Fussy Little he-Devil

This cold workweek has finally come to an end, so let’s hope this weekend will offer us some warmer temperatures and a few more rays of sun. Having to wear my winter wools nearly every day this late in April, was making me think I was living somewhere up in the Outer Hebrides. As much as I’d like to visit those islands, I’d rather not enjoy living there on a permanent basis.

My early morning was spent working on the final docs and numbers for another sale which’ll be closing towards the end of next week. After having emailed one of the closers for the second time regarding an error they’d made, I’m coming to believe on a near daily basis, this pandemic’s creating a mindlessness within our general public. I spoke about these frustrations today with one of my colleagues, and we both agreed that if we’d omitted something, or made an error on a document, we would’ve had it immediately corrected. I laughed when saying, “I’m actively working at becoming more mindful, while others allow themselves to fall deeper states of mindlessness.” It sounds a little laughable, but when working with critical details, it become un-nerving for me.

After getting those docs scanned and emailed, it was nearing the time when I had to meet a contractor out at a building to get about an hour’s work done. When he drove up, I noticed another worker with him, and to my shock, it happened to be the son of a good friend of Roger and Helen Holtz. He knew me, but with age and an abundance of facial hair, at first glance, all I knew, was we’d crossed paths before he offered his name. I was so happy to see him and able to have a good chat regarding the old days. His father has been dead for a good ten years or more, but I still remember him with the kindest of thoughts. In spite of his father’s exceptional intelligence, the onset of dementia and then Alzheimer’s, became his fast track to the grave. What shocked me at the time, was how much younger he was in comparison to the general age most people get it. Before leaving, I said to him, “After looking at your detailed work, I’d say your apple didn’t fall very far from its tree.” Yes, today’s encounter with him was all good stuff.

I grabbed a bite to eat a little earlier, just so I’d have time to meet a buyer at a home for a final walk-thru before our closing took place this afternoon. Everything in the home was as expected, and fortunately no last-minute surprises. I could tell the buyer was liking the home all the more, and on a burn to get moved in. There’s no question it was another good match-up between both buyer and seller.

When looking at the postings of today’s sales, I was shocked to see a rickety old home I sold a number of years for around $15K, being reported sold for almost $100K. At first glance, a person wouldn’t think that home was so old, but when I listed it way back when, I told the seller at the time, it must’ve been moved on that site because it’s structure was older than the subdivision it was in. It was likely another home having to be moved out of the Downtown area due to our City’s continued expansion back in its “Golden Age”. When looking at the photos, I noticed that steep and narrow staircase was still there. The new buyer’s going to have fun getting furniture up and down that narrow noodle. It’s beginning to look as if every Friday, I get another jaw-drop when viewing the postings of closed sales.

My early afternoon showing was cancelled due to the wife not being able to find her husband, so it was called off. I then asked for another day and time that would work for the both of them. I was internally glad I didn’t have to darken the door of that home, as I really didn’t want my day spoiled by being reminded of what it used to look like. If its walls could only talk, anyone entering would be numbed by the time a viewing was finished, as after these many years of tenant occupancy, it’s likely evolved into a “cursed site”. I’m sure once upon a time, it was a fine home, but it didn’t have a chance to remain that way, and only because of how its neighborhood has evolved. So very sad.

This weekend, I’m going to make time planting my vintage squash and watermelon seeds in starter flats, just to see if they’ll germinate after being encapsulated for nearly 50 years. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if they grew, and if they do grow to full maturity, I’ll certainly have to save their seeds and pass them around to all who’d want a handful. What’ll interest me the most, will my looking to see how much similar they are to today’s, as no matter how much we try to keep a certain strain pure, there are always those genetic pollutants, and especially when being grow with other strains. This is one reason why I don’t like planting different varieties anywhere near each other. When trying to keep a strain pure, the father away, the better, and just remember, Mother Nature’s pollinator’s travel very far.

My afternoon closing was yet one more “soft-landing” for our office, and glad for it. I know it sounds terrible, but there always tends to be additional last-minute issues whenever there’re more people involved. As has been said for generations, “Too many cooks spoil the soup.” With too many of our banks now farming out their closings to escrow companies or attorneys offices, there are twice more involved, and believe you me, keeping everyone on track, can at times, be quite the chore.

Since everyone likes a good chocolate chip cookie, here you go with another old recipe.

Nettie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together shortenings, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs. Beat well. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to shortening and then stir in chips. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls, around 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 or 12 minutes. The yield depends upon the size of the cookies. This recipe has been noted in my vintage cookbook as being a certain family’s all-time favorite cookie.

As a footnote, I’d much rather use lard rendered from naturally grown hogs, than any other “shortenings” on our market. Do your research, and then you’ll agree with me. It’s no wonder why the many generations that’ve gone before us, lived so long. I was quite the fussy little he-devil about food when I was young and semi-good looking.

Tonight’s One-liner is: It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

Joe Chodur

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