Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

The cooler weather is upon us. You know what that means…

Time to break out the bulk. Clothes, I mean. And not just for the colder climate. I’m talking about baggy sweaters and jackets that are great for hiding the expanding bodies that fall and winter reliably produce each season. I love food. I especially love cold-weather food…the kind of food that just doesn’t taste as good during the warmer months.

My favorites are:

1. Homemade chili
2. Homemade beef stew and cornbread
3. Sausage
4. The smell of chicken and dumplings (Though I hate the taste. And yes, I’ve been made aware of how un-American this makes me. I like the chicken and I like the dumplings - I don't like them together.)
5. Chicken potpie
6. Deer chili
7. Chicken spaghetti (My absolute, all-time favorite!)
8. Fried turkey
9. Potato soup
10. Santa Fe white chicken chili
11. Fried chicken (Good anytime, but I had to throw it in there.)
12. Chicken-fried deer steak (Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!)
13. Pot roast
14. Chips and salsa (Common, I know…but they taste better during football season.)
15. Tamales (My “German” family traditionally makes/eats them every Christmas.)
16. Cheese soup
17. Kolaches and my Nana’s homemade cinnamon rolls
18. Chili-cheese dogs

…Just to name a few. Hmmm. I’m seeing a pattern with the chili. Not surprising.

Next Monday (October 18th) is my birthday. Or, rather, my “non-birthday”, as I’ve refused to age any further. Note the list numbering 18. But, on Sunday my mom is making my traditional favorite meal of chicken spaghetti, ranch bread, salad and chocolate pie to celebrate my – ahem – “non-birthday”. And yes, I’m counting the days until that meal, thankyouverymuch! Besides, who wants to celebrate their birthday on a Monday? Mondays are the armpit of the week. Bah!

Along with the cooler climate and edible delights, emerge my favorite seasonal smells. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a deep appreciation for things pleasing to my nose that are not necessarily exclusive to cold weather. However, the decrease in temperature brings with it an enormous collective of new scents. I wish I could bottle them up in a jar and open it up to take whiff of nostalgia whenever I want. Oh, wait…those are called candles, aren’t they?

My favorites are:

1. Fire
2. Fresh, crisp, cold air
3. Warm-baked cookies
4. A lit fireplace
5. Roasting hotdogs and s’mores
6. The Thanksgiving food spread crammed onto the table
7. The cinnamon-evergreen smell of Christmas decorations
8. The smoke of a burning fireplace drifting from a chimney
9. Leather (smells better in the winter)
10. The earthy smell of the cows and range cubes (I'm a country girl, what can I say?)
11. Sweet feed and hay for the horses
12. A cup of hot chocolate
13. Clothes fresh out of the dryer
14. Eggs and French toast on a Saturday morning
15. The smoky sulfuric smell from a burned out match
16. Vanilla
17. Mom’s coffee cake and peanut brittle
18. A campfire

Yes, I’m aware that fire-related smells appear often in the above list. I’m not harboring any closet-arsonist tendencies. Promise.

I’m not quite sure what it is about the cold weather that makes us breathe a little deeper. It livens the spirit and adds a spring to the step. And while I love to be out and about in the cold weather, can you honestly tell me there’s no better feeling than waking up to an ice-cold room and burrowing back under the snuggly covers to sleep a little longer? Especially when you have the warm, wonderful smell of your significant other’s skin next to you. I don’t know of many other feelings or smells that compare.

How blessed are we to enjoy the anticipation of dressing up, breaking out of our shells just a bit, and going door to door with our little Monsters and Tinkerbells to get buckets full of goodies.

How blessed are we to walk away from the Thanksgiving table miserable and stuffed. Then we take a nap, watch the football game, and do it all over again for the next several meals.

How blessed are we to celebrate the birth of our Savior. To be surrounded by the sparkling eyes and smiles of our children, just waiting to open the treasures under the tree.

Perhaps the onset of the cold is indicative of the promise of things to come. New life. New hope. The world seems to slumber to prepare for its spring awakening. Everything is soon to be rejuvenated, with a renewed sense of life. The year behind us is winding down as we embark on Father Time’s promise of the future ahead.

Waking up alive, healthy, and loved. Life…my most favorite thing.

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