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Published: Sunday, 3/20/2011

COMMENTARY

Caught between winter and spring

BY MARY ALICE POWELL

This is the transition season when it's easy for cabin fever to set in before spring fever takes its place. It's that dreadful in-between time when you need a coat, gloves are comforting, and there are still patches of snow where we long to see green grass. Even though we have faith that the robins knew it was the right time to return and that setting the clocks ahead an hour means a new season, spring surely can stand a boost.

Spring cleaning will come soon enough, but just rearranging the furniture in two rooms was a pleasant lift. Fresh flowers bring sunshine into the house. Careful shoppers can find mixed bouquets for $3.99 and that is a better investment than a cake or pie. I made sure to select a bouquet with lots of color and arranged it in a bright vase on the dining room table.

Gardeners are getting a jump-start on spring by starting vegetables in the house.

Chef Maximilian Korl, retired Toledo chef and culinary consultant, is one of them. His indoor jump start on gardening includes a variety of peppers now two inches high and radish seeds that are sprouting greens for salads and sandwiches.

You may have had to leave a note or two around the house as a reminder to set the clocks ahead last weekend, but Eileen Campbell of Pulaski, Ohio, never has that problem. Her collection of 160 clocks that tick, tock, and coo-coo in every room are constant reminders to get an early start resetting those that need to be.

Computers, clocks, and cell phones that automatically change the time take the fun out of the biennial time changes. I cherish the old mantle clock that was my father's wedding gift to my mother. When the time was to be reset, it first had to be wound, and each hour sounded out loud and clear. As a child I counted as the hours struck.

I doubt that I will ever fully understand how today's technology works. I prefer instead to think how fortunate I am to have lived during a time to benefit from the magic. I still think it is amazing that I push a button on the computer at Posey Lake, Mich., and in a second my column is at The Blade in Toledo. I still call occasionally and ask, "Is it there?"

Because of the high gas prices I hesitate to suggest taking a drive to while away the doldrums. But if it's a short, well-planned drive, it is easier on the gas tank than wandering aimlessly just to kill time. It's a shame we no longer just stop in to see friends unannounced as was the custom years ago.

Today I made a circle trip that covered about 50 miles, all in Lenawee County. I knew where I was going when I left home. Because I was waiting for a TV repairman who never showed up, I got a late start. The plan was to visit downtown Tecumseh and its unique shops. I continued the drive to Beach Bar at Clark Lake.

At the Beach Bar, it's always tomato soup for me. I am certain the soup is creamy with cream cheese because I whisked an 8 ounce package of the cheese into a can of Campbell's tomato soup and it tasted similar; not exact, but almost.

For a couple of days I have been wondering what I would write about for the next Sunday column. It seems I have done it, so as we say in newspaper talk, 30 until next week.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com.



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