Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time to Make the Donuts

In the early 1980's there was a commercial from a well known doughnut company in which the main character was seen waking up in the dark and uttering the words, "Time to make the donuts" even before getting out of bed. This almost robotic pursuit of doughnut making became the company's catch phrase and a series of commercials were released featuring this man who was so dedicated and passionate about making doughnuts.

In conjuring memories of that series of commercials, I have grown in appreciation for the work ethic, drive, and determination of the doughnut baker featured in these spots. Despite the weariness associated with putting out such a consistent and excellent product, the man uses a quiet yet intense strength to continue with his passion. Day and night he immerses himself in the creation of doughnuts. Even though he must be exhausted, he gets out of bed, everyday, and utters the same words, "Time to make the donuts." In an odd way, I find this phrase and this approach incredibly inspiring.

This commercial has been valuable to me because of the motivation I draw from it. However, I had no idea that the commercial and the phrase would take on new meaning this evening.

This evening, my Mom, Linda, gifted our family with a present that she and my Dad purchased before his passing. My Dad loved food. He loved eating food. He loved making food. He loved sharing food. Trying new food. Watching cooking shows on television. If it involved cooking or food, it was for him. He also loved certain foods that I'm sure had some sort of emotional connection for him. He loved the ethnic Easter food that we would get blessed on Holy Saturday - kielbasa, nut roll and poppy seed roll, egg cheese. He loved the Slovak viliya dinner that we would eat every Christmas Eve - pierogies, barley, mushroom soup, potato bread. I assume he valued these foods and meals because of the connection to not only his faith but also, potentially, to the good memories he had of eating them. Family. Friends. Holidays. Gifts. Parties.

Another food that my Dad loved was pumpkin doughnuts. In the fall, he and my Uncle Dave would talk about how their mother would make pumpkin doughnuts and how they absolutely loved them. They reminisced about eating them with over-easy eggs, so that the doughnut could be used to sop up the runny yoke. And, on a handful of autumn weekends throughout my life, either one of them would actually make these doughnuts. This past fall, in having a taste for these treats, my Dad stumbled upon a doughnut maker that would bake instead of fry these cakes. Trying to eat more healthily yet still craving these pumpkin doughnuts, my parents bought the machine and my Dad raved. Immediately, my Mom retells the story, she and Dad went to the store to buy three more for me, my brother and my sister.

It was perhaps one of the most meaningful, beautiful and valuable gifts I have ever received and I took such great joy in making a batch right away. I'm not a fan of doughnuts, and even with them being baked I would have been a reluctant participant if there wasn't an emotional connection to this doughnut maker. I love that it came from my Dad and using it will forever be a way that I can feel close to him.

It's funny what we find valuable. I have no idea how much one of these doughnut maker machines costs and I don't care. To me, it is the most expensive piece of culinary equipment I own. Likewise, I will eat doughnuts (homemade from this machine, of course) because of the connection I will feel to my Dad when I do. When I get bogged down and think of the phrase and the dedicated man behind, "It's time to make the donuts," I won't just think of the commercial and the quiet strength of the doughnut maker. I will think of my Dad.

I'll remember how he loved me with a consistent, passionate and dedicated love. I'll remember how he selflessly did so much for me throughout the course of my life. I'll remember how much he loved doughnuts, especially pumpkin ones, because of how much he loved his mom and family.

I'll remember that a price tag doesn't make something valuable. People make things valuable. Memories make things valuable. Relationships make things valuable. God makes us valuable.

It's time to begin.

It's time to make some doughnuts.