Real Cooking

What is that old saying? I think it goes something like, ?What doesn?t kill me only makes me stronger.? Well, if that adage holds true, just call me Arnold Schwartzenegger.

I have just experienced the week from…well…let?s just say I never want a repeat of the last seven days.

Remember that cough I had? Little did I know when I was sitting at my computer hacking?that?s hacking (cough, cough) not hacking (breaking into someone else?s computer files)?last Monday that I was experiencing the birth of a disease that would invade my body with such force that I would spend the next four days in bed.

Yes, folks, I had the flu. The true influenza?body aches, fever, sore throat. And a nagging cough. I went to bed Monday evening hoping the bug would be short-lived and that I would be able to live up to the commitments I had made for the week.

But in the morning, I was too weak to get my kids ready for school. My husband came home from morning chores to make sure breakfasts were eaten, teeth were brushed and book bags were packed with the necessities for a day at school.

I spent my day lying in bed waiting to feel better. I was in pain. My eyelids ached so much it hurt to keep my eyes open. I couldn?t read or watch television?so I had a lot of time to think. And pray. And think. And pray. All day long, until four o?clock, when the school bus deposited my kids safely home.

?OK,? I said to myself. ?Pull it together, get up and start the kids on their homework.?

?Mom!? My son came bursting through the front door. ?I don?t feel good. My throat is really sore and Mrs. McEwen sent me to the nurse?s office to see if I have a fever.?

My daughter was right behind him. ?Mom, I….? was all she got out before the coughing started and wouldn?t let up.

Needless to say, by that night the three of us were feverish and just plain sick. And the timing was lousy. For not only was it a week of outside commitments for me and tests at school for the kids, this was the week that the Jost dairy was moving to our new farm in Kingman. And that meant that the one person who had escaped the clutches of the flu was too busy to take care of the rest of us.

How could I tell my husband to stop moving equipment and making preparations at the new location so he could stay home to make chicken soup for his sick family? He was going through his own trials, sometimes leaving home at four in the morning and not coming home until 10 at night. I just kept praying he wouldn?t get sick until the cows were all safely transferred to their new home.

And I kept praying that, somehow, we would make it through another day of coughing, fever and dizzying fatigue.

I must admit that one night I met him at the backdoor with tears flowing down my face.

?I?m so sick I can?t even take care of the kids,? I sobbed. ?I couldn?t comb Meghan?s hair today, I was too weak to get the knots out.?

After a hug and the consoling words that Meg could live with messy hair, I felt better. It was just good to have him home. He was tired, but he was still healthy.

The cows left last Friday for the farm in Kingman. They?ll be happier there at a newer facility and we will be happier letting our herdsman and hired men care for them on a daily basis.

My husband wrapped our daughter up in a blanket and took her over in the car Friday morning to watch as some of the cows were loaded up on the moving trucks. Alex and I just couldn?t manage to pull ourselves up even for such a momentous occasion.

All in all, it was quite a week for the Jost family. One we won?t soon forget.

This Monday morning, a full week after coming down with the flu, the kids and I went to see Teresa Regier at the clinic. My daughter seems to be on the mend, but my son has a sinus infection and I have not only a sinus infection but also something in my lung?probably some collapsed airways. Just a few parting gifts from our dear friend, influenza.

Reports from Kingman are that things are up and running smoothly. We did lose one cow in the transfer, but the others seem to be settling in nicely. And my husband assures me it won?t be too many more days that he will have to be traveling down there on a daily basis.

And that?s good. He?s starting to cough.

* * *

Smoke Stack?s Cheesy Corn Bake

2 tbs. butter

4 tsp. flour

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 cup milk

6 oz. Sharp American cheese, grated

1 (3oz.) pkg. cream cheese

3 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen corn, thawed

3 oz. diced ham

Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and milk. Stir until thick and bubbly. Add garlic and stir in cheeses until melted. Mix in corn and ham. Transfer to a two-quart baking dish and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until heated through.

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