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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Banking Time: neighbors helping neighbors



You might have heard about Time Banks. Our town has begun to talk about creating one. Not the whole town, but a group of us, four women, one man. We met at the library, a central meeting point, a clean, well-lighted place.

The five of us are all retired, living far from our extended families. Some still travel a lot. Some  are still  in great health. But, we know neighbors who need help getting to doctors or pharmacies out of town.  We have had our share of emergencies, and were it not for a good samaritan, we could not survive.

The discussion went on for a couple of hours. We decided that we could run a pilot program with just the five people present, with few steps, such as  exchanging phone numbers and email, and writing down a list of jobs we were willing to do for others. The usual stuff: driving, running errands, cleaning up yards, garages, taking stuff to the dump, trimming trees.  I volunteered my gourmet cooking skills.

I bet none of you in Blogland guessed that I have such an amazing set of skills.

Neither did I.
Swear!

I thought I was a normal, average cook. Who knew? A couple of parties later, I've been designated the official gourmet cook in town. They bid $60 at a library silent action, for one of my gourmet meals.  Imagine how that went to my head! I demanded Le Crouset pots in my kitchen, and a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Now, with such a title, I feel compelled to prepare meals I only dreamed about. It does help that I'm retired, have traveled and have frequented great eating places. 



O.k. So, I'm willing to cook for others now and then, banking two hours or so for each event. (Frankly, I would do it for free, just to feel so needed!)

I'll let you know how this goes.

I'm telling my husband not to expect his jobs to be done with my banking hours. I'm trading for my self on this one.

I'm off to cook for my son(s)  down in California. For a week, my nubile son will host his mom and dad in his newly purchased house in need of a woman's touch, and I will be buzzing around making suggestions for this and that. We'll have the traditional Turkey Dinner at Thanksgiving, and the traditional Ham Dinner a couple of days later, making enough food for a crowd of friends who might come over and watch football. I will eat one serving, then rush over to my favorite digs in L.A. filling up on stuff I can't make at home.

When in California, it's In-and-Out Burgers. There is a joint every few miles. I could do a midnight run.

Forget the home-grown veggies, the freshly caught fish grilled on applewood and pearwood, gently pruned and seasoned for these meals, year after year.  Even the sage, the lavender, thyme and rosemary were picked fresh from the front yard. The lemon tree growing indoors contributed its fruit too, never sprayed, watered from the basin each time, gently nourished and appreciated.

In Oregon, we have always been GREEN.

When in Oregon, it's Fish and Chips at Crazy Norwegian's, right here in Port Orford, not a chain, a one of a kind establishment, right on the highway. You can't miss it.

44 comments:

Renee said...

I am not surprised. For some reason I thought you were a good cook already.

Now I want you to cook for me.

This is a wonderful thing that you are doing. I love Rosaria how you are always giving back.

Love Renee xoxo

m. heart said...

Wow, what a lovely idea this is. Lately about how I'm going to need to become a lot more involved in my community soon, to have some connection to other people. This post makes me feel like it may be possible.

Eva Gallant said...

What a wonderful idea!

I wish I had known about the Crazy Norwegians when I was in Oregon a couple of months ago!

RNSANE said...

I think this is such a great idea, not just in small communities, but everywhere - the need is definitely there. So many people, especially the elderly live far from their children and are pretty helpless. Now that I'm retired, I, too have a little time on my hands ( if I tear myself away from the computer! ).

Sheila said...

Hearty applause for the banking time concept and I hope it grows exponentially for and from your 5. Too bad though communities don't just naturally flow that way these days and it has to be something 'organized' and keep records and an accounting for. Wouldn't it be NICE if we all really did just live by the 'Golden Rule'? Oh, and you could pay the doc with a fat hen or eggs or produce. When I'm in charge of the world... (tee hee)

Wander to the Wayside said...

I was already in awe at all the thing's you have your hands in, and now you've added Time Banks (which I've never heard of) and gourmet cooking!

Enjoy the visit with your son, and your In-and-Out Burgers.

ds said...

What a great idea. Lucky are the folks who will get meals from you. I salivate over the freshly caught grilled fish with herbs--but I love the fish n' chips too, so long as there are newspaper and malt vinegar involved (one has to have standards ;-) ) Happy cooking!

Beth said...

You should come to Georgia and team up with my husband. He has mad cooking skills, too! Have fun cooking and visiting with family.

Gran said...

What a super idea. And have a wonderful holiday with your family.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a terrific idea!!! Banking hours!! I love it!!! You are such an inspiration!!! And YES!!! I DO BELIEVE you are a gourmet!!! Sigh...Oregon is so beautiful...Simply gorgeous country you have! Have a wonderful trip to CA, and hurry home...we'll miss you!!! ~Janine XO

Brian Miller said...

very cool idea, which i imagine would do well in this economy. have a great trip! have an in and out burger for me!

Helen said...

Well, Ms. Rosaria .... I hope you have seen Julie & Julia because you are sounding a lot like Ms. Childs herself!
Bon Appetite ......

Helen said...

.... pardonne moi ... I meant to say bon appetit ....

potsoc said...

Have a nice trip.

Sandi McBride said...

I love this idea of time banking and had read of it before...please do let us know how it goes, maybe we could start one up here! I know what you mean about foods you don't get too often! I miss the fish and chips shop in our village of Beaconsfield from when we lived in England...I can't make myself eat ketchup on fries, vinegar for me! But Authentic Fish and Chips...yes, I would be making midnight runs, too!
Sandi

Alok said...

Have a safe trip and Happy Thanksgiving!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I live in California, there are some amazing herbs and ingredients here, I can assure you. The salmon sucks! I think you are amazing, what a wonderful approach. Of course, I want to hear more, when you have the time.

♥ Braja said...

If all those are vegetarian, I'm in :))

Dave King said...

No, I hadn't heard, but it sounds like a great idea. Hope it works out for you.

NitWit1 said...

Groups like yours keep us out of nursing and assisted living homes longer.

I'll be following with interest you gourmet cooking skills, of which I have absolutely none.

Dedene said...

I'm glad that Oregonians are still concerned about the environment and helping each other out. This was always the case when I was growing up there.
I'm sure you're a fantastic cook!

Tom Bailey said...

There is a high level of satisfaction I see people getting when it comes to cooking meals.

I am vegan but reading the words In N Out Burger still makes my mouth water.

Cooking silent auctions is a great idea!

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

i love the concept of time banks! yes i do!

i hope you have a lovely time with your son and a wonderful thanksgiving. safe, safe travels.

i'll be back :)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I agree with Renee, I somehow figured you had to be a great cook! Maybe it's the Italian heritage?! :-)
You are doing a wonderful thing, Rosario - and I think the idea you and your friends have put together is totally brilliant!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

If your son wants to do the floors , he can e-mail me with any questions. I would be glad to help. Thanks

Becky at Abbey Style said...

Love the idea of a time bank! Hope it goes well and you'll tell us more. Besides being a great cook, you're also great at writing. Loved this story.

Reya Mellicker said...

This is a great post! So you like to cook, and you're damn good at it, too. All hail to the chef!!

Have a lovely time in California, Rosaria. You are my hero.

Marguerite said...

What a great idea and a wonderful way to help others! Bon Voyage!

Gaston Studio said...

Have not heard of Time Banks but what a wonderful idea... and I would expect you to be a charter member!

Have a wonderful time.

NitWit1 said...

This sounds like a very good idea, even though I am a little confused how it works.

I helped organize a phone calling service for persons living alone. Its concept is relatively simple.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I think I want to hang out with you. If not for the cooking, then the In and Out burger runs....

When I visit family In LA, it is In and Out burgers, Mexican food, and Jewish deli.

BTW. I am featuring you in my sidebar this week. That's how much I love discovering your blog.

Lori ann said...

How wonderful. time banking is a great idea. I hope your 5 grows to include many many more.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your sons.

Nancy said...

This sounds like a terrific idea. Please keep us posted. As for the cooking - what better way to feel needed, nurtured, and creative? And even though I am trying to go veggie - I love In and Out Burgers.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I can picture you in the kitchen. Have a great trip and visit with you son. The idea of Banking Time seems something that could be quite valuable - giving of yourself to create a community for all to remain independent. I like it.

Tiffany Norris said...

Sounds delightful!

Man of Roma said...

I didn't know about this Time Banks thing. It seems great to me. I'm writing now an email to my wife telling her about it. I saw it is a big social change movement present in 22 countries. Thanks for the information Rosaria. Your sense if community is greater than the one we have here.

potsoc said...

Time banks, Time Dollars, Baby sitting time sharing, very commendable initiatives. Do you also have volunteer community services such as Meals on Wheels or medical appointments accompaniments?
In Canada, we have such services provided by volunteers under supervision of subsudized Volunteer Services Centers. I used to be part of one until we moved to the city...and tired more easily.

Wine and Words said...

What happened with your cooking is exactly what happened with my writing. Didn't know I was a writer...swear! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I know there is only so much time to spend in blogdom and I appreciate the time spent with me! Nice to know you.

Margo said...

what a great and inspirational undertaking! Your small community sounds wonderful and it makes me want to move to Oregon. (around here "they" say to never, never make a great potato salad and make the mistake of taking it to a party - you'll be the one where in your absence everyone will say, "oh, rosaria will bring the potato salad."

lakeviewer said...

Hi friends. Thanks for stopping by. Time Banks are all over the nation, and you can get information on the web. We have many volunteer organizations already in this town. This piece would add an additional dimension, not a charity, but a parity, a give and take organization.

I gave the impression that I cook elaborate meals all the time. No. Seldom. I grew up with few resources. I learned to cook by helping mother take this and that and combine what was available for a delactable repast.

This and that were things we had around the house, pasta, tomatoes, hot peppers, conserved and pickled vegetables. If you cook from a recipe, purchase ingredients listed in a book, you have no idea what I mean.

Cooking for others is not something I relish to do. It will take adjustments, to make sure what is prepared is what's expected. I learned to cook American fare to please my husband's midwestern tastes. The only cookbook I owned for years was Betty Crocker's, from which I learned to make Chicken and Dumplings, Pot Roast, Macaroni and Cheese Casserole.

I worked long hours. My meals were pre-planned and pre-cooked over weekends. Many times, I would combine things for a casserole, and leave instructions for my eldest to start the meal for the family.

As my children grew, they had set routines to help get a meal on the table. Now, they all know how to cook and invent meals the way their mother did.

Our move to Oregon changed my attitude. Now, I look forward to eating out meals that I wouldn't know how to prepare well at home, such as crisp fish and chips. Our coastal chefs are incomparable in this area.

For really fancy fare, we take a couple trips every year down to Napa-Sonoma, an area in California known for their famous restaurants and wineries. We go to restaurants to eat complex productions, dishes I would never attempt to prepare at home, even with the help of Julia Child's cookbooks.

Enjoy your holidays. I may drop in now and then.

Renee said...

Again, I want you to cook for me.

My Mom was a total anti-50s housewife. I am ashamed to admit I use to wish she would be like them. har har

Love Renee xoxo

Natalie said...

I agree with Renee, I already felt you were a great cook too! Congratulations,Rosaria, that would just excite the pants off me. :D

Merisi said...

Reading this post was truly uplifting, know there are such wonderful people out there is a great comfort.

I hope Gourmet Magazine does not stop publication by year's end, otherwise you'd have to find a different subscription! Maybe Saveur?

justsoyouknow said...

I though this post is all about financial and
wealth management stuff lol. Deceiving title :)