Just when we were thinking “Wow! This world-wide contagion could almost be under control,” it feels like we’ve been pushed into the pool by the school bully.
We approach New Year’s Eve, having trudged through the ups and downs of a year filled with unexpected surprises like Omicron and Joe Manchin. At the same time, we have discovered an amazing factoid with Canada (Our neighbor to the North, and I don’t mean noise disgorging Hialeah) which can be placed in our pile of ‘well, that’s interesting but it won’t lower my tax rate’.
We’re not as bad off as Canada, which is experiencing a maple syrup shortage. Did you know that maple syrup is the national drink of Canada? It surpassed Molson’s Canadian Ale as the drink of choice. In a not too surprising statistic, their collective glucose is higher than ours. So much for our high fructose corn syrup. I guess we’re number 2.
Maple sap can only be harvested in specific weather conditions, so this year’s short and warm Spring resulted in an uncharacteristically low yield. I believe world-wide demand jumped 21% because people needed some sweetness in their lives. Quebec produces nearly 70% of the world’s maple syrup, with the US need for the liquid gold being its biggest client.
In a startling comparison of common values, the Canadian group Quebec Maple Syrup Producers recently announced it was releasing about 50 million pounds of its strategic maple syrup reserves which is about half of the total stockpile, while at the same time President Biden ordered 50 million barrels of crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be released due to high gas prices. Did the oil producers listen and drop their price? Not if any number of Sheiks need to upgrade their high-priced auto inventory. How much does a solid gold Mercedes cost? Doesn’t matter.
In terms of ‘how does this affect my life’, was it the extreme weather in the past year that caught our attention or the fact that we couldn’t find the coveted pork patties with gummy bears in our newly re-furbished Milam’s Market. (A great upgrade by Max Milam and his family. We thank them for their continued support for the community) Was it that the Post Office couldn’t guarantee pre-Christmas delivery of a fruitcake in time for the recipient to chuck it prior to New Year’s Eve? None of these add up to the ridicule we throw at fruitcake.
Fruitcakes can be utilized in many ways. You can use these instead of sandbags or speed humps to foil the neighborhood drag racers. Use them for step aerobics. Why do people laugh when you tell them you’re going to send out fruitcakes as presents? What is this thing about fruitcake? People remember when the fruitcake arrived and sat there for weeks and months because Aunt Betty believed that, if unopened, could last well into the Spring season. Not true. It’s much longer than that. I found a deal on 10 one-pound packages of fruitcake in sealed, full color cartons on sale for $44.95. That’s four and a half dollars a pound. Where can you give a gift that keeps on giving for four and a half dollars? What do I mean by ‘Keeps on Giving?” Because recipients have been known to send them along Just like a chain letter to someone on their list that could appreciate a good joke. This means the post office has been handling the same fruitcakes for years. It’s like they never really stop traveling. I’m sure fruitcakes have more frequent flyer miles than pilots. Post office clerks may even recognize familiar fruitcake packages. Fruitcakes are made to last. There’s one from 1902 in the Smithsonian that has been sent around the world 187 times. When a slice was cut off and heated, it was as good as new. Don’t you wish your shelf life was as long? Where did it take on this quality of timelessness? Is it the ingredients?
A Claxton fruitcake is approximately 72% fruits and nuts. These are not heavy ingredients. A fruitcake does, however, have the mass of a black hole. How does it do that? No one really knows. Let’s go back to the post office. By this time most of the holiday mailing is over. The post office says their heaviest day of the year is Dec. 16th when you are assured of delivery by Christmas. Why don’t we just cut out the middleman and send a virtual fruitcake. It will lighten their load and the money you save on postage will pay for some fruit and nuts for the Christmas party. By the way, you cannot find pork patties with gummys at Milam’s thank goodness! They have ethics!
We wish a very happy and healthy year to our family, friends and neighbors and a special thanks to Nestor Suarez for making this space available to me for some levity and thought.