Christmas is exactly one week away. I never did put up my Christmas decorations, but now I miss them.
This year has just been tough and difficult to deal with, and when one already gets sad during the holidays — this just doubled the sadness.
I miss my parents so much. I really think my heart is permanently broken a little, but remembering the good times from Christmases past gets me through the sad times — even this year.
My mom was and remains the best cook around. I have spoken about this fact — not a myth mind you, but FACT!
However, as I got a little older, my dad stepped in during Christmas and contributed to the sweets department with his homemade fruit cake (not that store-bought, square version) and his rum cake.
He passed away suddenly from a stomach aneurysm in 2000.
One Christmas later my mother decided she was going to make his rum cake.
Now, at the time, neither one of us made any trips to the ABC store, but rum cake requires, well rum of course.
I am remembering the following conversation between the two of us as best I can, and laughing as I type this. I can just see her in my memories, and her expressions.
“Will you go to the ABC store and get the rum for me?” because, you know, she would be mortified if someone saw her, especially a fellow church member.
“Mom, you do realize if someone sees you from church at the ABC store, you are seeing them there too? Nope, YOU have to buy the rum, but I will go with you.”
We had no clue what we were doing and were shocked to discover there were many different kinds of rum. We had to ask the employees, which one do most folks buy for a rum cake?
So, mom followed — to a T — my father’s hand-written recipe he used every year. The next day, I was encouraged to try a slice.
I was chewing my first bite as she said, “It’s not as good as your father’s is it?”
“Well, it’s good. I hate to say this mom, but his was better.”
“I wonder what he did different?” she said.
“Your cake is not as moist as his, and it doesn’t have that yummy rum kick.”
She never tried her hand at it again, and then she died in an automobile accident in 2002.
Many years later there was a “make your favorite dessert” contest for the Herald’s Christmas party.
I decided to attempt my dad’s rum cake again. However, before the glaze went on, I poked some holes in the cake with a toothpick and then poured some rum onto the hot cake so it would really saturate the cake.
Ding, ding, ding! That was exactly what my dad did — my cake was moist and had the kick mom’s was missing.
I pictured my dad smiling down on me from heaven and saying to my mom, “that’s our girl — see, she figured it out!”
I finish this column with a little note my friend Tony Martin Sr. sent me in the mail, taken from a card he saw:
My Christmas List of Blessings
My Christmas List is more
than just a way to keep track of
The special people God has brought
into my life to love.
It’s like a treasured scrapbook
filled with pleasant memories
Of all the times God’s answered prayer through friends and family.
Precious memories truly are a way to hold on to your loved ones. I hope you create many memories this Christmas, even if it’s through Zoom, so you can look back and remember we are still truly blessed.
Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-410-7056.