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The Dreaded Friendship Bread

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Maybe you have an acquaintance who is domestic. One who likes to decorate and sew and hot glue things to other things with fabulous results. Maybe you have one who cooks. If you do, you have probably been the recipient of a bag of Friendship Bread Starter. With accompanying instruction sheet. This has happened to me a few times over the years and oh my, oh my, oh my! Oh. My.

What I have in my life is plenty of responsibility. Plen. Tee. I still have children at home who require the occasional bit of attention and maintenance. I have a husband who wants some of my time now and then. I have koi who are always glad to eat when they are fed, a cat who is not afraid to headbut you to get some notice. I have flowers with weeds. I have a car with approximately 147 sales receipts and a quarter pound of gum wrappers in the backseat. I have a duffle bag full of socks waiting to find bliss with their perfect match. Cut to the chase, I have plenty to keep me busy. I have all of these things to fit into the three or four hours in the evening between getting home from working and falling into bed so that I can go to work again.

If you are my friend I love you and I trust that you love me too. Do not think, my dear that you have to prove it to me in any way. I know it in my heart. I will be happy to hear from you, e-mail you, write to you, think about you. I might have a picture or two of you in a vacation album. We can meet somewhere for dinner on Saturday. Call me if you are blue and I will listen. That is enough for me. I do not require anything more of our friendship. I most especially do not need a ziplock bag full of sticky, sticky goo to prove to me that you are thinking of me.

I most especially do not need sticky goo which comes with a regime. Goo which I have to remember to feed in six days. I have enough trouble remembering to feed the bipedal inhabitants of this house, and they’re able to whine. I do not need a bag of goo that I will have to keep happy with a little squeeze every evening. There are members of my family who could use the occasional squeeze and I ignore them, what makes anybody think that I will remember to squeeze a bag of goo?

I will not remember when Day Six comes. If I do remember on, say Day Seven, and decide to give it a go anyway, I will either be all out of sugar or flour or milk. It would not be too farfetched to think that I might be all out of all three. In fact if somebody offers you good odds on whether or not I have any of those three things in my house at the same time, well, take the bet and make a buck or two with my blessings.

If you are my friend, you do not want to put me in the position of running to The Store in The Jammies at 11:30 on a work night for sugar and/or flour and/or milk, do you? You do not want to be responsible for me humiliating the more sensitive members of my family, I know you don’t. And when Day 10 comes, baking day, I know that you do not want to add to my burdens by forcing me to bake. "Look Jane, look! See Mother bake. Mother will bake a cake! Jane and I will eat the cake." Oh, yeah, I like the thought of that too! But that is not what it will be like. I will begin to mix the ingredients only to find that while I still have flour and sugar and milk left over from Day 6, I do not have any eggs. I will run out and get some eggs, only to come home and realize that I do not have any ziplock bags to divide the starter out in. But I will go to the store again. And I will buy some bags. I will do this willingly. Because I am going to bring Goo Friend a bag of Friendship Starter from me to her and then I will smile very, very sweetly. "See Mother smile? Run Jane, run. Run, run, run."

© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
August 2, 2007 Column

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