipe is from my co-worker Diane Wojtkiewicz.

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