My father was always behind the wheel. Strapped into life jackets, my brothers and I always stood at the bow of the boat and clutched the railing as we made our way out to that day’s fishing spot. We used to scream at the top of our lungs when the boat would hit a large wave and spray salty water in our faces. Standing on the bow of the boat was a fishing trip tradition as much as munching on Lance cheddar cheese crackers, my brothers getting sea-sick, the frequent applications of sunscreen, and the inevitable pulling up of a Key West Grunt. A successful fishing trip meant that all of these things occurred. A truly exceptional fishing trip meant that we actually caught a large grouper, a beautiful red snapper, or a shiny Spanish mackerel.
While I no longer stand at the bow of the boat (the railing that I used to clutch only comes up to my knees now), I still sit at the front of the boat when my father and I go fishing. The unobstructed view, the rhythmic thud of the boat as it rises and falls, and the occasional spray of salty water makes it my preferred spot for the ride out to deepwater. I took up my perch this Father’s Day when I was lucky enough to get away to Florida for a couple of days and go on a fishing trip with my Dad.
It happens every time. After frying a batch of okra, I promptly burn the roof of my mouth. I can’t help it. Fried okra is irresistible; confronted with it still glistening with oil on a paper towel I lose all self-control. Despite being too hot to touch let alone eat, I pop them, one after another, into my mouth.
When I go to the farmer’s market, I have to hold myself back when I see plump green okra that would be perfect for pickling or strawberries that would make the most delicious jam. I love the idea of putting up food and the sustainability and resourcefulness that the practice implies. But the key phrase here is “love the idea.” For all my good intentions, when it actually comes time to can anything my motivation goes out the window.
While I’d like to believe that my life can go on without access to the internet, I’m afraid it just ain’t so. My computer crashed last week and I’ve been in a tailspin ever since. In between trips to the Apple store (yes, I’m getting a new toy!), hour-long laments to my husband about the seriousness of the situation (sorry, North), and phone calls with service departments, I’ve thrown myself some serious pity parties. Fortunately, in what is proof that every cloud has a silver lining, I happened to have brownies on hand to get me through this crisis.
Adding just one more reason to the list of why the internet makes for happy living, North’s aunt sent me a recipe for brownies last week. I’ve known about these brownies for a while. My husband, whose sweet tooth is almost non-existent, gets a little teary in the eyes and drools a little at the mouth when he talks about them. His grandmother made these brownies for him growing up and he talks about how his parents never allowed him to eat more than two at a time.