Overcoming claustrophobia

By PEGGY SIMS,

I have already said in this column that I am very claustrophobic. 

When I have to ride an elevator, I cringe as the door closes and the box starts to rise, believing that it just might not open again. 

I remember once that my husband and I were in Jackson at my doctor’s office on the twelfth floor and a few minutes before we were finished with my examination, the lights flickered, and it went completely dark in the room. The hospital had a backup generator to provide power to the lights and to the elevators. They told us we could wait a few minutes until the generators kicked in or we could walk down the twelve flights of stairs. 

Well, the lights were off, and the generator was the only source of power. What if it started halfway down and the power went off again? Then we would be stuck until the power was back on or I had climbed out the top hole in the little box. 

I decided that we would walk down the stairs in spite of my husband’s unhappiness and irritation.

I tell you all of this to tell you that perhaps my phobia might have gotten better. 

We are having an outside elevator installed in Gulfport on our beach house that is fourteen feet, twenty-three steps, off the ground. After climbing those stairs, especially in 100-degree weather, something had to be done.

My husband asked me if I thought I would be able to get into the pulley contraption without freaking out. After climbing those stairs several times carrying groceries, suitcases and our dog, I immediately decided YES! 

Of course, to make this all feasible, the box of the elevator is not solidly enclosed but has slats every six inches, and it is only about four feet high, and it has no ceiling.  I am not fastened up inside a box, so I believe I can manage this. If not, don’t you think I could jump out as it will only go to 14 feet?

This is the season for my favorite vegetable/fruit – fresh vine ripened tomatoes.  This is one of my favorites to make this time of year.

Tomato Pie

4 fresh tomatoes peeled and sliced

½ cup of fresh basil, chopped

½ cup chopped green onion

1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup of mayo

one nine-inch prebaked deep-dish pie shell

salt and pepper to taste. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Place the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with salt and let drain for about 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil and onion in an unbaked pie shell and season with salt and pepper. 

Combine grated cheeses and mayonnaise together and spread over the top of tomatoes.