This is Uncle Herman's cane. He wants to make sure that you all understand that this is not sassafras, but hickory. So if you are inclined to make your own cane, he guesses you'd want to tie a knot in a hickory sapling. Then you patiently wait three years, and then go out there and cut it down. Varnish it up and put a rubber tip on it, and there you go. You got yourself a dandy walking stick. It is also good for emphasizing a point when you are talking.
Anyways, this is a brick oven that Uncle Herman and Uncle Harold made years upon years upon years ago. Uncle Harold passed on, oh, probably, 8 years ago now. Well, Tim and I got up early, and were on the road at 7 AM, because we had to pick up Uncle Herman at 9, sharp. We were driving him out to Uncle Harold's. Tim and he had the mighty responsibility of getting the brick oven fired up. Well. Uncle Herman had the responsibility, Tim being a mere peon in the operation. The fire is started. Once the oven heats up to 425 or 450 or so, once the bricks are good and hot, you reach in there and drag out all the fire.
Then you begin to fill it with all the different kinds of bread.
While we wait for the bread to bake, people socialize. Here are two of the matriarchs of this mighty gathering. Anna is on the left. She is Herman's wife. Aunt Mary Jane is the widow of Uncle Harold. She's in a nursing home now, but was able to come back home to her farm to spend the day with her family.This is the view behind the bread oven.
Now, while Uncle Herman might well be the undisputed master of the brick oven, everyone knows that Aunt Anna is the undisputed judge of when the bread is done. That's her in the foreground cutting into a 'test' loaf. The hand on her back is pretending to be supportive, but he's actually sticking real close to be the taste tester. The greedy critter just wants the first bite. Don't you think the woman carefully documenting this day should be the taste tester? Excuse me while I put down my camera and go straighten this deluded charactor out.
Finally, Anna gives the official, unchallengeable word. 'The bread is ready to come out of the oven.' The crowds roared.
Tim and Gene get right to work. The crowds press in from all sides. Can you blame them? Imagine a table of fresh hot bread, with butter, and honey butter, herb butter, and honey from Aletha's hives, and jams, not just the Welch's, but Uncle Chuck's homemade strawberry jam, and Ellen's elderberry jam, so many others, homemade.
And we broke bread together.
And, lo, it was good.
Very, very good.