He was just twenty years old when he married my mother. Said they had less than $50 to their name. Struggles and work he was familiar with and success would be his reward.
Determined, driven, my Daddy.
I was the second child, the second daughter. I wondered sometimes if he had wanted a son instead of me. That blue-eyed, blonde, curly-headed girl.
In my younger days, I remember a serious-minded towering figure. I remember eating the fish he had caught, car rides standing next to him as he drove, and the security of his arms around me when I was afraid of his bird dog.
In my teen years, he was gone a lot, working, climbing the ladder of success. I remember missing him. Wanting to be his little girl.
Mostly though, I remember a deep desire, a longing to make him proud. To be assured that he accepted me.
Acceptance. Approval. Acknowledgement. It seems like that's what everyone wants, really.
To know we are valued.
These days he calls me often. Just to talk. But one day, this week, he called and said these words that I will never forget...
I have a busy day, lots of appointments today... but before I get started, I just wanted to tell you I love you.
Words I will never get too old to hear.
Thank you, Daddy. Happy Father's Day. I love you, too.
In recognition of National Doughnut/Donut Day, I took it upon myself to come up with a healthier version of the delectable doughnut/donut. (Can you tell I am still obsessing over which way to spell the darn word?)
After forcing asking my daughter to help me mix up the healthy recipe at midnight, the results are now in. The healthy baked doughnut/donut tasted like a muffin. That's right. A good healthy, hearty, moist muffin, which, is o.k. IF you want a muffin. But a muffin is not what I ordered, thank you very much! So it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. After much thought and deliberation the panel of judges...me, my daughter, my son, and my niece...voted to make this recipe instead. As a last resort. Redeeming the wasted time spent on the "healthy" recipe.
Now, suffice it to say, I have always been pleased with your Pioneer Woman recipes. Never been disappointed with any of the high-caloric, fat-packed, amazing food you whip up. (Although I have strong suspicions you don't eat the food you cook...I saw your skinny butt on T. V.)
But seriously, I must say the labor involved, the trouble of mixing the dough, allowing it to rise, rolling it out, cutting it out, getting the hot oil just the right temperature for frying was more painful than the last root canal I had. My poor daughter was breaking a sweat.
Aggravating, Ree. Really. No hard feelings. It was just NOT my idea of fun.
Just to remain fair and open-minded though, I sampled not one, but two of these little devils. And honestly, they were not fall-on-the-floor great. Better than the healthy baked muffin-doughnut/donut impostor, BUT just not worth the trouble.
Maybe one day, when I have all the laundry caught up, the weeds are all pulled, and Facebook goes out of style, I'll give it another try, but for now I am just gonna google for the closest KrispyKreme.
Unless, and only unless, under one condition...you accept this cordial invitation to visit me in my neck of the woods and give me some and cooking tips....starting with Doughnuts 101. I'll even wear my yoga pants, just to make you feel welcome.
There is a list a mile long of things I want to do with my hubby of almost twenty-five years. Postponed dreams, a bucket-list for our marriage, whatever you want to call it. You see, not too far into our marriage children began to arrive on the scene. Life was jam-packed with activities that centered around our kids.
And we have no regrets. Parenting is an incredible gift.
Just twenty-two months after we said "I DO" we began the years of diapers, laundry, preschool, T-ball, laundry, dance lessons, PTO, laundry, braces, baseball, football, basketball, laundry, homework, piano lessons, laundry, soccer games, dance recitals, laundry, cars, dating, proms, laundry, and the endless energy each of those milestones require. And did I mention laundry? Occupying and diverting our attention to the importance of raising our wonderful kids was a sacrifice, but such a tremendous blessing. Years of loving, nurturing, disciplining, and now the harvest.
We are definitely blessed.
The children are grown: one Air Force-bound with a family of his own, one graduated college, and another beginning college. Lately, I find myself dreaming and planning ways to do some of those postponed things together as a couple. I think we owe it to ourselves. And to each other.
So, while I work on that list of things we need to do, places we need to go, I will share one of the things we did today that actually wasn't on the list at all.
We made blueberry jam! Picking the berries we grew ourselves and then made some delicious jam.
This season, this harvest of fruit reminds me that we reap because we toil. Along this journey, our marriage, and in even on our personal spiritual path there will be seasons of cold, even dry times. The fruit of our labor may be hidden but we must forge ahead. Galatians 6:9 says Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Sometimes I can get a little O. C. D . about the spelling or pronunciations of words. Take the word for small cake of sweetened or, sometimes unsweetened rich, light dough fried in fat, typically shaped like a ring.Whether you spell it "donut" or "doughnut" we have to agree this celestial concoction is one of the greatest culinary inventions ever. In our town, we have a family-owned bakery that sells a pretty amazing doughnut/donut. I am a die-hard Krispy-Kreme fan, myself.
Today is National Doughnut Day and I feel somewhat obliged to participate in this worthy holiday. I remember the first doughnut I ever had. Must of been around 1967. I was around six years old. My mother made them from scratch at home. They were truly magical! Warm sugary little bites...a little crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Ahhhhh!
So, now you know... I have my mother to blame thank for my addiction to food. Never mind that she has never ever struggled with her weight.
Moving on. Since we have established that I am a dedicated, unofficial member of the No Carb Left Behind fan club, having met all the requirements for membership, and possessing the love handles to prove it, I feel a certain duty, a responsibility of sorts to womankind to come up with healthier versions of tasty foods. It's true, I admit, I get weak in the knees when it comes to mere visions of donuts/doughnuts. For Carbs' sake, I have been known to drive 100 miles for a Krispy-Kreme. The thoughts of butter, bread or desserts can literally throw me into a feeding frenzy that rivals a Great White vs Baby Seal attack.
But, alas, now that I am on this self-assigned mission to discover healthier ways to make and partake of the delicious foods I am addicted to have come to appreciate, I have definitely met an overwhelming challenge head-on today! The challenge? To create a delicious, delectable, doughy, delicious, damn-good doughnut. Sorry, Mom. I get carried away when it comes to carbs.
First, to appreciate the worthiness of this self-assigned project, like all good educators, one must do hours and hours of research. But, since it is summer and I am on a vacation, I will provide you with a wonderful link I found: History of the Donut. You can thank me later.
So, study up, leave your thoughts or experiences with this small cake of sweetened or, sometimes unsweetened rich, light dough fried in fat, typically shaped like a ring in my comment box.
I''ll be back later with the scientific results of this sweet baking assignment.