As I sit here, listening to the constant thrum of the refrigerator, I realize that it very well may be the last time that I hear it, at least until next June. Not that the family I nanny is getting rid of their refrigerator (which would be a little odd), but that soon that gentle vibration will be covered up by pounding feet, crunching cereal, and the flutter of papers being shoved into backpacks at the last minute. Soon, the early risings will begin with the groans and whines that only September can produce out of two young boys. And although tomorrow will be stressful, the loud silence of this morning is what tugs at me to remember my own first days of school.
I woke up early every day during elementary school, getting up even before my older siblings did for high school. I would slip into my walk-in closet, trying hard not to wake up my younger sister. When I was sure that all was still outside the closet, I would gently lift the wooden box that we kept in there for a stool, and take out my favorite book: Stuart Little by E. B. White. For the precious hour that I had before it was really “time to get up” I would hungrily read- shrinking down to Stuart Little’s six inch height, and together we would explore the world from his toy sailboat. I would be lost in a fantasy where life was an adventure, and each problem would be solved with the turn of a page. As the years went by, my outings with Stuart grew less frequent until they ceased altogether. Early mornings had lost their magic and the dark cloud of responsibility grew heavier over my head. I often found myself resenting the blare of the alarm clock that meant the consistency of school with its homework that would never end.
Now that it has ended, and my alarm clock goes off for a very different reason, I find myself remembering those mornings with a fondness only felt when one moves away from their childhood home. The soft cushion of a warm breakfast that was ready every at exactly 7:50 AM. My dad’s cheesy Chuck Norris jokes that he loved to share with us during the commercials of ESPN. Family scripture study and prayer, and the plink of the keys on the piano that carried me out the door for another day of school. It seems as though I had to leave it behind, just like Stuart Little, to truly enjoy the splendor of it. Now that it’s gone for me, I am left here to remember and work toward making the boys’ first day something that they will hopefully remember with fondness in their future.
My family always had the tradition of eating hot scones and honey butter for breakfast on the first day of school. It is a tradition that still looked forward to by my younger siblings, and one that I hope to bring to my small children one day.
1 egg whipped + enough lukewarm water to ¾ cup
1.) Combine egg and water, sugar and yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes or until the yeast turns foamy. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
2.) Add the egg/yeast/sugar mixture to the dry ingredients, along with the rest of the wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. When it gets too difficult to stir with the spoon, start kneading it with your hands (I keep it in the bowl still, but you can knead it on a lightly floured surface). Sprinkle on more flour if the dough is still very sticky, and knead until incorporated before adding more (only if needed!). 4.) When the dough is reaches a smooth, yet slightly tacky consistency, form into a ball in the bowl and spray lightly with oil (this keeps the moisture in). Then put a slightly damp dishtowel over the top of the bowl, and place in a warm spot for about an hour or two, or until the dough doubles in size.
5.) When dough has risen, place on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out until it is about 1/4 inches thick. Using a butter knife, cut out different shapes (I like triangles) and let rise again until it doubles in size.
6.) Fill frying pan or deep fryer about 1 inch full of oil, and heat until between 350 and 375 degrees, and cook dough shapes until golden brown. Serve hot with honey butter or jam.