Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Tale of Two Girls

  
Jannie and Bella met at school when our family moved from the country into the city.  They became good friends in Mr. B’s third grade class, and became fast friends on an early summer evening.  This is the tale of two girls.

It was as warm and sultry an early Vermont summer evening as we could expect, and it was the season for girl’s softball.  Bella and Jannie were outfielders for their team the Indians.  Neither girl was particularly coordinated or had anything but rudimentary eye-hand coordination, but they played with heart and enthusiasm.  It was game night and, win or loose, at some point during the game there would be Softball Bars.

The sun was setting casting its burgundy hues across the twilight sky, and we were about to witness a grand event.  It was a close game and in the final stretch when it happened.  The batter from the opposing team hit a grand slam--what everyone knew was going to be a home run.  As the ball flew and flew farther and farther down the field, Bella and Jannie followed the ball with their eyes.  They moved back and back and back.  Then, the ball fell into Bella’s glove.  The girls were stunned.  Their disbelief paralyzed Janie and Bella for a few seconds. Then they came to their senses, dropped their gloves (and the ball), and gave each other celebratory hugs.  Everyone was screaming, “Throw the ball.  Throw the ball,” which neither of the girls heard.  They were busy celebrating.  Rousing themselves from their reverie the girls picked up their gloves and Bella the ball, which she then threw.  After the game, Mr. N., the Indians' softball coach, congratulated Bella on her fine catch and Jannie for her backup support, "Girls, next time, could you hug after your throw the ball?"  Bella's remembrance of Mr N, "He was such a great coach!"

It was this grand event the cemented a friendship that has thrived for more than twenty years.  Now the girls are young women seeing each other when they can.  Like Jannie and Bella, our families have grown and changed.  DH and I often have dinner with Jannie’s folks, and we travel to visit Jannie when we can. Our daughters keep in touch and stay close as they build their lives separated by time and distance cherishing the friendship that was cemented one summer evening on a softball field by a grand event and a tale of two girls.

Notes for this recipe:  Although best results will be achieved with unsweetened flaked coconut and natural unsalted peanut butter, sweetened shredded coconut and hydrogenated commercial type peanut butter may be substituted.  Use "old-fashion" oatmeal, not instant.
 

SOFTBALL BARS

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. oatmeal (old-fashioned)
1/2 c. natural, unsalted peanut butter
1/2 c. raisins  (choc. chips can be substituted)
1/4 c. unsweetened flaked coconut, firmly packed

Preheat over to 350.  Grease 13 x 9" pan and set aside.  Measure dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

Cream butter until smooth.  Add the peanut butter and cream until blended and smooth.  Add sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.  Add the egg and beat at medium speed until well blended.  Add flours, soda and salt, and beat at medium speed until well blended.  Add oatmeal and beat until well blended.   


 


Add raisins and coconut and beat on low just until mixed in.

 





Scrape dough into prepared pan pressing gently into place with fingers.  




Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until sides are golden brown.  Center will be soft.  Score while still warm.  Cool on wire rack and remove from pan when completely cool.


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