Errands, Stories, and Shabbat

All this talk about herbs and spices makes me think of a landscape supply company that we drive by whenever we go to the City. It has dozens of huge mountains of different types and colors of mulch and dirt. The different colors always makes me think of spices so I call it “spice dirt.” Sometimes I try to associate the colors of mulch with the corresponding color of spices: black pepper, cinnamon,  ginger, nutmeg, cloves…I absolutely love the different colors. Sometimes I feel a desire to run my fingers into the spice dirt, or smell it, or jump in it. I resist the urge, however, because I don’t think the company would appreciate me if I did that. 🙂 I always intend to take a picture of the colorful mountains, but I never remember until we are driving past the company and it’s too late. One day, maybe, I will remember, but until then here is a picture I got off the company’s website.

Spice Dirt
Spice Dirt

Isn’t it beautiful?

I didn’t have to make Challah bread this morning because I had frozen some the last time I made it. However, I was getting low on bread to make sandwiches for EJ’s lunch so I decided to make Honey-Wheat Bread, which is what I usually make when I am not making Challah. I prepared the dough, made and ate breakfast, and then EJ and I went to the store in the nearby town to buy jugs of water. (Our water is not so good for drinking or cooking.) Lately we have been finding only two or three jugs on the shelves at the stores. We recently read news reports that said:

A water emergency, which has left nearly 500,000 people in southeast Michigan and Toledo unable to drink what comes from their taps, is entering its third day after test results continued to show toxin in the water….An algae bloom in Lake Erie is the likely culprit that produced an unsafe level of the toxin microcystin, which can cause kidney damage. Chemists discovered the toxin at Toledo’s Collins Park Water Treatment plant. The emergency includes 11,575 households in southeastern Michigan that draw water from South County Water System in Monroe County.

That does not include the area where I live, but EJ speculated that perhaps people in affected areas are buying water from our stores or maybe companies are diverting more jugs of water to those areas so we have fewer. Whatever the reason, there is less water on the shelves of areas stores so I buy water whenever I see it. We also bought a few other items, but not many. While EJ was paying for our groceries, I went to the coffee center near the door which has cups of coffee available to customers for free. It has three selections of coffee–decalf, regular coffee, and a speciality coffee that changes from day-to-day. I poured us each a cup of regular coffee but I put a “glug” of caramel coffee in my cup. On the way out of the store, I took a  sip or two. Yum! When we got to the car, I set my cup next to the shifter while we loaded the groceries. When we got in the car, I fastened my seat belt and reached for my cup just as EJ reached to shift the gear. He knocked my coffee onto the floor, spilling all of it. “I am so BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED,” I said, with pretend drama. But, of course, it was an accident. No use crying over spilled coffee…Not even spilled coffee with a hint of caramel. But it was a little difficult to lose the coffee.

Then EJ asked, “Where is our next stop?” I replied, “Our next stop is to the Veterinarian to pick up our newest kitten.” EJ groaned “NOOOOOOOO!” Actually, we went to the vet to buy special food for Luke, who has a chronic urinary problem, which is the primary reason that we came to town. However, our vet has a “free to good homes” cage for abandoned kittens in the reception area and there are many times that we have taken one pet to the vet and come home with two so it is a dangerous place for us. Fortunately, the kitten cage was empty this trip (for the first time EVER) so we didn’t have to try to resist irresistible temptation.

An old steamer trunk
An old steamer trunk

On the way to town we passed a large yard sale at the end of a long driveway. It looked promising so we stopped at it on the way home. It wasn’t as promising as it looked from the road, but we did buy a few books. A person can never have enough books; he or she can only have not enough books. We were glad we stopped at the yard sale, however, because we got to hear a new story. When EJ admired an old steamer trunk, the woman running the sale said that it had originally been made in Lansing, Michigan, which is not too far from us. She and her sister had done research to try to learn more about the company that made it, but they weren’t able to learn very much. Mostly the sources they found described the history of the family who had owned the company. Then the woman said that they were selling items from her deceased grandmother’s house at the sale. She said that when they cleaned out their grandmother’s house, they found an old sterling silver bank filled with old coins–over $200 worth–and also turquoise rings and other jewelry. They thought about selling it, but it was precious to their grandmother and is a reminder of her so they can’t bring themselves to sell it. Even though we didn’t buy much at the sale, we did collect a family’s interesting story and I thought it was well worth it. I love people’s stories.

Our last errand was to stop at the grain elevator at the end of our street to buy cat and dog food. While I was writing the check, the woman told me that the chance of rain for today was lowered from 80% to 30%. She said she had heard that Ohio (or was it Indiana?) had recently had 8-9 inches of rain. No crops can survive that much rain so their crops are most certainly ruined. My goodness! While the wife was telling me this story, her husband was telling EJ the same story as they loaded the pet food into the car.  I felt like a story collector today.

At home, we unloaded the groceries, I put them away, put the bread in the oven to bake, and then I worked on getting our Shabbat meal together. When it was ready, the guys joined me. JJ protested that it was too hot in the kitchen, but I reassured everyone that I had a fan out there. We eat in the kitchen because we don’t have a dining room anymore. Our dining room and living room is one L-shaped room and a few years ago I turned the dining room into a study area with a desk and bookshelves. We need room for books more than we need a dining room. Duh. Anyway, I hadn’t thought that once I lit the Shabbat candles, I had to turn off the fan so it wouldn’t blow out the flames. With the heat built up from the dehydrator and the oven, and with the hot, humid weather outside, it was sweltering in the kitchen. JJ said that he wasn’t all that hungry so once the blessings were said, he escaped to the air-conditioned living room. He is exceptionally tired today because he didn’t sleep well last night. He had nightmares, including one about being in Indianapolis after his surgery. EJ and I bravely endured the hot kitchen and sat at the beautifully set Shabbat table.

After EJ left for work, I planned to do dishes, but Danny danced around to tell me that he wanted his walk NOW. Because this morning was busy, EJ and I didn’t take him for a walk. So I gave in to Danny’s pleas and we went for our walk right away. It is so very, very humid today that it feels like a tropical jungle. I melted so much on the walk that it’s amazing that any of me made it home. Danny, however, was content.

The coolness of the living room was awesome, but I had to work most of the afternoon in the sweltering kitchen. Every time I thought I was done, I remembered another thing I had to do. I decided not to dry any more herbs today because of the heat. Even so, by the time I could escape the kitchen at about 4 p.m., I was soaked with sweat. I would be unable to endure this humidity except that I know it won’t be long before the heat is gone and the chilly autumn days arrive. I feel compassion for EJ who works in a hot factory.



2 Comments on “Errands, Stories, and Shabbat

  1. Shabbat Shalom Teri, EJ and JJ, what a beautiful Shabbats table it is and the food looks yummie. Wonderful to read about celebrating together and having that time to enjoy. Overhere it is still nice and fresh outside and I’m sorry for the people who still have vacation time but I love the cooler autumn temperature and can do so much more than when it is so very hot. I can understand that you must be totally out after a day in the hot kitchen . Enjoy the rest of today and be blessed. Love you ❤


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