Game Day Funeral Salad

Earlier this month, a group of five Tribune employees, me included, took up the Club 1 Fitness Challenge, and are working on changing the food we eat to develop healthier lifestyles.  Okay–we’re on a diet.  But you’re not supposed to say “diet” anymore, right?  But we’re working on coming up with good tasting, easy to make dishes.  With this in mind, I’m extending that to the meals I make my family and friends.  

So, Saturday, I was at the Great Bend invitational watching my son play basketball, and ran into a friend who frankly was dressed way nice for something like a basketball game.  I had to ask why.  It turned out, she planned to attend a funeral later that morning.  That reminded me, suddenly, that I promised Wednesday night at my United Methodist Women’s meeting that I would bring a salad for a funeral dinner Saturday morning.  Yikes!  

Luckily, there was about an hour between the first game, which we won, and the second game.  So, with Dear Husband in tow, we headed for Dillons to get ingredients for a salad.  He suggested I just get something at the deli, but I wanted to do better.

“I want to be that person that is dependable, not flakey,” I said.  He just smiled…and started humming the “crazy” tune.  

I knew I didn’t want lettuce in the salad, because it always goes limp, so I started thinking out loud about what would be in it.  He started reminding me of the time I had to work with.

We parked, and for good measure, I marched into the store well ahead of him and began filling my basket with veggies, and rounded the corner on my way to the salad dressing aisle.  He was laughing at my speediness, and I had to remind him that I normally shop fast when he’s not with me…and well, I told myself I’d only say nice things or nothing at all.

We paid, and headed for home.  A few minutes later, I had my bags in hand, and into the kitchen I marched.  I pulled down a big bowl, two cutting boards, a veggie peeler and two knives.  I washed veggies, and we started cutting.  It was an undeclared race, of course, but we were making a heck of a salad.


3 cucumbers, peeled and diced

3 tomatoes, diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

2 yellow squash, peeled and diced

1 white onion, peeled and diced

1/2 bottle of Kraft Italian dressing, small

We began assembling the salad, onion first, covered with the dressing to keep the fumes from escaping.  Then more veggies and dressing, until the bowl was full.  I mixed the salad several times until it was completely blended and coated with dressing, popped a piece of aluminum foil on the top, and we headed out the door and over to the church.  We were right on time to drop off the salad before the dinner began, and made it back to the middle school with minutes to spare before the tip-off of the second game, which, by the way, we won.

(originally printed in the Great Bend (Kans.) Tribune, Jan. 22, 2014)


Getting back

Okay,  I’m beginning to see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel again.

In September, my brother went camping and hiking in the Crestones in the Colorado.  He was on a quest to climb every 14er in the state.  He didn’t come back when he told his wife he would, so a search was initiated.  Ultimately, the National Guard was called in.  Due to snow, at first no sign of him was found.  But when it began to melt, his tent and most of his supplies were found.  At that point, our hopes of his survival were dashed.  Over a foot of snow had fallen, and temperatures had dropped very low, with high winds.  The search went on for several days, but he was not found.  The SAR people believe he may be found after the snow melts from the north side of the Traverse between Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle.  Until then it feels both real and unreal at the same time. 

I entered the tunnel of grief.  There is a dark, dark place we go when something this heartbreaking happens.  I know there is a rough road ahead, now is just a plateau in the process.  Once spring and summer comes around, the pull to that place will be strong, but life must also go on. 

I just find I need to write again.  I need to write about things other than my brother.  For a while, that is all I could do.  I’m still trying to find direction, but I know it will come.