Saturday, June 6, 2009

Give Us This Day Our Daily Wheat

She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

My friend Susan and I made a road trip on Memorial Day to procure a six-month wheat supply for us and a couple of other breadmaking moms in our homeschool group. Five hours there and seven + hours back. And we never ran out of things to say! If you've ever wondered about the difference between traveling with a friend and traveling with your husband, I ciphered it out. It's about 50,000 words.

Also, we made a few stops that would never have been made if Herb had been my companion. As soon as we got in the car after stopping for lunch, we started planning where we would stop for dessert. "Hey! There's a new Buc-ee's about an hour from here. Let's stop there and get fudge (cookies, kolaches, pie, etc.)!"
Which we did. We spent a half hour there prowling back and forth in front of what seemed like a half mile of glass cases full of delicacies. The whole time I was window grazing, Herb was there in my imagination, tapping his watch.

Later, while traveling through a small town, Susan spotted her old college roommate pulling into a parking spot at a shopping center. HARD LEFT! We pulled in beside her for an impromptu 15-minute class reunion. I could hear Herb admonishing, "Plan your work and work your plan!"

Well, I didn't come anywhere near accomplishing that. To begin with, as soon as we had arrived at the wheat lady's warehouse, I began impulse shopping, adding four Gamma Seal bucket lids, a 5-pound bag of organic whole almonds, and two stainless steel professional-type bread pans to my order. Actually, I restrained myself well, because mentally I purchased enough to require an 18-wheeler to get us back home. Then Susan, too, added some impulse items to her order.

We were overwhelmed with the possibilities, which is probably why we didn't think to count our buckets and bags of wheat before we left--we were plum giddy with delusions of becoming the super homestead moms of our dreams, building that farm on a hill that would be a beacon of light to a fast-food nation.

I'm sure the wheat lady had us nailed right away, spotting our glittering eyes as we admired the Bosch universal mixers, the Nutrimills, pasta makers, pans, and all the accessories for the make-it-all-at-home kitchen. Expertly, she regaled us with stories of her own successes feeding her brood of eleven children nutritiously, yet economically. The moral of these stories: you, too, can be like The Little Red Hen if only if you have the right equipment. Of course, we can never truly be Little Red Hens because we do not grow the wheat ourselves.

Let me pause right here and get down on my knees and thank God, thank Him for letting me live in Texas, a whole 'nother country, where everything is bigger and better, the people are friendly, and the climate does not support home wheat production!

We finally pulled ourselves away from the siren song of self-sufficiency and retreated to the safety of Susan's minivan, which had become an unbalanced cargo ship, sadly sinking at the stern.

Our spirits, however, soared. "We are the champions of the world!" was our unvoiced theme song as the van struggled away, hood high. Then, when the van listed frightfully on curves and was hard to stop at the bottom of the hill where the driveway met the road, our spirits dampened just a little.

"You don't think my husband would have let me bring the van instead of the truck if he thought this much weight would hurt the van, do you?" Susan asked me worriedly.

"Uh," I replied helpfully.

Thirty to forty minutes into the return trip, just as we were looking for a place to eat lunch, we casually took inventory. Results: short two buckets. Not just any two buckets but the two buckets of hard red wheat that Susan made the trip for because her husband prefers the hard red. Frantically, Susan pulled over on the side of the interstate, and we retreated to aft, threw open the doors and counted again. Still short two buckets of hard red wheat.

What woe! What despair! Susan called the wheat lady, made arrangements for our return, and we set off once more to the warehouse. Susan got her wheat, and we rearranged the cargo, trying unsuccessfully to raise the rear of the van by getting more of the weight forward.

As we pulled away, I reflected that we were older and wiser now, our former giddiness replaced with a thoughtful joy, a reasonable gladness. We had overcome our trials and we would return home rejoicing and bearing wheat. Abundantly.

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