Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bread to Thrive

Why Evelyn Gibson ever trusted us is beyond me. We were 21, newly married, newly pregnant, barely able to afford first and last months rent while we looked for work that just wasn't available in California at the time. Reese passed by her store, Gibson's Natural Living every day on his walk to the temp agency. Every now and then he would get temporary work, and we would hurry to buy groceries. Groceries at the time consisted of a large bag of grapefruit, peanut butter, a chunk of cheese, and tortillas. We would come home to our one bedroom bungalow duplex and put the groceries in the cooler. We didn't even have a refrigerator.

One day, on his way home from not finding work at the temp agency, Reese stopped in Evelyn's store. She was demonstrating the wonders of the Magic Mill wheat grinder and the Bosch mixer. She was baking bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, grating cheese, all kinds of wonderful things with this amazing machine. Reese came home and got me for the next demonstration, partially because Evelyn handed out free samples at the end, and we were hungry. But really, Reese was sold on the healthful benefits of fresh bread made with freshly ground wheat berries.

Over the course of a month or so, we became friends with Evelyn, but other than friendship, there was nothing else in California to keep us there. We heard that there were jobs to be had in Houston so we went to the store one last time to say good bye. To our surprise, Evelyn was offering us an incredible deal on the Bosch mixer and Magic Mill wheat grinder. Even with the deep discount, at 800 or 900 dollars, it was WAY out of our price range. Evelyn was insistent that we take the machines with us...along with a 50 pound bag of wheat berries. Part of her reasoning was that if I ate freshly ground whole wheat bread, our baby would be healthy. We could barely afford a $20 down payment. What was Evelyn thinking? We were moving halfway across the country in our 1950 Chevrolet panelwagon (named Lucille)....she would never see us again. She said, "That's OK, you just send me a dollar a month if that's all you can afford until you pay it off. I want your baby to be healthy."

Sure enough, Reese and I had a beautiful healthy baby girl, and another one, and another one, and another one...all while Reese baked and I ate our wonderful fresh bread.

Months later, when our first IRS refund check came in the mail, we sent Evelyn the final payment for the bread making machines. To this day, I thank God for Evelyn Gibson. (Reese still bakes our good bread and I still feel like it's a luxury to eat it. In fact, he made a fresh batch on Monday night. Yum.)


Tilly has been responding extremely well to training. Our leashed walks are enjoyable 80% of the time. (She still pulls a bit.) She is remarkably obedient upon correction. (For instance, I corrected her once for jumping on the counter the first week we had her and she hasn't done it since....) She has learned to fetch instead of playing keep away. She walks into her crate at night without fuss -- all good things. So, without thinking twice, when Anna and I walked to the farmer's market yesterday, it didn't even occur to me to crate her for the 30 minutes (or less) that we would be gone.

When Anna and I got home with bags full of fresh produce, both dogs were at the front door to greet us -- so sweet. We are teaching Tilly to calm herself before we pet her, so after a moment of ignoring her, she sat and waited to be pet. (Good girl!) Skipper, however, was more than his usual neurotic jumpy self. He was noisy, wiggly, and completely underfoot.

Because Anna needed to be somewhere, I started cooking supper right away forgoing Tilly's late afternoon walk after which comes dog supper. It wasn't until dinner preparations were well under way that I noticed....a half eaten loaf of fresh baked bread on the floor just outside the kitchen. Arthritic Skipper can't jump on the kitchen counter.....I called Tilly to the kitchen to fuss at her. The look in her eyes was more like, "Oh, you're praising me? I like this game. I must be good at something. What? You like me, right?" It amused me; I had to turn away to keep from bursting into laughter, so Anna started scolding her. Anna went on and on with a finger wagging bad girl Tilly don't jump on the counter don't eat people food....etc, and still Tilly just looked at her thinking that she was being praised. Just as Anna asked, "Did you eat the bread?"....Tilly (with her eyes) answered, "Bread? What bread?"....and then Tilly let out a long, low-toned, big dog burp.

I think that Skipper, in his neurotic wiggly greeting when we got home from the farmer's market, was really trying to tattletale on Tilly.

To be fair, the Amazing Reese's freshly ground whole wheat bread is delicious, and most likely good for Tilly....but we certainly don't want her jumping on the kitchen counter and eating people food. Guess she's not quite as well trained as I thought.


erinhazel said...

great storytelling

Sarah Hazel said...

Thank you sweet beautiful healthy baby girl.

sarah diama said...

i love these stories! and homemade bread is the best, no wonder Tilly went after it! but i guess it's not to good for dogs... fun fun

Sarah Hazel said...

Thanks Sarah!

Alison said...

This is so fun to read! My in-laws started their lives together in California too, and Justice was raised on freshly ground whole wheat bread and raw goats' milk. Mmmm... And as for Tilly, ah, how I can relate! On one of our early dates, Justice bought wine, French bread, and some cheese, and guess who enjoyed the bread and cheese? The golden retriever.

Sarah Hazel said...

Alison -- at least y'all still had the wine. ;)