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VALLEY MUSINGS: Of soup, sandwiches and a dying freezer

Donna Thompson
Sentinel columnist
Posted 3/19/23

One way or another, food has seemed to dominate the past few weeks.

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VALLEY MUSINGS: Of soup, sandwiches and a dying freezer


One way or another, food has seemed to dominate the past few weeks.

It started with the idea of a soup and sandwich luncheon after a church worship service to celebrate the congregation’s contributions of soup, crackers and funds for the annual “Souper Bowl of Caring.”

“This sounds like it might be something for your committee,” someone said during a church council meeting. Unfortunately, the council members were looking at me. The person who said it added, “We’ll help.”

“That’s good, because I’m no soup maker,” I said.

We set a date and held a meeting after a Sunday service to plan the event. A couple of people volunteered to bring homemade soup and others offered to put together sandwich fixings. I said I’d bring peanut butter and jelly in case anyone wanted it.

The rest of my job was mostly wondering if we’d have enough food. When I worried aloud about it, my next-younger sister offered to make a pot of chili.

The day arrived and so did the food. After the service, we scrambled to get things onto the serving table. People seemed happy to fill their bowls with one choice and return to try another.

Unfortunately, a toilet in the ladies’ restroom picked that day to have an issue and one of our members wound up mopping the floor.

Overall, the event seemed worth repeating, preferably minus the restroom mishap.

A week-and-a-half later the church was scheduled to present the same sort of menu for a Wednesday luncheon for area churches. I offered to make cookies. On the Monday before the event, I pulled out my mother’s oatmeal cookie recipe and went to work mixing up the dough and adding raisins, dates and chocolate chips. I suspect I overdid the chocolate chips. As I pulled the third or fourth sheet of cookies out of the oven, I was reminded why I usually made bar cookies.

The day before the luncheon, I went to the cellar to get something out of the freezer and found one or two boxes on the freezer door had leaked - they were stored on their sides - and others were beginning to thaw. The ice cream carton didn’t feel solid either. Most items in the main freezer were still frozen, but for how long? I carried the ice cream upstairs, put it into the refrigerator freezer and called my sister.

“How’s your freezer space?” I asked.

I checked the freezer the next day – no worse than before – and even found its manual, dated 1997. After calling the appliance store to see if they had any freezers in stock, I set out for the church in Ilion. I had just backed into a parking space when I remembered the cookies and had to backtrack to get them.

The others were preparing sandwiches and heating soup when I finally arrived. I bagged my cookies, helped carry food to the serving tables and ladled soup into bowls.

Afterwards, I drove to the appliance store and picked out a new freezer. It was scheduled to be delivered the following week. Later, my sister and I packed the frozen meat and the stuff on the door into coolers for her to take home. We might have to borrow some freezer space elsewhere, but daily checks showed the remainder of the stuff was holding.

My youngest sister planned to visit that weekend. We pulled out frozen strawberries and rhubarb to make a pie and butternut squash and spaghetti squash to have with our meals.

It would be that much less to deal with later.


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