Raking leaves with kids saves on sorghum 2014.12.03


I am a sucker. A marketer’s dream. An advertiser’s patsy.

Slap a fancy or unique label on dirt and I would probably buy it.

Put a bakery in an old elementary school cafeteria in the boondocks of Kentucky and I will buy anything. I did that last weekend while on a quick trip to Lexington to visit our granddaughters and their parents. 

Rosie and Taylor took us to the off-the-beaten-path Wallace Station for lunch and then to the afore-mentioned bakery for dessert. And that’s where I fell prey to the products. 

The Weisenberger Biscuit Mix? Why, yes! It’s “Another famous product from our historic water powered flour mill—the oldest commercial mill in Kentucky,” according to the label. That’s all it takes to suck me in. 

The Triple Berry Jam by Berries on Bryan Station? Yes, again. Just read the label: “The Wilkes family grows awesome berries for this jam on our USDA certified organic farm, in walking distance of Windy Corners Market.” I have no idea what or where the Windy Corners Market is, but doesn’t that sound nice and bucolic? You can grow your berries, process them into jam, and then walk them on over to the Windy Corner Market to sell them. What a life!

The Country Rock Sorghum “made from pure cane” with the rustic brown paper label? Yup. And yup, too, to the Wallace Station Bourbon Mustard which I’d bought earlier at the restaurant—and I don’t even drink alcohol. To be honest, I don’t even know what sorghum is or what I would even use it for, but the label and the long cylindrical plastic container just call out to me.

And all of that was in addition to some kind of fancy dancy cookie chock full of chocolate chips and I don’t remember what all else, the most scrumptious chocolate donut with chocolate icing, a lemon poppyseed muffin, and the most delectable lemon bar in the world besides the ones Cathy Schmidt made for her son Andy’s high school graduation open house years and years ago. That one (Let’s be honest...I probably went back for seconds, and if I’m being really honest, thirds.) set me on a path to sample lemon bars wherever they may appear...which is mainly at potlucks and bakeries—especially bakeries in old elementary school cafeterias.

It’s the atmosphere of the place, the promise of delectable baked goods and the bumbling clerk that endeared me to Midway School Bakery. And, somehow, in my warped little mind, that just sets me up to show my appreciation by buying way too many baked goods, biscuit mix and berry jam.

But my brain works in mysterious ways.

Remember a few Sundays ago when it was snowing? David and I were out raking leaves. If you remember that Sunday evening’s weather, you might question our sanity. You might question our sanity in general if you’re a regular reader of both of our columns, but when you recall the cold, the falling wet snow, the darkness that descends so early as winter approaches, you would particularly question why we were out there raking.

“Make hay when the sun shines,” I might say in response. And you might further question my ability to match old-time adages to real time situations. But all I mean is that we just hadn’t had too many opportunities to rake earlier in leaf-dropping season and the weather forecast didn’t look any better for the rest of the week. Sure, it was snowing, but it just looked like a few flakes when we first set out.

It is profoundly sad to rake leaves without children hopping on the tarp for a ride to the curb, or, in the case of the back yard raking, to the garden.

There is such pure joy when children and fall leaves are combined. My son Ben captured Ryland in a couple videos while playing in the leaves outside the Congregational Church back in October when they were home for Jackie’s 90th birthday party. I could watch those videos over and over. I probably would keep me from spending money on sorghum.