A Manageable Endeavor

Archived | December 29, 2008 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was at my parents’ kitchen table for most of the show, in the midst of a large number of nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters-in-law and dogs. Three dogs — two golden retrievers and a black lab. It had been a happy day, and there was food everywhere — dips and cheeses and ham sandwiches and cherry pie — and for a short while as I sat there, pretty much unable to move, with the nieces and nephews screaming for joy in the background, a dog shoving its head up onto my lap every few minutes, and my father offering me a chili pepper beer just to try, I felt at complete and utter peace.
It’s not something you can pencil in, like a visit to the hairdresser. Real peace is elusive, and sometimes it comes out of nowhere, when you least expect it. You simply have to welcome it and enjoy it while you have it, because if your life is anything like mine, it isn’t going to be around long. I tried that. Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, I pick a word I want to make more a part of my life, and I chose the word “peace” one year. I read books about it, I talked about it, I researched it, I meditated upon it. Did all I could to make “peace” a bigger part of my life. Unfortunately, that was the same year the kids got a potbellied pig for a pet, our neighbor Mr. Tully bought himself a drum set, and the garage roof was ripped off by what they say was a severe storm but what I saw with my own eyes was a small tornado. Sure, I found peace, but it came and went like the seasons themselves.
Anyway, I would recommend the whole choose-a-word-for-a-year exercise over a New Year’s resolution any day. It’s a manageable endeavor, and you don’t set yourself up. There’s really no way you can fail. And no, peace is not a major part of my daily life, but when I feel it, I recognize and appreciate it. And it does appear a bit more frequently than it once did. Same thing happened with “patience.” And “tenacity.” And “forgiveness.”
Haven’t chosen my word for 2009 yet. I’m down to a short list, though. “Happiness” and “Truth” and “Courage” are among the choices. So are “Flight” and “Nutmeg” and “Flexibility.” I’m not worried; I’ll get there. Until then, the kids have gift cards for a bookstore or two, I’ve a slew of decorations to box up, and I’m thinkin’ Sweet and Sour Pork and Eggrolls for New Year’s Eve. Something spicy. To kick off a Happy New Year.
Peanut Blossoms
Mrs. Jungerberg lived across the street from the house I grew up in, and she made these cookies just about every week. My brothers and I could smell ’em from the porch swing, and we’d wait there ’til she peeked out her side door and gave us the “come on along” wave, and we’d run across the street and there would be a plate of the warm cookies on the step.
1 c. butter
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 bag chocolate stars or kisses
Cream butters and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
Add dry ingredients and mix gently until blended. Roll into walnut-sized balls and roll in white sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. When done, press a chocolate star or kiss in the center of each cookie, and put back into the oven for 2 minutes or so.
Makes a big ol’ batch.