Keep a Pan of Brownies in the File Cabinet

- 2

Do follow my train of thought, please.

It started with dinner last night. As I have perhaps already mentioned 18 or 19 times in the last 7 days, my floor is flush with perfectly lovely peaches, plums and glorious pluotts (see previous post for an Ode to Pluotts. I cannot make sense of your persistent getting behind on reading… what, you have a life or something?) and I think there is an uncomfortable resemblance between me sorting through the boxes for the perfect piece of fruit and a gleeful toddler diving into the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese. I like to think it is more hygienic the way I am doing it, but I cannot really be sure. I haven’t been to that venerable establishment since my nineteenth birthday (my now husband was then my suitor of about one month and he threw me a birthday that will go down in infamy. He seemed genuinely surprised that Chuck E. Cheese didn’t take the entire day. When, 45 minutes in, we had completed the entire circuit and gotten our prizes, he was left to improvise, which is how I happened to be shown all of his thoroughly inappropriate baby pictures by his mother on the afternoon of my birthday. And yet, here we are, married).

Now, I know that some people (my own estimable father included) are averse to mixing fruit and meat. And it is probably irritating to them when some boisterous soul insists to them that it is only because they haven’t tried it like THIS!! So I won’t say that. I have enough irritating things about me for folks to cope with, I can’t afford to recklessly add another if it isn’t absolutely necessary. But I will say, smoked pork chops from my new Meat Man, marinated in honey, cumin and paprika with a peach pico de gallo heaped on top, made with serrano peppers and cilantro straight off the farm with a side of caramelized Walla Walla sweet onion and goat cheese cornbread (did I mention the fresh-off-the-cob corn kernels stacked throughout?) with a slice of John Loos sugarbaby watermelon to finish is going on my list of last meals should I ever end up on death row and am asked for such information (we have already established that I can be irritating. There is just no telling).

I will now pause while you google all those items and plan your trip to Royal City, WA to fetch the goods.

Such a satisfying meal, eaten at twilight on a summer evening with the freezing cold blast of the window air-conditioning unit threatening to make my dust-covered toes give up the ghost (I’ll admit, the idyllic has suffered somewhat in this retelling…) is enough to make one sigh deeply and know that truly, life is worth the living, if only for moments like these. And what could make perfection just a little bit more perfect? As that wise philosopher, Winnie-ther-Pooh hath once spoken, “Just a little smackerel of something sweet.” For a bear of very little brain, he put his paw on the whatsit with a finality and decision that becomes his fluff.

It is important, in moments such as these, to have on hand the desired sweet. Nine at night is not the time for pulling out the eggs and sugar– the need is immediate, so must the sweet be. Preparation, Watson! Some thinking ahead is required! This is why every responsible parent should do some nominal squirreling away of a child’s Halloween candy, tucked to the back of the knife drawer or behind their math textbook (it must be a place they have a natural aversion to going or you may find your stash tragically depleted when the crucial moment arrives), in case of emergencies. However, you hate to leave yourself with nothing but an emergency supply.

And this brings me to the wisdom of my grandmother.

Do not misunderstand me. I have learned a great deal from both of my grandmothers, and that today I am focusing on one snippet of knowledge from one side should not be seen as a slight to the other, or to the abundance of wisdom I have learned from both. Never have I been more gratified and humbled than when my home was once compared to my Grandma D’s. She went to glory just over a year ago and I have been surprised to find how many different areas of my life, of my thinking about the home and cooking in particular, have her fingerprints all over them. My grandmother was not a shrinking violet. She was the height of femininity (note, I do emphatically not say feminism), rising to the challenge of moving from city life in California to being the capable wife of an irrigated land farmer in Eastern Washington State. She raised six children well, and here I am limiting my stories, because they could go on for days, but one such story I am fond of dwelling on involves her habit of keeping a pan of brownies hidden in a filing cabinet, to be eaten by her alone, as needed. The woman was a genius. She knew that the daily work of life is often made better, that it is easier to spread sweetness and light to your family, if you have enjoyed a bit of sweetness yourself. She knew that what kids don’t know about won’t hurt them.

And this set me to thinking…

I wonder how often we treat the Word of God as a thing only to be pulled out in emergencies. What bizarre hubris we possess to think that we can handle our days without a near constant dipping back into the sweetness and goodness that is His word, given to us, to equip us thoroughly for our journey through this life! When the darkest of clouds gather, it is too late to gather in the crops, it is too late to store up for yourself the sustaining word. Gather NOW. Gather daily, whether sunshine or rain, and continually give yourself both leave and exhortation to taste and see that the Lord is good. Meditate on His good word, that you might have the comfort and sweetness rolling about on your tongue all through your days and carrying the flavor with you into the night seasons. You will have those, you know. Be so well acquainted with His word that, like a mother who can noiselessly tiptoe through the house in the dark of night and still successfully cut herself a sliver of brownie from the back of the file cabinet, so will you know how to find your way to the comfort you so badly crave from His word, no matter how pitch black the night of your soul.

2 Responses

  1. Ellen
    | Reply

    I wisely buckled up and sat up straight (and maybe popped a Dramamine) with your early exhortation to follow your train of thought. It was soooooo worth the ride. And I truly believe that the sight of a pan of brownies will now always remind me to GATHER EARLY, GATHER OFTEN. And to buy a larger, locked file cabinet. —Watson

    • barb
      | Reply

      I certainly think that is implied. Perhaps even to invest in one of those panic rooms to store the treats, the sort that has a door slamming down for anyone that would dare to follow you…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.