Wednesday 11 November 2009

The Journey . . .

Once upon a time there was a man and his son who lived in a tiny village in a country named Japan. They didn't have much to call their own, except for a tiny plot of land that they farmed. Once or twice a year they would load up an old ox drawn cart with vegetables which they had grown and make the long journey into the nearest city to sell the things they had grown.

With the exception of their last name, and this little plot of land they worked together the father and son had very little in common. The old man was a "Stop and smell the roses" kind of guy and the son, well . . . he was more of a "go-getter," always in a hurry.

Bright and early one morning, they loaded up their cart, hitched up the ox and began the long journey to the city. The son had it in his mind that if they welked faster and kept going all day and all night, that they'd make the market by early morning the next day. So he kept prodding the ox with a wooden stick, urging it to walk faster . . .

"Take it easy son," the old man remarked, "you'll last longer."

"IF we get to the market ahead of the others," argued the son, " we'll have a better chance of getting good prices."

There was no reply from the father. He simply pulled his hat down over his eyes and went to sleep on his seat next to his son . . . Itchy and irritated, the young man kept goading the ox to watch faster and getting even more irritated when the ox refused to hasten it's pace . . .

Four hours and a few miles further down the road, they came to a small house. The father woke up and smiled at hit son. "This is your uncle's place," he said. "Let's stop by and say hello."

"But we're running late already!" complained the young man.

"Then a few more minutes won't hurt." was his father's reply. "My brother and I get to see each other so seldom."

And so the two older brothers were able to spend an hour together in each other company, chatting away and laughing whilst the young man sat nearby fuming and grumbling.

Soon enough, they were back on the road again, continuing their journey. As they approached a fork in the road, the father led the ox to the right hand branch. "The left way is shorter!" cried the son.

"I know," replied his father, "but this way is so much prettier."

"Have you no respect for time!" His son shouted impatiently.

"Oh," his father slowly replied . . . "I respect it very much. That is wh I like to look at beauty and enjoy each moment of my life to the fullest."

The winding road led them through graceful meadows, filled with wild flowers and past rippling streams, so very beautiful to look at, but all of which the son missed . . . he was too busy and preoccupied with his misery. He even failed to notice the beautiful sunset.

Twilight found them in what appeared to be a huge colourful garden. The old man stood by breathing in the scent of what seemed to be a million flowers. A babbling brook lay nearby and the gentle sound of it's trickling waters sounded in the air. "We will stay here for the night." said the father.

"This is the last time I am coming on this trip with you," fumed the son. "You waste far too much time smelling flowers and watching sunsets, when we could be in the city already making money."

"Why, that's the nicest thing you have ever said about me," replied the father, and within a few minutes he was snoring away . . . as the son sat there and fumed up at the stars. The night dragged on slowly and the son was quite restless.

Before the sun even rose in the sky the son hurriedly shook his father awake, anxious as he was to get back on the road. Before they had gone too far down the road they came upon another farmer . . . a complete stranger, trying to pull his cart out of the ditch it had tumbled into.

"We will stop and give him a hand." said the old man. The younger man exploded with rage.

"Relax, son . . . don't forget that one day you may be the one in the ditch needing help." his father said. "We must always stop to help others that are in need." The boy looked away in anger . . .

It was almost eight o'clock in the morning by the time the other cart was on the road. Suddenly a great flash of light split the sky and what sounded like a huge clap of thunder followed. The very ground shook beneath their feet and the sky beyond the hills turned very dark.

"Looks like rain in the big city." said the father.

"If we had hurried," replied the son, "we'd be almost sold out by now, " grumbling as he went on his way.

"Take it easy son." said the father. "You'll last a lot longer that way and you'll enjoy your life a whole lot more."

It was late in the afternoon by the time they got to the hill overlooking the city. Both of them stood still in their tracks and stared down at it for a very long time, neither of them speaking a word. Finally the younger man, turned to his father and, putting his hand on his shoulder, he said. "I see what you mean father."

They turned their cart around and began to make the journey back to their home, rolling slowly away from what had once been . . .the city of Hiroshima . . .

Gives you goosebumps doesn't it? One never knows what lies around the corner, or where our journies will lead us . . . it's important that we stop to smell the roses along the way and pick up the little blessings that are sent to bring us joy as we make our journey through life.

When I was a girl growing up I always loved to make myself toasted peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Todd has never really understood this love of mine for peanut butter and jam together on a sandwich. It sounds completely yukky to him, probably as yukky as the concept of marmite spread on buttered bread sounds to me! I saw something the other day about french toast stuffed with peanut butter and jam and it sounded delicious to me. I couldn't find the recipe again, and I so wanted to make it. (I hate it when that happens!) I decided to just plunge in and take the bull by the horns and create my own version. This is what I came up with and it was totally delicious! Todd even ate one and a half slices! Mind you, I never did tell him what it was . . . lies of omission . . . hehehe. I better repent!

*Peanut Butter and Jam FrenchToast*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Almost everyone's favourite sandwich in a wonderful breakfast treat! If you are a fan of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, you are going to love these!

8 slices brioche bread
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, it's up to you)
1/2 cup of strawberry jam
5 large free range eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
butter for frying
Maple syrup for serving

Divide the peanut butter amongst 4 slices of the Brioche, spreading it out, and leaving a bit of a border on each slice. Do the same with the jam on the remaining 4 slices. Place together as you would a peanut butter and jam sandwich.

Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla together in a shallow bowl.

Melt about 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet until it begins to foam. Once this happens dip one sandwich into the beaten egg mixture, turning it to coat on all sides and allowing the egg mixture to be absorbed. Let any excess drain off, then place the sandwich into the foaming butter. Do the same with one more sandwich. Cook until lightly browned on the one side before flipping over and browning on the other side. Remove to a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining two sandwiches.

Serve warm with a jug of Maple Syrup for pouring over top.

There's an Apple and Blueberry Pudding Cake on offer over on The English Kitchen this morning. Oh my, but it was some good!


  1. the American Girl11 November 2009 at 08:36

    Powerful... It's 2:30AM in my part of the States. I can't sleep - my cousin, we grew up close, he died last night. He lost his 10+ year battle with lupus. I rush so much and have been thinking lately that it really is meaningless...I need to live each day more in the moment. Your recent posts have struck a nerve with me and I have enjoyed them more than you can ever know...

  2. I've been both the son & the father. Sometimes I'm both in the same day.

    Thank you for sharing that story. A neat thing to think about on Remembrance Day.

  3. That story does give one the goose bumps. But it is so true. There is a reasons for everything that happens in our world and to take the time to cherish family, to watch the beauty of nature and to help others is part of the plan too. More and more I'm taking the time to slow down and watch for the blessings that come my way.

  4. I love this story! I am both the father and the son. Today I go to the temple. I will be the father today. Thank you for the lesson. I need it. All too often I am the son, hurrying and thinking of shortcuts.

    Today I will make your banana croissant bread pudding. Finally, the croissants are stale!! My family can't wait.

    I will let you know how it turns out.

  5. Great, great story!! LOVE IT!
    Funny thing....I have toasted peanut butter and jam sandwich EVERY morning for breakfast!!! Made me smile.

  6. Great! Never heard of P.& J. grilled sands.~~But I love grilled cheese french toast with syrup...Nummy! Have a good day :D

  7. Thank-you for that story, Marie--as always, just perfect. So important to remember to enjoy the journey--my husband has to remind me often...but I DO love to stop and notice nature, smell the roses...sometimes, however, I let schedules--or other people's schedules--rush me. I'll try not to do that today! The toasted PB&Js look amazing! My daughters will love that! Thanks for sharing so many lovely things with us,Marie! Love to you, Julie

  8. You made this just for me, didn't you? :)

  9. Hi Marie! Er - nah - I think I'll let someone else try this. In my typicAl English way I csnnot imagine EVER eating peanut butter of any kind, much less with jam on ((((shudder)))).

    love, Angie, xx

  10. whoa, i've never read that story before, i didn't expect that ending! really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? thank you for sharing it today marie!

  11. What a story, Marie! And what lovely looking peanut butter & jam french toast! Must try it. (I had peanut butter soup tonight for supper -- sooo yummy!)

    Please come by my blog on Nov 12th because I have a blog award for you.

  12. What a powerful story. If it is o.k. with you I will save it away in my talk resources. I think this is one our YW could relate to.

    I love pnj and will try this French toast.

    I must rush off to the Kaiser lab this morn. They want me to make an early morning donation...So I must say goodbye ...have a great Thurs and Fri and then you will be at the weekend...YEAH...hugs, Lura

  13. This is a powerful story indeed, and a great reminder to me to slow down. I try to be like the father, and am much better at it than I used to be, but I still act like the son a lot more of the time than I would like to believe.
    Is it okay if I use this story on my blog too (I will give you the credit)?


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!