Lunch at the Metro Diner was abfab.
75 degrees in February.
Caribbean music at a restaurant we passed by.
A mission we passed by.
This cartoon appeared this past week in the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s daily newspaper. I laughed out loud, literally.
Disclaimer: I’m a yuge Trump supporter, so everything written here has to be viewed through that lens. The rally was held tonight at 7pm in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. I was supposed to meet author Linda Wood Rondeau and her husband Steve. In fact I never would’ve printed out a ticket if Linda hadn’t said she was going. They were scheduled to leave at 4pm. I’m new to Jacksonville and unsure of driving downtown, so I left at 3:25 and arrived just after 4pm. There was already a line and people were being admitted into the arena. Street vendors sold a variety of Trump paraphernalia. A bottle of water cost $3.00. I decided I didn’t need hydration right then.
The line moved quickly and folks were admitted right away. What totally amazed me were the number of supporters who chose to stand for the entire event just so they would be under the podium. My friends Linda and Steve hadn’t yet arrived. I suspected it would not be easy to meet up with them in that crowd, so I looked for a seat. The very best ones were already taken, but I did manager to get one with an excellent view of the podium half way up in the bleachers.
There were plenty of red “Make America Great Again” hats in evidence around the arena. The crowd was much more diverse than is reported in the media. To be sure, white working class males were in evidence. However there were also quite a number of blacks, Latinos, women, as well as teenagers and college kids. Two twenty-something guys ran around in homemade ‘Trump-capes’ like super-heroes. I found the people around me to be friendly. Active cross-conversations were taking place. Supporters not only spoke to the persons on either side of them, but leaned forward to talk to those in front of them and turned around to address those behind.After all, there would be at least two hours to fill before the opening speeches. The arena holds 16,000 and it was packed solid. My earlier suspicion was correct. I never did find Linda and Steve, though we texted each other for a while.
The opening speeches were rousing, though the crowd didn’t need much pumping up. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry didn’t run away like John Kasich did at the RNC Convention. Mayor Curry warmly welcomed and addressed the crowd. The local chair of the RNC and Sharon Day, co-chair of the national RNC spoke, the dynamic Florida senator Ted Yoho, as did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The bottom line seemed to be jobs, national security and personal safety, and the Supreme Court. There was an obvious law enforcement presence and all of the speaker lauded them, as well as giving accolades to first responders, and the military. This was always accompanied by loud cheering from the crowd…and I clapped and cheered along with everyone else.
I was a bit surprised by the pounding music which seemed to favor songs by the Rolling Stones, although there were a few arias by The Three Tenors tossed in. And odd combination to say the least, but also emotionally moving.
Finally Donald J. Trump arrived with Secret Service agents preceding and following him.
Naturally Trump spoke about building the wall and having Mexico pay for it. He decried how heroin and crime were coming across the border, saying a nation without borders is not a nation. He said jobs that had been outsourced to foreign countries would come back to the United States. That the American people would win-win-win so much, they’d get sick of winning. He instructed each supporter to not only vote on November 8th, but to bring five people to the polls with them.
When the crowd left it was dark outside and the atmosphere had changed. Protestors shouted at us, but the police had the situation under control. What shocked me was the number of vendors had astronomically increased and they were hawking tee shirts bordering on the obscene. They yelled at supporters to get our attention focused upon what was printed on the shirts. I won’t repeat any of it here, but many of the blurbs on the shirts involved Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and were graphic. I hurried to my car without incident. There were few police in the parking lot and few were needed. I got out of the lot relatively quickly…then got stuck in the traffic jam rally goers were creating.
And I kept having the sense that I’d become part of American political history. That sitting there waving my ‘Trump sign’, standing and cheering over and over, I’d become part of a phenomena that had never before occurred in American political history. A phenomena that didn’t’ pay attention to the political rules, and it felt good. Of course this phenomena occurred because the average (and that cuts across all categories of those voters, not just HS educated white males) had been lied to by their politicians for decades. Trump couldn’t do this with out us, and we couldn’t do it without his leadership. It felt real good. And I have to admit, yelling “Lock her up,” is fun.
Cooking is fun. It must be. Millions watch cooking shows with regularity. In fact more watch cooking shows than actually cook.
One of the things I loved about my childhood was sitting down at the dinner table which we did every night. I particularly loved the holiday table at my grandmother’s house. It was so comfy, Uncle John told the funniest stories, and the food was great. There’s really nothing quite as good as the aromas coming out of a kitchen when a home cooked meal is being prepared. When you’ve eaten a good home cook’s Sunday friend chicken with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, Kentucky Fried Chicken just doesn’t cut it.
I recently read that in 1900 the average American family ate only 2% of meals out of the home. By 2010 Americans ate 50% of their meals out of the home. When they were home eating “together” it was quite usual for each family member to microwave their own frozen meal. If they actually sat down at the table together with their individual nuked food, it would be for less than 20 minutes.
I cook. I love to stand in front of the stove and stir what I’ve got simmering in a pot. I love to open the oven to check on my baked chicken and revel in the garlic and onion aromas wafting over my kitchen and into the rest of the house. That’s wonderful and pleasurable to me. Sitting down at a set table and eating a well prepared, home cooked meal is pretty close to heavenly. It warms the cockles of my heart hearing: “I’ll have another helping of sweet potatoes” or “Wow, these carrots are good, can I have more?” or “pass the grated cheese.”
I could tell you studies show that kids who regularly sit down to a meal with their families are more well-adjusted than kids who don’t. I could point to research suggesting children who eat at home with their families have better grades and get into less trouble. I could ask you if you knew eating meals at home protects girls from anorexia and bulimia. But what I really want to tell you is how much fun it is to eat together. How great it is to cook together in the kitchen, and carry the platters out to the table.
Watching cooking on TV is fun. I do it all the time. But cooking at your own stove is more fun. Trust me. Shopping at the supermarket should be a wonderful sensory experience. There are red, round, ripe tomatoes waiting to be sliced and added to a sandwich. Yum. Anyone can do that. There’s a package of chop meat that would make a few hamburgers to share with family and friends and they won’t taste like the cardboard burgers you get at a fast food place. Put it on a good roll you got in the bakery section and plop one of those fresh cut tomato slices on it. Then eat! Eat! Enjoy the people at the table eating with you. After all, community starts at the dinner table.
On the first day of Spring NYC had yet another snow storm, albeit, this one a minor one, only three to four inches. But it came down steadily and it stuck. So, the Department of Sanitation had to get its trucks out sanding and salting once again. This after a series of horrendous snow storms this winder.
By morning the city had the roads cleared. They are real good at that, real good. With all the traffic on Avenue U (a busy thoroughfare), thankfully by morning the pavement was clear.
Nancy W. came to my mind today. I knew her many years ago, when I was a single working girl living in Miami. (Trust me, a looong time ago.) She was a loyal member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). She’s passed now, and I suppose I could use her last name, but I won’t.
Nancy W. was a blue blood, truly. Her ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Her family is in the social register. I went to several open AA meetings (open to non-alcoholics) with Nancy. That was in the 1970s and members came to evening meetings from work dressed in polyester pantsuits, or well worn-in dungarees, depending upon the type of job. This was south Florida, so some came in shorts, some in short-shorts. Nancy wore a pleated skirt, white or pastel blouse, and pearls.
Nancy told me about the highlight of one of her trips to Manhattan (NYC). She accompanied her chic socialite friend to an AA meeting in the East Village. Both women always sat in the front row when they’d been in boarding school, and they did so at this meeting. They didn’t want to miss anything. Her friend was decked out in a fur coat (animals lovers, please don’t judge). It was a small meeting place, and the meeting had already begun when an obviously inebriated man walked, or careened in. The only seat left was in the front row, right next to the lady in the fur coat. The speaker kept on with his story about getting sober. All of a sudden the drunk threw up on the floor smack-dab front of the podium and in close proximity to Nancy and her friend. The speaker didn’t miss a beat, kept on talking. Nancy and her friend sat there unfazed while someone rushed forward with a mop. Another member guided the drunken man to the back to feed him some strong coffee. When retelling this story, Nancy remarked, “That man is a drunk, just like me.”
Nancy was one to write down recipes. While watching a TV morning or afternoon show, if a celebrity demonstrated how to make something scrumptious, she would write the recipe down on the back of a stray envelope or a piece of scrap paper. One evening, Nancy attended an AA meeting where the now long-sober speaker had once done time in prison. He gave the recipe for jailhouse hooch and, naturally, Nancy grabbed a piece of paper out of her handbag and wrote it down. While joking one day, she showed the “recipe” to me and I wrote it down. Here it is…
Jail House Hooch a/k/a Pruno
1. Take one empty paint can, wash well. [Note: Nancy copied this recipe in the 1970s. I have on good authority that inmates use huge Ziploc baggies now.]
2. Combine in the can 10 peeled oranges and one 8 oz can of fruit cocktail (stockpiled from lunches or filched from the kitchen). Mash well. Add 16 oz of tap water, mix, and reseal can (or baggie). Wrap can in a towel and store in a warm place hidden from the guards. Let sit 48 hours.
3. Open the can (baggie). The mixture should have ballooned and there should be a smell of fermentation. That would be true in wineries, in this case it’s more like rotten fruit. Add 50 cubes of white sugar, 5 tsp (or 5 packets) of Heinz Ketchup, must be Heinz. Mix to stir ketchup through and to dissolve sugar. Put the cover back on the can and seal. Wrap it up in the towel again and store in a warm place (if you used a baggie, run it under hot water for 30 min.) and be sure to keep it away from the guards, but a place that is accessible so you can let gases out. Don’t want to be cleaning this stuff off the walls.
4. Twenty-four hours later, open can and let some fermentation gasses escape.
5. Twenty-four hours later, open can and let some fermentation gasses escape, place it near a heat source (oven or radiator) for half an hour (or run the baggie under hot water) to keep the fermentation going.
6. Twenty-four hours later, let gasses out, sit near a heat source (oven or radiator for half and hour), reseal, wrap in towel and put away again.
7. Twenty-four hours later, open can and let gasses out, sit near a heat source (oven or radiator for half and hour), reseal, wrap in towel and put away again.
8. The next day open the can, fish out the rotten fruit and the yukky mold. Strain the liquid carefully through a wire, mesh strainer. And it’s ready to drink.
Does it taste like Scotch, bourbon, Irish Whiskey, or brandy? In a word, NO! It tastes like a mixture of rot-gut and gasoline, and only gives a measly, minor buzz. It’s more sickening than inebriating, but it does, in fact, inebriate somewhat.
Here’s a spiritual thought. You might consider asking for Last Rites before drinking Jailhouse Hooch