Another Day in the Country
© Another Day in the Country
Every once in a while, we take a mini-trip to Lawrence to visit our cousins. They have a spacious home, Janet is a wonderful creative cook, and Joe is a great Uber driver, chauffeuring us around town.
Just being in “the city” is exciting for us. It has organized streets, lovely parks, exciting events, and more restaurants than we can even imagine.
It’s just big enough — meaning big enough to have lots of options and not so big that there are traffic problems. Furthermore, who cares about traffic when Joe is doing the driving?
Our adventure is best when we can stay overnight — just one night, usually, thanks to chickens and cats waiting at home for our return.
So, with the President’s Day holiday last week, we packed up and went to Lawrence.
Our cousins love playing games just as we do. I counted 12 games of jokers and pegs, which took up a whole afternoon and into the evening.
It’s the most fun when you play in teams. In an egalitarian mood, we stopped playing when the score evened out at 6-6.
During game conversation, I told Joe about making kraut bierocks.
“I’m always trying to get them as good as your Mom’s,” I confessed.
“You know, we have a runza shop here in town,” Joe said. “Remember how my sister Carolyn worked in a place that sold those in Lincoln, Nebraska, when she got out of high school?”
I did, but I had to confess I’d never eaten a runza, which I guess is another name for what we call kraut bierocks.
“And, it’s Temperature Tuesday,” Janet said, “which means that the runza costs whatever the coldest temperature of the day is forecast to be. Thirty degrees is thirty cents!”
Now that’s a clever sales tactic to get people out in cold weather.
“It’s a special that is offered only on Tuesdays during January and February,” she explained.
It turned out that the coldest temperature Tuesday was zero, so our runza were free when purchased with a drink and fries.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember my Grandma Ehrhardt talking about that “runza place” something like 65 years ago. She had nothing but disdain. Who could attempt to make kraut bierocks that were half as good as the ones she made? No one!
“So, this is your first runza experience?” Joe teased. “I hope you like them.”
As it turned out, they were delicious, and you couldn’t beat the price.
Jess and I talked about our city experience and the yummy food as we were driving back home to Ramona.
“And why were you so surprised that the runzas were good?” Jess asked me as we drove along.
I had to stop and think about that.
“I guess it’s because Grandma didn’t like them, especially coming from a newfangled drive-in, and I just grew up with the idea. I’d never even tasted one. Didn’t even want to. Gramm’s opinion was good enough for me.”
That admission stopped me in my tracks. I’ve lived a long life. I’m older than Gramm was when she made her decision about the competition to the ones she made. I just took her word for it and I wasn’t even curious to check them out myself — which, of course led me to wondering how many other suppositions or opinions I harbor that began more than half a century ago and have never been personally explored?
This may be a stretch, but I concluded that this is probably one of the reasons we have negative ideas about lots of issues — like racism, for instance.
We don’t even know we have a prejudice; we’ve just never taken the opportunity to examine the basis of our opinion.
While bierocks are beside the point, how much grace I exhibit toward another person or how kind I am in considering their point of view is a big point, and one that deserves contemplating on another day in the country.
Meanwhile, I discovered that those bierocks, by a different name, may not have been shaped like grandma’s, but they were tasty. Just the right balance between filling and bread — not too much pepper, lots of cabbage — just the way I like them.