Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gather the Ingredients, Stir the Pot and Give Thanks for the Proof in the Pudding

Not yet satisfied with the last few chapters (20-24) of Charade, I'm going to give them one more read and rewrite tomorrow before setting the novel aside to "cure."

When I was a kid, my extended family liked to get together in Sharpsville, Indiana at my grandparents' home to make homemade ice cream. After rounding up the crushed ice, the salt, and the ice cream maker in addition to cooking the ingredients just so, the time eventually came to pour the concoction into the metal cylinder, dip in the paddles and begin to turn the crank.

Everyone took turns at the crank in the beginning, but when the paddles began to resist, elbow grease and brawn took over. Of course, someone had to stand on the wooden bucket full of ice and salt above the silver canister spinning round and round and full to the brim of almost frozen ice cream to keep it steady while the crank groaned as it turned. Sometimes the ice cream expanded so much it oozed out through the top and leaked into the ice and salt.  

When the crank could be turned no more, then the whole shebang: the big wooden bucket full of rapidly melting ice, the silver canister full of ice cream, crank and all got wrapped in blankets until after supper. Anticipation of the creamy results of all that labor hung in the air all during supper while the ice cream cured.

Not until the dishes were done and put away did the adults finally make their leisurely way out back to unwrap the prize, lift the canister from the icy bucket, wipe the salt and water off, and oh so carefully lift the lid. The paddles were pulled and licked by a lucky bystander while the scooping and serving began. The secret's in the "cure" the old folks claimed, and I'm sure they were right.

As Charade "cures," I wait to see if the taste will reflect the effort, and if the anticipation of reading it with new eyes will make all the difference. The ingredients I used were fresh, and I certainly cranked and cranked and cranked until I couldn't crank anymore. Hopefully, when I get to lick the paddle,  I'll be able to tell if my readers will be lining up asking for yet another scoop of Arrowstar and Company.

Wishing you savory turkey, sweet marshmallow covered yams, lots of pies with ice cream and plenty of reasons to be thankful on Thursday. God bless Abraham Lincoln for making "giving thanks" a national holiday. Amen!

Thanking my lucky stars for all of you,

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