Is writing something I just squeeze into my life, using time not relegated to other tasks?
A Roly-Poly Life
by Marilyn Mackenzie
Sometimes throughout the day, a particular thought will keep invading my mind. That usually means there are more words and pictures behind that first thought just waiting to tumble forth when I finally give in and put pen to paper.
Such was a recent day. Thoughts that I'd pushed back came forth, insisting that they be placed upon the page in front of me. Only as the final touches, the final paragraphs, raced across the page, did I realize that I was writing yet another life lesson from Grandma.
Grandma has been gone now for over twenty years, and the lessons she taught me were more like forty years ago. But sometimes I have to write those lessons down, for fear they will be lost to future generations. Perhaps it’s only because I've reach the half-century mark myself that I realize what wisdom Grandma shared, even though her formal education was quite limited.
My grandmother lived with us when I was young. She taught many life lessons, probably often without realizing herself that she was teaching anything. The best lessons often came from every day experiences, from teachable moments.
Although Mom usually cooked our evening meals, Grandma was famous and loved for her baking skills. When my cousins and I get together, we fondly remember the sweet rolls that Grandma made.
Our home was "home base" for Grandma. She spent at least half the year with us. The rest of the year, she visited her other children and grandchildren. I sometimes wonder if it was being with her other family members, or the trips she made by Greyhound Bus, that she enjoyed most. She did enjoy those bus trips, and each of the bus drivers she met.
Besides those wonderful sweet rolls (which I've never mastered making), Grandma made pies and "roly-polies" with the left over pie dough.
As a young married woman, I tried making pies like Grandma and failed miserably. My spouse’s great-aunt gave me another recipe for pie crust, one using vinegar, to make a flakier crust. Still I failed. But, I excelled in making "roly-polies."
"Roly-polies" were pastries made from the extra pie dough. I loved their simplicity, as well as their flavor. The recipe was quite simple.
Roll out and flatten left over pie dough.
Dot dough with chunks of butter.
Sprinkle sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon on dough.
Roll dough into a log form, keeping the butter, sugar and cinnamon inside.
Pinch ends to keep ingredients from coming out.
Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
For years, I labored over making pies, just so I'd have left over dough to make "roly-polies." Then one day, I realized that I could make pie dough with the express purpose of making "roly-polies" without having to make pies first. What a revelation!
This occurred to me about the same time that I figured out that I could eat a piece of pie for lunch if I wanted, especially if it was a berry, apple, pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Weren't those things good for you?
A few weeks ago, I made a "roly-poly" from a fresh batch of pie dough, not just left over dough.
I thought of Grandma as I rolled out the dough, because she once told me that sometimes what appears to be just left over might make an excellent main course.
She was talking about left over food, or so I thought. But I remembered the smile on her face as she wisely proclaimed, "When you're older, you might just discover that the things that you've just squeezed into your life when there was little time left and you've been really tired, might just be the passions you've ignored."
Like my cousins, I often thought things Grandma said back then were a bit strange. Now that I'm older (and hopefully becoming wiser myself) I've noticed the wisdom in many of the things Grandma said.
I thought about those words as I rolled out the dough for my roly-polies. And I realized that writing is something I usually squeeze into my life. It’s something I do after everything else has been done for the day. And yet, writing is one of my passions. Shouldn't it have a more prominent place in my life?
As I placed the roly-polies into the oven to bake, I began to wonder. I wondered what other left overs I might have in my life that would make great main courses, what other passions I might be ignoring.