The Search

Of everything
There is so much more than a name
There is so much more than an age
There is so much more than what you see
There is so much more beyond me


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A responsibility

Tarzan
Here and Accounted for

I guess the kids have let you all know what’s been going on in my life lately, it seems strange to write the words “my life” and really mean it.

December 23rd…All plans for Christmas Eve were complete. Since I’d been in the kitchen all day, Jim suggested we have our favorite burritos for supper. He went to get them and bring them home, and I had just set down in my chair, sis was there and we were visiting.

All of a sudden I felt very strange…my chest hurt, I got very cold & clammy. I thought at first I was coming down with the flu. I made it back to the bathroom, and then thought I was going to pass out so called my sis to come help. Jim walked in about that time, sis yelled for him to come help, as I was really sick. He took one look at me; he and sis got me on the bed and somehow got 2 aspirin down me, and called our daughter the nurse. She recorded his call at 4:47. He told her he was going to drive me to the hospital. She said no you’re not; I will call 911.
When the paramedics arrived, (which didn’t take long), I remember there just being a lot of people standing over me. One of them was a fireman and I thought it very strange that he had a hatchet hanging from his belt and what was he doing in my bedroom?

After assessing me, they decided to call “flight for life”. The ambulance was already there, but they didn’t think they could get me to the hospital in time. I remember being taken out the door on a gurney to the ambulance so they could do an EKG. At this point my heart rate was 40 and my blood pressure was 40 over 20. It was also 3 deg. outside.

Of course the police had to shut down the hiway so the helicopter could land. The ambulance drove me out to the waiting helicopter. I remember being loaded on board…there was the pilot, an attendant and I. I remember looking the ceiling of the helicopter and the last thing I remember is seeing the lights of the city.

At this point everything I say comes from my family, as I am now “out of it totally”. The cardiologist on call that night went right to work on me. I was officially under his care by 6:00. The family waited. About 8:30 the dr. came out to talk to them… He said he had lost me 3 times, the longest for 20 seconds., but I kept coming back again and again.

Then they were given the news that I would be put under a “sleep induced” coma with a balloon inserted in my heart to give it a break. I was kept like that for 3 days, and then it was a process to bring me back out from under it. Jim stayed there with me. Our son and twin daughters, son’s inlaw’s and grandkids all stayed with him.

After I came to again, on Friday I think, I would not go back to sleep. I did not sleep Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and they made me take some sleeping pills on Monday night.

As I woke up I had to stay in the ICU for 2 more days, until stablized, and could take in a liquid diet, then got moved to a nicer room on the 3rd floor of the hospital. My oncologist even stopped by to see me. He wants to cancel all the stuff scheduled in January so my body will have time to settle down. He said that because of the new stint, all the medications, and the trauma, we would not get a good pet scan anyway.

I really do look like I’ve been run over by a Mac truck. There is hardly a place on my body without a bruise….

As I close this, I want to say thank you…you will never know how much your friendship and love has met to me and all the prayers I’ve received from all of you, family and friends alike.

I think I’m going to get to go home tomorrow. I’ve been on my best behavior all day today trying to impresses the dr.’s to let me go home …I walked 180 feet today! Don’t laugh, that’s a long ways when your body is just coming back to life. They will remove my pic line tomorrow, I’ll have to wait on the doctor, and it’s going to be a very busy day. It’ could be afternoon before I get there.

I think I’m still in shock and simply amazed at what has happened, and am still trying to absorb all this myself. Part of this is working on getting healthy again…I have been given a lot of orders, new medications, and I have to get that going at the top of the list. They want me to stay on oxygen for a while yet, so we will take a portable bottle with us tomorrow, then a rep. will visit us on Wednesday.

I have so much more to say about all this but now is not the time as I need to get to sleep. I do know I feel a responsibility I've not experienced before. There has got to be a reason God sent me back.

I think the family is going to try and get together on Sunday to celebrate Christmas…. we may have hamburgers, but how wonderful to just be a part of it…I love you all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The house and yard are decorated, the tree's are aglow inside and out, the presents are wrapped, the candy made, and the baking all done. All that's missing is the rest of the family who will arrive on Christmas Eve for a wonderful time together. May your hearts be filled with the joyous wonder of Christ as you celebrate his birth. May each of you rejoice the love that surrounds us and binds us together. May you have peace in your heart in the new year to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My People

My people
here with me.
I am defined
from generations past
and those of this moment.
Always there, always here
Always within.
They guide me they walk beside me
they follow me.

My past so clear
in pastures that reach to sunset
Gathering and candling eggs
In coops of life
Pioneers who forged the way
In huts of blood and prairies of toil.
Drilling rigs lighting days and nights
Digging thru sweat and pain
Pump jacks and well heads
Producing true and unseen energy.
My people, hard and tough
vulnerable and beautiful
Flowers, grease, laughter and tears
at my Mother & Dad’s side
Learning and growing from their survival
of the past.

Nature and pets of special creatures
all of God’s creations
that were a part of my
learning to love and care for.
Who taught me things
No human could.
Unconditional love
in it’s truest form
Strength in trees and rocks
A solid example of non penetration
Small creeks and oceans beyond
Beside me always.
I would be incomplete without
them.
An important part of
My people.

The present is harder to see
Those now beside, above and beneath me
because I forget to look and I take for granted.
My love, my other me, my connected soul.
Our daily interactions of simple knowing.
Our children, our years together
And our growing up together.
Joy, respect and all things good
and bad, that binds a lifetime.
My children teaching me now.
Who forgive my mistakes
and love me anyway.
Who now walk in front of me.
Grandchildren who carry the seeds
My chance to teach again
And love again with experience.
To watch love produce tomorrow
They are me, they form my steps
They are my tomorrow.
I forget to say out loud
So the world can hear me
Rejoice today and you.
what the present means to me
within the now.
Never ending love and pride
And total, deep fulfillment
In my heart.
In my people of today.

Friends who have shared
their people with me.
Who walk many of the same paths
Who know what obstacles are, and fun,
and memories of youth and growth.
Who have similar trails
Who in their distance spark
the lighted path we're on.
Who touch with words
of encouragement and support.
Who are sisters and brothers
that hold my hand
In yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And those strangers who walk different paths
Who share their journeys
Through education and research
and hard work that keeps today going
around the world.
They touch many they do not know.
I use their knowledge
I strive to learn from them.
Lessons learned from strangers
But they are still my people.

Ahead
I cannot see
the minutes which continue on.
Each one bringing birth.
Renewal of my efforts to grow
To accept and learn and survive.
I do not fear to look ahead.
What is there, will be what it is
and so much more.
And I will walk through it
with them at my side.
My people
With me…….
The path behind, and ahead
and the steps I take today

My strength is in being
Not alone

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monster's in Ice

On December 14th we dropped to a low of minus 18 deg….burrrrr! We have friends who live up north along the Canadian border, and that same night their temperatures were 29 deg. below zero with a wind chill of 50 deg. below, so we really have nothing to complain about!
However; as with everything else there is so much more to the story, when you give thought to those who have to work, or just be outside in those conditions.

Memories of childhood reminds me of those mornings when we awoke to frozen pipes and no water. Dad was always out the door early to go take care of the wells and get his crew going to keep the equipment from freezing up, so getting the lines thawed out and the water moving again was up to Mom. The days were long and miserable. Precautions were taken…..Dad kept the pipes under the house wrapped in old rags and duct tape, and often times a faucet was left open to drip thru the night, but with the howling winds, below freezing temperatures, and none to poor insulation in those days, nothing could prevent the inevitable from happening. We did have a little heater Mom would set under the sink that would eventually get the water going again , but never as quickly as we wanted it to, so it seemed there was always a pan of water kept simmering on the stove….

Winter brought a multitude of problems, that would best be described as a period of survival. The first thing that comes to mind were trips to the outhouse because when one had to go, one had to go and it didn’t matter what the weather was like or how big or little you were. We happened to be more fortunate than others though, because Dad found a way to bury a little pipeline from one of the nearby wells to our outhouse so we kept a small gas heater going when the weather was at it’s worse, which normally kept it half way warm. Getting there was a different story though….. Out the back door, and down the sidewalk, it was located beside the wash house, and unprotected from the elements. One went through a whole process of making up your mind you simply could not wait any longer, dressing warmly including snow boots, and trudging through the snow drifts to arrive at the necessary destination. Being only a “one seater”, it was not large, so you did have to be careful with all the extra clothing that you kept anything loose away from the open flame heater, which of course did nothing to help the cold air from rushing in when the door was opened and lid raised. Before the heater, I can remember having to brush the snow off of the seat before having to make up your mind to set down on it. Also, because it was warmer than outside, you could never be surprised at what may have found their way in from the cold to join you. One could be greeted by a rat or a rabbit, or any one of many creatures, which usually scurried away quickly, but there was almost always a surprise visitor waiting. The goal was to hurry and get finished as quick as possible, before starting the journey back to the house.   I do remember one especially bad blizzard where Dad strung a rope from the house to the outhouse so we could hold onto it and use it as a guide to get there and back through the drifts and blowing snow.

Being the closest oil field worker’s house within a several mile area, our home often became a haven for the roustabouts and roughnecks who needed to use the phone or find help in an emergency situation. Accidents in the winter time were matter of fact as the men wrestled with dangerous, frozen, and very uncooperative equipment… Layers of warm clothes and gloves were the mainstay to keep one from freezing, which made it difficult to get an old engine cranked, or a pipe connection made, requiring a sensitive mechanic’s touch, but being nearly impossible with layers of gloves and wrapping on the hands.

One morning we heard an unusual noise at the back door which sounded like an animal, and upon opening it there stood a monster! At least to a little girl it appeared to be a monster. It was the form of a man with ice hanging all over him…. His entire face was covered in snow with icicles hanging from his hair and cap, nose, ears and chin. His old, greasy coat was a block of ice with one arm of the coat ripped into shreds with blood mixing with the snow and ice chunks. He was cradling one arm in the other one and mumbled something through his frozen lips that he needed help. Mom called him by name and helped him into the house where she set him at the kitchen table, then proceeded to cut what glove was left, off of him, and get the coat removed and a blanket wrapped around him. She run a pan of cold water and made him stick both hands in it which quickly turned a bloody red while she run another pan full. This continued until he was able to stand when she led him to the kitchen sink where the loose skin was cut off his hand under cold running water. I just stood and stared at him, while an ointment dressing was applied and it was bandaged. I was afraid but very interested in how this monster came into our lives and what my Mom was doing to him and why she wasn’t afraid too. I was sure he couldn’t hurt us because he was so weak, but that didn’t make me totally comfortable. I was instructed to call the camp who got ahold of Dad on the base radio, who then came right home and helped the guy change into some of Dad’s dry clothes, and they then hauled him to town to see Doc. Wallace….He was only one of many “monster’s in ice” who came to our door including man and beast alike, of which all were brought inside and taken care of.   It turns out this particular man was an oil field worker who had caught his gloved hand in an engine and he was very lucky it was not taken completely off, or that his whole self was not drug into the engine..... His pickup had refused to start, so he walked a couple of miles to our house for help as many before him and after him did.

Around Christmas time especially, there was always a ten gallon water can full of eggnog with “special flavorings” and spices kept outside the back door and a cup of it warmed to serve anyone who stopped by….. Hot, freshly baked goodies were made and served almost on a daily basis. There was always someone getting stuck or sliding off the road, or one of the area workers who couldn’t get his pickup started, or who needed to call for extra help out to one of the leases and would show up at our door on foot asking to use the phone.

With all of the misery of winter, it was also full of fun and beauty…..The trees along the creek were usually covered in ice resembling a winter wonderland and a place where any Santa would have been proud to call home. It held a mysterious aura as everything went to sleep and slumber.  The creek itself changed into a strange shape as ice formed along the banks sending it in directions we’d never seen before. There was an ever changing appearance every time we drove across the bridge to town.

Across the road from our house, we had an old well that fed into a slush pond at the bottom of the hill. A slush pond was a huge pit dug at the time the well was drilled and kept there to hold excess oil that spilled from the wells….. the hill it set at the bottom of, was our favorite sledding hill, but it didn’t take long to learn that we had to stop the sled before reaching the reaching the slush pond. More than once, I didn’t get stopped in time and went feet first right into the pond……Drenched in oil, my snow suit and boots were ruined, but that only made it all the more fun and challenging……

The big snows brought the opportunity of driving thru drifts on either side of the road higher than the cars, and snow caves made where ever one could find enough snow to make one. Our neighbors about 5 miles to the west and south had a real pond on their property where we learned to ice skate.   Other winter activities included Icicles that were broken off the eaves of the house and measured between the kids in the neighborhood to see who had the longest. Making "snow" ice cream, snowmen and angles in the snow.   

Dearest to my heart though of all the winter memories, are the men who made sure those rigs and old oil wells were kept running under inhumane circumstances so the rest of us could stay warm. Here’s to the monster’s in ice who carry on that job today……

Oyster Soup

You asked for it!   One more recipe and the answer to those who asked how this tradition came about and how we make it living so far from the coast!   As a side note, I would like to add that I've traveled the east coast from LA to Maine, on on up through Newfoundland and Labrador, and by far the best fresh oysters are to be found in Biloxi MS.   Since the destruction of most all the oyster beds during "Katrina", they are rebuilding and once again now providing the best oysters in the world.   Having friends in Biloxi, we can get them shipped easily, but the charges are outrageous, so it can only be done when one is feeling generous.....

Oyster soup

Several of my early ancestors, many generations back, came from the New Orleans, LA area. We’re pretty sure that’s where the “oyster stew” tradition started. I can remember my great, great aunt, who died back in the early 50’s saying that “fresh oysters” were so much better, but since we couldn’t get them, the canned ones would do fine. Fresh is wonderful, but sadly, not usually available in Colorado……However; a couple of times I have been able to get fresh shipped, and have made it with fresh. It just depends on what is available to you. I was still taught by the expert, (my old aunt) to make it the same way, only using canned oysters.

Amounts of all ingredients depend on how many oyster’s you use. For a full pot to be served to 12 plus people I usually use 8 small cans…..
Pour the oyster liquor into a fair sized pot – set the oysters aside
Saute a few ribs of chopped celery, and a tiny bit of chopped onion in butter until softened.
Add the celery, onion and a stick or two of butter to the oyster liquor and warm over low heat.
When the butter is melted, add a quart or two of half & half to the oyster liquor ….then add milk if more is needed……
Add salt and pepper to taste……fresh cracked pepper is best
This is the basic stew base……Bring the soup only to a “scald” temperature.

( I was taught that a proper scald, can only be determined by holding your little finger in the cream/milk mixture until you cannot hold it there any longer). This is the only true test.  Do NOT allow it to boil, and it has to be just at the right moment, before a simmer.

Admitting there is “so much more”, taste is always the determining factor…..Add only enough cream/milk to blend the oyster liquor in proportion to your taste…..too much will kill it,, not enough will make the oyster liquor overpowering.
When the milk base reaches the scald, you add the oysters……Like with any fish, they do not need to cook a long time……
Keep the heat very low and just allow the oysters to heat thru or if using fresh oysters, cook until the edges of the oysters begin to curl…..(This should not take over 5 minutes if that long). You do not want the cream base to burn, so keep the heat low and the cream base moving…. Turn the fire off when you think the oysters have cooked enough. At this point I add a little dried or fresh chopped parsley…… Cover and let it set for another 5 minutes. Serve in a pretty bowl with a small sprig of fresh parsley and fresh cracked pepper as a garnish…… Have a big bowl of crackers on the table!.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peppernuts!

This is such a funny little cookie....  They're great to have around during the holidays, and one recipe will make a ton of them......They're very addictive and one can't help but dip in the bowl for a handful every time you walk by.....:)  They're also in the candy picture, in the big crock behind the wrapped taffy's.

Peppernut Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
6 to 7 cups flour
1 tsp soda & 1 tlbs. hot water
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cream of tarter
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. anis oil
3 cups walnuts  (put in blender to chop fine)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix all ingredients.  Chill dough for an hour at least or over night.  Cut a slice off the dough and roll thin like a pencil.   Slice into tiny chunks  (tip of little finger size or smaller).
Bake at 350 for aprox. 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

Candy Recipes

By request, following are three of my favorite candy recipes.   Before starting either recipe, butter the plate or pan you'll put it on, chop the nuts....and have all ingredients sitting out close by.

As with any recipe.......Practice - Practice - Practice!   If at first you don't succeed try and try again....Many things can affect candy making......weather, mixer power, time of beating, time of cooling, learning when to pour it, temperatures, etc....  I've had many failures while learning, but just don't give up! The perfect batch makes it all worth it.   One request.......Think of "tarzan" when you're eating it......:) and let me know how it turns out!

Twice Cooked Divinity

4 cups of white sugar
4 egg whites - stiffly beaten
1 cup of white corn syrup
1 cup cold water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

To begin with you need a large very powerful mixer with a large bowl......and a reliable candy thermometer. 
Beat egg whites to very stiff peaks
Cook syrup, water, sugar & salt to a medium ball stage at 240 deg..
While beating, pour 1/3 of the syrup mixture over the egg whites, beating constantly, and continue beating thru the next step:
Cook the remaining syrup mixture to a hard ball stage at 265 deg..
Beat the remaining syrup into the first candy mixture.
Cool this for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Add 2 tsp. vanilla and nuts.....when mixture begins to stiffen, pour into pan or onto a large, buttered plate.   Let set until cool enough to cut.    


Old Fashioned Fudge

3 cups white sugar
2/3 cups cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups half & half
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, cocoa, & salt in a 4 or 5 quart heavy saucepan.   Stir in milk.   Cook, stirring constantly until it boils.  Then cook without stirring to soft ball stage.  Turn off heat, add butter & vanilla.   Let set - Do not stir - Let set until cool.   Beat, add nuts and when it starts to stiffen, pour onto plate.   Let cool and cut into squares.


Aunt Bill's Candy
recipe written exact as from my Grandmother's old cookbook, then rewritten and sent to my Mother probably in the early 1940's  *Difficult & Detailed
(note "cost" at the bottom).

6 cups white sugar
2 cups half & half
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 teas. soda
1 tbls. vanilla
4 cups chopped walnuts

Place 2 cups sugar in heavy skillet over low heat.  Stir with wooden spoon, keep sugar moving so it won't burn.   When sugar has begin to melt, pour the remaining sugar & cream in a deep heavy pan, place over low fire and cook slowly.

When burnt sugar is melted and a light brown color, pour into the pan of boiling milk and sugar.   Keep on very low heat and stir constantly.....pour a fine stream.  Cook until it forms a "firm" base in cold water.   turn out fire and add soda, stir hard and fast as it foams up.   Add butter & place in a cool place for 10 minutes.   Add vanilla and start beating by hand.   Beat until mixture is thick and heavy with a dull appearance.  Add nuts and pour into buttered pan.   Cut into squares and pack in a tin box.   Recipe makes about 6 pounds at 45 cents per pound.



 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Night

Night
Beautiful black
Closing out the world
And the world rejoices
Doors are locked
Bringing peace of the day
And so much more
Time for reflection
And for ending
Time for celebration
And for rest
Time for renewal and respite
And for hope
Night
The time you can see light
Light lives against the backdrop of
Night
Beautiful black
A jewel in it's own right

Merry Christmas!

Vegetable Wreath

Christmas Eve Supper



















And so much more..... Ham, Oyster stew, salads, desserts

A Table full of Christmas Candy

and so much more, Aunt Bills, Divinity, Fudge, Peanut Brittle

Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again…I’m always late getting in the holiday spirit, but late is ok… When the urge finally hits, I will get it all done! 

We follow a lot of traditions… As a kid I always went to the grandparents house, one for Christmas Eve, and one for Christmas day. Christmas eve was always very special, though very simple. We had an oyster soup supper, usually a few fresh veggies, a big bowl of crackers, a plate of cheese, a jello salad, and dessert was saved until after the gifts were opened. Without fail after we were all seated at the long dining room table enjoying our soup, my Granddad and Uncle would suddenly remember they hadn’t fed or watered some of the livestock… They would excuse themselves to go do the chores. It was sad because they always missed the most exciting time of the evening…. The rest of us tackle the food before us, and soon after starting, we would hear this strange noise on the roof, and someone would always say in a very startled manner…”Oh listen! What is that noise”? It was very scary, but we would then all jump up and run to the doors and windows to look outside…seeing nothing, we would go back to the table and finish our soup. By then the chores were done and my Granddad and Uncle would return and as they re-entered the house would exclaim that there was a huge sack sitting on the back porch, we kids were told to go out and drag it in…When discovered it was a gunny sack full of presents, they were spread under the tree and of course it we realized then it was Santa we had heard making all that noise on the roof earlier! I always just felt so bad that my Granddad & Uncle had to work and didn’t hear it…. They always swore they didn’t hear or see a thing because they were out in the barn…. Both of them now passed, I think often of what a wonderful time we had when times were so simple.

The tradition of the oyster soup on Christmas eve has continued throughout my life and I still fix it every year, I usually serve a ham with it and some other goodies, but it remains the main, central traditional focus of our meal….

Christmas this year seems so strange to me…I really do not remember last Christmas , of 2007, and got thru it only because I was simply led around…. I had just went thru the surgery in November with the diagnosis of the cancer, and last year’s holidays are simply a blur… I was amazed the other day when I went to the garage to bring in all the decorations…last year I had wrapped everything in newspaper when putting it away, and used duct tape to secure it…. like I wasn’t planning on ever using it again? So, this year, I’ve had to spend a lot of time unpacking everything with the knowledge that there will probably be many more Christmas’s to enjoy…

For many years, we could not even think about shopping for the kids until hubby got his Christmas bonus at work, which was usually only a few days before Christmas….That found us trying to do all of it one evening. There were many Christmas eve’s when it meant getting out on the roads in a blizzard to find our way to town…hurrying to finish before the stores closed, staying up most all night to get them wrapped and ready for our celebration the next evening. The first year we had moved from our little old home town, we had heard of this wonderful new mall in the big city about 2 hours from us…. This would have been in 1966. Never having been in a mall before we had no idea what one was but everyone said we should go there to do our shopping. Upon arrival, we drove into this huge parking lot that was filled with cars, but we didn’t see any people! Finally we found our way into a store, looked around for awhile, didn’t see what we wanted, went back outside and trudged on to the next one…….. then eventually worked our way to the front of it...then we seen the mall!   There were all the people that belonged to all those cars outside! We were amazed... talk about a couple of hicks, we had no clue until we seen it, that a mall was what it was…..You mean we could shop inside in all of those stores and not have to go outside? We’ve had many laughs over our first visit to a mall in the years since then.

Other traditions include our candy making… The first few years we were married, we didn’t have much money, so we made batches of divinity for sale…. I hung a notice down at the post office and here came the orders…. Making it the old fashioned way, it does take two people, so hubby and I would stay up late at night making it, hand beating it, and boxing it up for delivery the next day… Though we no longer sell it, we still have to make some every year.

My Mother used to make “aunt bills” candy (I have no idea how it got that name, because I don't have an "Aunt Bill",  but in WWII she would make it and send it to the troops in our family….brother & brothers in law & cousins.  I still have a letter one of my uncles wrote from a fox hole somewhere in France. He said the box of candy he had gotten at mail call the day before had been the most wonderful surprise and he had shared it with a few of his buddy's because they would be moving on the next day and he wouldn't be able to take it with him. He wrote about being cold, wet, sick, tired and hungry, as rations were running low. He said when he opened the box of candy it was like God really had heard his prayers. He talked about that being his favorite Christmas present of all time until the day he died.

I had not tried making “aunt bill’s” candy by myself, until after my Mom had died, so the first Christmas afterwards, I called my sis and told her if she and I didn’t make it, it would be our first Christmas ever without it. I bought all the ingredients, she came over and we followed the old recipe as best we could. You have to caramelize sugar and pour it into boiling milk.   As we did that, it all globbed up into this big mess and we were sure we had ruined the whole thing, so we just stopped and dumped that batch….. Tried again, and that time we poured a smaller stream of the sugar, turned the boil down to a simmer, and lo and behold, with constant stirring and a lot cussing, praying, giggles, and tears, it finally dissolved and we eventually turned out a perfect batch of wonderful creamy caramel, nutty candy….. Since then, I try to do at least one batch a year and always think of my Mom and my Uncle when I’m doing it.

The first year we started our business, we wanted to do something special for our customers, but could not afford the fancy coats & hats that our competition always gave out…..so I came up with the bright idea of making each of our really good customers a box of candy….. For two weeks prior to Christmas, I made batches of candy every day and filled a box for each customer with rows of divinity, peanut brittle, aunt bill’s, and fudge. It was given with love, accepted with love, and commented on for many years after that. My hands will no longer allow me to do that much beating, so the days of making very much candy are over, but we still have to get thru at least one batch of each of our favorites with loving memories…..

This year I am once again with the world, and one of these days soon the Christmas spirit will hit me……I’ll get excited, go shopping, wrap the presents, plan the meals, cook, put up the tree, put out the decorations, get out the Christmas music, make candy, and so much more,  and love every minute of the rushing around……. Until then, I’m just wondering why everyone else is in such a hurry! It’s only the 10th! 

One thing for sure, Christmas just would not be Christmas without the traditions I hold dear in my heart…..