By Karen Blanchette, Director Senior Friendship Centers of DeSoto County
Recently, I told you how excited I was to see that the juice factory was up and running and I can now smell their heavenly aroma twice a day as I pass by. And, it seems everywhere I’ve looked lately I’m seeing pictures and recipes for wonderful Christmas cookies and candy.
Lots of wonderful memories emerge. My mother started making her Christmas goodies the day after Thanksgiving. Hundreds of dozens of cookies, fruitcakes, fudge – you name it. The freezer would be stuffed full. The aroma in the house each day coming home from school was always tempting.
If it was a cookie, you name it, and she made it. Each year, it seemed, she added a couple of new recipes to the old favorites. She would spend hours upon hours preparing all of them. Very few bought nut meats went into the goodies. We had black walnut trees and hickory nut trees from which we gathered the nuts in the fall, husked them and set them to dry in the basement. Just before the baking season began, hours would be spent cracking them and carefully extracting the meats.
During the course of the year, Mom always saved small boxes and tins. About a week before Christmas, the stash of them came out. Each was wrapped with holiday paper or foil and lined with wax paper. They were filled to the brim with goodies. If there weren’t enough boxes to go around, pretty holiday plates were used.
All were then enveloped with clear wrap and a pretty bow placed on top. Every elderly person for miles around and special friends were all treated to a visit and a present of goodies. There were certain people who got “extras” of their favorites. For instance, my Godmother loved shortbread, so she got an extra plate of that. Grandpa Smith was a chocoholic and he got a super huge box of fudge -- which really didn’t last long!
Anyone who came near during the holidays was also sent home with lots of goodies – plus all they ate while visiting. As if we didn’t have enough goodies of our own, Aunt Evalaine always brought us treats she’d made. Her two specialties were divinity, which I have never really gotten a taste for – probably not enough chocolate in it. Auntie E also made a heavenly white fudge with cherries in it. My mouth is watering while I type this.
I have Auntie E’s recipe and have attempted making it a couple of times, but the results just never taste like hers. It is, of course, one of the “boil to a certain stage” recipes. And, now standing at the stove for hours stirring and waiting for the right stage is not one of my favorite things to do, so I guess I won’t be trying to perfect that one.
So many wonderful memories abound for all of us, especially this time of the year. If you’re feeling alone this holiday and would like to reminisce and share some of your fond memories, why not join us at the Center weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.
Come socialize, and/or participate in activities, and have lunch with others who would enjoy your company, too. We won’t be baking any cookies or boiling fudge, but we can sure “remember when” together.
Give us a call or stop by and make your reservation for lunch. Need a ride? If you live within a mile of the Center, we have limited transportation available. Call to see if you’d qualify. Take that step to finding new friends and a reason to get up. You’ll be glad you did – and so will we!
Remember, together we can make DeSoto County a caring place to grow old.
Karen Blanchette is Director of Senior Friendship Centers of DeSoto County and can be reached at 863-494-5965.