Monday, April 30, 2018

Mountains, Valleys and Garlic Bread

The Adirondack mountains in upstate New York are awesome. A perfect place for a retreat with a bunch-o-women you’ve known and loved for many years. Camp of the Woods sits aloft at the edge of Lake Pleasant and helps you push your real world troubles away if only for a little while. Jeans and sneakers, prayer and laughter, tears and hugs – it’s all in the glorious mix. That’s how I spent two of my weekend days and part of a third before I had to take off down the mountain for the valley below.

But there was wonder in the valley, too. Our near perfect grandson (said his grandmother) Sam, was confirmed in the faith in a beautiful old church in Hudson yesterday. For this I gladly left the lofty mountain perch. We carefully made our  twisted way up the tiny stairs in the church turrets to get into the crowded balcony of Holy Trinity where we seated ourselves and peered below. What a sight greeted us. The altar was swathed in golden light and gorgeous flowers. the choir was resplendent in red. The stained glass windows rose around us and told the tale of our Christian heritage. The robed priests added dignity and solemnity to the occasion. Sam and his sponsor, Grandma Johnson, accepted the blessing of the bishop with grace and humility. My eyes brimmed.

Later, at her always lovely home, we celebrated with too much food, fun, games and happy chit chat. I brought the garlic bread. I was, and wasn’t, surprised by the compliments about how good it was. It’s what I always make. So this is how I’ll break it down from a faith point of view then you get the recipe.

The bread is the basic element. The ordinary stuff of life – jeans, sneakers, prayer and laughter. Where we all are most of the time and needing our daily bread. On occasion we require more. Some butter and olive oil, chunks of garlic, herbs – the set apart bits that add richness to life. Sacred things like dedicated altars, towering arches and priestly blessings. They come more rarely but are all the more precious for it. And then there is the sharing. We are made to love and break bread with each other. To rest in the mountains and toil in the valleys together hashing out what life it all about with tears of joy, anger, surprise and release.

It makes me want to share with you my garlic bread recipe. Can’t help it, so here you go.

Garlic Bread

1 loaf of Italian bread cut into medium thick slices and laid out on cookie sheet
1 stick butter melted in a saucepan with ¼ cup olive oil
Add 4 large garlic cloves coarsely chopped and a dash of garlic powder
Half a teaspoon each of dried sweet basil and oregano
A quantity of grated parmesan cheese (you decide how much)
Let butter mixture blend together in pan until bubbly then spread on bread
Place under broiler for 1 minute (or a little longer, but Watch!)

Serve joyfully

Up in the mountain, down in the valley, in all the places of your life, bitter or sweet, lofty or lowly do break bread with someone over this loaf. Life and love are worth it.

Image: Free Digital Photos