The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

May 8, 2012

A Golden Afternoon

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Imagine plump blackberries as big as the end of your thumb, their natural sweetness and flavor oozing forth with an unsurpassed richness, and the sensational aroma causes your mouth to water with anticipation.  This was what I remembered one golden afternoon at age eight.  My dad had come home from work and we went outside to play around for awhile.  In the lane just behind our house dad noticed some blackberry bushes loaded down with huge berries.

He turned and kneeled down to me, “Hey, want to make a blackberry pie?  I bet we can make the best pie ever!  What do you think?”

Of course, I was ready to just eat those blackberries right then and there, forget the pie man!  However, I wanted to help dad and be close to him more than I wanted to eat those berries so we began to pick them for the pie. By the time we picked all those blackberries I was sick with hunger.   They were so plump, wonderful, and tempting as we cleaned them carefully with running cold water.

A few times I would surreptitiously pluck one in my mouth thinking I had fooled dad. But to my amazement he had done the same thing!

In the kitchen we prepared the dough, working with our hands, rolling it out on baking sheets sprinkled with flour. Next we carefully formed the dough around the pie pan.  We then prepared the blackberries with a mixture of sugar and other ingredients I cannot (won’t) name and threw that mix in the pan. Finally, we used the remaining dough for a topping then using a fork we made two imprints in the middle so that the pie could breath.

Dad placed the pie in the preheated oven and we waited.

I never knew baking could be such torture.  The wait was excruciating!  Once the aroma filled our little home (no air-condition until I was thirteen years old) I was besieged with pangs of hunger.  I had to leave the house and climb my favorite tree just to get some relief.  Finally dad announced that the pie was done but that another fifteen minutes of cool down time was necessary.

Oh the bitter agony.  What abuse!

Then the moment of truth arrived.  Dad had remodeled a round wooden pedestal table and that was where we sat to eat our blackberry pie.  He placed a piece of the pie for me and one for him.  Then we gave thanks.  Thank goodness his prayer was short and sweet.  I don’t think I could have resisted the aroma any longer. Oh, the blackberry pie was magical, heavenly, and unbelievably good.

It was in every way a masterpiece.

My dad had bet that we could make the best pie ever but what we experienced in the process went far beyond the makings of an awesome dessert. Here we were as father and son offering up a sacrifice of sorts- a sacrifice of time, of togetherness, of tenderness, and of love.  The aroma of this sacrifice reached well beyond the natural senses and to the very depth of our souls.  The bond of love between us was strengthened. By faith I believe that this unique connection was orchestrated by God. A golden afternoon with enormous eternal consequences and one forever treasured in my heart.

Always value the time spent with your loved one.  It is never too late. A golden afternoon awaits you today.

Yours, Bruce

May 1, 2012

Pot Pie

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 4:40 pm
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I was about ten years old when my dad taught me how to cook and fend for myself during the summer days I was out of school. He had been raising me on his own for several years by that time. I learned how to cook spaghetti and ravioli real well.

Special thanks to Chef Boyardee.

I also learned how to fry eggs and bacon. Sometimes I liked to fry some ham and make a ham sandwich with mustard on toast. Dad was superb at cooking a roast but that was way too complicated for me at the time. For some reason dad went hog wild over those pre-fabricated pot pies. Two to three times a week he threw them in the oven. I despised those things. They were weird tasting plus I believed something lived in them that was nasty and mean. A pot pie night was the worse. The vision I had during those nights was chunking the pot pie in the air and blasting it to bits with dad’s shotgun.

Boom!

The annihilation of all pot pies had begun. I could even visualize the robot from Lost in Space wiggling his tiny mechanical arms in panic shouting, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!” To this day I simply cannot bring myself to eat a pot pie. Something comes over me.

A pot pie in and of itself is an innocent creation. There was no hidden agenda behind the designers. This wasn’t a cruel joke perpetrated by goblins. This wasn’t cooked up by a secret Government organization deep in the mountains of Colorado to turn people into zombies. This wasn’t the recipe of a legion of grinning demons. The real fact is a pot pie was brought together with the best intentions and nobility of human ingenuity. Yet, for me, even the best intentions are sometimes ill advised and untimely.

The scriptures say that everything God created was good. This is true until man decides to tinker with it. There are a few of God’s marvelous creation in the world of cooking that mankind has simply fouled up. Take liver for instance. Who was the first deranged person to decide to thrust that foul meat on a grill or on a frying pan? My poor dear stepmom was determined to teach me to eat that fiendish organ. She failed miserably. Who was the mad genius to decide that chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts and cappuccino would be a delightful desert? It tastes like turpentine for goodness sake!

Here’s the thing. No matter how much I distaste these foods I should always be thankful. Someone out there loves the very foods I despise.

We live in this fantastic world where God had granted us the privilege to develop and eat foods in a variety of ways. We all may have different tastes but all of us are blessed. Listen, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17)

Amen!

Are you thankful? Do you praise God only when your belly is filled? Does food control you? “For God’s kingdom does not consist of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit.” (Ro.14:17). Only when you taste the Bread of Life (Jesus Christ) from above will you ever be truly satisfied and have the endurance to run the race to the end. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:27).

Yours, Bruce

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