with Debbie Lesher
The leaves have fallen, Halloween is over and the harvest is done. The year is coming to an end far too quickly. Where did the year go? As many of you know, this is a year I will never forget. Losing your mom has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I said to my daughter, “I’ve been alone before but never without mom.” So I am grateful that my husband and daughter keep my spirits up. Am I ready to move on without mom? I have to be…I hope I can carry on the same “Grace and Grit” (Lyndsey Carter, she loved her necklace) that Mom seemed to have naturally. I made homemade Apple Crisp Sunday. It’s Grandma Dude’s recipe from the first Grindle cookbook. I have done this so many times in my life but suddenly I found myself having a question. Should I bake it and then freeze it or just put it in the freezer, minus the butter? I picked up the phone to call mom. Ugh, now self doubt or questions I have, about anything, I have to work it out myself…or GOOGLE it! I will lean on what my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have taught me over the years. Somewhere along the way I hope I listened and learned.
Thanksgiving this year will be at Mom and Dad’s house. Mom would be so happy to see the family gathered in her home. It means a lot to me too to try to pass on these family traditions. When I was younger, my mother set the table with “real” plates, “real” cutlery and glasses. There was always a beautiful centerpiece, either something Mom had made or flowers Dad had sent her. But as the years passed, the counters sat silent in their huts and paper plates, cups and plastic silverware took their place.
Mom kept the holiday type dishes in various China Hutches and Iceboxes. I loved the smell of opening these time capsules and still do! Each dish I presented to mother for inspection of size, shape and capacity created memories for her from her youth. I loved hearing these stories. As she recounted her memories, I played along in my mind, visualizing Mom as a small child. Many of these dishes will be passed down to mom and dad’s children and grandchildren, right down to my brother’s deer toothpick.
There are two items of mothers who were mostly present at every family dinner. They are rather odd items, not something you would think about or place out in the open for decoration. With Thanksgiving creeping up on me, I thought I’d look for them. Maybe these two things aren’t important to others, but they are to me. I opened an Icebox time capsule and started looking. Mom used them all the time, where could they be? After moving many items I found one of them…it’s ceramic and looks like the bottom of a covered wagon, with two sections. I have no idea what this dish was meant to be used for but in our house – it held two different flavors of jelly! Moving on, shelf after shelf, finally at the back, found it! It’s a wire, it’s flat. This thing can be motivated to take on just about any form of basket you can dream of. It holds our dinner rolls; we line it with a fresh kitchen towel to keep them warm. Over the years this thing has also morphed into many different styles of hats worn by many of mom and dad’s children and grandchildren. Yes, these two items will grace the Thanksgiving table this year!
It has also dawned on me; I’m in charge of fixing Thanksgiving dinner. Without mom. I can do this, I’ve done it before, but mom was always there to tell me what was wrong, what was right, and what just didn’t matter. “Clumpy sauce, whatever, I can fix that,” she would say. Guess what family, we might have gooey sauce this year! But whatever…at least we’ll be together eating gooey sauce. One of my oldest brothers and sons will make the turkey. They have no idea how much this helps. Wow, one thing off my list!
Speaking of lists…now I know why mom always had a list. There is a lot to be arranged, bought, washed, etc. to get ready for this event. Like I said, I’ve done this before, but mom was always there to help. I remember she would get her list out and we would go through it. I’ll start my list tonight and check it twice. I have no one to fall back on if I forget something.
Mom and Dad, I miss you every day. But the special days to come I will really miss you. Thank you for the love and support and wish me luck. Dad, I know you’ll laugh at me (Dad and I had a “sauce situation” once, but that’s another story) and Mom, I know you’ll give me gentle nudges in the right direction. What’s life without a little humor and guidance! Thanks and love you both! DUDE’S APPLE CRISP Dude (Helen Blunt) was my mother’s mother. First Grindle Cookbook, page 130.
Place 3 cups of sliced apples in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Coat apples with 1 small cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
¾ cup oatmeal ¾ cup brown sugar ¾ cup flour ¼ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking powder Place this on top of the apples and pour over this 1/3 cup melted butter. Bake in 325 degree oven for 40 minutes. Make an 8 x 8 pan.
Editor’s note: Round the Table is a column by Debbie Lesher, daughter of Sherry Perkins. Lesher carries on the column tradition from his mother, who passed away in September.