A Big Fat Persimmon Lie

I’m home tonight.  With no plans to work on any of my assignments due within the next few weeks, or even blog about the latest road trip, I sat down, propped up my feet, and opened the innocent looking package from my husband’s employer regarding medical insurance for 2010. This is not a comedic stand up routine folks. Despite the fact the American medical system is broke and front and center in the news, I plowed in. How bad could it be?

Really bad. Five minutes later, depressed at the knowledge the cost for our coverage would be increasing by one-third, with thoughts of an HMO flashing through my head like Boris Karloff with a flashlight under his chin, I made my way to the kitchen.

Tonight I’d make the persimmon bread from the recipe that accompanied my recent post about the fruit’s seed being a predictor of winter conditions. The persimmons purchased over a week ago have ripened nicely on the countertop and need some attention – as in a suspension of batter and an oven.

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fruit, pecans, whiskey, raisins, butter, eggs. Forget about mixing all this together with flour and sugar; the individual components would be a gourmet meal for me.

Cutting into the first persimmon yields a soft, fleshy, orange fruit, the color for which fashion designers would need a brown bag. It’s that glorious.

Only thing missing: ummm, seeds. Nada. Zip. Zero. None. Whaaatttt??!!  My post that spawned a rush all over the world to purchase persimmons, is a LIE?!

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no seeds!

Yes. And no. The trees that yielded the persimmons that yielded the seed that yielded the spoon indicating lots of snow this winter, were wild persimmons picked on my Dad’s ranch. Being the ranch is 3 hours from here and to achieve 2 cups of mash from the not-much-bigger-than-a-marble fruit would take a bushel, I opted for market persimmons.

Some desperate research indicates I purchased the most widely cultivated species: the Japanese persimmon ‘Hachiya’.  Another variety was also available (looked more like the ugly step sister of a tomato) for which I will return to the market tomorrow. I’m on a seed quest. And geez louise, so are some of you!

My advice if you’re looking to open a seed to shock and awe your friends and family with Farmer’s Almanac type winter predictions that are a bit more scientific than my beloved Magic 8 Ball, tell the person at your market what you want to do. They should be able to guide you towards a persimmon species with seeds, thereby rescuing my reputation as a, umm, as a highly regarded forecaster with a Farmer’s Almanac and a Magic 8 Ball sitting on her desk.

Tomorrow I’ll post about how the seed quest turned out. In the meantime, the bread is fantastic – my new favorite quick bread – better than banana nut bread, strawberry bread, or zucchini bread. It’s my new go to for gifts. Good thing we were low on milk.

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Beef Jerky, Canned Nuts, and Popcorn

Today I spent 52 seconds looking in the chips and cracker aisles for microwave popcorn before stopping someone.  “Aisle 12” she said.  Wow! I was grateful for the time saved, and a smidgen intimidated by her snappy response. She was a shopper, just like me.  Only not just like me. She probably enjoyed being there and therefore had a grasp of the store I might acquire by the time I’m 90.

A sounthern snack standard

THESE are a common grocery store purchase. Beef jerky, canned nuts, and popcorn are not. And I realize this says chocolate “flavor”. I’m okay with that.

Grocery shopping is a chore.  Then again, all shopping is a chore.  Many (mostly men) contend this is a refreshing quirk. I had one guy tell me I was a freak.  I’d been called worse by better men than he, so true to the dork I am, I awkwardly thanked him for the compliment.

Over the years I’ve found a few drawbacks about this aversion. The latest one to come to light is my lack of knowledge about the wonders found in the aisles of your neighborhood grocery store – things even that I desire.

I don’t go up and down every aisle. I go in with a list and I GET. Target aisles are cruised down as I pluck and run. Wandering down an aisle out of curiosity would never occur to me.  And I don’t look long for something out of the ordinary. I’ll stop anyone, employee or not, and ask if they know where something is. I figure most everyone in there knows more about the grocery store than I.

Hence my surprise today when I found the chocolate for which I’ve cursed Oklahoma grocery stores for not carrying. On Aisle 12. Who would have thought the chocolate I’ve coveted would be found on the aisle “beef jerky, canned nuts, and popcorn”?! The baking aisle is where I’ve always been directed in the past, but I want chocolate to eat, not cook with!  Do I need a road trip to Kansas City or Dallas just to buy chocolate?!  A friend directed me to an internet site, but I was overwhelmed by all the choices.  Similar to the first time I walked into a Nordstrom’s shoe department, I turned around and walked out. Only closing the browser window on the internet chocolate shop was a much faster exit.

a plethora of chocolate

No more curses. They had a very nice selection of top quality brands and a decent assortment. As you know, I’ve been suffering a bit of post adventure depression. This mother-lode of chocolate and a comment left yesterday by Aaron have caused the corners of my mouth to lift.  Looks like between the two, they’ve helped me execute my parents’ favorite line, “better pick up your lip before you step on it.”

what? someone at a bite before me?!

It’s Not About the Summit Anymore

Dreams, ya know? You remember those, right? Like cayenne pepper in the back of your throat, or a hangnail on a dry cuticle, they nag at you.

Given the proper combination of elements, dreams become spewing blow torches of fuel, of oxygen and fire. The flame is constant and hot, paralyzing even in the warmth of its seduction. They have the power to ruin lives. Or to make a life unforgettably and without measure, extraordinary.

Conditioning for the Grand Teton summit bid has continued in Jackson, Wyoming.  In the actual environment the climb will take place, my body aches from the intensity that cannot be duplicated in a gym. Here, I’m faced with the reality of what it is I’m attempting. Confronted daily with a view of Grand Teton standing at 13,770 feet, an iteration of the dream has taken place.

It’s not about the summit anymore. I WILL be disappointed should I not summit. Six months of my life have been dedicated to strict training and diet. Fear has been and continues to be battled. But I will stand at the base of the mountain knowing I pursued this dream with all my might.

The external/physical risks are great. But they’re minuscule, insignificant even, in light of the greatest potential trauma. Failure at the attempt, while painful and disappointing, would be nothing compared to the internal trauma of not having made the attempt at all. A dream without pursuit is a trauma that breeds regret.

Within days of the attempt, the bid for the summit has become a technicality.

Post Work-out

The Attempt

Don’t tell me you’re not capable of the same dedicated, passionate pursuit of your own dreams. You are.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — 1994 Inaugural Speech of Nelson Mandela

The Necklace

The necklace is of gold, like most dreams. Tiny and delicate and really no one ever notices it. Not even me. It’s become part of me, connected at its ends by a clasp that has never failed. The clasp must know should it come undone, I would follow.

The pendant falls at the concave curve that lies so neatly below the adam’s apple and in between the clavicle. For 7 years now it’s rested in that place made famous by The English Patient. Such a part of me it’s become, the significance of it faded into obscurity.

In spin class today splatters of sweat displaced by it were felt on the underside of my chin. For the first time, I became aware of it swinging, rhythmically striking that curve. Clarity struck me like the pain in my quads. This necklace hanging so perfectly and beautifully unintrusive at my suprasternal notch represents the current epicenter of my life. And I’d forgotten about it.

During six months that have revolved around long, sweaty workouts, recovery, showers, and trying to make it as a freelance writer, a dream has unfolded.

The necklace is a line engraving of Grand Teton.  It’s been given a nice scrub and polish since the revelation.

The Necklace


Depression: A Mountain or a Molehill?

From my journal on the Grand Teton climb:  “Overwhelmed is how I felt atop the summit of Grand Teton. The exertion required to get there, and the grandeur of the view that greeted me were immense. I was humbled by the magnificence of the perch I’d managed to reach. And while the achievement was of personal significance, the powerful impact of such natural beauty served to abruptly put me in my place – I understood in one glance my INsignificance. There are few things that can so readily and with such sweeping conviction reveal what it is to be mortal.”

So now that’s off my chest, you must know the wonder of the climb has worn off. Completely. I’m in a weird place right now, lost, a bit depressed even. I can appreciate what Lewis felt after the expedition was over; mine of course on a much lower scale.

It seems the preparations to summit Grand Teton went long enough for “normal” to be altered. After a year of intense focus on the goal, I’m struggling to redefine what “normal” is post summit, post 5 and 6 workouts a week, post all that build-up.

Imagine a year’s worth of foreplay, then one great round of sex, the guy leaves for Antarctica (didn’t even spend the night) and you never hear from him again. Kinda like that.

Friends have said it’s time to start thinking about what’s next. I’m still tired, so thinking about what’s next doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Although I must admit Everest’s South Base Camp has wedged its way into my brain more than once.

Should I pick up where I left off on the fried foods I love so much, the fast food I am/was addicted to, the chocolate, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, bacon and grits?  What about drugs? I’m not above their usage. I mean pharmaceutical companies spend billions developing drugs for every malady known to man. Is this a “malady”?  I can tell you for certain, the first time I feel the slightest twinge of a hot flash, I’ll have no qualms about using them. No question. They’ll shorten my life?  Generations of women in my family have lived to be near 100. So I die at 90.

Well that was a therapeutic tirade.  I feel better. Mountain or a molehill?  It’s just a molehill. This too shall pass. In the interim, how ’bout a cheeseburger?

A molehill cheeseburger

who needs drugs when these exist?


The Grand Climb


Tammie DooleyAbout SRT... I’m a traveler, writer and photographer for whom the open road frequently summons. Adventurous solo road trips are a staple for me, and a curiosity. So I created this website to share them and inspire you to step out and give them a try. Welcome!

A soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone – Wolfgang Von Goethe

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