Baking and beating — what a lovely holiday
Yeah, I know that’s a bizarre blog title. Not to worry, I intend to clarify it in my usual blathering fashion.
A while back, I was talking to Mr. D about the holidays and how, when I was younger, I had a lot more spirit about them. I used to bake banana and cranberry breads and rolled-out sugar cookies for gifts, send cards, etc. Not sure where that desire went, but it’s gone, gone, gone. Mr. D said it was OK, that a lot of people feel the way I do. Then he added, “But if you should get the desire to make banana bread again, I’ll take it!”
I haven’t baked anything (aside from brownies for John) in years. I searched recipes online and found what sounded like a wonderful (and relatively simple) scratch recipe for banana bread. I checked my cupboards; yup, the old loaf pan was still in there. Of course, I had to throw out the desiccated lumps of old spices and buy new cinnamon and nutmeg, but I had flour and sugar and so forth.
Sunday night found me in the kitchen surrounded by various spilled powdery substances, mashing bananas with a potato masher and wrangling sticky batter. The bread had to bake for an hour, but I freaked out when I checked it at 45 minutes and, although the top was deep brown (bordering on burned), the center was still batter. I even tweeted about it. (What had I come to??) I ended up lowering the temp slightly and tenting some foil over the bread so it could finish baking. When it was cool, I wrapped it in foil, then tied it up with ribbon and two bows and put it in a gift bag. I felt damn proud of myself, I must say, although I was concerned that it was overbaked, or over-something.
Yesterday, Mr. D showed up, also bearing a gift bag! He knows I adore Target, so he bought me a couple of very cute tank tops plus a gift card. He was thrilled with his banana bread.
But I had another gift waiting for him.
Cut back to August, when we first played. I told him the drawer in my bedroom vanity table had implements in it, so he went rummaging in there. “Ooooh!” he said, pulling out the heart-shaped paddle ST had made for me, two Valentine’s Days ago. “No,” I said, shaking my head. That was special, between ST and me, and no one else could use that. He understood, put it back, and never picked it up again.
Yesterday before he arrived, I pulled that paddle from the back of the drawer and put it front and center, on top of the other paddles and the hairbrush. After our nice long hand warmup, I took my place over the pillows on the bed and he went to the drawer. I heard him shuffle around, then looked over as he approached the bed. He had other paddles in his hands, but not the heart-shaped one.
“You know you’re not supposed to look,” he chided. I blurted, “But you got the wrong one!” He looked confused, so I added, “I put it on top for you.”
He walked back to the drawer, looked again, and then did a double take. When he looked questioningly over at me, I just smiled. “Really?” he said. “Yes, really.”
I do believe he was speechless for a moment. “But… this means so much to you.”
“Yes, it does. ST made it for me. But he’s gone. And you’re here. It’s yours now.”
I wanted him to know that he’s not competing with a memory. I could say it again and again, but I think I showed him the best way I knew how.
(damned underwear tags!!)
I had forgotten how much that @#$%ing thing hurt! I was squiriming and cussing, and when I let out a particularly pained and stifled groan, Mr. D murmured, “It’s OK… you’re OK. I’m right here.”
“Yeah, that’s the problem!” I screeched. He laughed, and gave my right cheek a hard smack. “I’m right here, too.” Then the left one. “And here!”
After I came back down to earth, we went into the living room to dig into the banana bread and to look at some video clips he took last week. Of course, as soon as I tried to load one, my computer completely locked up and I had to shut it down. So while we waited for it to boot up again, Mr. D glanced over at the ottoman and suggested we make use of it.
This time, it was his hand and my hairbrush. And I was already so tenderized from Round One, everything stung and bit, but I bore down and absorbed it, zoning out once again.
When he thought I’d had enough, he went to get my lotion and then gave me a wonderful treat. Started with my left side, he thoroughly massaged my foot, moving up to my calf, then my thigh, and finally, a deep, strong massage on my left butt cheek. And then, all over again on the right. I was incoherent. “You stay there and rest,” he said, draping an afghan over me. Yeah, like I was going to move anywhere, at that point.
(You can see the banana bread on the table in the background. So how did it come out? I thought it was a little rubbery rather than cake-y, but it wasn’t dry and the flavor was great. He loved it, so that’s what’s most important!)
Finally, the computer cooperated and we watched his clips, plus a few of mine. We’d been talking about canes and the various types and techniques, and I showed him what I thought was an example of absolutely perfect cane stripes (yes, Beth, that would be you).
And then it was time for him to leave. He had a lot of work to do this week and needed some sleep. We agreed that next, because of Monday-Tuesday being the official holiday, we’d meet on Wednesday.
No matter that I have no plans for Monday or Tuesday. I couldn’t care less. I already had my holiday. 🙂