The Norman Transcript

December 13, 2013

A short winter tale


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Since the weather outside was frightful and certainly not delightful, the weather gods laughed and roared singing: “Let it sleet. Let it ice. Let it blow.”

Driving on ice is so different from driving on snow. If the snow is deep, you throw on the snow tires or the chains and off you go. On the plus side, the snow covers all sins and flaws. The world is reborn in a pristine blanket of white. On the other hand, ice is ugly, sneaky and hazardous to your and your vehicle’s health.

Not very nice of those pesky deities to act out, but we are powerless to stop them when they are bent on atmospheric mischief. As a matter of fact, all you can you do is hope the power does not fail, plunging you into darkness and cold.

Aside from limiting power usage and praying the power gods do not decide to join the general chaos as well, action is required to stay semi sane. After a couple of days of reading until your eyeballs bleed, you have to find something else to hold the looming cabin fever at bay.

Let’s bake!

Granted baking is using precious power, but the temptation to do something fun is too great. Besides with Christmas just around the corner, baking yummy, girth-expanding goodies is a must. With the prospect of filling the house with mouthwatering aromas, you assemble the ingredients and the necessary baking paraphernalia.

In our family, there are certain traditional pastries and favorites that must be baked for Christmas. Otherwise there will be chaos in the family as everyone bemoans the expected missing goodies which are guaranteed to send one to that special place after the holidays are past — Butt Dimple Hell.

Dios kalács, a divine Hungarian pastry roll filled with a splash of rum, ground nuts and other goodies, is the expected goody in our family. Growing up, we watched mother make the time consuming preparations before the actual assembly and baking took place. It was difficult for her to roll out the dough into a translucent sheet because only her right arm was fully functional.

When she was a toddler, mother contracted polio in her left arm and right leg. It brought tears to our eyes to hear her tell about the medieval contraptions strapped on her leg and arm which doctors used to “heal” or at least attempt to heal children afflicted with polio. She said she always cried when it was time to put on the braces because it was painful. Eventually, her leg was fine, but her left arm was another matter. Although her arm remained paralyzed her hand functioned perfectly. We loved her little hand because she could not spank us with it.

Somewhere along the way the tradition altered and I became the baker of the Dios kalács. I still recall how proud I felt the day she deemed my Dios kalács perfect.

In keeping with the tradition, I assembled the necessary items. Then I climbed on a stool and rolled out the dough. Why do I need a stool? Well, it is important to be above the counter to apply enough pressure to roll out the dough to the desired translucency. As it happens, I’m lucky my chin is a few inches above the counter.

There is no denying that I am short. My grandchildren eagerly compare their height to mine. One is already taller and the other will probably be taller by Christmas. Tall people reach out to pat me on the head until they catch my eye and think better of it.

Do not feel sorry for me because I’m used to this lack of height thing. Just remember: good things come in small, sassy packages.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels The Dionysus Connection & The Marathon Man are available on amazon.com. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.

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