It's almost been a year. The Covid "lock down", at least in this country, hasn't really been a lock down. More of a voluntary abstinence, with some restrictions. It has not evolved to martial law, with authority figures challenging your presence in public. I've been cutting my own hair. I stopped going to donut shops. Bars have been closed. Without sit down service, I stopped buying meals at restaurants. Less than a handful of visits to a hamburger joint, eating the burgers in my car, has convinced me that to pay for the meal is to eat the meal at the restaurant. I don't want to bring home restaurant food, reheat it on my stove top or in my oven, then still have to clean up everything. My limited cooking is learned from childhood camping trips. A more innocent time. Back when I had more hair on my head. We camped as the open road would allow. We gathered. Wild edibles were harvested - the forest is a salad bar. We packed the Jeep and hunted. We fished. It was common for the pack to ride out on motorcycles with backpacks, sleeping bags, and such...... I baked bread today. What's special about that? Nothing. It's been over a decade since I baked bread. Perhaps a lost artisanal skill. Perhaps just a survival skill. Just as I did as a kid. Flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar.....stick your hands in, feel the dough, mix it until it feels right. Wait for it. It rises. Stick it in oven. As a kid, it was a little trickier, with cast iron and an open fire. I grew up in a different era. Where people still learned to make things by hand. Pasta, tortilla, cake, bread.....again, not so special. Mostly just flour and water. Nostalgia. Reminisce of yesteryear, and days gone by. Yesterday once more. The actual last time I actually baked a loaf of bread. My ex-girlfriend's parents were visiting from out of town. I had a pickup truck and a Harley. So I decided that we should take public transportation for a day of sight seeing. Her father was leery when I offered him a handgun or a knife in case he needed to defend himself. Him: "Are you serious?" Me: "Of course not. I'm just F*cking with you. You're suppose to not like me because I'm living with your daughter. Do you think I'd really let you take one of my guns?" Him: "Guns? You have more than one?!?!" I had cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Long before hipsters discovered it. I bought it because it was low in price.....and I actually liked drinking it. A snide & facetious fellow, her dad made snarky comments about how we are suppose to have this great wine in our region. And he was expecting to savor our marvelous coastal and valley varietals. After a day of taking the bus through bad parts of town to sightsee, it was still hours from our dinner reservation. I decided, for reasons I still can't fathom, to bake a loaf of bread. Just like I did when I was a kid. A loaf of bread which I haven't baked for a decade. We had been together 4 years, and the girlfriend has never even heard of me making bread. Flour. Water. Yeast. Sugar. Salt. It only took about 10 minutes for the dough ball to form. I covered as everybody cleaned up, took showers, and changed. No recipe. I took a look, and it looked like the dough rose. Just like when I was kid. Put it on a cast iron pan, into the oven on high, and when you can smell it, it's ready. Open the door, tap the crust, it's ready. I got a cheap bottle of $2 wine, the infamous "two buck chuck" from the back of the shoe closet. Her Dad: "Who is this guy? Jesus? Bread & wine? Look Honey, he's giving us Communion." Her: "In all these years, you've never baked bread. You never even told me you could bake bread. What else are you hiding?" So there it is. I baked bread as a little boy, camping with my dad and uncles. A decade passes. I baked bread as a teenager, camping with my friends.....then drift through life as an adult, in & out of different relationships with women, going from job to job, hemlines go up and down, watching hip hugging bell bottoms come back into style, stints in prison, cocaine and hookers, collecting t-shirts from strip clubs all across the country....... if I bake a loaf of bread to mark the decades in my life, I don't have too many loaves of bread left in me.