Now that I’ve started my junior year of high school, I’ve had to begin thinking seriously about my future plans. After quite a bit of contemplation, I’ve come to one conclusion: when I grow up, I want to be my neighbor Janet. Every day, no matter the occasion, Janet is dressed to the nines from head to toes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in an outfit where everything didn’t match from earring to shoes. On weekends, Janet and her husband Doug go dancing. Weeds have stopped daring to show their faces in her yard, for they know they will be immediately uprooted. And at least once a week she drops off a treat for us at our house, whether it’s fresh picked cherry tomatoes, blueberry pie, or donuts. One day, I hope I’ll be able to grow tomatoes like Janet, that is not today… or any day soon. My one tomato plant is drooping sadly from dehydration, holding one sickly looking tomato. This Monday, though, I did learn how to make donuts like Janet.
Labor Day morning I made my way next door in the dreary rain. Janet, of course, had dressed in her usual fashion complete manicured pink nails, that put my chipping, week old nail polish to shame. We were stalled for a bit by some prematurely moldy sour cream, which particularly vexed Janet, the wife of a former grocer. This didn’t hold us long, soon we were busily dissolving sugar in a fresh container of sour cream and heating oil on the stove. After careful instructions from Janet, I tried to make a few donuts of my own. “Now you can’t be afraid to use your hands.” Janet said. This was no problem for me, on particularly lazy days I measure my dry ingredients using handfuls. After my first tentative donuts were slipped into the hot oil, I got a little more confident. By the end, I thought I had made a few that were worthy enough to be cheerfully sprung on unsuspecting neighbors… or the ones who wander over on their own, following the scent that drifted down the street. After we finished, Janet scolded me for cleaning, and sent me home with more than my share of our batches. In 68 years, if I’m not growing tomatoes and manicuring my nails (I won’t be), I definitely want to be passing this recipe to an eager neighbor girl… along with the dozens of aprons I will have undoubtably accumulated.