In the early Spring of this year, I dug small holes in the earth, along an ugly chain link fence. Into each small hole, I carefully placed a seedling that I had nurtured indoors. Then, the dogs and I stood there, dreaming of a fence of magnificent sky-blue morning glories. Well, I really don't know what dogs dream of, but I felt wonderful that morning. I felt as if I had just conceived and knew that, in a few short weeks, my babies would poke their tiny green heads above the soil and burst into glorious flowers. I would see them each morning from my bed. But no detail ever escapes Tall Husband's notice, so I told him I had planted flowers along the fence, lest he mistook them for weeds. Then I very carefully told him not to tell our lawn man to pull anything from around the fence.
Tall husband* must have only heard the word, "pull," as he later gave instructions for the lawn man...one could not call him a gardener...to "pull out all the thorny vines that grow along the fence." Later that evening, I got the bad news, "You may not have any morning glories growing along the fence." His defense was that Juan* does not speak English well.
Have you ever been so angry that you were afraid to let that anger loose in the world? Yes? Then you know why I only shrugged and walked into the next room.
The other morning, I was standing on the second-floor, screened porch of the guest house, watching the morning sun come up. Then I saw it. At the very top of a bare tree, gently dancing in the breeze, was a lone morning glory. It was as though that little seedling had known to climb a tree to get out of harm's way.
Since that first sighting, the other flowers have become brave enough to come down from the tree and grow along the fence. So, each morning I open my bedroom blinds to take in the heavenly blue of those beautiful survivors.
Tall Husband was walking Scooter and Skipper this morning when he spotted a scrap of old newspaper dancing in the breeze. The headline piqued his interest...something about Roosevelt and Hitler. He brought his find back to the Bungalow. We were amazed to see the date on the reverse of the front page, Thursday, August 14, 1941! Just goes to show us that we cannot escape history and that there is always peril in the world. Also, I am reminded that a people must be intelligent enough to learn from history. And as Roosevelt said,
Mother Nature, did you think it cute to give me those little blond hairs on my elbows? Oh ya, I spotted them in the mirror the other day when I was brushing my teeth. I also noticed the peach fuzz on my cheeks and chin...not glamorous at all. And I always wanted big boobs, but at my age? Where were those girls when I could have used them at twenty? You were so kind to my face in my youth. Never did you let a pimple near my lovely complexion. But now...did you think they would distract from those wrinkles which you so deftly left with me when I wasn't paying attention? I have noticed more and could go on, but I think you sense my displeasure with your handiwork. When I asked that I always look like a Georgia Peach, I think you did not understand...or perhaps you have a wicked sense of humor. Well, I am not laughing, Big Mama.
Armed with a favorite recipe for Anise Seed Pound Cake, a new bunt pan and Spanish anise seeds found this morning at a local spice shop, the guys and I whip up a delicious cake.
The fragrance brings back a Sunday, long ago in the medieval Spanish village of Chinchón...sipping strong coffee and eating local, hot anise bread with Tall Husband. I breathe in the pungent anise and I hear a passionate flamenco played on Spanish guitars in the distance.
Skipper (left) and Scooter
And the aroma of warm cake has the Guys dancing too.
Anise Seed Pound Cake
1 cup unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons anise seed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bunt pan with a cooking spray that contains flour. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and add sugar. Beat for 10 minutes at high speed. The mixture will be light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in flour and salt, do not over mix. Stir in anise seed until evenly distributed through the batter. Spoon batter into the bunt pan and tap pan on counter a couple of times. Bake for about 45 minutes, testing with a toothpick to determine when the cake is done. Cool in the pan before removing to a cake plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Eat your cake with your favorite person and/or dog(s). Can you hear the Flamenco guitars yet?
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