The Secret Salve of Sunday Sauce

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It begins with a wild rush, a whirlwind of frenzied activity.

You might not realize it at first. After all, the pace you set as you collect the necessary essentials can be as leisurely as you desire.

But once you make the commitment to start, you’re on the clock. And it’s a fast clock. A very fast clock.

Chopping and dicing. Dicing and chopping. Opening cans. Pouring contents. Mixing water. Adding spices. (In precise amounts). And you have to do these before the concoction reaches its boiling point.

The succession of activities must be quick, lest you burn, overcook, or merely miss the opportune window for executing the next step.

And the hurriedness doesn’t end when the boiling starts. No. You must carefully monitor the temperature. The boil can’t be ended abruptly. You have to bring it down to a simmer in measured stages.

Even that pace remains hectic. At least it seems that way. Probably because, for several anxious minutes, you’re worried you might be going too fast – or too slow. One slip and you’ll prematurely harden the still solid goo, allowing it to stick too close to the heat. In that moment, your hard work will be lost.

Still, once you’re over that hump, that terrible, malicious peak of fury, you can rest easy.

Actually, this isn’t a recommendation, it’s a requirement. For to realize the true beauty of your creation, you must sit, relax, and enjoy the day.

Oh, and be sure to get up every ten minutes to stir the pan.

There’s something soothing about Sunday Sauce. Sure, it starts with a boil as a vast brew of separate and distinct ingredients are poured into a voluminous pot.

But the secret comes in what happens after the excited mass confusion of the quick boil. It comes in the simmering hours as all the different component elements mix together.

It’s a slow process. A deliberative procedure.

And, within that course emerges the secret salve of Sunday Sauce.

Where are you today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? Why aren’t you there now? What’s holding you back? How can you overcome those obstacles and get to the place you what to be?

You are no different than anyone else. We all have those same questions.

Here’s the odd thing. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, what you’ve already accomplished, or how many recognition awards you’ve accumulated. If you’re like every other red-blooded rugged individualist, you’ll continue to ask those very same questions.

And that’s OK.

In fact, it’s downright admirable. Wouldn’t it be great if all citizens had that same motivation, enthusiasm, and ambition as you?

There’s a word that describes this psyche: excelsior!

It’s a Latin word meaning “ever upward.” It’s the motto of New York State. Or at least it used to be. Time was when The Empire State truly lived up to its name. When it relied on nothing and no one except the wits of its own citizens. When it could do whatever it dreamed.

You, however, refuse to rest on your laurels. That’s why you ask those questions. All the time.

You are the living embodiment of excelsior!

Here’s the thing: You can’t say “excelsior!” without adding the exclamation point. It’s a perpetual feeling. It drives you from one mountain top to another. It’s the impetus behind the never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.

And so is it any wonder that you get frustrated when you can’t move to the next level? When someone or something holds you back.?

It could be your Debbie Downer social media “friends.” It could be the non-stop negativity on the nightly news. It could even be a state that has morphed from the ideal of empire building to the tyranny of emperor building.

Will it stop you?

No.

Has it ever stopped you?

No.

That is what makes you a rugged individual. That’s what impels you forward, “ever upward,” ever reaching for that unreachable star.

It’s what makes you great, it’s what makes your community great, it’s what makes our country great.

And the more you share your spirit, the greater our lives become. Even for the Debbie Downers, for they can now afford the luxury of the snarking pessimism.

And you don’t mind them.

Why?

Because you control your own destiny. You choose your own path. You build your own empire.

No one tells you what to do. No one tells you what not to do. No one can unilaterally declare whether you are “essential” or not.

You will never accept someone demanding to “see your papers,” some existential proof of your own essence.

You are rugged. You are an individual. Like a tall tree. Sometimes standing alone towering above a grassy prairie. Sometimes standing among others in a grove of fertile peers.

And there’s no holding you back.

Only you can do that. Only you decide when to ease up on the throttle. Only you choose when it’s time to rest and relax.

And that’s when it’s time to make Sunday Sauce.

One last rush to create. One last burst of energy. One last deliberate calculation.

Then you sit back, relax, and enjoy the sweet savory smells of the slow-cooking soup of tomatoes and spices.

Your mouth waters as you taste the aroma. You close your eyes. You dream. You dream of the next mountain. But you dream.

For hours.

It’s hours of rest and relaxation. You’ve earned it.

And your country thanks you.

Your community thanks you.

And, most important to your heart, your family thanks you.

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