I have a friend with an adult child going through some legal problems. After speaking to her at some length last week, I was reminded of an experience I had about fifteen years ago with another friend going through a similar situation. Her son, just legal age, was in jail for possession of drug paraphernalia. Struggling through high school with his addiction, this was not a new situation for the family. Actually his arrest was by way of a relief because at least if he was behind bars he wouldn’t be using. At least, I believe that’s how our penal system is supposed to function. As with many government agencies and officials, what they’re supposed to be doing and what they’re actually doing are often totally different programs. From what I was told later he managed to locate a supplier inside the jail eliminating the need to shop elsewhere for his drugs. How terribly convenient.
At any rate my friend needing moral support her husband washing his hands of the whole matter, asked if I would accompany her to her first jail visit with her son. Let me preface this by saying being “locked up”, if you will, would be the worst imaginable punishment for me. Besides being totally claustrophobic, from what I’ve heard the people you’d be cohabiting with most possibly wouldn’t have your best interests in mind. I’m a lover not a fighter and I’m sure they’d see powder puff scribbled across my forehead before I’d changed into my orange jumpsuit. Much against my better judgment, I signed up to go with her. You don’t let a friend face a crisis alone simply because you have feathers and a beak. The following Friday she picked me up an hour prior to visiting hours. On the trip she explained what would happen when we got there so we’d have some idea of what to expect. Words like hoosegow, club fed, big house, slammer, and the joint kept floating through my mind. Palms sweating I could picture a warden with a southern drawl telling me “what we have here a failure to communicate”, while shooting a perfect bullseye of chewing tobacco into the spittoon next to his desk.
The jail itself was composed of a number of drab buildings made ominous by being surrounded on all sides by a peripheral gate with barbed wire strung along the top. Guard towers rose above the roofs of the buildings and armed guards could be seen moving behind the glass. Oh-oh. We followed the arrows towards the main lobby. Inside we found four uniformed officers and about twenty people either seated along the wall or standing talking to one another. Some of the women, to reference an old southern quote, looked to have been “rode hard and put up wet”. Life had obviously weighed hard on them and I had a feeling this wasn’t the first time they’d found themselves sitting on the hard lobby benches. Heavy makeup, low cut tee’s and full body tattoos seemed to be the dress of the day. Obviously we hadn’t gotten the memo. We stood out like a red dress in a convent. At the counter we had to fill out some paperwork and show identification. At the visiting time we were instructed to put our belongings in a tray and walk through the metal detector before entering the interior room. Perhaps this was in case we were “carrying”. How exciting. The only thing I was carrying was a tin of Altoids, my wallet, a lipstick and my hair brush. I suppose I could have used the hair brush as a weapon, or perhaps threatened to make them eat the entire box of Altoids at one sitting temporarily reducing their air flow. At any rate, we waited with the others trying not to establish eye contact with anyone. Silently I was wishing I’d worn my “Born to Be Bad” sweatshirt I’d gotten at the Runaways concert. Who knew?
A guard announced it was visiting time and we lined up as told. My friend and I lingered towards the back trying to go unnoticed. One by one people were scanned and passed through the waiting room. I placed my items in the tray and walked under the frame of the metal detector. Lights blinked and buzzers sounded. Everybody turned to look at me. What? It’s a hair brush I swear. Next they pulled me to one side and the wand was waved over me so many times I thought perhaps the pumpkin had turned into a carriage and my prince was waiting outside the palace for me. Removing everything but my clothing and skin, still the buzzers went off.
Finally, unable to proceed a matron, easily over six feet with a pony tail so tight she appeared to be wearing a perpetual grin, escorted me to a side room and closed the door. I was asked to remove my shirt. At this juncture I began looking for an available escape route. One more scan of my upper torso confirmed the suspicion, not voiced to me, the under wire in my bra was setting off the machine. Really? Just as a thought, perhaps you could have asked me if I was wearing such an item prior to asking me to disrobe. Aside from that I couldn’t believe I was the only female in the entire group with an under wire? Leave it to me. I should have read up on prison chic. When I came out with the woman buttoning my shirt I couldn’t have gotten more attention if I’d been wearing a pig on my head. All eyes turned in my direction. Explaining the situation to my friend she started laughing and continued to laugh through the entire visit with her son. Very un-friendlike behavior if you ask me.
Determining I wasn’t the criminal mastermind they’d originally suspected me to be, I was let in with the others to the meeting room. Shortly the prisoners arrived making their way towards familiar faces, with my friends son waving at us. At one table a man and woman were making out on such a level that a guard came over and separated them with his baton. For the most part though the conversation was low, occasionally accented with laughter and once an argument broke out between a man and his lady necessitating her removal from the area. I kept my head low and listened to the exchange between my friend and her son. He needed money, she said she would leave some for him. Much the same conversation that landed him there in the first place I would guess.
So, that was my close call with incarceration. I was so glad to get outside and in the car. For sure, I’m not destined for a life of crime, aside from the fact I seem to have the look for it.
My other half asked me to experiment with Kataifi, basically shredded filo dough. Having never used it before it was indeed an experiment. It wasn’t as beautiful perhaps as it could have been but the end result was gooey and delicious and how interesting it looked on the plate. Going to try it again to make birds nests on Easter. Yum. I couldn’t find the dough locally but as with most things, I found it on Amazon.
1 lb. Kataifi dough (thawed for 2 hours on counter)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup ground walnuts
2 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. brandy
1 egg white
2 cups water
2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2″ lemon rind strip
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix nuts with 1/2 cup caster sugar, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. ground in medium mixing bowl. Note: If you can’t find caster sugar, place sugar in food processor and pulse until fine consistency. Add brandy and lightly mixed egg white to nut mixture. Mix well to form a paste.
Separate into eight portions. Roll each portion into cigar shapes about 7″ long.
Spray a cookie sheet generously with cooking spray.
Lay out pastry strands lengthwise. Taking 1/8 of the strands at a time lay them out in front of you close together facing away from you lengthwise. Brush with melted butter. Place 1 cigar shaped nut piece on the end closest to you and roll up as tightly a possible. Place on cooking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces.
Once all rolls are on baking sheet brush again with melted butter. Place in oven and bake until golden brown, about 55 mins.
While rolls are baking place 2 cups water in medium saucepan. Add 2 cups caster sugar and mix well. Stirring constantly over low heat cook until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice, lemon rind, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves, and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon to mixture. Bring to boil over med. heat and continue boiling for 10 mins. Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp. honey. Allow to cool completely.
Immediately on taking browned rolls out of oven pour cooled mixture over top. Allow to cool completely then cut each roll into four pieces.