Well friends, here is the wisdom of the century and the secret of the battle of the sexes...
Well friends, here is the wisdom of the century and the secret of the battle of the sexes...
If I ever do get my video thing going, I think, in memory of Gene Kelly and that mouse - and this fellow dancing all over the world (literally!) - I will get some people dancing.
Folks have felt that Bourlands were a bit weird for quite some time. This is true. Even my sister, Ardis, shares this quality. She sent me the following masterpiece of fine literature and I found myself in full accord with its teaching and its spirit.
Nobody knows. Some folks believe grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by midgets by shaking the bushes after spreading sheets around them. Many people feel that grits are made from ground up bits of white corn.
These are obviously lies spread by Communists and terrorists. Nothing as good as Grits can be made from corn. The most recent research suggests that the mysterious Manna that God rained down upon the Israelites during their time in the Sinai Desert was most likely Grits. Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt, and red eye gravy raining down from the sky, and that God would not punish his people by forcing them to eat Grits without these key ingredients.
How Grits are Formed.
Grits are formed deep underground under intense heat and pressure. It takes over 1000 years to form a single Grit. Most of the world's grit mines are in South Carolina, and are guarded day and night by armed guards and pit bull dogs. Harvesting the Grit is a dangerous occupation, and many Grit miners lose their lives each year so that Grits can continue to be served morning after morning for breakfast (not that having Grits for lunch and dinner is out of the question)..
Yankees have attempted to create synthetic Grits. They call it Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell, the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer's Glue and shredded styrofoam. These synthetic grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and may leave you unable to have children.
As we mentioned earlier, the first known mention of Grits was by the Ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert. After that, Grits were not heard from for another 1000 years. Experts feel that Grits were used during this time only during secret religious ceremonies, and were kept from the public due to their rarity.
The next mention of Grits was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman's personal diary. The woman's name was Herculaneum Jemimaneus (Aunt Jemima to her friends.)
The 10 Commandments of Grits
I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits
II. Thou shalt not eat thy Grits with a spoon or knife
III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits, for this is blasphemy .
IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Grits.
V. Thou shalt use only salt, butter, and red-eye gravy as toppings for thy Grits.
VI Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits.
VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy Grits.
VIII. Thou shalt not put margarine on thy Grits.
IX. Thou shalt not eat toast with thy Grits, only biscuits made from scratch.
X. Thou shalt eat grits on the Sabbath for this is manna from heaven.
How to Cook Grits
For one serving of Grits:
Boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter. [Use milk and they are creamier!)
Add 5 TBsp of Grits.
Reduce to a simmer and allow the Grits to soak up all the water.
When a pencil stuck into the grits stands alone, it is done. That's all there is to cooking grits.
How to make red eye gravy
Fry salt cured country ham in cast iron pan. Remove the ham when done and add coffee to the gravy and simmer for several minutes. Great on grits and biscuits.
How to Eat Grits
Immediately after removing your grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter or red eye gravy. (WARNING: Do NOT use low-fat butter.) The butter should cause the Grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. (Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your Grits; if the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter.)
In lieu of butter, pour a generous helping of red eye gravy on your grits. Be sure to pour enough to have some left for sopping up with your biscuits. Never, ever substitute canned or store bought biscuits for the real thing because they caused cancer, rotten teeth and impotence.
Next, add salt. (NOTICE: The correct ration of Grit to Salt is 10:1 Therefore for every 10 grits, you should have 1 grain of salt.)
Now begin eating your grits. Always use a fork, never a spoon, to eat Grits. Your grits should be thick enough so they do not run through the tines of the fork.
The correct beverage to serve with Grits is black coffee. (DO NOT use cream or, heaven forbid, Skim Milk.)
Your grits should never be eaten in a bowl because Yankees will think its Cream of Wheat.
Ways to Eat Leftover Grits:
(Leftover grits are extremely rare)
Spread them in the bottom of a casserole dish,
Cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight.
The Grits will congeal into a gelatinous mass.
Next morning, slice the Grits into squares and fry them in 1/2" of cooking oil and butter until they turn a golden brown.
Many people are tempted to pour syrup onto Grits served this way. This is, of course, unacceptable.
IRISH BLESSING BEFORE EATING GRITS
May the lord bless these grits,
May no Yankee ever get the recipe,
May I eat grits every day while living,
And may I die while eating grits.
I'm not sure why people ask me about the secrets of happy retirement. Probably because of my former occupation which supposedly qualifies me as a bona fide "wise man", though, if truth be known, I don't know much more than the next guy.
Anyway, I usually give the classic new age reply; "follow your bliss" - but with slightly different wording. Many of my former parishioners advised me during my final year of work, "learn to say "no", then say it. Very good. Very wise. But not always that easy to pull off.
But those are the two principles I have followed in the "golden years". Bliss and thoughtful discipline.
As far as the bliss part is concerned, I have been blessed with several passions that consume my waking moments. Home and family come first, and easily so. Church, of course, remains vital, though I find it easier now to pick and choose when and how I participate. Very nice!
Writing, making pots, cooking good stuff, reading, photography and exercise are consuming passions that jostle each other for a portion of my soul and daily schedule. Not a single one of them fails to create excitement and fascination. They do have to take turns. I'm a bit like a hungry mule standing in a barn between several bales of hay. My chief problem is which bale to nibble on.
As far as the saying "no" is concerned; this is complex. I've never known an activity or a passion yet that didn't want or sometimes demand your whole loyalty. Communities are notorious for claiming to be "family" and setting forth agendas that subtly require one's presence and loyalty. The key guilt producing phrase is "I haven't seen you lately!"
Then, aging itself builds certain demands into one's life. Doctors appointments, forms to be filled out, strategies to be revisited, contacts to be made. Examinations and treatments, of course. Getting old isn't for sissies and one must keep those demands in some kind of balance as well. A huge percentage of one's time can be spent on the whole matter of getting old!
Balancing the positives and negatives. Keeping a sweet spirit while coping with the reality of life's negatives. Living with other people's expectations without losing one's soul. Being able to converse with people without fixating on one's health problems. Staying out of arguments about politics, even when you have strong political leanings. These are just a few of the elder's challenges.
Then, sometimes we just get tired.
Oddly, I've found these days to be the happiest of my lifetime. Appreciating the past, enjoying the present and joyfully anticipating what comes next, whatever that may be - that's the best I can do with the aging riddle.
Tony always makes one think.
Maybe it's just cranky old me.
But something funny happened yesterday. We go to this monthly get-together that keeps the residents of our community informed on what's going on behind the scenes. It isn't exactly the high point of the month for me, but I go because I don't want to miss anything.
Yesterday everybody seemed upbeat and positive. The atmosphere was relaxed; fun. Folks were hanging around the refreshment table - even going back for seconds. I did too. Lots of laughter. Then I realized what had happened. Someone on the staff had stopped by Dunkin' Doughnuts and loaded up with freshly cooked donuts. Then on to a New York bagel shop for freshly cooked bagels. The atmosphere and the food were electric!
The breakfast goodies generally consist of somewhat stale rolls from the day before - still cool from the night in the frig. I'd never given it much thought. Isn't that what happens? Besides, it gave me an excuse for not eating anything on top of our own breakfast of a few hours before.
It also started the meeting on the wrong foot.
But that's the way it is and isn't the type of thing that folks talk about. Who wants to be a grouch?
There's a lesson here. For businesses, churches, clubs, etc. - any organization that starts things off with refreshments in the morning. There are few things as soul-satisfying as fresh, delicious, thoughtfully served donuts and coffee. It says to people in delightful terms, "you matter - and what we're doing here this morning matters!" Something like that may involve more effort, more thought, but it is a special gift to those fortunate enough to be there and it pays off in unexpected ways. This is second mile stuff.
I look forward to next month's meeting. Yes. I said that. I did. And I do.