Baking the Pillsbury Doughboy
The Little-House-On-The-Corner is quiet tonight. The Wife and TechnoBoy are at worship team practice. Now it's just me, a cup of the Elixir of Knowledge, this laptop, and the window in the Dining Room portion of the Dining/Living/Computer/Family Room.
Like I said, it's a little house.
I can see a dog from down the street, Spanky, slowly meandering past the driveway, making the rounds, checking all those things that the neighborhood dogs hike and mark. He adds his contribution to the fire hydrant in the front yard then wanders on.
That's how Spanky relates to the other dogs. And probably his humans when he finally gets home. We relate to things, right? Well, not quite the same way Spanky does. There are city ordinances that curb that kinda thing.
But isn't it weird what we relate to. What we bond to.
We see it and it's like we instantly...connect. We bond and relate to all kinds of things.
I watch the friendly exchange of Day saying hello to Evening. The Elixir of Knowledge has cooled enough to allow a healthy draught. Ohhhh, that's some good coffee...
The warm flow suddenly dislodges a memory that had be stuck between my imagination and my sweet tooth for years.
It was the memory of bonding with a childhood friend...the Pillsbury Doughboy.
At first, it was because he was on the box that had all the really good stuff in it. When I got a little older, it was because the Doughboy was white, pudgy, slow-moving and had a sense of humor. I could relate, growing up in "Husky"-cut jeans, Stride Rite shoes, and Clark Kent glasses.
I could relate to everything except that giggling thing. He seemed to like it when people poked him in the belly.
Me. Not so much.
I lost this connection with the Doughboy around the 8th Grade when a growth spurt made Dad buy two sets of school clothes in one year. That's when I found sports.
And folks stopped poking me in the belly.
That was a few years ago...and a few decades ago. I lost touch with the Doughboy. Just like we all do with Junior High BFFs until we meet them again at the 20-Year High School Reunion.
Nowadays I find myself shyly waving back whenever I see the Doughboy. On a page, the screen. I don't see him as much anymore, but when I do I say "hi". I'm connecting again. Relating again
Yeah, I'm back to white, pudgy, and slow-moving. But I've progressed a bit. Now I have round "pseudo-intellectual-John-Lennon" glasses that set the baseline for a high forehead as it slowly migrates towards the back of my shirt. It's one of those foreheads that clear-cuts hair as it goes....like a glacier scraping rock.
All of the above would provide obvious reasons for the reconnection, but another pull of the Elixir swirls to a different conclusion.
I think this time around there may actually be a deeper connection. A surprisingly deeper connection.
I, like the Pillsbury Doughboy, am not done. I am not finished. I am incomplete at this stage just like my little corporate counterpart. We need something to complete us.
We need to get baked.
Upon rereading that last statement, I think I should explain myself - especially to those of us who grew up in the 60's, are into bohemian lifestyles, and play or have played in either a rock band or professional football.
And, of course, to everyone living in Colorado.
There is that one thing in everyone's life that defines them, that defines their life up to that point. The moment that brings it all together. The experiences that make us who we are.
The Culmination. AKA...The Baking.
Grab a beverage and Imagine with me, if you will, the idea of cake batter and the "Before, During, and After" sequences as it relates to The Baking.
I've seen this concept used by a youth pastor, a camp director, and some Sunday School teachers. I've also seen it self-inflicted by kids who didn't want to wait for the cake and their mom wasn't home...and they didn't want to share with their two sisters who also were not home and....not that I would...
OK. Let's refocus. Cleansing breath. Refocus. Deep pull of the Elixir. Here we go.
Measure outnthe ingredients for a cake. Put 'em in individual piles. Taste each pile. Yeah. Not gonna win the County Fair Bake-Off.
Mix the piles together. Taste it again. Possibly better but a long way from good.
Add some water. Some milk. Crack an egg into it. Make it yucky and messy. Taste it if you want...I'm gonna pass.
Beat the stew outta it. Frappe, mon cheri, like you're on steroids.
Hmm. Tastes a lot better. Spoons, beaters, and fingers are now licked with great enthusiasm. But....
Yeah. You got it.
The cake isn't done yet. A cake isn't meant to stay as batter.
A cake is meant to be a cake. And to do that... uh huh.
It's gotta get baked.
And ovens are uncomfortable places. Ovens, crucibles, forges. They pretty much suck when it comes to comfort. But prove invaluable to The Culmination.
The Baking is that which shows me that I will never be batter again.
Another pull of the Elixir of Knowledge brings up a few instances.
Teddy Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill.
Audie Murphy's heroic stand on a burning tank destroyer.
A small shepherd boy with 5 small stones standing against a giant.
And the 3 Hebrew teens who wouldn't disrespect their God and were thrown, not into an oven, but into an incinerator.
The Baking is never comfortable but it is always necessary. It's what makes the batter turn into that thing the batter was meant to be.
Still, I'm all that fond of The Baking. It's not fun.
And it seems that change is never without pain...without struggle...and bone-bending fatigue.
The final dregs of Elixir wash up a last thought.
"All things work together for good..."
"I will never leave you or forsake you..."
"Who will not let you be tempted beyond that which you are able..."
The Baker keeps His unblinking eye on the cakes while they bake.
He loves His cakes. Very much.
Too much to let them just stay and lay around as batter.
Nope. He can't let that happen. He promised He wouldn't.
So, fellow Doughboy, if you're in the oven, like me, please know that He's keeping a watchful eye on us...and that makes The Baking an incredibly wonderful thing.