If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you are familiar with Master Hand Grenade's story. Although strong and able, he is not your average young man.
Master Hand Grenade's hearing and motor functions were compromised shortly after birth. His prognosis was dim. After surviving his initial trauma, doctors were not at all encouraging about his future. They declared him deaf, mentally and physically retarded and perhaps even blind. They encouraged Sir Knight and I to apply for Medicaid to cover his health care expenses and Social Security Disability to help with the costs associated with raising a disabled child. We didn't do either. We figured that God had given us this child and would provide for his care. And we never looked back.
As Hand Grenade grew, we didn't know what to expect. Would he be as disabled as the doctors expected? Or would he develop as a normal little boy? We worried and we watched and we waited. We knew that he did not hear as well as Maid Elizabeth, but was he deaf? He didn't come close to hitting the "normal" milestones for a healthy infant, but did that just mean he would develop more slowly, or not at all? We prayed and prayed and prayed some more.
Those first few years were a mixture of joy and sorrow, triumph and tribulation. Early on, we decided that Master Hand Grenade was going to learn to function as a productive member of society. It was going to be harder for him than for "normal" children, but he would just have to learn to overcome. We taught him to communicate through sign language so that we could talk to him and he could talk to us. When we figured out that he could hear (a little anyway), we taught him to always be close enough to the house to hear the dinner bell when we rang it. We had him repeat our instructions back to us so that we could be certain that he understood what we expected of him. We gave him chores and responsibility and expected him to complete his tasks, even if he had to develop an unconventional method to accomplish his duties. We forced him (even when it was hard) to push past his comfort zone and do things that were hard for him just so that he knew he could.
Over the years Hand Grenade has grown from a challenged little boy into a competent young man. He doesn't always do things in a conventional manner, but he always gets things done. He doesn't hear very well, but he pays attention, repeats instructions and asks people to speak up. He doesn't move like every other 18 year old man, but he is fast and steady and strong as an ox. What he lacks in motor skills and hearing he more than makes up for in determination and ingenuity. Although not like everyone else, Hand Grenade is a young man to be proud of.
And now a new chapter has begun for our son. Having finished high school, Master Hand Grenade turned his mind toward his future. Knowing that Hand Grenade wanted to become a butcher, our friend Patrice put in a good word for him with our regional mobile butcher. After numerous phone conversations and visits to the butcher shop, Master Hand Grenade secured a job. Beginning tomorrow, Hand Grenade will be training to be a butcher, doing everything from killing, gutting and skinning the animal to cutting and wrapping meat and curing bacon and hams and making sausage. He will be learning to be a butcher from the ground up. Master Hand Grenade is taking the first step into his future.
|The one requirement for Hand Grenade's job - rubber boots|
|Gathered around table to celebrate our son|
We gathered for a lovely afternoon tea to celebrate Hand Grenade's new chapter in life. We indulged in (Quick) Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls and English Breakfast tea. The recipe is quick and yummy - but you might want to cut the filling recipe in half - very sweet!
(Quick) Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls
For the filling:
3/4 C brown sugar (packed)
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. salt
1 T butter, melted
For the dough:
3 C flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C buttermilk (or sweet milk with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)
6 T butter, melted
1/3 C maple syrup
For the Icing:
2 T butter, softened
3 T maple syrup
2 tsp. milk
1 C confectioners sugar
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9" inch round cake pan with melted butter. Set aside.
For the filling: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is moistened.
For the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. Add the buttermilk, melted butter and maple syrup. Stir well. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead just until smooth. Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover and chill for 20 minutes.
After chilled, roll into a 12x8 inch rectangle. Spread with softened or melted butter. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch border. Press the filling into the dough.
Roll the dough, from the long side, pinch the seam close. Cut into 8 even pieces and transfer into the prepared cake pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For the icing: Cream the butter and add the sugar. Mix until the sugar and butter combine a bit. Add the syrup and whisk well. If it is too thick, add the milk until it is your desired consistency.
Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then pour icing over the top. Serve while warm.
NOTE: I doubled this recipe and put in a larger rectangle pan. I also mixed up the icing and served it in a bowl so that people could choose to smooth icing or butter over their warm rolls. In the future, I would cut the filling recipe in half, they would be plenty sweet. Also, I added about 1 1/2 tsp. maple extract to the icing, just to amp up the flavor.