Friday Freeze

The arctic front that moved through North Texas wasn’t enough to break out the sleds or cancel school, nor was it a deterrence from a final weekender before our Thanksgiving trip to visit Jon’s mom in Illinois. However, it did require us dressing in layers even for quick dog walks and moving most of our cooking indoors. It also necessitated the use of our oil-filled radiators, which kept the cabin at a comfortable 72 degrees despite outside temperatures plunging to 31.

Throughout the weekend, we continued comforting our little Ranger as we nursed him back to health following his dental surgery the previous Monday. Having 14 teeth removed would be tough for anyone, but especially so for a chihuahua who doesn’t know what to make of the itchy stiches in his mouth.

We arrived at camp on Friday afternoon around 3 and immediately went back to work: Jon joined a Teams meeting while Cliff made a call to a student. Around 5, we shut down the computers to focus on cocktails. Mixologist Cliff prepared limoncellos to accompany our meats, cheeses, crackers, and nuts. After watching the PBS NewsHour, Cliff put on his chef’s hat and headed to the Big Green Egg to prepare our Date Night dinner.

A comment about the NewsHour. For the longest time, we watched the CBS Evening News as our network newscast of choice. We stayed with the broadcast even after the unfortunate controversy involving anchor (and Texas native) Dan Rather back in 2005, the departure of Katie Couric in 2011, the unceremonious dismissal of Scott Pelley in 2017, the abrupt and inexplicable demotion of Jeff Glor in 2019, and the subsequent ascent of Norah O’Donnell (also a Texas native). We counted ourselves members of “Team Norah” as she took over as anchor and managing editor, and we welcomed the broadcast’s move from New York to Washington, D.C. — until the Taylor Swift story.

We were sorely disappointed when the broadcast dedicated several of its precious 22 minutes (the typical 30-minute evening news program has about 7 minutes of advertising) to a story about Taylor Swift’s new album, without giving any time whatsoever to the selection of Rishi Sunak as Britain’s new prime minister. In much the same way that we abandoned the morning “infotainment” shows (really, Gayle King on a swing?), we stopped watching the CBS Evening News on the spot, opting instead for the perpetually serious and often boring PBS NewsHour. Admittedly, it’s like taking a daily dose of caster oil, but at least we’re not supporting the networks’ pandering to the “desirable demographic.”

Saturday found us snuggled in our tiny home, surrounded by snoozing doggies, as we surfed the web and enjoyed programming on the Bon Appétit channel. In the evening, we enjoyed pan-seared pork chops with pineapple and caramelized onion chutney, red peppers, cheesy broccoli, and cob corn, all while watching the Grand Ole’ Opry’s 50th anniversary celebration of Bass Pro Shops. The show featured performances by artists who have long represented the love of the outdoors and the lifestyle Bass Pro Shops represents, including John Anderson, Dierks Bentley, Chris Janson, Dustin Lynch, and Rhonda Vincent. A special moment came when Lee Greenwood took the stage to sing his signature God Bless the USA, followed by the announcement of six homes to be given to veterans.

Sunday found us making last-minute preparations for our trip to Illinois — a mere two days hence.