Saturday, September 10, 2011

Massive mass

Ten years ago, after suffering like the rest of Americans with the horrific images and realities of the attack on 9/11, I couldn't take it anymore. My nerves were raw; I was on the verge of tears for two weeks. I was tired of crying.

I sent this to an editor:

I have shed so many tears and suffered so much sorrow. Like most Americans I am looking for a reason to smile or laugh. If you think my experience would help lift someone's mood, you have my permission to print. It went to print in the next issue, and I think I received $35. Tomorrow, I will tell you where I was and what I did on 9/11.

Baking Bread in Alaska… published Suburban Journal, 9/01

In the fall of 1969 I was a military wife living in a remote Alaska town trying to survive on a shoestring budget. A loaf of bread cost $1.50, while in the lower 48 you could buy four loaves of white bread for a buck.

One day my next door neighbor, Sheila, and I pooled our pennies and walked to the general store in town to purchase a double packet of dry yeast. She wanted to show me how to make homemade bread. We combined the contents of our nearly empty flour canisters and doubled the yeast so we would have a loaf for her and loaf for me. We took turns kneading the mass of dough. We watched it rise and then we pounded it a second time. We covered it with a moist towel to rise again, and then we trekked single file down a footpath through the woods to visit other army wives.

Three hours later we remembered our bread dough. We hurried home, confident that there was still enough time to divide that mass of dough, pop it into the oven and surprise our husbands. The surprise was on us. We darted into the tiny trailer kitchen and gasped in disbelief at that massive dough. It had swollen to incredible proportion, crept out of the bowl, onto Sheila's table and was slinking toward the edge. Speechless, we looked at one another in disbelief, then back at the sticky blob covered with ducky diaper pins, the empty yeast packet, two pennies, one nickel, two copper bobby pins to match my friend’s hair, the contents of an ashtray and three, red Yahtzee die. We laughed uncontrollably.

We gave the blob a fitting burial in the bottom of the community trash barrel. There was no trash removal and residents burned trash on the weekend. Sheila and I worried for days that the massive dough would rise to great heights when the landlord tossed the match.

Homemade bread? No thank you, unless you're baking.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--This was too funny.

It reminded me of something that would have happened to Lucille Ball...Then I remembered in the late 70's when I did "Friendship Bread," with a starter that had to be constantly "fed" as well as used. Some "friend" it was. That yeasty nemesis had evil intentions, and finally I had to starve it to death.

In the last 5 years or so, I had another "starter" going, this time for heavenly yeast rolls. It also got out of control, and even lived in the refrigerator despite being forced to become anorexic, and then survived being in the freezer for a while. I kept checking it for signs of life, and a few bubbles would pop up--cruel proof of life.

THEN I thought of that "King's Bread" during Mardi Gras, where you are lucky if you find the "baby." You two should have baked that up, complete with the additional "treats." If it the ashtray and not merely the contents, I would declare the winner the person who found the ashtray in the bread. But since it was just the butts/ashes, perhaps the winner would be the one who found the ducky diaper pins?

Southhamsdarling said...

So funny Linda. Good to have something to smile about amidst all the unhappiness around us. Hope you're enjoying your weekend my friend.

Tammy said...

I too thought of Lucy and Ethel! I enjoyed the laugh...then a second at Sioux's comments.

Chatty Crone said...