Oct. 4, 2008 – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After hiking among red rock formations, our daughter and I went to a grocery store and bought vegetables for stir fry dinner — firm tofu, celery, carrots, red bell pepper, snow peas, broccoli florets, yellow onion, and garlic. Upon return to her shared apartment we prepared it the way our household has been doing since before she was born.
At 6 p.m. we tuned the kitchen radio to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and made dessert. Listening to the program on Saturday afternoon, while working in the kitchen, had been a thing since the early 1980s. It was comforting regardless of what happened each week.
On June 13, 1987 I turned on a tape recorder to capture the final episode of A Prairie Home Companion — supposedly. Our daughter was two years old and wanted to spend time with me. Once the recorder was set, she and I went walking around our neighborhood in Cedar Rapids. When we returned the program had run over its allotted time and the tape ran out. I caught a re-broadcast on Sunday and re-recorded it. As we now know, Keillor didn’t retire. He came back and lasted the second time until 2016. He gave our Saturdays a predictable, calming feeling.
We took ten Colorado peaches from the ice box, peeled and sliced them in the only large bowl available. There was no granulated sugar in the pantry so we macerated them in brown sugar, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. We arranged them in a glass pie dish and dotted them with butter. Next we cleaned out the bowl and mixed dry ingredients: flour, more brown sugar, salt, butter, rolled oats and a dash of water. I built the top high, knowing it would cook down.
During a yearlong internship in Florida, I bought her toaster oven which I now set to convection at 350 degrees. It doesn’t take long for a toaster oven to preheat. I put the shelf on the bottom rack, set the timer for 25 minutes, and monitored the peach crisp through the glass as it cooked.
She was sewing at the kitchen table, the radio was playing, and I was cleaning up while the crisp baked. We hoped dessert would satisfy, yet whatever its sweetness, it was unmatched by the scene: a father and daughter re-enacting the lives of our grandmothers on a fall Colorado night.
~ Adopted from a post on Big Grove News, Oct. 4, 2008