¿ A MACHO, O MàS MACHO ?
Felizmente, este cuento no esta en español.
About a week ago, Jan. 14, I was faced with yet another major life decision. There was what many would call a “macho” activity I had been planning to do, and another totally different activity, which, in an esoteric and metaphysical sense, could be even more “macho.”
Now, we all know what the term “macho” connotates, verdad? Yeah, something physical, challenging, swagger involved, possibly a little brutal. Yeah …
My decision was to decide between going to play goalie in an outdoor ice-hockey game with temperatures near zero (f), or to bake bread. Like I said: two different activities, each as potentially dangerous and adventurous as the other.
And yes, of course, I spent some time considering doing neither.
Betty was away from home (imagine, missing out on our area’s near-record cold snap to hang out in Tampa Florida!) for several days. One of my instructions was to maintain the “Amish Friendship Bread” concoction which requires daily manipulation. She inherited her batch of this never-ending foodstuff from our brother-in-law last May.
The fermenting mass should be “burped” daily, have inert ingredients added to the seething ongoing batch periodically, and most of the dough baked into two loaves every ten days. However, prior to baking, ONE CUP of the doughy mix has to be set aside for future use, the container labeled with the new start date, kept in a dark place, and continue to adhere to the maintenance instructions. Betty had been baking the two loaves every ten days — and the resultant product was more like cake than bread, and, borderline addictive.
She asked me to continue keeping the mix alive. Skip the baking part — she knew I couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to manage. Just continue with the “starter” batch so she could resume this long-running baking tradition when she returned.
As stated earlier, our area had been in an unusual deep-freeze for a few weeks now. The Grand Valley of west Colorawdough is usually the “banana belt” of the state — which SUCKS in the summer but is usually real nice the rest of the year. Now, the temps haven’t been as cold as the REAL ice-boxes in the state — you may have noted that the nation’s “lower 48” cold spot is often one of a few towns in Colorado: Alamosa, Gunnison, Kremmling, Fraser, to name a few. But, locally, it has been almost as cold. All of 2013 so far, has seen overnight lows no higher than 2 or so degrees (f).
These temps are good for the local outdoor temporary ice rink, but sometimes not so comfortable for the people out on the ice. The night before my “major life decision” I played hockey. Those of us in the “adult league” are relegated to the not-so-optimal time slots, as, rightfully so, the kid’s leagues and learn-to-skate sessions should have the earlier times. It was about ten degrees when we played. Sure, almost everyone was a little bit cold, but with only one or two substitutes per team, we all stayed pretty warm.
It was fun, as usual. One of the goalies asked if I could play at that position the following night. “Yeah” I said, “I’ll try to make it.” I don’t play goalie much, but do hope each season to have a few opportunities.
I went to work, and driving home heard the weather report on the radio. It was supposed to be TEN or more DEGREES COLDER the coming night and I made the (sensible? rational? snap!) decision to skip the game. Arriving home, I remembered Betty’s instructions to dump most the bread mix, saving the requisite one cup for future baking episodes. And so, I considered. I had decided to “chicken out” at one adventurous potentially dangerous activity … why not do something completely different?
I hadn’t baked anything like bread or cakes for many years. I think the last time was probably “pre-Betty” … but at the latest, not after having been together a year or two, at most. Over 35 years.
I’ll skip the details. Instruxions available upon request — but YOU NEED the “starter” dough!
I ate some. I didn’t die. I ate some more the next day. Betty ate quite a lot after returning. I was pleasantly surprized. I did NOT expect to have any success at all at this.
As I finish this exciting chronicle of the life of one who has gone to the doorway of despair, passed through, and continues, here are some pixures of
The Newsletter (for the run club I assemble each month)
a wintry view from a parcel of land we own
and more cats