A Visit With Effie

“It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.” 

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I came across another recipe in my search for something different. This one was super special.

Not only is it special, it came at a very auspicious time–today my ex mother-in-law would have celebrated her 100th birthday.

Even though my marriage failed, my connection to Effie remains special. She was by far the kindest, smartest, and strongest woman I’ve ever known. She will always have a special place in my heart.

As I leafed through pages and pages of recipes, many of them hand written, I gave thanks for having the insight to save them. I did have to stop and look at the condition of most–it was not only obvious which ones I used but it was clear I was not a very neat cook.

Stains and all, these scraps of paper form a powerful emotional connection to my past. This link would not be possible without them or if I had put them into some type of digital form. Now I can hold the pages, smooth out the wrinkles, and travel back in time. As I read the ingredients, the wording of the instructions, and squint at the fading handwriting, I can feel myself sitting at that little kitchen table in Effie’s warm and cozy kitchen. The tears came but my overall feeling was one of peace. I felt as though the two of us had just had the best talk.

Oh my–what a blessing this little piece of paper held for me on so many levels.

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” 

Frederick Buechner

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Sherrie’s Cherry Bars–Resurrected

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” 

Laurie Colwin

Baking was not something I had time to do when I was working. It was just to time consuming.

After I retired I started baking chocolate chip cookies. For two reasons–I knew how and I love cookies–especially chocolate chip cookies.

Today I wanted something different.

Somewhere, deep in my memory, I remembered some cherry bars one of our students made when I was working at St. Francis in the radiology department. I knew I had the recipe somewhere. In my mind’s eye, I could see the handwritten recipe–

It took some time–mainly because I had to read and remember every other recipe I came across  in my slow search. What should have been a ten minute deal ended about an hour and half later. It looked exactly like I remembered it.

This little piece of paper is special for several reasons:

  • It is written by the original baker, Sherrie–a young woman who was a radiology student decades ago.
  • The little added note on the top of the page telling me it’s from Sherrie was written by another co-worker–Jackie–who later became a student and then a fellow radiologic technologist.
  • These cherry bars are just as good today as they were all those years ago. The only change I made today was using two cans of dark cherries in syrup instead of cherry pie filling.
  • Memories come in many different forms. Today I walked down a little side road off of my memory lane. My sense of smell and taste were quick to appreciate this treat from a day many decades in the past. It was and is such an unexpected treat.

If you have the time to do a little baking–give ’em a try.

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” 

Craig Claiborne

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~