The older I get the faster Christmas arrives and the slower I move. This year seems to be moving extra fast. The shopping isn’t done, there is nothing in the freezer cooked ahead for Christmas dinner, and Christmas cards are still a figment of my imagination. Today’s goal, Friday’s, and Thursday’s was to get my tree up and decorated. It is up and I’m very happy with it!
When our children started to leave home I divided up the Christmas decorations I had collected over the years and gave each of them a portion. I started decorating my tree with little birds, nests, and other odds and ends I found that reminded me of nature. During the more ambitious years I would very carefully cover the branches with fiberfill and artificial snow. It looks great, very impressive, and crazy difficult to clean up. Frequently the grandkids come and help decorate the tree. Each one has their favorite birds and takes great pains to arrange them and the bird houses just so. One year Kyndal asked me if Grandpa shot all those birds and stuffed them. Oh my, I never dreamed they would think that. I guess it made sense to them, seeing we have evidence of his hunting scattered throughout the house.
Well the birds are starting to look worn and tired, the cat has attempted to eat a few, and I needed something different. This can be a challenge if you don’t want to spend a small fortune. But while baking cookies an idea started to come together. I can bake a great cookie, pie, or cake because my mother, my sisters, and my hubby, have shared their talents with me. My tree would be a tribute to all the great cooks in my family. I gathered my cookie cutters, raided Mel’s collection of cookie cutters, and went to work. With the addition of a pine cone garland, the old wooden star, a wash tub, and a quilt I have a Christmas tree.
I always get a little melancholy at Christmas, remembering the years past as a child, with my own children, those that are gone and all those new additions to our family. We are very blessed with wonderful family and friends, good health, and freedom. Because we are so blessed with the love of family it makes watching the decline of those we love and care for more difficult. The person that was the most influential in my cooking was my older sister Elaine. She has been by far the best cook in the family and her hometown. She is known for her cooking and kindness. The community always looks forward to her bread, cakes, and coconut cream pie at the annual Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, the Lions club gatherings, and other local gatherings. When Elaine and I were together we were cooking, planning what to cook, or discussing what we had cooked.
Those days have passed. So Elaine, this tree is in appreciation of the thousands of cookies and loaves of bread you’ve baked, for all the wonderful dinners, for the cakes and pies. Thank you for sharing your time, your secrets, your best recipes, and the love of food and family with me. Thank you for encouraging me to share all of this with my family. Every time I smell hot bread, eat carrot cake, dunk a cookie, make Christmas candy, or serve rhubarb sauce I will think of you. While sharing our interest in cooking you also taught me about love, kindness, and tolerance. Thank you big sister!