I’m not ashamed to tell you I am a fan of the writer Jan Karon. I love to find someone who doesn’t know about Jan Karon, or Fernando Ortega, or the French Laundry or Anne of Green Gables, or other favorite things of mine. I introduce my friends to my favorites.
I work with Bea every day. She likes to read and good, wholesome reading is not all that common so I was excited when I found out she had not heard of Jan Karon yet. I introduced them.
I recommended her first book, At Home in Mitford. She read it. She loved it. She read the whole series. Now she is a virtual citizen of Mitford, a virtual parishioner of Tim Kavenaugh, and an admirer of Barnabas, the preacher’s dog.
It’s not safe to read Jan Karon on an empty stomach there are so many beautiful descriptions of food in the books. (Jan’s reason for this is that the early books were written on an empty stomach because she had quit her career in advertisement to write. She comforted herself by writing about things that were beyond her writer’s budget).
The principle character of the book is a pastor, Tim Kavenaugh. He has diabetes, so he always has to watch the intake of his sweets. In the parish is a woman named Esther who has an Orange Marmalade Cake that is so compelling and sweet that two pieces of it are sure to plunge him into insulin shock.
We have a little tradition in the church office at Evangel. On or near your birthday they brew some coffee, pick up a pie or two and gather to sing you happy birthday and take a minute to say nice things about you. It all happens on your feet standing around the copy-machine about the size of a small car. Then after a cup of coffee and a slice of pie everyone gets back to work.
Bea read about Esther’s prize-winning cake. She did some research. She found the recipe, and on my 50th birthday she made me, from scratch Esther’s very own Orange Marmalade Layer Cake, the pride of Mitford. It was cold and sweet and with coffee it was amazing. Not just a birthday cake, but a birthday cake born in a story. How can one improve on that?
Whenever you get a chance to do a kindness to others, take it. When you do, be creative. Use your imagination. Be thoughtful. It’s Christian and people will remember it for a long time. Oh, and if you get a chance, you might want to get Esther’s Orange Marmalade Layer Cake recipe from Bea. Your friends and family will pose for pictures with you and ask for your autograph…and then you can visit them in the hospital while they are recovering from insulin-shock.
January 31, 2011