Today was our family’s Fall Hootenanny, and this beauty was waiting to greet me when I walked through the door.
That right there is a genuine Ten Layer Chocolate Cake. My Aunt made it because she was thinking of my Granny, her Mama. It took her a whole afternoon to make it. What a gift of love, and I swanee, it fairly melted in my mouth.
Funny, isn’t it, the journey that food takes us on? I make a coconut cake for our Spring Easter Egg Hunt/Wienie Roast for the same reason–because it makes me think of Granny. Yesterday I baked my Mama’s Lucia Pepparkakor cookies and used her jack o’lantern cookie cutter, and I could almost see her hands rolling out the dough. I also made a pound cake with a praline/caramel glaze and thought of my Daddy and his love of caramel cakes.
Food. Love. Interchangeable really.
I sat at the table today with my cousin’s three children. The oldest took a bite of a Mint Chocolate Chip cookie that another cousin usually makes and brings to our family gatherings. As he began to chew, he closed his eyes and said, “Mmmmm. It’s even better than I remember. It’s just so good.” He looked up very seriously. “I could eat more than three.”
Oh bless him. He was so precious. His memories of our family as he gets older will include these cookies as much as the coconut cake and Ten Layer Chocolate Cake remind me of Granny. (He also has a theory about eating Rice Krispie treats and enjoying them because they aren’t too filling and there’s more room for the cookies–another year and he’ll have this whole dessert management thing down to a science. And with this family and all of our talented bakers, we need it.)
We also had our annual Turkey Egg Hunt. Our Princess was shocked to discover, upon enthusiastically telling others what we were going to be doing today, that not every family has a Turkey Egg Hunt. All I can say is y’all are seriously missing out. Hunting eggs twice a year is kind of our thing. Turkeys get equal billing with this crew.
Today was a day of standing around and telling stories, sitting with folks younger and older and shooting the breeze. It was about hearing all the love in the voices of those who have known me longest (and they still love me anyway–I don’t take that lightly). It was about missing the ones who weren’t with us and giving thanks in all kinds of ways for those who were. It was about old traditions and new beginnings and swapping recipes and making plans for future visits again real soon. It was a day of open doors and windows and scooching over to make room for more.
Because that’s the love language of my people, y’all. We’re not the most extroverted bunch, but when it comes to scooching over so someone else can squeeze in, we’re good. We’ve got that part down. And if it means we can share a cookie and a smile while we’re sitting there elbow to elbow, then all the more joy for everyone.
Tonight after we got home, the littles and I watched an episode of “Girl Meets World.” That we love this show and why is a whole ‘nother post. The main character, Riley, shared these words with a group of friends and family on the episode we watched tonight:
“We think that we are the center of the universe, but the truth is… we need to circle the ones we love for as long as they’re here. We need to hold them close, because no matter how far we travel, they are the ones who hold us in place. It’s gravity, and without it, we’d just all float away from each other.”
That’s what today was about, circling the ones I love and giving thanks that they are here.
And cakes and cookies, and all the stories and memories they can hold.
Y’all go find somebody to circle. Hold ’em close. Maybe even share a cookie.
Love to all.