If we’re lucky, the loss of an old favorite leads to a new delight. Take tubs of Marantha crunchy peanut butter at Costco, for example. First we assumed they had moved it again, then we desperately searched, then we asked—only to find out that the product “was no longer available.” What now? Trader Joe’s blue label ”Crunchy Salted” to the rescue: smaller, easier to mix, cheaper, and crunchier. When Parenthood jerked its last tear, who stepped in to offer a weekly hug? This is Us. When I could no longer find root beer popsicles, what should magically appear but Mocha Mochi Balls; but there will never be a acceptable substitute for TJ’s Salted Caramel Gelato.
Anyways, swimming is my favorite mode of exercise. I had a brief fling with a Lifecycle, but I don’t like to get hot and sweaty. Ten years ago, I didn’t consider regular exercise as something I would ever do. No one exercised in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s. You never saw an adult or, for that matter, anyone over thirteen riding a bike. Gyms and barbells were for boxers, jumping jacks and squats were for Phys Ed class, organized sports were for boys, and you ran only if you were on the track team or if someone was chasing you. Although in the late 60s my friend Sally and I decided to jog around the Methodist Church parking lot. We dropped it quickly though, and returned to a third cup of coffee and the daily crossword puzzle.
This March, after my pool closed due to the virus, I did nothing. Then my life coach said, “Time to get out of the couch and go outside.” On my first few walks I grumbled—about the rain, about the sun, about the silence, about the noise. Then one day I didn’t grumble anymore, it was all enjoyable. I heard the ordinary brown sparrow’s beautiful song, I watched Buffleheads in the pond across the street, I saw the sun shining through the wet trees, I followed the gradual blooming of the daffodils, I chatted with Dorothy, waved at Alan, praised ponytail girl’s big black poodle, remembered to step up to avoid the tree root growing under the path, and said a quick “Good morning” to black-haired girl in white jacket as she strode past me every day.
So will I continue these lovely walks when the pool reopens? Probably not. That bad angel who perches on my left shoulder, wearing pajama bottoms and slumped in the couch, will moan, “Oh, you don’t really need to walk, a quick swim is good enough.” Cheerleader angel, the one on the right, with letter sweater and pom poms, will cartwheel and cheer, “Come on, you can do it.” But in the end, knees will vote no, stomach won’t want to wait for the daily peanut butter toast, and I”ll quit walking.
BTW, if I see one more commercial by a billion-dollar, publicly-traded, hard-sell corporation murmuring that they have my back, that we’re all in this together, reminding me to wash my hands, urging me to stay safe, and soft-selling me their product with fuzzy warm shots of dancing families, precocious tots, and furry pets, I may throw the TV into the backyard—being sure to maintain social distance.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350˚ and position 2 racks in upper and lower thirds.
In a medium bowl, beat butter with the sugar until creamy.
Add egg, peanut butter, and vanilla.
Combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
Mix in to butter, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla mixture.
Roll tablespoons of the dough into 24 balls. Set the balls on 2 baking sheets, and using a fork, make a crosshatch pattern on each cookie.
Bake for 15 minutes shifting sheets from front to back and bottom to top, until cookies are lightly brown.