October 9, 2021


On this lovely October Saturday evening, ten of us gathered outdoors at my house for the latest in our long-running (about 17 years) monthly gatherings of the Mad Hatters.  We’ve adapted our schedule during the pandemic, with several months of Zoom meetings (nice but not as satisfying as the in-person ones) or skipping a few months.  Since April, we’ve had about three meetings together, with everyone fully vaccinated.

Betsy and I decided to co-host a Fall Homecoming evening this month.  She set up and decorated three tables for us on the carport.  We had appetizers and drinks on a table in the Florida room.  My carport area with strings of lights was enhanced with candlelight on the tables.  

I had fun planning an easy to serve menu—with a picnic atmosphere—delivered to each person in a black plastic basket. Sandwich halves on Kaiser rolls were packed with pork tenderloin, onion jam and lettuce; a cup of broccoli salad and a couple of fresh fruit kabobs came as the main course.  Appetizers were antipasto kabobs and a delicious new apple-cheese crostini recipe (listed below).  For dessert we served cups of hot apple cider and a moist slice of fall’s best cake—fresh apple with caramel glaze.

After dinner, we enjoyed one round of the Brain Yoga game, then spent hours “catching up” on our lives since last meeting.  There was lots of laughter and many different threads of conversation.  Topics ranged from home remodeling projects to recent vacations. Since it was the day after Jackie’s birthday, we put a candle on her slice of cake and sang Happy Birthday to her.  JoVonne told us she’s excited about her upcoming retirement in early February. Comfortably together—perfect recipe for a fall evening on the carport.

RECIPE FOR APPLE CHEESE CROSTINI:  Slice baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Top each slice with smoked gouda cheese to cover.  Bake on a cookie sheet in 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes (until cheese is melted).  Top each crostini with a thin slice of unpeeled Honey Crisp apple.  Drizzle apple slices with honey and sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme. Delicious hot or cooled!

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