There’s a little something I do. It’s a habit of sorts, but, unlike most of my habits, this is one I strive to maintain rather than suppress.
For the past nearly fourteen years of my life I have acted upon a ritual learned from someone who likely barely remembers my name, yet their example in one fleeting moment has made a lasting impact on my daily life.
Without thinking, every time I hear a siren echo down the streets, or see a ambulance whiz past I take a mere ten seconds to pray for the person waiting on the other end. It is a reflex now. I do this, because on a short road trip in a crowded car, I heard someone I admired do the same. I knew that I wanted that habit to become a part of my life and, no credit to myself, it has. It is a little thing I do that constantly reminds me to look beyond my own person and my own worries, and hopefully helps me resist the utter selfishness that constantly seeks to overwhelm my heart.
The existence of this habit did not really occur to me until Mr. Pedantic and I started dating. Up until then, it was so a part of my person that I never noticed its presence, but as we drove together one evening, he did. It was only after he pointed it out to me that I recalled its inspiration and birth.
I do it for the same reasons I powder my nose and comb my hair before Mr. Pedantic walks in the door each evening, and knock on wood whenever I test my luck - because I saw someone I admired do the same.
Now this may sound like a whole lot of nonsense. It may sound like a humble brag. I hope not.
But I bring this up because ever since that day when my soon-to-be husband brought this ritual to the surface of my mind, it has served as a reminder to me. A reminder of the importance of influence. Let me just sum it up by saying, Oprah is not the only one who has the chance to shape the lives of others.
We all are being watched.
That was a favorite reminder of my mother’s growing up. It’s not always fair, it’s not always done with kind eyes, but it is, for better or worse, the truth.
And, I can hope, that in spite of the failures and mistakes, and the words heard out of context, some watcher-by may see something in my life that may make theirs a little better. Maybe they are words of empathy, maybe they are prayers for an accident victim, or maybe it is just how to make a really good milkshake.
This unspoken accountability is not to earn self value - we all already have precious and intrinsic worth, but it reminds me to live in a way that sees others as more than side characters in the Life of Me.
These are a lot of thoughts that have little to do with pumpkin or milkshakes, but in this culture of individualism, I think it healthy to remember that we can influence and we can be influenced, so let’s give the best to those we see and take the best from those we watch.
And let’s make a milkshake with as many wonderful add-ins as we can find. Pumpkin and Irish Cream are a fine beginning.
Crumbled cookies, extra whipped cream, and sprinkle of cinnamon; this is what fall dreams are made of.
Let’s live this week well.
BAILEYS PUMPKIN MILKSHAKE WITH GINGERSNAP CRUMBS
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cook’s Note: Pumpkin puree can have more of a raw, vegetable taste before it is cooked. While this short cooking process may seem like an unneeded extra step, it will round out the pumpkin and greatly help the final flavor.
Combine all ingredients in 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly (I find that a silicon spatula works best here) for 2-3 minutes. The brown sugar should have melted into the pumpkin and the puree will be steaming.
Cook’s Note: Because there is so little liquid here, things can burn quickly! Be diligent in your stirring!
Remove from heat and transfer the puree to a small bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature.
MILKSHAKE ASSEMBLY & WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy whipping cream
prepared pumpkin puree
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/3 cup whole milk
1 heaping cup ginger snaps
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
cinnamon sticks, for garnish, optional
Pour heavy whipping cream into the work bowl of your stand mixer and beat for 3-4 minutes; until somewhat stiff and very fluffy. Set aside.
In the base of your blender, combine ice cream, Irish cream, whole milk, and cooled pumpkin puree. Blend until smooth.
Add in ginger snaps and pulse until broken down and well combined.
Pour the milkshake into four glasses, top with prepared whipped cream, and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serve immediately.