The Gifts They Share

Archived | October 16, 2014 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Spent the afternoon doing the fall version of spring cleaning — sweeping the cottonwood tufts from the garage, putting away the lawn furniture, washing windows, trimming a few shrubs — and helped Mr. Sundberg take down a dead tree or two out in the sunlit forest. It was a good day, but I wasn’t feelin’ so good and hadn’t been all week, so I took it easy and even went to bed a bit early, which is pure luxurious bliss when you’re not 100%.

A trip to the doctor for antibiotics to treat a sinus infection ended up being a trip to the x-ray room where those blessed photos showed a bit of pneumonia. Imagine that. I’d never have guessed, and a few days later I’m feeling on the normal track again. Wouldn’t have gotten there so fast if a dear neighbor, Helen, had not shown up with a bowl of pasta fagioli the one evening I was alone and feeling as if I’d been thrown in the lake and hung up to dry. She’d no more than shut the door behind her, and I was tasting that cold soup, and it was so dang good I ate it up without heating it up, and it got me through.

I read recently that our purpose in life is to figure out what our gift is, and the meaning in life comes when we share it with everyone. I like that because it takes a couple of The Big Questions and answers them with what amounts to common sense. And I look around me and see that most people I know are leading pretty meaningful lives, whether they see it or not. Marion’s photos of the river she lives on show her love for the landscape, and she makes cards and calendars out of them, and shares them with people all round. Katharine works at a hospice center sharing small chores with people for whom small chores bring a sense that their lives are important. Angela is studying toward a degree in social work that will help her help a lot of people find a happier place in the world. Mr. S talks to large groups of people about things he feels strongly about, like diligence and laughter and truth. Tim spends hours drawing pictures that can fill up a person with nostalgia. Mr. Keillor tells stories that take us home again and remind us who we are. Richard manages a gas station and has a smile for everyone he meets. Michael stays up til all hours of the morning writing a blog full of wonderful stories of who did what on this day. And there’s Gary, who takes wife with rheumatoid arthritis on walks around town and trips around the world. And Norma runs a food shelf. And Helen brings soup and bread to people who aren’t feeling so well.

I could go on for pages about the people I know and the gifts they share. I think the important thing to note is this: the thing you do, and do well, and love, is the very thing that, combined with all the things others do and do well and love, will, inevitably, change the world. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Here’s something autumny and rich and you’d best have a slice before everyone shows up. Good things tend to disappear in these parts and I’m guessing the same happens where you are.

Pecan Pie Bars

1 can crescent rolls (without seams)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup sugar
½ cup corn syrup
2 T butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten

Unroll dough and press in bottom and ½ inch up sides of a 9×13-inch pan. Firmly press perforations to seal. Bake 8 minutes at 350.

Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl.  Pour over partially baked crust. Bake 18 to 22 minutes longer or until golden brown (mine took 20 minutes).

Cool completely, about 1 hour, and cut into bars.