Sonny and I took a trip to visit Grandma Gay and Grandpa Monte. I always get a good chuckle as I enter their home, then turn around on my way to close the door behind me and peer through their wide screen door. In my mind's eye, I see Sonny, five years old, lying flat on his belly as if he’d decided to do a push-up with his toes pointed toward the house. In my memory, I’d heard a loud crash and was rounding the corner just inside the door in a hurry to find out if my little boy was the cause of the crash. Sure enough, he was.
I remember opening and pushing against a still rectangular screen door as his little frame rolled over on his back to look at me. I’ll never forget the surprise in his eyes as he glanced over my head at the screen door behind me. I turned to see what was so surprising. The screen door must have morphed from a rectangle into a diamond right before his eyes after I walked through it. It was hanging weirdly on one hinge.
I turned back to Sonny, who was busy setting up; our yellow lab joined him, tail wagging. Sonny, still wide-eyed, stood up unharmed. I can’t say the same for that wide aluminum screen door. The screen partially covering the lower half of the screen door, allowing a loose opening for the dogs to escape through, was now a flapping apron, and as far as I could tell, the door was totaled. I remember thinking, ‘That’s a wide screen door. I wonder if they are still being made. If they are, it’s going to cost me a fortune to replace it.’
I was checking Sonny out when Grandma Gay joined us. She finished dusting our little boy off in time for Grandpa Monte to round the corner. He took stock of the scene, looked sternly at Sonny, and asked, “What happened?”
Sonny glanced at our yellow lab, “Rocky jumped through. I did too.” He looked up at Monte with sad eyes. I’m not sure if it was the destruction of the door or the fact that he wasn’t able to make the jump that caused him to be so crestfallen.
I remember the sparkle that entered Monte’s eyes and the smirk that curved his lips.
I said, “Monte, I don’t know where to find a new screen door for you, but if you know where to get one, we’ll replace it.”
Monte shook his head without looking at me. I suspect he was trying to hide his amusement and not laugh out loud. I’m sure his imagination could see our five-year-old little boy watching the golden tail of that yellow lab sailing through the hole in the screen of the screen door and following it head first.
Grandma Gay glanced at her husband, “Don’t you worry about that. Monte can fix it.”
And he did. Not once did Grandma Gay or Grandpa Monte chastise Sonny for breaking that door; they simply cleaned up the carnage.
These days, the aluminum screen door still swings on remounted hinges. It is now braced with wooden slats studded with the self-tapper screws Grandpa Monte used to make repairs over a decade ago. And it is in better shape than it was when Sonny dived through it all those years ago. Even now, that screen door makes me smile as I enter Grandma Gay and Grandpa Monte’s home.
This evening, right after Grandma Gay and I decided on buttermilk waffles for breakfast, while I was considering how the chemical reaction between baking soda and buttermilk gave the waffles lift, Sonny started to bug me. So, I asked him, “That screen door? Why’d you do that?”
He thought for a second, gave a shrug, and smirked, “I saw the dog do it, and I decided to jump through it too. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Buttermilk Waffles for Grandma Gay
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups sweet milk+2 Tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 medium eggs
½ cup oil, melted butter or fat
Except for the baking soda, measure the dry ingredients together in a medium to large bowl and set aside for the rest of the ingredients to be added later.
In a separate bowl, measure out 2 cups buttermilk (if using sweet milk, add the 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar), then add the baking soda and mix. The acid in the milk will react with the baking soda to create a leavening agent for the waffles. Set to one side. In a small cereal bowl, crack two eggs and beat them until they are the same color throughout, then add the oil, melted butter, or fat and mix in with the eggs. Pour the eggs and oil in with the buttermilk and baking soda, give a quick stir, then pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and continue stirring until well mixed. If the batter is too thick, add a bit of water. It shouldn’t be too thin, but if it is, add a bit of flour to thicken it.
Cook in the waffle maker of your choice, following the manufacturer’s directions.
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