Fruit cakes and more!

By Don Rush

Fruit cake, fruit cake, fruit cake.

I can’t get away from fruit cakes – and I am not talking about the nutjobs who pop up once in a while to complain about what I’ve opined on. I’m talking about fruit cakes, the holiday sweet treat.

I made one little disparaging remark way back in December about fruit cake and you would have thought I said something mean like, “wearing a mask was a waste of time,” or that your dog is ugly. I can’t go anywhere without someone bringing fruit cake up to me.


The other day I was dining in a local restaurant and a couple from Goodrich approached my table and sat down across from me.

“We read your column about fruit cake,” Jennifer S., said. “We like fruit cake.”

Jennifer’s husband, Terry said, “After reading your column and learning Neiman’s Family Market makes their own fruit cake we went to Clarkston and bought some.”

They also went to another grocery store in Clarkston and bought some “mass produced” fruit cake to compare.

“The other store’s fruit cake was okay,” Jennifer admitted.

“But,” Terry interjected, “You could tell Neiman’s was made with love.”

“You should try it before saying bad things about fruit cake,” Jennifer finished and then they got up from the table were gone.

Sometime after, I went to Neiman’s myself to grocery shop and much to my surprise owner Nate Neiman had left me a care package – you guessed it, a fruit cake. Since it was free to me as a gift, I took it. When I got home I opened up the tin and cut a piece off to try a “polite” bite. (Polite bites are something we taught our sons to do when they first had to try pickled herring at their grandmother’s home.) Can’t lie. By the end of the weekend, all by myself, I had finished said fruit cake. Gone. Nary a crumb left was to be found and the mice were sad.

So . . .

. . . I apologize to all the fruit cakes out there I may have offended by my words. I promise never (ever) to poke fun of, or trash talk about fruit cake again.

Man. Change is hard.

* * *

But, change is something I wanted to attempt this year. You know, I really wanted to be nicer in 2023 than I was in 2022. I wanted to be Donny Sunshine and Unicorns versus Donny Downer, but Jimminy Christmas, I just received my utility bill for December’s electric and gas usage. Gulp. To say I was mortified would be an understatement. I was angry and scared for what the rest of the winter’s utility bills could be based on the latest.

I am not an idgit. I read, listen and watch the news, so I knew energy costs were going to go up “as much as 35 percent” this year, but I didn’t expect so much of an increase. Because I am one cheap dude and to combat the anticipated rate increase, at night I don’t turn on the lights. There is only one TV or appliance on at any given time. I have a newer refrigerator than I did last year which saves on electricity. All winter I have kept my thermostat set at a balmy 57 degrees. And, I have used less energy. But, the bill still hurts me in the pocket book.

Want to share my pain? Do what I did. I compared last December’s numbers and bill to this past December’s numbers and bills.

In December 2021, my home used 532 kilowatt hours of electricity. In December 2022, the usage was about 60 percent less, down to 221 kilowatt hours. My natural gas used was also less in December 2022 as compared to 2021 – 16.5 thousand cubic feet versus 17.9 thousand cubic feet. According to Don Rush Remedial Math, that’s about 8 percent less usage. Guess what my bill was.

In December 2021, when my house used more electricity and natural gas, my bill was $110.38.

This past December, when I did my part to save the planet and use less energy, my bill was over twice as much than last December’s. I just paid $297.43.

Smackin’ frackin’!

So, much for doing the “right” thing about climate change and using less energy. Who do I complain to because something is not right and Donny Downer is back!

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Fruit cake ingredients, fruit cake and the fruit cake makers at Neiman’s Family Market.

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