Tag Archives: Doughnut

The Best Pick

Image by borislagosbarrera from Pixabay.

Does blueberry picking sound like a Fun Time to you?

Bribery convinced my small children: “If we don’t get thrown out of the patch, we’ll hit the bakery later.”

Often, they were too full of berries to finish doughnuts, so Mom obliged them.

Image by Anya1 from Pixabay.

I also considered it a rare productive activity, defined as: we made it to a potty in time; no one went to the ER; and I wasn’t nominated for Bad Mother of the Year. Plus, some berries came home.

Years later, our son invited Hubby and me to pick blueberries with his family.

Five-year-old Jonathan bragged, “I’ll pick 35 times 72 pounds!”

Ty the Little Guy wore the world’s cutest sun hat, appropriate for the world’s cutest toddler.

Arriving at the farm, we walked past fields of blueberry bushes. And walked. And walked.

Soon, both boys would need naps. Or Grandma would.

A guide finally assigned us a row abounding in big, juicy berries.

Image by Artur Pawlak from Pixabay.

Our tall son and Hubby handled top branches. I covered the bushes’ midsections. I also resigned myself to picking lower branches — and sleeping on a heating pad that night. The boys will grab just enough blueberries to eat and dye their skins.

Jonathan disagreed. “I’m little, but I can pick lots!”

Ty, however, had a beef. Everyone but him received a white bucket. Fill someone else’s? A fate worse than death.

Eventually, he decided Daddy’s bucket would do. Ty dragged it up and down rows, popping through bushes and batting long-lashed, brown eyes at other pickers.

Above flirting, Jonathan picked continuously for more than an hour!

Grandma’s feet gave out. We adjourned to weigh and pay. Ty allowed Daddy to tote his bucket and carry him on his shoulders.

“You’re heavy, Ty. How many berries did you eat?”

Little Guy’s smeary face somehow looked innocent.

“I’ll pay extra.” Daddy sighed. “Next time, I’ll weigh him before and after.”

Blueberry cheesecake, here we come!

Jonathan didn’t accumulate 2,520 pounds of berries (35 x 72), but the five pounds he and Daddy picked made him happy.

A productive day. Even Grandma and Grandpa made it to a clean potty in time. Nobody went to the ER. Daddy wasn’t nominated for Bad Parent of the Year, though he forgot to give Ty a bucket.

We had a berry Fun Time.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you have a favorite fruit-picking memory?

In the small town where our children grew up, Plymouth, Indiana, 500,000 people attend the Blueberry Festival every year–the setting for a book I wrote several years ago.

Dad Was Different

No one will ever forget his laugh.

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad. It’s Rachael.” Holding the phone, I’d picture his ornery grin.

“Rachael who?”

“Your daughter, Rachael. Your own flesh and blood,” I’d retort, and the fight was on.

If we’d been polite, each would have suspected the other was up to no good.

A pastor for nearly six decades, Dad radiated his own style. Even his conversion sprouted in atypical soil.

A Depression child, he scavenged Louisiana pinewoods to supplement his meager diet. Dad hid outside churches where African-American worshippers sang joyous music.

Dad as a child. During the Depression, his search for food to fill his stomach led him to spiritual food.

Their lives were even harder than his. How could they celebrate Jesus? Dad couldn’t stay away.

Eventually, he graduated from a Bible institute, where he’d met my mother. They married and worked at a Navajo mission in New Mexico. Throughout decades, they planted/pastored small, independent churches in Mexico, Indiana and Oregon. Sometimes they lived in for-real parsonages. Sometimes in churches’ back rooms, a grass hut, and a mountainside, snow-covered log shack.

Even if churches paid him — a rarity — Dad worked construction to support five children. We counted off in the station wagon to ensure nobody was left asleep on a pew. I was number two.

Ahead of trends, Dad shrugged off ties and other unnecessary protocol. Having taught himself to play guitar, he led singing with his three-blocks-away bass voice.

Dad loved to baptize new believers.

Dad ministered as much outside church walls as inside. He drank coffee with troubled diners at Denny’s and introduced them to Jesus. He made Cracker Barrel servers giggle and hugged lonely Hispanic and Chinese restaurant owners, far from home. When someone was in need, he opened his thin wallet.

Once, in Oregon, he picked up movie-mad English hitchhikers who asked if Indians were on the warpath. Dad promptly arranged with local ranchers to stage a cowboy-Indian fight, complete with flaming arrows.

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay.

Even more dangerous: Dad used a fishing pole to cast a jelly doughnut among his church members’ weight-loss group.

I said, “In Heaven, you’ll be perfect. What will you do then?”

He looked genuinely puzzled. “I don’t know.”

At 91, Dad did go to Heaven. His family — and his guardian angel — all stopped chewing our nails.

Dad and me on his 90th birthday.

But we miss him. So much.

Someday, I’ll stand at Heaven’s entrance, too. Jesus will know my name and give me a huge hug.

Dad? He’ll wiggle his mustache and say, “Rachael who?”

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How was your father unique?

Been There, Done That, Don’t Want to Do It Again

Have you created a bucket list? I’ve considered it.

Image by Tatyana Kazakova from Pixabay.

Instead, I recorded what I’ve done and would rather not repeat:

  • Buy stupid shoes. At 20, I wore platforms with heels so high they gave me altitude sickness. Repentant, I then purchased “healthy” earth shoes — hideous footwear with nonexistent heels and built-up soles that tilted me backward. Either way, I risked possible surgery.
  • Attend the Indianapolis 500. Amazing, but the cars’ incredible speed and incessant roar made me crave 30 quiet seconds inside a refrigerator, away from sizzling heat.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay.
Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay.
  • Tour France without knowing the language. My French, limited to “bonjour” and “french fries,” invoked eye rolls, especially on Petite Street, where shops sold clothes that fit only Tinkerbell.

Other remembrances make me shiver. I never again want to:

  • Camp next to someone a sheriff greeted by name.
  • Read Ku Klux Klan recruitment posters.
  • Lodge in a Honduran hotel room with broken locks.
Our baby liked the red and orange shag carpet, but it wasn’t my first choice.
  • Accept rides with strangers.

Nor will I:

  • Endure red and orange shag carpet.
  • Allow a closet-sized kitchen whose fridge froze lettuce and melted ice cream.
  • Sample saki. It tasted like turpentine.

Finally, I won’t challenge anyone to a doughnut-eating contest. Ronnie, a street kid who attended my Bible club, claimed he could outeat anyone. I devoured twice as many. Humbled, Ronnie went home, sick. Humbled, I realized the Bible didn’t recommend this form of evangelism. I called Ronnie’s mother to apologize.

Silence. Then laughter. “Glad you called his bluff.”

Still, I couldn’t look a doughnut or bathroom scales in the face. God, either, but soon I realized He’d forgiven me and had taught Ronnie and me to engage brains before mouths.

God isn’t limited by clueless mistakes. Amazingly, the kid still attended Bible Club. Decades later, I pray doughnut disaster memories have faded. That Ronnie clearly recalls Jesus loves him.

In reviewing my once-but-never-again list, I realize God’s protected me big-time. I never fell off my shoes. I haven’t been abducted, joined the Ku Klux Klan, or worn French Tinkerbell clothes.

I now can look doughnuts in the face.

Scales? Still working on that.

And God’s bucket list for me.

Image by Edward Lich from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s on your once-but-never-again list?

A Good Breakfast

Medical experts preach, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

I’m glad to comply. Unlike those who inexplicably avoid food all morning, I awake, ready to raid the kitchen. However, nutritionists and I cross forks here. Their idea of a good breakfast and mine don’t even try to get along.

During winter, who wants to leave a cozy bed to face a slimy bowl of vitamin-fortified, fiber-rich wood chips?

In the “good old days,” Sugar Blasters or Corn Syrupies were considered positive sources of energy. Question: Who ever gave birth to children who didn’t possess enough energy? We parents and grandparents are the people who should pack in energy-generating foods. Cheese Danish or chocolate-cream-filled doughnuts present a sufficient alternative.

My mother fixed hot breakfasts during winter: eggs; breakfast meat, when we could afford it; and unlimited toast dripping warm butter and jelly. Pancakes, stacked like records above a turntable. French toast, swimming in Mom’s homemade sugar syrup. “Fill ’em up’” comprised the key concept. She did, deliciously.

When we traveled, Dad decreed inexpensive breakfast as our main meal. Breakfast buffets had not yet made an appearance during the ’60s — which explains that period’s prosperity. Had they existed, my younger brother alone would have struck fear into the hearts of restaurant owners.

We did impact one corner of the international market. Upon seeing his citrus groves stripped, our Mexican mission caretaker referred to us tree-climbing missionary kids as “la plaga norteamericana” (North American plague).

I also savored tortillas baked over a community fire, spread with wild honey. Killjoy Mom worried that the cooks washed their hands maybe once a decade. I worried because the Mexican women, concerned about my skinny frame, attempted to make me eat raw egg.

Since then, I’ve encountered other global ideas of a “good breakfast.” Morning menus in England included: fried kidneys; baked beans on toast; and black pudding, consisting of oatmeal, pork, fried onions and pork blood. Russian immigrants my parents harbored preferred beet borscht and dill pickles.

Breakfasts Dad concocted when Mom was sick — watery canned soup and last-of-the-loaf butter sandwiches — almost seem delectable.

Decades later, when Mom suffered from dementia, Dad’s culinary skills improved. When I visited, I wolfed breakfasts of sausage, eggs, biscuits, and coffee strong enough to serve itself. My doctor would have run screaming, dragging me with her, at the sight. After days of these feasts — plus Dad’s dumping extra on my plate with the command, “Finish up! It’ll just go to waste!”— I almost craved my usual wood chips.

Not. Remembering such wonderful food and my parents’ I-love-you bickering — they now keep each other company in heaven — I loved that good breakfast.

One of the best.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite breakfast?