Andrea Langworthy's column: Brain teasers ahead
The questionnaire for the family newsletter arrived early in April. Each issue has a theme and this one’s was spring.
The newsletter is a pet project of my cousin, Nancy. She and Pam, a writer friend of hers, come up with the theme, the questions to be answered by family members and a deadline. They edit our answers and Pam puts them in an official-looking form with columns and “Taylor Tidings” across the top. As the deadline approaches, Pam sends out a reminder. Sometimes, two.
I always peruse the questions when they arrive, make a mental note of the due date and then, lose track of time. When the second reminder popped up in my Inbox last weekend, I called out to my husband and told him we needed to work on our answers.
The first question asked what we look forward to at this time of year. That was easy: putting pots of flowers on the deck and front stoop, setting up the bird baths and, for my husband, the Minnesota Twins, which means he’s in baseball heaven.
Next, family members were asked how they kept their sanity this winter. Those living in western or southern states probably never came close to losing theirs but those of us in Minnesota and Wisconsin had ample reason to go bonkers.
My husband and I didn’t opt for a warmer climate but settled for the next best thing. We spent a lot of time inside, wore a lot of flannel, ate a lot of soup and spent a lot of time hunkered down in front of the TV. We watched every season of “The Sopranos” and most of the movies nominated for awards. Plus, every “Law & Order” rerun we could find.
Another question asked us to reflect on Mother’s Day and favorite meals our mothers cooked for us. At first, my hubby’s mind was devoid of any kitchen creations. “Oh, come on,” I said. “Meat, potatoes, soup, she never made anything for you?” His face lit up as he recalled Thanksgiving dinners and a bird stuffed with his mother’s delicious dressing.
I didn’t want to rub it in but I couldn’t stop talking about the wonderful meals put together by my mom — beef stroganoff, porcupine meatballs, sour cream meatloaf and sloppy Joe’s made with Campbell’s soups; cream of celery soup and chicken gumbo.
I told him about chicken cacciatore, turkey tetrazzini and chicken Kiev. From there, I moved on to a mouth-watering concoction of hot cheese and shrimp spooned over puff pastry. That triggered a memory of his mother’s salmon and peas in cream sauce atop puff pastry, too.
From Mother’s Day and meals, the questions veered away from the theme to favorite snacks and on to three queries that had me thinking so long and hard, my head hurt when I was done. My husband changed his answer to one three times. See how you fare but be careful:
If you had one day alone with one person, who would you spend it with and how would you spend it? This can be anyone you know or not, such as a movie star or politician.
If you could sit on a park bench with a family member, still living or not, who would it be and what would you talk about?
If you could trade places with someone, who would it be?
These are great dinner table questions, aren’t they? See what your family members have to say but keep the aspirin close at hand.