Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. When the time comes, whenever that might be, I’d like to have a good one.



I think it’s feasible. Ideally there wouldn’t be any pain or panic; no struggle to hang on. I imagine a massage might be nice, one final rubdown before the old body had no further use. Other than organ donation.



Yes, I am. Donating that is. Upon my death, I really hope that something is salvageable in order to make someone else’s life better.



I think a lot of really good music, songs that I love, should be playing non-stop. Van Morrison and Sarah McLachlan and Bonnie Raitt.



“Let’s give them somethin’ to talk about….”



If possible, I would want to be surrounded by those who love me most, and I would want to prepare them for my leaving with careful words spoken from the heart. Nothing left unsaid.



And I would like to cross over laughing.



I don’t mean to be morose, and I certainly don’t intend to mean any disrespect to any reader who might be in the middle of dealing with death as a reality. The pain is tangible, I know.



But the speculation of my own demise keeps rearing up in my head. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to an age where I realize I’m not indestructible.



It might be because I have airline tickets lying on my desk awaiting a trip to Northern California.



Or perhaps these meanderings of the mind are caused by the perpetual parade of passings that I’ve been witness to. In addition to watching my father and other family members die, I’ve buried friends lost to suicide, airplane crashes, car wrecks and drug overdose.



I’ve helped a dear friend say goodbye to two babies who lived for only a few days. I helped her choose velvety sleepers and knitted blankets to wrap their bodies in before lying them in the tiniest caskets I’ve ever seen.



And in the last month, I’ve grieved over the untimely death of a fine man who was once close to me. He and his wife were both killed in a vehicle accident just weeks ago, leaving five children at home to wonder why this terrible thing could happen to them.



Death comes to us all-that’s a reality. What it will be like for each of us is just speculation. Maybe that’s why I’ve been giving death so much consideration.



I catch myself meditating on what my funeral might be like and wondering if anyone would come.



I mean other than my in-laws. They’d have to go, after all, what would people say if they didn’t?



And I’m pretty sure at least part of my extended family would show up, although a number of them are pretty skittish around churches.



I guess I could name them as my pall-bearers. Then they would have to come to church and sit in the front row. I’ve already asked the right reverend Dr. Lynn Jost to officiate at my funeral. He’ll give them something to chew on.



You might find it odd, but I’d like to know if there would be flowers at my funeral. I’ve been reassured that my kids and husband will see to that aspect of the service.



I’ve thought about “donations in leu of flowers.” I’m thinking Amnesty International or Habitat for Humanity.



And of course I’ve considered Jell-O for the funeral meal. Over my dead…. I guess I need to rephrase that. Simply put, I don’t think so.



But do you want to know what I wonder about the most? It’s this: What will people say about me when I’m gone? How will they feel? Will I be missed or will some folks just breath a quiet sigh of relief?



“Whew. Glad we don’t have to deal with her anymore.”



That reminds me of this quote from Mark Twain, “I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved it.”



Oh my. If I were to attend my own funeral, would I be surprised to find there a man or woman whose life I had touched in some unknown way?



Or would I find that those whom I thought were friends were truly not?



Well, enough said. I do plan on living for awhile, but as we all know -for the most part anyway-the ultimate time of our death is out of our own hands and in the hands of the Creator.



I just want to be prepared.



* * *



I had a lovely time with the congregation at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Marion this past Sunday. Our family helped with the church’s centennial celebration and we were really impressed by the warm and welcoming spirit that this growing church emanates. The Lord seems to be truly at work among the people there. Congratulations to all at Emmanuel on 100 years of worship and service.



* * *



This recipe is a keeper, so cut it out now or download it off the Free Press website.



Traditions Cupcakes



(Batter will be like cookie dough)



Combine:



1/2 cup soft butter



Scant 1/2-cup sugar



1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar



1/2 tsp. vanilla



1 egg



1 cup plus 1 tbs. flour



1/2 tsp. baking powder



1/2 tsp. salt



Spoon into paper lined muffin cups, only half full. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. Meanwhile, make filling.



Combine:



1/2 cup brown sugar



1 egg



1/2 tsp. salt



And then add:



6 oz. chocolate chips



1/2 cup chopped almonds



1 tsp. vanilla





Remove cupcakes from oven after first 10-12 minutes. Increase oven temp to 375. Spoon topping over each cupcake and return to oven for additional 10-12 minutes. Makes about 12-15 cupcakes.

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