When John arrived home from work yesterday, I could tell that something was weighing on him. He seemed upset, maybe even a little hurt. He looked at me and said,”Do you know that Penny has stopped making her Friendship Bread?” I burst out laughing. He continued, “Now I’m stuck making this bread and she is rid of it.” He looked at me woefully, but I just laughed even harder.
I had warned him. When he first brought the starter home in its ziplock bag, I made it clear that he was on his own. I have dealt with the demands of this bread before and I will never allow it to take over my life again – the daily mixing, the regular adding of ingredients, the baking, and (worst of all) the giving away of starter. Once Friendship Bread gets a hold on your life, it is hard to get rid of it. I told John all of this when he brought his bag of starter home, a gift from his coworker Penny, but he had been resolute. He was going to give the bread a try.
Now, though, he has made the bread four or five times. He is growing tired of its demands. He seems to have given up on trying to give the rations of starter away. I’m not sure what he does with the extra starter, but he has come up with a system where he manages to only have to make four loaves each time. I have to admit that the bread is delicious. It’s actually more like cake than bread. Delicious or not, the bread is a tyrant. I think that John is beginning to find that the daily tasks are a bit of a chore. I do know this, he will never give up. We will have loaves of Friendship Bread every 10 days for the rest of our lives – unless the starter dies or there is some other catastrophe.
John and this bread have already taught me a lesson about Friendship. John is a good friend and I admire him for that. Now, he and the bread are teaching me about persistence. John will not give up on this bread. He can’t believe that Penny has given up on hers. He may think wistfully about her carefree life, made easy now that she has freed herself from this tyrannical bread, but he will never take steps to rid himself of the evil stuff. He is not a quitter.
He proved this a minute after making his announcement. He went into the kitchen and returned with the bag full of the thick liquid. He “mushed” the bag gently between his hands. “You know, this starter is not so bad. It doesn’t demand that much. And look how bubbly and alive it is,” he says. I laugh again, As with everything in his life, he is giving the starter the benefit of the doubt, seeing it only in the best light, giving it another chance. Is it any wonder that I love this man?