Saturday, October 13, 2012

On Trust and Hershey Pound Cake

At the risk of getting too deep on a beautiful Saturday morning in the great state of Alabama...where I am excited that Alabama Crimson Tide football will be on television in a matter of hours, and a Hershey chocolate pound cake will be consumed during said football game, I am reflecting on the word "trust."  But before I launch into something...I'm not going to mention the words "Hershey Pound Cake" and fail to give you the recipe.  I've been baking this cake for the past 27 years.  It was given to me during my first year in banking, and I've been making it successfully ever since.  I can't manage to make a sour cream pound cake that tastes right...but this is honestly the best chocolate pound cake recipe on earth.  Okay, at least in my universe.  Here it is:

Hershey Pound Cake

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2 sticks of butter (softened)
2 cups of sugar

Mix these together and the add:

4 at a time.

Add in...
2t vanilla

Add in...
1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 c flour
1 - 16 oz can of Hershey syrup (or 2 cups from a big container)
6 melted Hershey bars

And while I am there...use a double boiler to melt the chocolate if you know what that is...but if you don't...take two pans you have where they stack (but not sit directly inside of) and put water in the bottom one and melt the chocolate in the one over the water.  I hope that makes sense.

Pour into a greased and floured (I then lightly cover with Pam because I'm super-paranoid about sticking) pan.  Bake one hour or until done. You might want to put a pan under it because I don't know how big your pan is, and I don't want to be responsible for you messing up your oven with overspill.  It has only happened to me once...but I think it was because I used the wrong type of flour.

Okay...moving on.  And thank you for trusting me that this is the best chocolate pound cake you'll ever eat (except possibly your grandmother's or mother's...because am I going to compete with that?  Answer: I'm not.)


Growing up, most of us had people that we could trust.  There were folks who were determined to take care of us, nurture us, and give us roots and encourage us to strengthen our wings.  Some of us had folks throw rocks at us when we were going through the process...or just couldn't see our potential through the prism of their own experiences and made it all a lot harder than it needed to be.  Maybe they did better than had been done to them and felt that that was enough.  Or maybe they were bat-bleep crazy and were just miserable human beings.  I don't know...and I'm not going to try to unravel that ball of yarn.

That's what faith can help you with.  Along with therapy, prisons, Dr. Phil, the legions of self-help books on Amazon, rebellion, scapegoat ceremonies, friends, Oprah, and chocolate.  Depending, of course, on the severity.  And before you think I'm making light of me that I'm not.  Not at all.

Just stating that I recognize that some of you who are reading this may have trust issues that are...let's just say...above the norm.  And although I'd like for you to read this...I cannot possibly make any comment that will do anything but make you angry.

What I do know- because this has been my experience - is that if you trace the thread of your life backwards, you will find people who carried the thread, those who inadvertently (or not so inadvertently) cut it, and those who helped you knot it and keep moving forward.  And if you really pay'll see that a lot of these happened in a beautiful way at just the right time.

It is just that when we hurt...we are normally not anywhere near "thankfulness" mode.  And we are in no way  ready to assume that someone has our best in mind...when someone has just left us hanging out there.

Every time that your thread got tangled or did your trust.  Finding out that Santa was really just your parents carrying on a tradition, realizing that people were cruel enough to put razor blades in trick-or-treat candy at Halloween - so it was necessary to have it checked, learning that girls that are your friends one day will talk about you unmercifully the next, and realizing that just because you did your best to be selected...someone else was going to make the team, wear the crown, get the guy/girl, win the scholarship, or get the promotion.  Each of those little defeats and heartbreaks shows us that we can't trust life to be fair.  Or even very kind sometimes.

It is true that most of us were told that we could be anything that we wanted to be growing up...but the truth time goes on, the possibilities seem to funnel down into an inverted pyramid...fewer and fewer until you finally just settle in on the life that you are meant to live.  And then when you either look back at "glory days" or keep chasing the wind, a dream or the next thing that might bring you that feeling that has eluded you when you realized that you couldn't trust life.

I understand that there are some people who have been very blessed.  They grew up into a loving family, and had a beautiful childhood and life.  They count their blessings and do not understand why so many people fail to be just as successful.  I can't answer why some of us were born with metabolisms, adequate security, amazing intelligence, or a unique talent...and others struggle just to make ends meet and try to figure out how to make life make sense.

And you are reading this...and did we start out so well with a chocolate cake recipe...and end up...well...HERE?

Well, I'm getting to that.  Eventually.

I truly believe that what causes us a lot of conflict in life is a lack of trust.  Also, a lack of love...but definitely a lack of trust.

It is why we choose certain people as our friends and not others.  Why we vote the way that we do.  And why we think that we should follow a certain path.  Sometimes we make the wrong choices...but we either trust ourselves more than we fear a consequence...or we trust someone else more than we trust ourselves.

But in this process...we learn.  We grow.  We adjust.

For me - personally - I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove that they don't deserve my faith in them.  Does that mean that certain people are treated differently?  Perhaps.  But that is more a function of self-preservation than anything.  I want to stay happy, guilt-free, and anything - or anyone - who jeopardizes that is going to be viewed with suspicion.

Through the years, I have come to realize that most people are basically trustworthy - or they are not.  That I can believe what they say - or I may want to formulate a Plan B...just in case.  That some people mean well...but they cannot execute because they are too disorganized, busy, or they will more often than not do what is in their own best interest.

Sometimes, I move on.  Other times...I love them anyway.

I've had a lot of people ask me why I am so involved in political matters and why I seem to be so passionate about this election.  The truth is that it boils down to trust for me.  It is more about trust than issues, background, performance, or ideology.


I don't know what issues you may have in your life today...but I do know that most of us can follow those threads back and find a tangled mess somewhere that had to be straightened out...or moved beyond.  I hope that you have not let that mess define you...or someone's poor treatment break your heart into so many pieces that you have no idea how to start putting it all back together.  I can only hope that you are a person of faith...because when you get to a place where you trust no one and have no choice but to look up and grow the tiniest shard of hope into a strong and viable faith.

At least that's been my experience.

If you have people in your life who have been faithful friends or cheerleaders for happy.  If you need  to let someone get behind the fortress that is your heart...then start with God and move from there.  And if you are just a little bit hurt or feeling a little low...try the Hershey Pound Cake... is that good.

As for me, I trust that someone out there needed to read these words because this was NOT what I intended to write about today.  If least you got a great recipe.  So there's that.

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