Bar None friend, local historian, and farm maintenance consultant.   Lives across the way, his 10 acres immaculately kept by him alone.  Big garden, fruit trees, the works.  That’s Carl Seiroe.  We help him celebrate his 85th birthday today.  He’s been in the house since the sixties, and widowed for the last 10+ years.  He’s now a father figure to me, something we’re both completely comfortable with.  A wealth of experience and good advice.  I, unlike most of today’s generations X & Y, still respect my elders and accord him the utmost.

When growing up in Central Illinois my neighbor was Odessa “Dessie” Dussler.  She passed in 1979 at age 104, outliving husband Tom by 38 years.   One of my most treasured possessions is the quilt she made me while I was in the Navy.  Made of my old elementary school shirts and childhood bedsheets.  Even today a glance at it thrusts me back to that time of youthful wonder.  As a lad I would sit on her porch swing and listen to tales of a world both wonderful and terrible.  No cars, no electricity, no public health, no running water.  Her grandfather was living when Thomas Jefferson was President.  Every single day was a challenge.  And every day rewarded with the happiness of simplicity.

Both Carl and Dessie, bless their years, exhibited similar eating habits.  Like a bird.  A single piece of toast and egg for breakfast, sparse lunch, and light meal before early retiring.  The routine well rehearsed and well lived.  I could do another story titled “Don’t Sleep Old People” but the reduction in nighttime sleep among the aged is well documented.

Prompting today’s column is my own ebb and flow in appetite.  Still 3 months shy of my 57th birthday I’m noticing trends.  Moderation might best describe.  I used to pride myself in being able to attack the hottest of chile peppers, take a bite right out of a habanero to show my prowess.  Now I might throw a single pod into a big pot and that is just right.  I’ve noticed my portion sizes shrinking too.  Was it only 3 years ago that the Upstream Brewing Company named a signature burger after me?  Still the same passion and expertise in the kitchen, just don’t need as big of a plate anymore.

Simple rhythms right in tune with my time and place.  Less and less concerned with technological advances and pop culture and fighting my positions.  Enjoying each sunrise and sunset for the gifts they are.

The less I need the more I have.

Respect your elders, don’t eat them.


*originally appeared in RGS, November 2011.
Will Burger

Amount Measure Ingredient
——– ———— ——————————–
1 pound ground chuck
2 ounces capicola
2 ounces mortadella
4 ounces monterey jack cheese
4 ounces spanish onion
2 ounces tempura batter mix
5 ounces french bread
1 ounce fresh tomato
1/2 ounce green leaf lettuce
1 ounce red onion
1 ounce mayonnaise
1/2 ounce stone ground mustard
1 ounce green olive
1/2 ounce cherry pepper
1/16 ounce extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces french fries
pinch teaspoon salt
pinch teaspoon black pepper

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 3055 Calories; 191g Fat (57.3%
calories from fat); 151g Protein; 169g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber;
510mg Cholesterol; 4888mg Sodium. Exchanges: 10 Grain(Starch); 18 1/2
Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 25 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.