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Cooking With My Father

June 19, 2016 4 Comments

Richard Arden Morse snoozing

Richard Arden Morse snoozing

My dad loved to smoke food outside on his Hasty Bake. He collected his hickory wood in Arkansas and cured it by soaking it in water in small pieces. He was serious about his ribs, but smoked lots of fish too because he was a fisherman. In fact, fishing and cooking were my dad’s only hobbies until he took up hot air ballooning with my mom in his 60’s.  We lived blocks from a famous golf club, and our town was golf obsessed, but my parents did not play the game.  They were dancers.  They like to have friends over to sing at the player piano.

He did not play competitive sports except when he was on a bolas criollas (bocce) team in Venezuela for a few years.  He never went hunting, owned no guns, and had very poor eyesight. He was obsessed with catching fish. Money was no object when fishing was involved.  Deep sea, tropical jungle, or lake..it made no difference to my dad.  He did not fly fish..that was not his thing.  He flew to South America and spent tons of money to go on jungle fishing trips with his friends. I did some fishing with him in my childhood, but not very much.  I took up fishing seriously later in life with a hand line in the Bahamas.  I never liked the rod and reel system.  I did not like the complication of it.  You can feel the fish on a hand line, but your choices are fewer. His parents both liked to fish, and there are written reports I have that his mother was an expert angler in her childhood in Kansas.

My father and his father

My father and his father

Dick on a family fishing grip

Dick on a family fishing grip

What I remember doing as a team sport with my father was brunch.  We made crepes Suzettes and broiled grapefruit from his Wolf in Chef’s Clothing cookbook. We had a small kitchen so there was just enough room for the two of us to make the crepes and the set them on fire in a chafing dish.  Our regular menu had nothing so exciting as flambé food.  I used to beg for that brunch, but it only came around on very rare occasions.  The other popular dish, for which my dad got credit but was actually concocted by my mom, was home-made ice cream.  We had the only ice cream freezer in my immediate neighborhood, so this memorable dish made my back yard a very popular place to be.  My friends and I would sit on the top of the freezer when it got harder to turn the handle. This usually happened during a barbecue while he was watching the smoker.

I have some very fond memories of cooking with my dad.  His repertoire was small, but each dish was very special.  Did you cook with your father in your childhood, gentle reader?

 

Vengeance Belongs to God

November 13, 2014 4 Comments

My parents

My parents

The idea that both glory and vengeance belong only to God is an often repeated concept. In the bible this is a giant theme that runs throughout both testaments.  This is the keystone of the golden rule, “Do unto others” that we have heard so often in all religious teachings.  Repressing anger and believing God is taking care of your personal earthly pay back is not the essence of this idea.  Truly trusting that justice eventually prevails in ways we can’t imagine or fathom is a relief.  Carrying our own grudges rather than letting go and trusting that the universe will provide both punishment and reward exactly in the perfect portions is senseless.  If you step back and look at a bigger version of any drama on this earth you must notice that every action does have an equal and opposite reaction.  Some understanding is within our reach, and plenty of mystery still abounds.  We actually do not know enough to be effective in this realm.

I have been meditating on the idea that Everything that is the Father’s is mine because the Father and I are one.  This, of course is the big father, not my personal dad, Richard Arden Morse.  The meditation makes me consider that I do have traits, talents, and even possessions from my earthly father that are mine.  I have worked hard not to inherit his anger and greed.  The end of my parents’ lives would have been more peaceful and happy if my father had not considered himself to be righteously wrathful.  He was angry at entire nations and at anyone he suspected of disrespecting him (the list only grew, never diminished).  He used to sing the song “I Have a Little List” from the Mikado which makes fun of this phenomena.  By the time he was old and demented his list was so long it tortured him and everyone around him.

Now that Richard has been dead and in the ground for 10 years I am sure he is over his violent feelings.  He wants me to know that both glory and vengeance are not mine at all.  He warns me with his memory about personally taking on too much anger.  He assures me that the truth does set us free and there is no point in crying over spilled milk (this was a favorite expression of his).  If you have started a list of those you find responsible for all evil, work to eliminate those beliefs before they make you very crazy.  Also, remember, gentle readers, you are on somebody else’s list.

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