Columns

2009.10.14 Lock-out would be OK with chocolate

on . Posted in Midnight Musings

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I walked in the house Monday night around 9:30, after the Morenci council meeting and a quick stop at the Observer office, and immediately reached up to lock the door. In a flash, I stopped myself and laughed out loud.

Anybody observing my behavior would think me nuts, but several things were zapping through my mind at the same time. The overriding image was David curled up on the back seat of the car when he was inadvertently locked out of the house on a chilly Monday night many years ago when our children were known to monkey with the doohickey on the door lock.

These days, I’m always the last one in at night, especially a Monday night, so it’s commonplace for me to be the one to lock the door. I realized just as I started to turn the lever that the night was still young. After reading a pile of Observer copy, taking a half hour nap, eating a snack and starting my column, I would return to the office and David would soon after head home.

And then the image of David sleeping on the back seat of the car made me recall that night and his attempts to enter the house. He climbed the antenna and knocked on Rozee’s window. He knocked on the door. He called our names...quietly, “You don’t want to yell too loudly in the middle of the night”...Every time I think about it it makes me laugh.

I know I shouldn’t. If it happened to me, I would be rip-roaring mad. I’d be yelling so loud I’d wake the bats roosting in the eaves and the neighbors would call the cops. There isn’t any weather I’d want to be left out in—freezing in the winter, battling mosquitoes in the summer—but you wouldn’t find me climbing antenna poles in the dark of night. I’d be pounding on the door and threatening bodily damage with the full extent of my lung power.

Yes, I’m getting crabbier in my old age, but not crabby enough to tell my old friend Sondra, “Whaddaya crazy calling me on a Monday night? Especially a council/column Monday night?” I haven’t talked to the always entertaining Sondra in a while so I abandoned my plans for a nap and a snack and we chatted for an hour or so.

While talking to her, I mixed up a simple chocolate drink I’d been thinking about ever since getting an e-mail from Lorraine Pillow about the healing power of honey and cinnamon. There were a variety of ways to mix the two ingredients, but not all of them had measurements.

That’s OK by me. I tend to be an oh-what-the-heck kind of cook anyway—which has resulted in a number of meals requiring ketchup enhancement over the years—so I figured I’d just mix it all up.

I think I might have been inspired by the doctoring I performed on my hot chocolate at a Starbuck’s in Grand Rapids Thursday when Pat Dister and I took a break before attending the Art Prize award ceremony (stop everything, go to www.artprize.com and don’t miss it next year).

Pat had been talking about Lorraine’s cinnamon/honey e-mail, and pointed out that packets of honey were available on the condiment counter. I added one packet of honey, a lot of shakes of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla sugar, and a couple dashes of nutmeg and was immediately fortified against the pervasive rain we’d encountered while visiting Art Prize locales.

My Monday night version of hot chocolate consisted of too many pieces of a chocolate bar (“Oh, what the heck. Throw it all in,” I told myself when eying about a third of a 3.5 ounce very very dark chocolate bar), and several spoonfuls of honey melted together in a small pan over the stove, maybe a cup and a half of water slowly whisked in, and a heaping helping of ground cinnamon.

As I write this I feel a little like I’m on drugs, or what I think it must feel like to be on drugs since I’ve never been on any.  An oh-what-the-heck attitude has probably gotten people into bigger messes than shaky hands and legs itching to run or meals requiring the benefit of a few squirts of ketchup, so I don’t highly recommend it as a life philosophy.

But I must tell you that this chocolate drink is pretty darn good and even though I’ve only had three really good hours of sleep last night and two fitful hours, I feel like I could stay up all night—and probably wouldn’t even notice if I got locked out.

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