For the love of donuts 

I told you before that my mom worked in a donut shop when I was a kid.  I did a lot of my growing up sleeping on flour sacks in the back of the shop.  It’s one of my best childhood memories.   Owning that donut shop was what I had planned on- but it was closed down and the building has been turned into several different businesses.  Currently it is painted a putrid lime green and in the windows there are tires and shiny rims.    Still, whenever I pass this building I immediately think back to the donut shop.  I can see the “regulars,” smell the fresh coffee and taste the powdered sugar with every breath I take. Oh how I loved that donut shop.   These memories have been branded deep inside of me.  More than anything else, it’s how my momma connected to the customers.  Everyone loved her.  She had a way (still does) to make everyone feel like her best friend.   I’m pretty sure some of these customers came in just to see her; donuts and coffee were just a bonus. 

I also remember the color of the paper that lined the racks. At different times of the day the paper under the donuts would change to show they were fresh. Like in the wee hours of the morning it might have been yellow, late morning maybe pink and in the afternoon, white.  Customers knew how old the donuts were this way.  Anyway… At the end of the paper change the “old” donuts were thrown away.  My momma decided to place them in a clean garbage bag and set them outside the back door for the homeless folks.   She didn’t think I saw this, but I did. I didn’t get it all. 

Yesterday morning I had to run some errands and while making a quick stop at Walmart for a bag of catfood, Lelly called to asked me if I could get her some donuts. While I was talking to her while walking through the parking lot I noticed a homeless woman sitting with her sleeping bag up against the wall near the pop machines.  I’d seen her a few times before but like so many, I walked past. It wasn’t my problem. 

Inside Walmart I packed the 15lbs. of catfood on my hip like a lumpy toddler and the next aisle over I reached for a box of assorted donuts, tucking them between me and the catfood. Then I reached for another.   Two aisles over I grabbed a single serving bottle of whole milk and preceded to the check-out. I asked the cashier to place the milk and one box of donuts in a bag by themselves, and she did.  I took the bag to the homeless woman and when I handed to her, I saw her face for the first time.  She wasn’t what I expected.  From a distance she looked- homeless ….but when I took the time to get closer, she looked human.  I handed her the little gray plastic sack and wished her a, “Merry Christmas,” then I walked away.  The sensation that filled my chest was that of the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes. 

I debated on whether to share this story because I don’t think people should talk about what they do for others.  Truth is, I’ve always been bitter towards homeless people.  I’d turn my head and ignore them as I walked past. I mean, it’s their fault they were in the situation they were in, not mine and …come on now, they could get a job..they were choosing this lifestyle. They want handouts. Right!!???     This is what I usually think.  I’m not proud of my thought process, I’m just being honest.  Those people with signs asking for food- erk me. I’d see them in one area of town and later the same day is see them again, in another part of town.  They made me bitter because they only wanted money not work, not food.

So I bought donuts. I really don’t know why I did it but after doing so I debated whether to tell anyone about it because I didn’t want people to think that I was looking for pats on the back.  You know?  That’s not what this post is about.   This post is about doing more than handing someone a donut, it’s about serving another person.  It’s about being human in a world knee deep with shit.   This woman wasn’t panhandling; she didn’t have a sign–  for the most part she was invisible, but I saw her. I really saw her. I hope one day the homeless woman finds herself in different circumstances and I also hope that she knows that it wasn’t me serving her, it was her serving me and it all started with my love for donuts.

**thank you momma for loving people the way you do. I saw you. 

Day 68 – Sunshine and Coffee

Today’s sunshine has really been good for me.   I have been slowly dying from cabin fever.  I mean, I’ve been out and about all winter but it’s hard to find the joy in leaving the house after weeks and weeks of cold, sloppy days.    I had a second round of testing this morning for some issues I’m having with my esophagus. For the life of me I cannot swallow a piece of meat or bread without it feeling like it’s getting stuck.    Last week I had an endoscopy that showed a sliding hiatal hernia (shrugs) and the doc put me on a prescription of Prilocsec for acid reflux that I don’t feel.   Today was a barium swallow test.  If you’ve never had barium let me just say, it’s not that bad.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to pour a tall glass of it to have with my Oreo’s or anything but for a quick xray type test, it’s doable.   I’ve never had a barium swallow test before today so I didn’t really know what to expect. I did YouTube it last night and it looked easy enough – and today I found out that it was as simple as it looked on video.  Basically you sit against an xray board and the tech points the machine at the side of your body from your skull to your bellybutton.  On the screen in front of me I saw myself..  and lemme tell ya, I’m pretty cute without flesh.💀    Then the speech pathologist (SP) gave me a cup of think, berry flavored paste to swallow down in three continuous gulps.  On the screen the barium looked like three giant turds being poured down the back of my teeth and down my skeleton. (Couldn’t see anything besides my basic skeleton outline) It was pretty cool!!   Next came a bite of barium pudding that the SP fed me. That was odd. It too went down fine.  After that was a piece of wheat bread smeared with barium that the SP again, fed to me.  Two things rubbed me the wrong way at this point:
1) What if I was allergic to wheat?  No one asked me about allergies, and
2) Why did she have to feed me? Im not 6 months old and we aren’t dating. On top of that, I don’t like other people to touch my food..so.. yeah..it was a little too much “hands on” for my liking.
Anyway, following the bread was a vanilla wafer and barium. After have not eaten since dinner the night before (now 17.5 hours later) I was almost sick to my stomach.  Barium feels like a brick inside and it just sits there.  When the test was complete the SP told me that nothing was wrong with me except for acid reflux.  I looked at her and blinked a few times before insisting that I do not have acid reflux. I told her I don’t feel acid & I don’t verp acid.  She told me it was silent (well no shit sherlock) and that most people my age don’t feel it… then she asked me if I ate a lot of fatty foods. (Do I look like I eat a lot of fatty foods?) I Said no.
Do I drink a lot of alcohol? (Define a lot) I said no again.
Do I use tobacco products? No.
Do I drink caffeine? (What is wrong with this woman? Everytime I say NO she finds another thing to ask me like she’s baiting me.. I know as soon as I say YES to something she will tell me to stop doing it.)  I told her I did drink coffee off and on throughout the day and I was right- as soon as I said YES she told me to stop using it.  (Stop using it? Girl it ain’t meth, dayum!! :twisted:) 
I couldn’t wait to get out of that hospital and across the street for some real food.  I ended up with a chicken gyro. Tip o’ the day: Gyros are not drive-friendly food.   I had gyro chicken and its onion-cucumber sauce all over my leggings, my hands and seat. When I got home I smelled like a huge armpit and so did my car! Hahahaha. Gross!!!
When I got home I opened up all the windows and ripped through the house dusting and scrubbing every surface..I figured since I already smelled like an onion I might as well get the sweat out of the way too.  OCD kicked in and before I knew it, it was 3 hours later and the house was spotless.  I even managed to text with an old friend, reply to emails, post pix, add a few status updates to Facebook and replant a plant.(Apparently barium is like crack)
Just kidding. Like in said before, the sunshine has been good for me today. Much needed and now I think I’ll make some coffee and watch Survivor.
Night night.

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Day 22 – Bean Juice

As I sit here, not doing homework, or house work, or wood work.. or any other kind of work I ponder the cup of coffee next to me.  Its good but it’s not Nana’s house good.  Knowutimean?   I don’t know how my Nana does it- but every single time, she makes the perfect cup of coffee.  Seriously she does. Her coffee is so rich and delicious that I went out and bought the same kind of coffee.  My coffee didn’t taste like hers, so I then purchased the same coffee maker as my Nana’s. Still, my coffee couldn’t touch hers.  The next time I was over I told her that I couldn’t get my coffee to taste like her coffee and I didn’t know why.  So, my Nana gave me the same kind of scoop as she uses thinking maybe it was a measuring error.  I was so excited that when I returned home I immediately made a pot of coffee.  Nope. Not even close.  I mean, it was good, but not Nana’s house good.  Some time went by before I saw my Nana again.  At that time she lived an hour away, two cities over.  But the next time I saw her, we talked again about my failed attempt at her coffee. My Nana is sweet- her way to fix this problem was to have me make a pot at her house.  She coached me with every step.. the end result was rich and delicious Nana coffee.  My Nana said that perhaps it was the difference in our water.  I lived in a town that had very hard water and she didn’t. So, she suggest I buy a gallon of distilled and give it a go. That sound like a fine idea, but I secretly just hoped that I had caught her magic touch as if it were contagious.

The very next morning I got up, scooped my beans, poured in my water – everything was perfect; no way I could fail.

I was wrong and I gave up.

When I saw my Nana next, she asked about the coffee and I told her I gave up because nothing I did could duplicate her coffee.  I told her how I bought the same coffee, the same pot, used her scoop and bottled water…. and nothing worked. She laughs and says, “Well Suga (that’s what she calls me) it must be the cups!!”

I laughed too, but inside I knew why I couldn’t duplicate her coffee; I wasn’t her.   There’s just something magical about a Nana.  I know this because I’m a Nana now.  I have a beautiful 18 month old granddaughter (Rae) and a grandson still in utero (Idris) He kinda looks like an alien right now. LOL  I hope one day that one of those two will try as hard as I did to duplicate my coffee same as I did my Nana’s.

Nana’s house coffee isn’t the only coffee I love.  I love the coffee houses around here too.  They each taste different.  Not because of different bean or flavors but because of atmosphere and because of whose company I’m sharing in.  Courtney and I drink coffee that taste nutty and mild.  Gosa and I drink coffee that’s serious and bold.  My husband and I drink coffee that’s warm and relaxing.  Make sense?

My dad calls coffee, “Bean Juice.”  hahaha  He also calls eggs, “hen fruit.”  He’s a nut but hes a sweet nut.   Growing up my Nana’s coffee maker sat on her gas stove.  It was like some sort of glass percolator.  One night I was ay my dads for dinner and he was using that coffee maker to heat water for iced tea.  We had ourselves a whole conversation about that coffee maker.

That Christmas I unwrapped one. I cried.  He said he had walked into a thrift store with his wife and there it was, sitting on a top shelf, dusty.  He bought that pot for $7, and I can honestly say that I have never received a more perfect gift.
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