Danish Pastry

Danish pastry: (n) a light, rich, flaky pastry, often filled with cheese, nuts and raisins, custard, or fruit.

Back when I first started traveling—when it was still hilarious to make fun of disco—the motel industry was a much different collaboration–collaboration in the sense that those who rented out rooms to strangers were well-known for joining together and agreeing on prices, perks and general hospitality approach.

So after years and years of leaving it up to the customer to find some sort of breakfast the morning after sleeping in the lodge, it occurred to one of these inn-keepers that it might be nice to offer a breakfast of some sort.

Yet this innovator, and his brothers and sisters to follow, were quite intimidated at the notion of giving away something free to the consumer, just to appear hospitable in a hospitality industry.

So the general fare became hot, anemic coffee and cellophane wrapped Danishes.

Often, they had an employee posted next to the Danish, to make sure nobody took more than one.

It was an improvement.

I developed a taste for each one of these pastries. I will give you my favorites, in an ascending order:

5. Berry Danish (just a little too tart)

4. Prune Danish (if you could wrap your mind around the idea of prunes)

3. Strawberry Danish (not nearly as tart as the berry—and more pleasing, like jelly)

2. Cinnamon Danish (if warmed it just right in a microwave, it was like being a kid again, chomping on cinnamon toast)

1. And Number One, by far—Cheese Danish. (Especially when all the corners are nibbled, and you’re down to the middle section, which was all cheesy-sweet and caloric)

Each establishment felt it was generous to offer the Danish and coffee. Some even tipped their prices upward to cover the cost.

At one stop, I commented to the boss-man that “in no time at all, they would have to improve from Danish and coffee, to a full menu of breakfast items.”

He laughed at me. His response?

“No one’s going to do that. It’s too expensive, and we’d go bankrupt.”

Move ahead about a decade, and now there are very few friendly motels that don’t at least offer you an egg patty and a sausage link.

Here’s something to always remember:

You will never go bankrupt offering food to people.

They will remember, they will pick you again and they will comment on how nice you were to provide them grits and gravy.

 

Alabama

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alabama: (n) a state in the southeastern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico, capital Montgomery, statehood, Dec. 14, 1819.

A state of mind.

Even though I must tell you, having traveled all over this country, that there are nests of belief, custom, culture and theology that persist or flourish in their particular homeland, the hatchet job that has been done to our fifty states to promote causes, newspaper articles and political agendas is abominable.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the perception of Alabama.

I would be amiss if I merely portrayed the “sweet home” aspects of this particular state. Like every other principality which has ever existed on earth, it is riddled with mishaps, bad judgments and incoherent ideas being fostered as “normal.”

But to personify Alabama–or any part of the south–as the hotbed for bigotry, ignorance and inequality is not only short-sighted, but comes from a place of arrogance and a desire to limit the qualities that these dear folks can offer to our country in faith and hospitality.

Some of the worst memories I have of my journeys have been in the south–especially Alabama–and also some of the golden treasures of people and discovery have also been found within its borders.

Here’s the truth: people live where they were hatched, take the best parts of their surroundings and mingle them with tolerance and love to form a workable way of being. No matter where they abide, if they accept the portions of their culture which alienate them from the rest of the world, they have gone down a foolish path. But if they set aside childishness, they gain eternal perspective.

Prejudice was not born in the south. Long before slaves were brought to this country, there were slaves in Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and every corner of our globe. Those who were intelligent, historical and also spiritual learn to recognize the limitations of their upbringing in deference to the mercy that the God of our creation requires of His children.

I love Alabama. I love Massachusetts. I love California–not because of the history book or the spouting of their individual Chambers of Commerce. No, it’s because I have met people in each of these locations–and many others–who have overcome their ancestors to be born again … to newness of life.

 

Actor

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

 

Actor: (n) a person whose profession is acting on the stage, in movies or on television.

 

 We sure spend an awful lot of time, money and energy honoring those who portray characters in the film industry. Yet at the same time we pretend that acting—or trying to be something we’re not—is a bad thing in real life.

 

I will tell you this right now: I would much rather people become excellent actors, treating me with love and respect, instead of becoming so comfortable around me that I get the brunt of their bad mood.

 

Over the years as I’ve traveled, I have gotten to know some families, spending time in their homes, and after a while they start arguing in front of me and cease to treat me as a guest. When I ask them about it, they insist that this is their way of accepting me as “kin”—abandoning any need for hospitality.

 

My response is always the same: Let’s go back to when you didn’t know me and felt compelled to be nice.

 

I am tired of reality as a whole, even if it’s a show, if it means that we’re going to unleash our darker sides on one another and spit forth our meaningless opinions at will.

 

I suppose I would aggravate some people because I do believe my life is a stage. I think it’s important to learn the right lines, pursue plots and stories that are enriching instead of bizarre and twisted, and try to come to a conclusion at the end of every day which somehow or another resembles a happy ending.

 

I think it’s important to be an actor.

 

I think it’s essential that we stop making fun of things that are good, kind, pure and gentle in favor of grumbling dissatisfaction.

 

Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that if we don’t start making the movie of our lives that is suitable for all audiences, we will end up rating ourselves R to simulate the truthfulness of our each and every frustration festering inside of us, not providing a pleasant theater experience.

 

So if I want to say “damn,” you don’t really deserve that. It won’t hurt me to temper it to “darn.”

 

If I’m disappointed over losing my job, I shouldn’t impale you with my cynicism, but instead, find a quiet place with myself, my experiences, and God–to become people-worthy before joining the human race again.

 

Yes, all the world is a stage, and honestly, sometimes we’re just roadies and not actors in front of the crowd. But while we’re backstage, learning how to work the lights, we might want to work on our mood, so that when we find ourselves under the key light,  we can bring positive energy … instead of defeat.