Archives for December 7, 2019
I love to cook, always have been happiest in the kitchen, and can spend hours baking or making meals. Friends comment on the quality of my efforts and I love to turn out food that looks nice as nice as it tastes.
A crown roast of pork brings gasps of approval and beef Wellington earns oohs and ahhs from the assorted guests. Both these dishes and many others are learned by following Gordon Ramsey videos, on Google. No special talent, just knowing where to find the secrets of the trade and having a good relationship with the butcher, so you get good cuts of meat.
No, I’m not afraid to try anything and love to experiment however, my downfall comes from the simplest things.
I honestly don’t remember ever cooking grilled cheese sandwiches without burning at least one of them. Raising a family of four daughters meant cooking on a budget so one of my “go to” money stretchers was home made soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. All the family loved this meal and would gladly eat it a couple of times each week.
However, I really don’t know what happened but, every time I put the first couple of sandwiches in the pan, something would distract me and I would forget about the pan until the smell of burning caught my attention. In my fifty five years of married life I have probably scraped the burn off hundreds of pieces of cheesy bread and made sure that they went on my plate, so there would be no complaints from the kids.
My real nemesis is the hard boiled egg. How easy it is to hard boil eggs, just stick them in the pot, cover with water and boil for six minutes? Well apparently it is not as easy as it sounds as I manage to boil the pan dry at lest half of the time. This ranges from gently scorched shells to scraping exploded shells and yolk off the ceiling. I have had to throw away many pans that were too far gone to bring back to use.
Being a non meat eater, eggs play a large part in my diet and frequently have one hard boiled, chopped onto a salad. Yesterday I christened my new apartment with another egg incident! I put six eggs on to boil, then put on my coat and went grocery shopping, luckily it was a nice afternoon so I took my little dog along in the car.
About an hour later, as I was trundling my grocery bags along the corridor from the elevator to my apartment, I could hear someone’s smoke alarm ringing. I smiled to myself thinking that I was not the only forgetful one in the building. As I got nearer to my door, the noise got louder and then the thought of the eggs came into my mind.
In a panic I opened the door and entered the smoke filled room, grabbed the pan and put it under the cold water tap, opened all windows and door to the deck then proceeded to do the “tea towel dance” under the smoke detectors. The din they make is deafening so I am surprised that nobody had called 911.
I managed to wave enough air around the alarms to shut them up but I couldn’t believe the sprinkler system had not activated. I guess there wasn’t enough heat to activate the mechanism so I was spared the terrible effects of a major clean-up, not to mention the scorn of my neighbours.
The next hour was spent scrubbing exploded eggs from the stove top, the range hood, the side of the fridge and the wall. Whilst I laboured on scrubbing counters, the dog cleaned the kitchen floor for me. I then sat in the stinky room and had a much needed caffeine break. Luckily the outside air war mild enough to leave doors and windows open until late afternoon.
The past few weeks I have been “feathering my nest”, painting, making drapes, putting up pictures and doing the little things that turn a house into a home. I guess it wasn’t really home until it got that lingering, acrid smell that is my own special signature. Aaahh yes, nice to have the place finally feeling lived in! I am definitely home.
About a year ago I brought home a Schlumbergera Christmas Cactus for my wife. It was a small plant, probably not yet mature. It produced a lot of flower buds but they all withered and fell off. We wondered if we should just toss the plant out as a failure. But we didn’t. In November of this year it produced another prolific set of buds and they are now blooming. The flowers are not ordinary, they are delicate and very attractive. It is a marvelous display of beauty. Here we sat in wonder as we remembered that we had impatiently almost thrown it away.
Perhaps it deserves a prettier name.
Do we treat people that way too? Are we ready to throw some of them away because they don’t seem to produce anything worthwhile? It is thought provoking to realize how often Jesus hung out with the downcast, the rejects, the despised and the broken. He helped, healed and comforted them. Then he declared that whatever you do for “the least of these”, you have done for Me. (Matthew 25:45)
Remember that they too were made in the image of God, which means to have a mind, a will and emotions.
There are many people around us who need encouragement.
Have you ever looked back and thought about the event that cemented the road to your future? We are couple of weeks before Christmas so I would like to tell you a personal story.
Many years ago I learned that giving of your time and effort brings satisfaction and a moment of reflection when the real impact is felt.
This story goes back to the fall of nineteen fifty-four. I was about eight years old. At that time there was a Tuberculosis epidemic and the organization that took the lead was called The March of Dimes. I heard Bob Hall the local announcer for news and sports talk about it on CKOV Radio. I remember asking my mother if I could raise money in our neighborhood a part of Winfield, now part of Lake Country.
She said yes and we set about sealing up a shoebox and I set out door to door with a note from my mother In case I needed an introduction and an adult explanation of what I was doing.
I had the idea I could raise at least fifty dollars, a lot of money back then. I can still feel my frozen fingers, and nose when I think about it. There were other benefits I learned in addition to collecting money.
I did not understand why the general store owner in Woodsdale gave me so much money thirty dollars. My father, later told me the man was a real hero. He had escaped from Poland when WWII started and became a fighter pilot for Britain. He had seen a lot of human misery. When he talked to my mother and understood what I was doing he gave from his generous heart.
A friend of my fathers, Myles, gave me twenty dollars after a good round of teasing. Every time he saw me he would say, “Well I’ll be dammed if it isn’t little Freddy”.
He was loud and jolly but at times he was intimidating in the mind of an eight year old. I later learned he was a Golden Gloves Boxing Champion in Europe. He was from Ireland. I found out about a lot of interesting people on my cold journey over a two week period in late November and early December. This was to me interesting but it was not the end. In fact the end was the beginning.
See I raised about two hundred dollars and was invited into the CKOV Control room to meet the announcer Bob Hall. From the instant I walked in to the control room, in a single defining moment I wanted to be a radio announcer. In the mid nineteen sixties I achieved my goal breaking into radio before the days of broadcast schools. I made the airwaves in Alberta and the Okanagan.
The full circle came one afternoon twenty some years later when I stepped into the CKOV control room to begin my first show at the station. The room I first set foot in when I was eight. That moment of reflection had its impact on me personally as I thought about that little shoebox I packed around in the dark. It led me full circle in my career choice at the time.
Now I’m not saying you will fulfill your utmost dream by being a volunteer. You will feel the sensation of heartfelt satisfaction though, and perhaps you will start someone you helped on their journey to success. Thinking back I owe a lot to that little shoebox and the March Of Dimes volunteer journey.