The Platinum Rule
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Another one of those perfect autumn days, and my gosh, I can’t get enough of that wind. It can keep on blowin’, if you ask me. Swirling the fallen leaves and shimmering those still on the trees. Best weather for being outside and taking a walk or a road trip, which I did on Friday, a good three hours to pick up our daughter for her fall break. Our older daughter rode along, to see the school but more so to spend some time with her sister. Wasn’t long before, on the drive back, a small argument sprung up. Went something like this: “Put your shoes back on.” “No. I’m airing my feet out.” “They stink. Put your shoes on.” “No.” “If you don’t put your shoes on I’m going to puke.” Silence. Sigh. “Okay. Whatever. But I’m opening a window.”
The trip was lovely in every way, I must say, and took most of the day. There was a small setback on our way over, though. The gas gauge on my car isn’t accurate, and tends to dip below empty when I fill it up, then readjusts later. Seemed there was enough to get to a gas station once I noticed I was low, toolin’ along at 73 mph on the Interstate. But no. I, for the first time in my life, ever, ran out of gas. I pulled the car over and laughed for a bit because that’s what I do when I don’t know what to do. We made jokes about how we could survive on the sack of Halloween candy in the car. We speculated about what might happen. And we sat there awhile, thinking about our lives.
My daughter wanted to call 911. I said, “No. Let’s try something.” And I got out of the car and stood there a bit, shivering a bit, hoping someone who was not a scary person would see me and think I look like a nice person and think, “Hmm. I can help.” And that’s just what happened. Took 30 seconds, and there he was. A man named Steve, driving a van, on his way home from helping his son with a flat tire. I walked over to his car and he unrolled the window and it was one of those split-second-gut-things. He was a good guy. The eyes and the smile, and his question, “What do you need?” He offered to run us to the gas station up ahead for some gas and run us back if we wished, and I said yes. Along the way we learned he has ten children, teaches Sunday School, and is married to a woman who gets a bit put off by the number of people her husband helps out. Makes sense. With ten kids, time is precious.
The whole thing took less than half an hour, and he even offered to put the gas into my car. A real generous thing, as the cars and semis were flyin’ on by and I was figuring how I would go about it. When I offered him some money, he said no, he didn’t want money. I didn’t insist, but I said, “How bout you take your wife out for lunch?” And I smiled, and he smiled, and nodded, and that was that.
When it comes to livin’ in a day, I was always told to follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Thing is, when you think about it, that whole deal is a bit flawed. There’s an assumption there that people all want to be treated the same way, and that’s not the case in a world of a mazillion different amazing lives. Some people wish to remain anonymous. Some people don’t want a membership in the Cheese of the Month Club. Some people want to mow their own lawns, thank you kindly. And some people, yes, want a ride to the gas station and a ride back. Please. And some? They don’t want the money, but now that you mention it, lunch with their partner would be a fine thing.
It’s hard to get along with everyone in the world — control issues and preferences and all the extrovert/introvert and cultural and emotional and social and political and artistic stuff in the mix. Seems to me the Platinum Rule is the thing. I heard about it a while back and I like the idea. It’s the notion that you treat others as they want to be treated, not as you want to be treated. Hard to know what people want sometimes, but pay some attention, and take a bit of time. Ask what they need, even. People are complicated, but not really. Sometimes all a person wants is to be listened to for a while. And you just might be the person to do it.
I have always been a bacon fan, especially this time of year when the cravings are for salt and cream and cheese. Here are two recipes that go together just fine, and if you start cooking before the football game, you’ll have a halftime meal.
Bacon Corn Chowder
4 bacon slices
½ cup refrigerated prechopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
2 16 oz packages frozen baby gold and white corn, thawed and divided
2 cups milk, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (3 ounces) extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble and set aside. Add celery mixture and 1 package corn to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Place remaining 1 package corn and 1 cup milk in a blender, and process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to vegetables in pan; stir in remaining 1 cup milk, salt, black pepper, and cheese. Cook over medium heat (do not boil), stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Ladle chowder into bowls. Top each serving evenly with reserved crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired.
½ cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
3 T sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Combine well, and add:
8 oz sour cream
Blend together with flour mixture until just til moistened.
Fill muffin cups ⅔ full and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.
Makes 8 regular or 6 big muffins.