Good Words

Made some oatmeal pumpkin pancakes Saturday and they were not bad. “Es ist lecker!” (which means “This is yummy!”), Mr. S proclaimed. He’s been learning German through an online program and walks around talking to me in German. Most of the words I figure out through his expression and gestures, but now and then I have to ask, “What does that mean?” And he answers, and I remember, and recognize it next time he says it. It would appear I’m learning German too, vicariously, and why not. I love words.

And I love learning new words, the words people use which I don’t recognize, words whose meanings are a bit cloudy to me. Or were once. “Credulity.” “Deliquesce.” “Demagogue.” “Parapluie.” “Serendipitous.” I enjoy unexpected words, too, like when I open a chocolate and the wrapper reads, “Go out dancing!” or “The time is now.” This morning my honey-lemon cough drop wrapper was printed with the words, “March on!” and “You can do it!” right there, in red. And when I lifted up the foil on my cup of yogurt? “Every day is a fresh start.” Good words. All of them.

See, I don’t take words for granted. They are the manifestations of our thoughts. Words carry weight and power and import; once uttered, they are there forever. They lift, haunt, tease, praise. They clamor. They subdue, enervate and sooth. Delight and taunt and inspire. The words we hear and speak and read are how we find each other, how we know we’re not alone. So give a book to a child, write a letter, make a phone call, give a speech, write a book, even. Write several books. Or write a message on a mirror like Mr. S often does, and when the bath is hot enough they’ll appear: “I love you more than apple pie.”

Share all the words you can, but choose them well. We’ll remember them along the way, and they just may help us find our way. One good thought at a time.

So I’m on a roll, a pumpkin kick, and I’m indulging every chance I get. Breakfast is a challenge, though, and at last a recipe that makes it happen. Pumpkin for breakfast. Mercy.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats (old fashioned)
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch salt
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 T oil
¾ cup milk

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, adding a bit of oil. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, baking power, spices and sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. When the pan is hot enough, spoon some of the batter onto the frying pan and spread it slightly into a circle. When the pancakes are set on top, flip and fry for a couple of minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Serve hot with maple syrup and a sprinkling of chopped toasted pecans.



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