STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
I grew up in the central coast town of Santa Maria, California. We are known for for many things like our Santa Maria Style Bar-B-Que. Produce is very abundant in Santa Maria! They grow everything there from broccoli to lettuce. Cauliflower is pretty big there too. As a matter of fact, if you live in the United States chances are if you look on the shrink wrap on the cauliflower it probably came from Santa Maria and was packaged by Point Sal Packing. But, if you know anything about Santa Maria you know that the entire town is surrounded by strawberry fields. Incidentally my Aunt Jackie, who my sister Jacqui was named after, owned and operated Santa Maria Berry Farms for many years. I guess I never really thought about it until today, but strawberries have always been a part of my life. So in honor of "HOME" and to the memory of Cherrie's father Larry Hanson I share with you all...
In a 2-quart sauce pan, mix together:
1/4 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
Gradually stir in 1 cup of cran/raspberry concentrate (thawed and undiluted)
Mix until smooth, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Stir constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Cool completely.
Gently fold in 4 cups of fresh hulled strawberries and fill *pie crust.
Refrigerate for 4 hours until set.
*Check my archives for the best pie crust to use for this recipe.
A TRIBUTE TO COURAGE
(A summer day with friends on the Neosho Pond)
A Springtime Struggle found him into early June, thankful that he might once again visit old friends and talk about tomorrow. So he came, as did Eunice, with a baker's box in hand. A baker's box - unlike the days when pies were his own creation; a solitary kitchen art affording a "down home" gentleness to his manhood - cherry, apple, and custard... with their lattice-worked crusts. But Larry had tried, and today it would be the baker's turn, to attempt near as much.
Larry continued to enjoy his sweets, though other sustenance had become a challenge. Today it would be pie - a richly glazed strawberry pie; the glory of summer's beginning, proudly resting in the sun-bathed window where he stood; his silhouette but a shadow of what had been. He and Eunice, who but a few years earlier could innocently have walked out from any glamour magazine. Now Eunice nervously asks him to be careful; "Wear a hat in the sun - remember what the doctors said." Larry just as nervously complies.
They spoke of the hospital, the doctors and empty hours of not knowing, the terror of not knowing. Larry carefully lifts his shirt displaying his invaded chest, a whisper of his prior stature; the pump about his waist continuing to infantry the chemicals that selectively fight the civil war against his own being. Tattooed ink markings; mapping war strategies for the radiation guys that rally for him while he rests on cold hard gurneys.
We took the old boat onto the pond' Larry's hat atop his head, speaking easily of the past and cautiously of tomorrow - laughing occasionally as if nothing mattered. Ah, memory can be a generous friend, allowing such momentary freedoms. Yet weren't those Larry's words to Eunice, "Nothing matters anymore," after the doctor's compassionate words and before the surgery that would guardedly sustain him? We talked about life on the pond - the hawk that guards from high above its shores, the blue heron that migrates and nests each year. We spoke of the millpond's history as we passed the cemetery on the point nearest the village; of the years that had passed - would continue to come and pass while the old motor gently sputtered and coughed our way in and around the gratitude for yet another glorious day! Larry helped guide me into shore, bringing a weary boat to rest after taking us full circle.
The day lingered within a generous afternoon. A summer supper ending with coffee and his eyes brightening! Larry continued to enjoy his sweets and smiled at his generous slice of strawberry pie, as we spoke of times past and cautiously of tomorrow. We spoke of pies he again would make; of flaky crusts that would hold them. But today it was a baker's pie - and no matter. Larry continued to enjoy his sweets, and smiled at his generous slice.
Ah, the sweetness of strawberry pie.
ON NEOSHO POND - JUNE 12, 2002
"LARRY TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT. HE TAUGHT ME ABOUT COURAGE. LARRY TAUGHT ME ABOUT DEATH AND HOW TO GRACEFULLY MOVE THROUGH IT. WE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN FRIENDS."