Joy to the World

By Thomas Glassel

Tom Glassel reads this essay at our South Madison Story Night, November 13, 2012.

Tom Glassel reads this essay at our South Madison Story Night, November 13, 2012.

Joy, What is it? Elation? Freedom? Happiness? Abundance? Peace? Equality? Fraternity? Rapture?

What are some examples of Joy? Perhaps winning at the race track or lottery or Bingo…Perhaps it could be a winning bid for a major contract to rebuild a historic district in the downtown area… Perhaps it was the feeling of victory to eventually come after the Dolittle Raid launched from aircraft carriers on Tokyo in 1942 just a few months after Pearl Harbor… Perhaps tasting your favorite Pizza from a High School joint after 25 years absence…

A feeling of Joy could be experienced during World War II if you were able to get through the month with a few ration coupons for food or gas left over. I remember a great feeling of joy when I was able to pull my small wagon full of old pots and pans and newspapers to the local junk yard for use in the war effort.

When was the last time there was true Joy In the World? This would be a great topic for one of those Top 10 skits on the Dave Letterman Show…Lets try one.

Number 10 of the top joyful moments experienced in the past few years would be the resignation of Richard Nixon…Number 9 the demise of the Chevy Corvair automobile… Number 8 the demise of the Yugo automobile..Number 7 the tearing down of the Berlin Wall…Number 6 the irony that O J Simpson is finally spending time in jail on a totally unrelated charge of robbery…Number 5 the diagnosis from the doctor that the Brain tumor is not cancerous….Number 4 Badger Football team went to the Rose Bowl… Number 3 Packers earned a trip to the Super Bowl and won… Number 2 Osama Bin Laden was killed in his apartment.. and THE Number 1 joyous occasion was when Barak Obama was re-elected President.

Joy could be gained and expressed in so many ways depending on your cultural background or time frame in history. It could be a new pair of roller skates from the 1950s or an updated IPod in 2012…or a steel plow in 1890 or a Stanley Steamer in 1923.

Joy can be a state of mind…and could be a state of Happiness extending for hours or even days. Joy is usually more easily sustained if your glass is one half full vs. the person with the one half empty glass. Joy is having your oil tank in the basement showing 275 gallons or full tank of Propane next to the house. Joy could be a muskie on the line or a cake in the oven…

Speaking of cake, one of my most joyous moments was tasting my first birthday cake. It went by the name of Hot Milk Cake or Lazy Daisy cake or Lightning Cake (perhaps so named because it could be made in a flash).

It started with 3 eggs whipped for 3 minutes until thick and creamy yellow. To this add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 cup of flour, one TBLS baking powder, and  one quarter TBLS salt.

Stir with fork until all blended, then add one half cup of warm milk with two TBLS butter melted in the milk. This will form a thin batter…do not thicken. Pour batter into a buttered cake pan 11 by 8 inches. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes…cake will rise and turn light brown on top. Do not over bake. The middle of the cake might even jiggle a bit.

Frosting is most important part… One half cup brown sugar, 3 TBLS butter, one half cup chopped walnuts and brought to a simmer with the gradual addition of 2-3-4 TBLS of milk until the milk evaporates and sugar starts to carmelize. Not precise but should end up with almost ¾ cup of melted sugar that is scraped out of the skillet to pour over the cooled cake…care must be taken as the sugar mixture can harden quickly. Some people add one half cup of shredded coconut to the sugar mixture…some put this whole cake with frosting under the broiler for 2 minutes…

Well that just about describes some of the ways joy can be and has been experienced in our very busy days. Joy is a basic human emotion that must be sought out and repeated over and over for the most beneficial results leading to a healthy long life.

November 12, 2012


About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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