It’s Like This By Bob Palmer

Christmas in a can
A neighbor did something very nice for Sharon and I. She brought over a small loaf of pumpkin bread as a welcome to the neighborhood and season’s greeting gesture.

The mini loaf stirred memories of comedian Jeanne Robertson’s skit about sending her husband, “Left Brain” to the store so she could make small pound cakes.

Anal “Left Brain” numbered the items on his shopping list. He then proceeded to purchase the quantity of ingredients as indicated by its place on the list. If sugar was number five, he bought five pounds of sugar. I’m not sure which item the six pack of Seven-up fell on the list, but I think they had enough Seven-up to last till spring.

If you haven’t seen Robertson’s routine, you should look it up on U-tube and enjoy a smile each time you bite into one of these tasty little loaves.

The gift of pumpkin bread also prodded a warmer personal memory from deep inside me.

During the first part of my tour in Vietnam, I was stationed at 23rd Infantry Division Headquarters in Chu Lai with the Public Information Office.

We functioned a lot like any other newsroom. I would assign stories which reporters and photographers would cover. I would edit their copy and send it down the line.

As the calendar approached Christmas the days became cooler and wet. Like Forrest Gump explained. “One day, for no particular reason, it began to rain and didn’t stop raining for about six months.”

On some level we knew this was the Christmas season, but it certainly didn’t feel like Christmas.

Tim was a kid from a small town in Ohio. He was of average height with reddish blond hair and blue eyes.

One day in early December, Tim announced he had received a Care Package from home. He held up two Maxwell House coffee cans. Inside, Tim explained, was pumpkin bread. It turned out Tim’s dad baked pumpkin bread each year as gifts for family members. This year (1970) we would be included in the family.

We made a fresh pot of coffee. Someone whipped out their handy P-38 GI can opener. The can’s bottom was cut loose then used to push the delicious treat out the top. Tim cut the cake into generous slices which we ate with steaming mugs of black coffee as the monsoon pounded against our flimsy building.

Suddenly, Christmas didn’t seem so far away. The following is a recipe for pumpkin bread baked in coffee cans I found on-line in case you feel an urge to make someone’sChristmas memory a better one.

Pumpkin Bread in a coffee can…

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