Custard Pie

Custard pie: (n) a pie made with custard

Some time ago, back when the only thing open in the middle of the night on a freeway was a truck stop, I was traveling—so sleepy that I decided I should stop at one of these establishments with my friends and get something to eat.

We were in the middle of Dixie.

Apparently had not received the notification that the Civil War had ended—because when we walked in with our long hair—a bit grimy and road-weary—the whole place fell silent.

Just in case you do not understand my meaning, this profile was not selected out of respect, but rather, to communicate shock at seeing “a bunch of hippies,” as they would have called us, stroll into the restaurant.

When I have encountered this kind of prejudice, I’ve always found that the best choice is to stay positive, don’t frown back at them, and keep your conversation within your group. Pretty soon, everybody is eager to get back to their own grits and corn beef hash.

This night was no different.

Except all I really wanted to have was just a piece of pie.

When I think of pie, I have visions of blueberry, cherry, maybe apple—but none of these were available because it was the middle of the night at a truck stop, when most people have turned off all their pie-eating instincts.

The waitress explained that all they had left was “custard pie,” which she said remained because “nobody ever orders it.”

I did. I wanted a piece of pie.

It came, and it was a rather feckless confection—a creamy, white color with just a bit of cinnamon dancing on the top.

I ate it and I loved it.

I treasured it so much that for the next several weeks, I ordered custard pie everywhere I went.

I bought one at a store. It was delicious. Some of these pies were not as good as others, but such is the travail of life. But overall, they had that gentle custard taste, with a hint of vanilla and great sweetness.

I was so enamored with custard pie, I decided to study up on how to make one for myself. I got all the ingredients, put them together, did everything according to the recipe, and ended up with a pie pan that never became solid. It still tasted all right, but it was runny.

I was so disappointed.

I never made nor did I really ever eat custard pie again.

Perhaps that’s a formula for life I should consider.

If I have a vice or if I know of a vice, if I try to do it myself and end up doing it poorly, maybe it will cure me of desiring the vice.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crunchy

Crunchy: (adj) crisp or brittle.

Here I go again, bathing in the acid of honesty.

I don’t know why I do this. I could lie to you. You’d never know. It isn’t like you’re trying to vet me for government service.

I could deceive you like crazy.

But for some reason, I’ve settled in on this “schtick” of candor.

Truthfulness.

Honest, even if it makes me look a little dumb. Because I will tell you right now, looking a little dumb is better than lying and looking a lot dumb.

I don’t like crunchy things.

I just don’t.

People like their cereal crunchy.

Not me. I let mine sit around until it drowns, and the coroner arrives to confirm that it’s fully floppy and dead. As a kid, I often ate other children’s cereal they had rejected—“because it wasn’t crunchy anymore.”

Maybe that’s the root cause of my obesity. At least it would be fun to blame it on that.

I don’t like crunchy chicken.

You know—what they call “extra crispy?”

My French fries can be a little crispy—but if they’re a lot crispy, doesn’t that just mean they’re burned?

And I never got the idea of a crunchy candy bar. Has anyone ever tasted a Milky Way? No crunch anywhere. Just ecstasy.

I don’t like crunchy.

I will eat peanut brittle—only because I know that on the thirteenth chewing in my mouth, it turns into that delicious peanut butter paste I love so much.

Crunchy crunches.

And crunching is not a positive word. (Just consider your car.)

I don’t like to put my teeth into a reluctant apple. I know it sounds silly, but when an apple insists on being crisp and crunchy, I feel it’s just resistant to being eaten. Sometimes it even adds a sour disposition to match the crunch.

I have no criticism for people who like crunchy things, but my philosophy is, if you find yourself in the middle of the crunch…

Just pour on more milk and wait awhile.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Crisp

Crisp: (adj) primarily food which is firm and fresh; not soft or wilted:

Bends but does not snap.

If you bought some celery from the store and a stalk bends but does not snap in the center, it is officially not crisp.

Yet in everyday life, normally that which is bendable, flexible, pliant is considered more usable than anything that would snap in the middle when challenged.

What do we really want to be crisp?

Oh, sometimes we throw it in as a descriptive word. It doesn’t really mean anything.

“That was a really crisp dance routine.”

“The delivery of his speech was articulate and crisp.”

We probably should have abandoned the word long ago.

Although we extol the beauty of something being crisp, we don’t necessarily like crisp things.

I’ve heard people say, “There’s nothing like a large, crisp apple.” But I’ve also walked into a party and seen apples laying on tables with one bite out of them—because they were too crisp.

Then there are foolers.

Somebody offers you an “apple crisp.”

But it isn’t crisp. It’s deliciously moist and gooey.

We don’t even want our cereal to be crisp. Some people insist they want it crunchy but that gets annoying after a while. Can we be candid? One of the better parts of a bowl of cereal is lifting it up to your lips and slurping down the last little bit of milk—accompanied by some soggy pieces of corn flake or Captain Crunch.

I would not want to be an agent assigned to promote “crisp.” Candidly, I think it comes off a little self-righteous. You might even be frightened to be around “crisp” because its standards are so high that you would fear you would never be able to measure up.

After all, celery that isn’t crisp can still be chopped up and thrown into a stew or Thanksgiving dressing. You may not want to smear it with peanut butter—but how often does that really come up? Only when you’ve run out of chips, dips and buffalo wings and you gratefully discover a jar of peanut butter and some normally ignored crisp celery.

 

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Core

Core: (n) the center of anything.

“At the core…”

I’ve used this phrase all my life.

To me, the core has always represented the purity—the genesis—of an idea or substance.

Yet an apple core is tossed away.

The core of the Earth is ablaze with fire and molten rock.

But without the core of the apple, you have no seeds for future apples. And from my understanding, without the molten core of the Earth, the whole balance of our ecosystem is upset.

I’ve heard people talk about core values. What are core values? Are they things I think are important, that you might not? Or are they things that are important to everybody? And what would those be? And if they do exist, why aren’t we talking more about them?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

For instance, are there a variety of ways to tell the truth?

Is there a core approach to being accepting of others?

I would love to sit down and chat about what produces the seeds of life inside us and keeps the fires burning.

I have two core values—two cores to my center, two central intelligence agencies within me, which are irrefutable and cannot be changed.

The first one is that I am often wrong.

Without this core, I naturally begin to believe I am right. This is not only obnoxious but has historically proven to be dangerous.

The second core is no one is better than anyone else.

I have been around people who argue this point. They believe some people are born evil, others blessed.

But I contend that allowing ourselves this piece of nonsense always leads to bigotry, anger and war.

Yeah—I guess those are my two core values:

I’m often wrong.

And we’re all the same.


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Choosy

Choosy: (adj) overly fastidious in making a choice.

Oh, there goes Webster again.

For some reason, the dictionary feels it’s important to offer a certain amount of social commentary in describing the words that are showcased.

Here is the truth of the matter as far as I know: if you are not choosy, eventually you don’t get to choose, and you’re stuck with what’s chosen for you.

Welcome to Earth.

So portraying “choosy” as a negative attitude is the propaganda of governments, religionists, politicians and Madison Avenue agents, who would really like to plan your entire life, but feel that saying this bluntly might scare you away. So instead, they connote that you are “choosy” if you do not choose what they want you to choose on any chosen occasion.

If the dinner menu for the night is barbecued baked beans with barbecued beef and barbecued corn bread with barbecued pudding for dessert, folks might frown at you if, in a choosy way, you insist you prefer not to “go barbecue” tonight.

The problem in our world is not that people are too choosy. The difficulty lies in the fact that we’re not given enough choice.

  • Politics is divided into two major parties, with a whisker’s difference between the pair.
  • Churches insist they offer varieties of services, while simultaneously delivering the same spiritually tone-deaf message.
  • And the clothing in the department stores settles into shades that are determined to be this season’s preference, with stylings which are the “hit of the catwalk.”

What would happen if Americans actually did become choosy?

If we decided not to let the critics determine the best motion pictures?

If we didn’t leave it up to aging librarians to pick out the top books?

What if we had an open marketplace, an open discussion, an open spirit and an open mind–to give things a platform and see how they fared?

What if the whole world were a blind taste test? How would McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Apple, Democrats, Republicans and the religious system chart?

I’m choosy–and pretty proud of it. I often disagree with other people about my choices, but never in a disagreeable way.

But I’m not about to believe that something being popular gives it any more credence than I am to think that the hula-hoop was meant to last forever.

 

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Archer

dictionary with letter A

Archer: (n) a person who shoots with a bow and arrows, especially at a target for sport.

When I was growing up, the pursuit of sports in my home was very seasonal–not in the sense of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, but rather, attention span.

My father and brothers developed interests in activities, and always would find a “good deal” on equipment relating to this endeavor, which they would purchase, only to discover that the materials were inferior, which made it impossible to adequately perform the task.

  • We bought a canoe that leaked.
  • We had some water skis that were cracked and fell apart the first time someone got on them in the water.
  • We had a basketball hoop that was supposed to be easy to set up in your driveway which never got higher than four feet.

Likewise, while watching Robin Hood one day on the television set, my older brother wanted to purchase a bow and arrows. My father thought it was “a champion idea.”

So with no understanding whatsoever of archery, they set out to the local hardware store, where the proprietor sold them one of his old bows and six arrows for “a really good deal.”

Without exaggerating, I will tell you that it took them two weeks to learn how to string the bow. The amount of energy it took to bend the bow for stringing nearly crippled their comprehension. The power required to pull the bow back, to shoot the arrow even two feet, was also extraordinarily daunting.

But after a couple of months, they convinced themselves they were experts on the subject and took me out to the woods to try my hand at shooting at a target.

I hated it immediately.

It took too much energy to pull the string, and because the bow was bent from the numerous attempts to manipulate it to our will, the arrows flew crooked, more resembling boomerangs.

After about the sixth attempt, they were ready to have a competition, to see who could hit the target the most often.

My dad stood ten feet to the side, away from the target, so he could give instruction to my brother and myself to make the competition more interesting.

I pulled back the bow and was ready to shoot it when my dad piped up and said, “No, Jonathan! Use more of your thumb!”

Not understanding what he said, I turned towards him in order to be respectful to his instruction, and as I did I slipped and released the arrow, which flew through the air, knocking his hat off.

It was William Tell without the apple.

My dad never said anything about it, but we quickly packed up the gear and it was stored from that point on, in the garage … next to the half-water ski.

 

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Apple

dictionary with letter A

Ap·ple (n): the round fruit of a tree of the rose family, which typically has thin red or green skin and crisp flesh. Many varieties have been developed as dessert or cooking fruit or for making cider.

It’s the power of having a good agent–because certainly the apple needed one.

It began its fruitful journey as the traditional forbidden delicacy eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden, the symbol of the knowledge of good and evil and certainly the subject of great controversy.

Then over the years, through what could only be considered a miraculous amount of promotion and transformation of public image, it has turned into “Mom and apple pie.”

Try this one on for size:

  • The apple of his eye.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • Apple cider with doughnuts
  • Apple dumpling.
  • Apple face cream.
  • Famous people even name their children “Apple.”
  • When the Beatles were looking for a name for their studio, “banana” was not even considered, but “Apple” was immediately plucked from the tree.
  • And moving with the technology, Apple willingly became a computer.
  • Don’t forget–apples that are green and sour are covered with caramel so they can be part of the carnival.

Somewhere along the line, the apple hired a VERY good agent to escape the scandal perpetrated among the trees in Eden.

Of course, even with the best publicity, you still end up with “rotten to the core.”

 

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Affectionate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Affectionate: (adj.) readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness: e.g. a happy and affectionate family.

You gotta BE there.

It’s true, you know. There are some things in life that cannot be viewed, read, perused, discussed, debated or downloaded.

Affection is one of them.

In a climate where “lukewarm” has begun to feel “heated,” we lack such closeness and intimacy that it has caused us to become defensive with one another because we privately feel cheated of the tenderness we need to satisfy our souls, yet at the same time we push away personal overtures from those who try to get too close too quickly.

A lady warned me the other day, saying, “Watch out! I’m a hugger.”

I do remember attending a rock concert many years ago where complete strangers–thousands of them–came up to each other, hugging in groups of five and ten without explanation or apology. Yet to promote such an idea in our day and age would be cynically mocked as a “hippie philosophy,” a throw-back to olden times or impractical due to the spread of disease.

This culminated for me when I saw churches offering hand sanitizer to folks after they had the “passing of the peace.” I wish I had a profanity to express how upsetting that is to me. And please, spare me the explanation on why it is needed. I am fed up with the notion of what is needful and anxious for the pursuit of what is helpful.

  • I need affection.
  • I need to be affectionate.

Now, it doesn’t have to always be demonstrative, but it does have to be spontaneous and real. It can be reaching across a table and cutting up the banana of a friend who is making you coffee, or coring an apple for another friend so she doesn’t have to deal with stems and seeds.

When you lose affection in a society, you promote the idea of isolation. Once humans are isolated, there’s only one thing that takes hold–survival.

Is it possible that in the next decade we will begin to treat each other–all the time–like we do when we’re in a traffic jam?