My dad gets me a subscription to Reader's Digest every Christmas. I think it's super cheap. But I don't think that's why he keeps on giving it to me year after year. I think he gifts it to me because he wants me to share in his love of reading it while on the John. I don't read it on the John. I don't read it near the John. I read it right before I turn the light off. I can't ever make it through a chapter. In a book. Those things with hard covers. Some have soft covers. Yea, can't do it. Too tired. So the articles in Reader's Digest are just right. Sometimes I just read the jokes. Sometimes I read about what my pilot won't tell me. Or what my lock smith won't tell me. Or what my mail carrier won't tell me. Or what my doctor won't tell me. I always practice the Word Power and I never read the drug advertisements. Just so you know.
And generally speaking I'm a pretty easy going gal. I rarely disagree with you or anyone. I hate confrontation and debate and disagreement. I know it's what makes up the backbone of this great nation. But I'd rather everyone just have a little hug and kiss and maybe a pat on the ass. I don't spout my beliefs here, mostly because I don't have any. I mean I do, sometimes, but it's rare. But today, right now, I'm on the attack. Because this topic is very near and dear to my heart.
In the September 2010 Reader's Digest there is an article entitled Laughterpedia- An alphabet soup of what cracks us up. So under the letter D for 'Defense' is an excerpt of something Ross McCammon wrote in Esquire magazine. Now, I don't know how the authors of the Laughterpedia thought this was funny but here is the excerpt reprinted in Reader's Digest:
"People give 100 percent real maple syrup as gifts. They take their kids to a farm to see it being collected and cooked. In the Northeast, it's extolled. Which is strange because it's not as good as Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth's, its mass-market imitators. First of all, syrup shouldn't run; it should ooze. Real maple syrup runs. The mass market stuff- the stuff you grew up on- that stuff oozes. It has viscosity. So instead of going straight into the pancakes, like water into a sponge, it maintains their integrity. And the taste: Mass-market syrup is sweet. Real maple syrup is a beguiling combination of sugar and resin. Which is authentic, sure. But bark is authentic. Is there anything else we eat that tastes vaguely of trees?"
Now, I realize that people can have their own opinions. But I'm sorry, this is one area where that's not allowed. No one is allowed to think that imitation syrup is better than real maple syrup. If you think so, then stop reading my blog. Please. You are not welcome here. I'm not accepting arguments (for the sake of argument) at this time. I don't care about your opinion if it's different than mine. I usually do, because you can usually persuade me (easily) to think what you think. But this time...NO.
So last night I was reading a more current edition of Reader's Digest and came across an article about the importance of writing an 'ethical will'. The author reminded us good readers of Professor Randy Pausch's 2007 "The Last Lecture". You should listen if you haven't already. And on a similar topic a woman named Jo Kline Cebuhar has written a book, So Grows the Tree: Creating an Ethical Will, in which she proclaims that leaving behind life lessons, wishes, and dreams may even last longer with loved ones than financial reward. Which is great because I'm pretty sure the spawn will only be receiving a forest of maple trees when Paul Bunyan and I pass on to greener pastures.
To my spawn,
So here lies my ethical will (this blog). I've been creating it. I will continue to create it. I will not stop creating it until I die and lay under the pine trees at the crest of my mountain. The topic for this entry of my ethical will (wishes, hopes, life lessons, dreams): maple syrup.
I wish that the trees in our woods will always leak their sap into buckets for your lifetime and for your children's and their children's lifetimes. They say the world is warming and that the trees won't do this forever. I hope they are wrong or that we can do something to make a change.
My wish is that you'll always remember how your father awoke from a long winter's nap with a smile on his face when the sap began to flow.
My dream is that every March you'll meet up with good friends.
And stoke a big fire with wood that you've collected and split from our forest.
My dream is that you'll never experience anything better than the sweet steam opening up the pores in your face as you stick your head over the evaporator.
And that you realize the importance of the 'ways' of sugar making.
And how they have been passed down from generations to generations.
My hope is that you'll feel the love.
And beer (well, unless you're an alcoholic...then I don't wish that on you at all).
But more importantly, I wish that you get to reap the rewards of collecting water from a tree.
And just by adding a little heat to it.
And boiling it to just the right temperature.
You'll find that with a little patience,
you'll have created the sweetest thing ever known to mankind.
Put it in your coffee, on your ice cream, in your yogurt, on your cereal, in your frosting, on your rice, in your pot roast, on your pancakes. Bring it with you when you leave the state. Pack it in flasks. Hide it in coat pockets. Swig it straight in the dark.
I imagine that I won't have to tell you all this because you'll already know it. But just in case someone tries to convince you otherwise, that some woman named Aunt Jamima might have something better to offer you, I just wanted you to know that this sweet maple stuff is in your blood and let's hope that it'll be in your children's blood too and that they have the chance to dip their dirty little fingers into the sap before it's syrup and sip the cloyingly sweet sugar straight out of the evaporator when it's done.