The Amazon Trail

Cheeseburger Pie

By Lee Lynch

Lee Lynch by Sue Hardesty

The threat of atomic war overshadowed my generation. On May 8, 1945, Winston Churchill announced VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe. On September 2, 1945, after horrendous destruction, Japan formally surrendered, ending the war throughout the rest of the world. I was born September 9, 1945 into a world free of war and ready for freedom and prosperity.
Yet the New York City school system issued “dog tags” to every student so we could be identified in case the devastation we wreaked on Japan came back to bite the U.S.A.. This possibility was very real to us as we cowered under our desks or in hallways during bombing drills. We knew to instantly act when told to “Take cover,” much as the British knew to go to the Underground when German planes invaded.
We Victory babies (in between the Great Generation and the Baby Boomers) were unanticipated casualties of August 6 and 9, 1945, when the United States attacked Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a decimating new weapon. While our parents celebrated, many of us grew up certain only of our vulnerability. Russia became our big bugaboo and we were taught paranoia along with our ABCs.
It’s no surprise that so many us born into an ostensibly free world have spent our lives enduring anxiety, depression and other mental health byproducts of post war childhoods. I was in the U.S.—what did those bombs do to kids who lived through bombardments and with maimed or widowed parents? Exploding atom bombs. The images burned into American and European brains. Burned onto Asian flesh. Black and white newsreels of bombers dropping their payloads were proudly projected in American theaters and later, piped into our homes on TVs.
As the Victory babies grew, our battered parents prospered in the 1950s, but lived with nightmares of breadlines and rationing, combat and the separation of families. My father returned from West Africa and Europe with recurrent bouts of malaria. My mother and brother moved in with her parents, people who never did recover from the Depression.
By the time the babies of the Great Generation were in high school those of us not mired in poverty jumped either of two ways. Some thought eradicating Communists would give us the safety we’d been promised. Others decided stopping all war was possible. As a result, today we have underserved veterans missing limbs, paralyzed and/or disabled from exposure to, among other poisons, Agent Orange. And we have retired civilians exhausted, but still fighting the good fight against fighting.
The victorious parents were introduced to little white pills called tranquilizers or indulged in serious cocktail hours, or both. Now, little white pills are out of favor with the medical profession, although alcohol, and increasingly, marijuana, remain acceptable buffers to the disappointments of our high ideals. Therapy, OMG therapy—behavioral, cognitive, group, gestalt, alcohol and drug, family—has provided both succor and/or employment for countless of our troubled ilk. My sweetheart’s generation was encouraged to stay healthy with “Pop a Chocks!” multivitamin pills. More modern scientists try to quell our inescapable fears with a new class of pills called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), Tricyclic antidepressants, and other gobbledygook-named magic potions.
None of the above resolve a thing, of course. They only make bearable terror of annihilation. They only make functional so many who are hindered by chronic gloom and unremitting apprehension. President Obama has led the U.S. away from the concept of all out war, much to the chagrin of the industries that feed off mass combat. Now we send out drones and Special Forces to accomplish with better accuracy what atom bombs failed to do.
We’re not fighting for peace any more, we’re fighting for security. Bottom line: we’re still fighting. Therapy and pills may help us cope, but neither end war nor bring victory. With help, we settle for security.
Or as much security as is available on this belligerent planet. Food is certainly a part of security. With that in mind, I offer my Sweetheart’s recipe for Cheeseburger Pie as a substitute for big pharma balms and military battles.

3 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups Bisquick
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
3 medium to large finely chopped onions (butches, or weepy femmes, can substitute half a cup dried minced onion—it’s just not as good).

Heat oven to 400 degrees
Cook beef on medium high.
While that is cooking grate one pound sharp cheddar cheese.
Next, combine Bisquick, eggs and milk and whisk, whisk, whisk.
When the beef/onion completes browning (about 10 minutes), place in a large oblong baking dish, sprinkle with salt, cover with cheese, and pour the whisked liquid over the top of the cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes – makes 12 servings.

Then, fortified, perk up, go out, and do good in the world! We’ve gotta keep trying.
Copyright Lee Lynch 2016

4 Responses to “The Amazon Trail”

  1. 1 Devlyn March 15, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    Lee, thanks for your heartfelt and educational blog, as an ex service person this topic resonated with me and I find it fascinating yet depressing how many people have been affected by wars and its associated effects. Bless you and all those affected by the horrors of wars. I’m just glad I have so many lesfic books that deal with happiness to keep my mind off of other things.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 2 Lee Lynch March 18, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    Thanks for your comments, Devlyn. I hope your service was in peacetime, if there is such a condition anymore.


  3. 3 S.A. March 21, 2016 at 1:40 PM

    Wonderful, insightful blog as usual, Lee! I was born in the late ’70s, and it’s always educational to see the wars and other trials of the mid-1900s through the eyes of those closer to them.


    • 4 Linda March 22, 2016 at 7:24 PM

      Wonderful, Lee! I was born 5 months after the US entered WWII. Even though I was young, I still have some very clear memories of the last year of the war. I remember the black drapes over the windows at night, and the red and blue food ration coins. I vividly remember once my mother gave me a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. She patted my head and told me not to worry, that “Daddy will get us some meat tomorrow.” And VJ Day! It was night here on the East Coast when the treaty was signed and my dad woke me up, put me on his shoulders, and took me out to the street where the whole neighborhood was dancing and celebrating. I was so excited—it was the first time I had ever seen street lights on at night.
      And much later, I remember my uncles coming home. One from Europe and the Battle of the Bulge—my godfather who named me and whom I loved dearly until he could not bare to live any longer. Two others from the Pacific Theater. One survived the deadly march from Corregidor and the other, the invasion of Japan. A somberness followed them for the rest of their lives. Then, almost without hesitation, the Korean War was upon us and the younger uncles were off to war. I was old enough then to understand, and the duck and cover drills were terrifying.
      The tragedies and wars never seem to stop. I’ll try the Cheeseburger Pie panacea after the holiday.


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