Friday, May 7, 2010

Appreciative, Then and Now

There are those who subscribe to the commonly held belief that cooks don't bake, and bakers don't cook. I am a believer, and in that I consider myself a decent cook, good not great, it follows then that I don't bake, or at least I shouldn't. But Monday night I was up late, buried in a lemon blueberry bundt cake, elbows deep into a cinnamon crumble coffee cake, chopping pineapple and cutting strawberries, way past my bedtime. Tuesday was the Teacher Appreciation breakfast at school, for reasons unknown I was left in charge of the bakers.

Aside from my want to someday be one of those moms who can whip up cupcakes for the entire class in minutes more than the actual required baking time, I have a genuine affection for teachers, and a need to thank them for choosing to spend their days with my children, exposing themselves to every kind of childhood illness imaginable, understanding just how precious these children are to the parents who dropped them off that morning. Two little girls who like school more each day than they did the day before, their teacher has provided them with a wonderful place to learn and grow, and I believe, without a doubt, the kind of beginning to education necessary to foster lifelong learners. For that I am forever grateful.

Mrs. Unruh scratched on almost every paper I handed in "write more! write more!". She kept me after school, as I remember, every day for talking out of turn; she was challenging, tall, and sometimes scary, and she encouraged me to do what I loved. Mrs. Grow, tired of hearing me yell out "gadzooks" every time I needed an expletive, suggested I create a dictionary of my own words. Mrs. Willingham, in all her sing song glory, taught me to recite poetry and to remember to always send a written note. And Mrs. Chamberlin patiently showed me book after book, imploring me to explore behind the cover, to read things on the other side of the library, and to discover characters beyond Ramona, Encyclopedia Brown and Henry Huggins. Maybe the best way to thank the teachers is to remember them, even when you are old, and to know just how greatly they impacted the person you became.

The lemon bundt cake was beautiful, perfectly shaped and covered in a pretty yellow glaze. The crumb cake was brown, spotty, lumpy and reminiscent of what I assume an underground sewer eruption might look like, at the street level. Confidently I sliced a piece of the lovely bundt, it was gooey, a beautiful yellow mess, a molten like somewhat raw cake, probably not edible, at least not safely. The hideous eruption was wonderful, moist and unsightly, tasty and not full of food borne illnesses. But of course I knew, as Mrs. Chamberlin taught me, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

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