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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Birthing Days for moms and daughters

Today was a bittersweet day for me.

The sweet: Mom and I spent the day together, it was my birthday. It has been a great birthday, just one of those "feel good" days that don't come along every day. We had a nice little lunch at a place called Ray's
Cafe, looking out into into the Puget Sound. It's one of my favorite places. Mom and I have been there many times, for lunch or a coffee, or out for dinner with all the family. The view is just incredible and we were not disappointed.

We watched sailing boats, fishing boats and paddle boats go by. The air was fresh, the sky was blue, and we had all the time we needed to chat and take a few photos. During lunch it was fun to ask her again how much of pain I was when she was giving birth to me. It truly is a day for moms and daughters, a day of birth. How sweet of my mom to do that with me today, yay.

After lunch we headed to her house and talked some more. We talked about family and she got out her mom's old cookbook from 1946. "The Searchlight Recipe Book" has been well used. Mom showed me pages where she had scribbled as a little kid. Certain recipes are checked off, slightly modified or circled. How fun it was to peruse through the now delicate and yellowed pages and to learn more about how grandma Fossett used to cook.

When we got to the cake section, you could feel tiny grains of flour still on the page's fragile surface. Grandma used to bake lots of Pineapple Upside Down cake. I inquired about one recipe for "eggless cake", and mom said that during WWII, eggs were shipped off to the troops, so having them at home was rare. Grandma also made the most amazing pot roast, and in that book we found her recipe. Wow.

This cookbook was originally published in 1931, and contains many short and simple recipes, due to rationing at the time of the Great Depression. There is an ingredient, actually several ingredients of which I have no clue as to what they are. "Junket" is one of them. I guess it is a prepackaged milk type product with enzymes that cause it to curdle, for puddings. It will be fun to gently read these pages from the past, maybe I will try a few recipes for fun.

Mom decided to go ahead and give me her mom's cookbook. It made me tear up a little, how sweet and precious. I love it and will treasure it forever.

I had mentioned previously to her that I like collecting old cookbooks. This is a new thing for me. The idea of an old cookbook, passed down the family line, read over and over, spilled on, edited and soaked with butter stains seems like perfection to me.

I plan to preserve Grandma's cookbook carefully and keep it close to my heart.

Thank you Mom!

The bitter: My mom's Aunt Bert, her rock, passed away last week and her funeral services were today. Most of the family was in Atwood, Kansas today, holding close to them the broken hearts of children with their spouses, siblings, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, dear friends and everyone who knew her.

My mom and Aunt Bert are alike when they giggled and they are both strong willed. Not all of us could make it to Kansas, but many many did. She was such a giving and loving person, cared about everyone in detail, kept up with their lives, and always always had a glass of cheer to share. She just loved to laugh. My mom loved her so much and she admired her more than ever. This is a big loss for the family.

Her children, their spouses, grandchildren are missing her so much and they are in my prayers.

When I was a young girl I was able to spend a few weeks in the summer at their family dairy farm. One day I will share more details, but there were so many experiences you can only have on a farm. Things like how not to play with electric fences, what do you do when you get bucked off of a horse, how do you really milk a cow?

Aunt Bert and her family worked hard, real HARD, milking cows and running the farm. The food was in abundance and so so good. I close my eyes now and I hear the frogs and crickets singing in the night. I smell the hay, I hear the gentle clopping of a horse's hoof on the ground. I hear the wind wisp through the fields of alfalfa. I smell bacon in the morning and hear birds chirping in the sky. I feel the fresh cold in the dairy barn, and remember the rich taste of pure fresh cold milk.

I will never forget that time, getting to know my cousins, and spending time with Aunt Bert and Uncle Earl, and scaring the begeebers out of cousin James by getting lost in the pasture.

Aunt Bert, may you rest in Peace with God and may He carry the broken hearts of those who love you while we grieve for your loss.

With that I will wrap up my thoughts and hope that you can take a moment to reflect on an experience that took your breath away.

Thank you Mom for one of the most beautiful days of my life. I love you!



  1. oh, denise,

    what a touching post this is. the day with your sweet mother, her passing the cookbook to you, and the tribute and memories of being at your aunt birt's farm - all so lyrically and beautifully written.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your dear aunt - for both you and your mom and your family. I hope in time the lovely memories of being so fortunate to have had her in your lives will help you as your grieve. thank you for sharing such a happy, yet poignant day.

    love, XOXO


    1. Dear Karen, Thank you for such a thoughtful and warm comment. Your support is so nice. I was thinking today about yesterday. i hope you are recalling moments in your life that gave you happiness.

      Peace and love,

  2. My wife has a cookbook with some handed-down family recipes in it featuring now-vague instructions like "cook over a hot fire until done."

  3. Denise, I'm coming late to your blog - to see how beautifully you write. This blog is a treasure. My condolences on the death of your Aunt Bert. I'm so glad you and your mom could celebrate the day of your birth together so sweetly.

  4. Scott, I love was just like that sometimes. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    Victoria, Thank you for the supportive words for our family.


Thank you for giving to me your precious time. I look forward to what you have to say. Peace and Blessings, Always.