Mack's Corner

This Week

Don't want anything, just want to experience it.

Going to see relatives on Thanksgiving and Christmas can be really tricky, you have to time it right. I used to really like going to my dad's place, he was great, he was fun to laugh at and laugh with, but we couldn't stay very long. He kept the temp at 120 and if we stayed more than an hour I would start feeling like I was going to pass out. I learned to stay low, I always sat on the floor. My excuse was that my back hurt. His house was like standing in a lake. You know how when you stand in a lake and the water is warm on your chest but then about half way down your legs it's cold. Like there is a warm level and a cold level.. I had to stay low in the cold level. When I felt like I couldn't stand it anymore, I would crawl out on my belly, military style. If I could get to the crack in the door, I was usually OK. We always had to be able to tell him that we were expected someplace else in an hour. We could never go to his house last.
We used to have to go see some aunts and uncles. We had 2 aunts that talked non-stop, they sounded like chickens. Their voice would go baaak bak bak bak bak baaaaaaaaaaaak bak bak bak. Macky (my son, about 4 at the time) would sit there and watch them totally amazed at what he was seeing and then when the baaaaaaaaak would happen he would laugh and laugh and then start watching again, waiting for the next baaaaaaaak. It was pretty funny, of course I couldn't sit there and laugh at them like Macky could (he could get away with stuff like that). 30 - 45 min was about all I could stand. The nice thing about Thanksgiving and Christmas is the last place we go, it feels like home, feels like a place you could spend the night and get up Christmas morning with that child-like expectation, not really wanting anything, just wanting to experience it.

When I was going home after church one Saturday I saw 2 young guys pushing a van up the hill between Hope and Walnut Bend. It's a big hill. One was sitting on the back bumper pushing and the other was on the driver's side door. They were going about an inch a minute. I knew they had run out of gas. You don't push a car if it won't run, but you do if all it needs is gas. I had been there before, it's a bad feeling to be so close and knowing that you've got that hill to get over. I backed up to them and said "need a tow?" they said "yah, you got a rope?" When I pulled them into the gas station they kept saying "man you saved our life, I can't believe you showed up, man you saved our life". Well, I really didn't save their lives, they could have walked to the gas station or called somebody. They just needed a little help from someone that saw the problem differently (I almost got out and helped them push, how dumb would that have been). It felt good to help.

God's like that: He gives us stuff like that all the time, people having the same problem we had years ago. They see it as a big hill to climb and a big weight to push, we know it's just a short pull. And when you finish, you know God used you and it felt good, not really wanting anything, just wanting to experience it.

Maybe I'll go build a fire and drink some eggnog…. I love stuff like that…Maybe Charlie Brown Christmas is on tonight….


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

This just sounds great!!!. .. I almost passed out when I read this.

Bacon Jam

Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 cups


1 pound smoked bacon, pre-sliced

1 large onion

1 jalapeno pepper or to taste (optional)

2 large cloves garlic

¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

¾ cup brewed coffee

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup bourbon

¼ cup water

Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or to taste (optional)


1. Preheat heavyweight saucepan or Dutch oven (a deep Iron skillet) on medium heat. The pot's capacity should be around 3-quarts.

2. Prep work:
» Cut bacon into 1-inch strips
» Cut onion in half. Cut each half into ¼-inch slices
» Dice jalapeno pepper (for less heat, remove ribs and seeds)
» Chop garlic cloves

3. Add bacon to pot. Fry until fat renders and bacon is lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels and let drain. Pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon fat.

4. Add sliced onions and jalapeno peppers to pot. Saute on medium heat until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in chopped garlic and saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

5. To onion, jalapeno and garlic mixture, add dark brown sugar, brewed coffee, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, bourbon, water, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine and deglaze pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bacon and stir to combine. Mixture will be soupy. Reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until liquid becomes thick and syrupy.

6. Remove pan from stove. Cool for about 30 minutes. 

7. Spoon mixture into food processor bowl. Pulse 3 times in 1-second pulses. Taste the jam. If it's too chunky, pulse 1 to 2 more times. Do not over-process. The jam should have chewy bits of bacon throughout.

8. Spoon bacon jam into glass jars with tight lids. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

How could that be bad!!!!! Put it on anything… It will make everything better.. Salad, Toast, Fish, Steak, pan cakes, eggs, Soup, ice cream, baked potato, hot dogs … maybe not Wheaties?.. Maybe.. might be good on that too..


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 7:30 AM