Marks I have made
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I’ve been enjoying the weather, the clouds and wind and all, but have held off on planting much in the yard. Not quite warm enough yet. Though don’t be misled: I’m no flower, garden, vegetable, lawn or green-thing-in-general expert. Flyin’ by the seat of my pants, but I’m interested. Haven’t always been, but there’s something about a flower in bloom you planted yourself.
Come to think of it, I’m really not an expert at any one thing. This isn’t a cause of stress for me, but I did hear comment in recent days, after the funeral of a man who died early in his 70s, “He really didn’t die with much to show for his life. I don’t know that he really made a difference.” Well, when I heard this, I thought, Hmm. It sounded a bit harsh, but truth is that way, and it is a bit sad to think of leaving the world one day without having been an expert in something, without having left a mark of some sort.
So I made a short list. An inventory of the meaningfulness of my life: what I’m an expert at, ways I have made a difference, marks I have made. It felt a little odd, almost arrogant, to do such a thing, but it brought me a nice calm feeling inside. And it put to rest my pity for that man who passed on, about whom a woman whispered things. Each person is an expert in his or her own living of life, and the world doesn’t have to know the details. He may not have been a millionaire or famous for his voice, or a published writer, or some kind of spiritual guru. He may not have known how to make cheese or have climbed a mountain to its summit. But he was a man. He was tall and lean, dressed like a cowboy, got up each morning til he lost his leg. And then he still got up. He loved a woman. He raised a son. He had a dog, and loved pancakes and a good steak and Hollandaise sauce. And on the day he died, he called that woman, said, “We did have some good times, didn’t we?” And she agreed.
Sure, I’m an expert. In what my kids will and won’t eat, and how it’s made. In procrastination. In describing the taste of a slice of pie, and how hot water feels on your skin when it’s been a while. I’m an expert at breathing deep, and getting cards in the mail just in time or a bit late, and wanting, desperately, to fly. At making a perfect stack of buttermilk pancakes. At being a daughter who misses her parents, at loving a man from a distance. Maybe I’ll publish a book one day, and that will make me, oh, maybe an authority on not giving up. Not an expert.
I was raised by parents who believe you understand a thing if you can explain it. Maybe the expert part comes when you’ve explained it ten thousand times. That’s about how many batches of cookies I’ve made, I’m guessing. Still screw up now and then. Go figure.
My oldest sent this recipe from school, with a note that read, “Can we make this when I visit?” We made it, and oh, my. Seems I’ve got her hooked. Nice.
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/4-1/2 cup milk
Peel and mash the ripe bananas. Beat egg, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Blend egg mixture well with mashed bananas, then sift flour and baking powder into the banana/egg mixture. Combine thoroughly. If the batter seems to be too thick add a little milk… up to 1/2 cup.
Add oil to a frying pan and place on medium high heat. Drop spoonsful of the batter into the pan. Flip when you see the edges starting to get brown and golden. Lastly, combine cinnamon and sugar together to create your cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle on top of the fritters once they are finished cooking and still hot.