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celebrations culture daily prompt inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi story telling summer

Mississippi: A Family Celebrates Memories with a Cookbook

blueberry cobbler may 14

My kitchen is filled with light in the crisp late afternoon. It is the perfect time to bake cakes and other decadent desserts. This is a special afternoon since I am baking a blueberry cobbler for my father. Tomorrow is his birthday and there will be a celebration in his honor. The recipe for the cobbler is from a handmade cookbook made for a similar celebration many years ago.

Memories float back to that day in June as family and friends gather at the nursing home. It is a beautiful sunny day and the weather is warm. Meme had been in the nursing home for several years and had informed the family that she was ready to pass into the next realm of existence. After this day she had planned to cease eating food and let nature take its course.

Carefully I pour over the cookbook trying to decide which cobbler to make for this occasion. The cookbook has several cobbler recipes all of which Meme liked. I choose the blueberry cobbler recipe and pull out the ingredients. Hoping that the cobbler will turn out well I continue to remember that day.

Several months prior to that day in June my aunt gathered the siblings together to discuss what to give Meme on this special day. After much discussion it was decided to put together a cookbook of the favorite recipes from years of family dinners. Each sibling would put together a list of dishes she cooked over the years. The siblings would gather at a later date to decide which recipes would be included in the cookbook.

My father had several favorite dishes to contribute to this cookbook. Often the family would gather and have grilled food. One of his favorites was barbecue sausage. For many years the barbecue sausage would appear at family gatherings. My father would prepare the sausage a few days in advance to let the seasonings marry each other. On the day of the family gathering he would be standing in front of the grill with barbeque sauce on one side and a pair of thongs on the other. I can still smell the aroma of the cooking sausage. It is a wonderful memory.

grill guitar chair may 5

My uncle also contributed a meat recipe to the cookbook. In their childhood barbecue ribs would appear each holiday in the summer. These ribs would be seasoned with his special rub and then cook on the smoker for hours. Served with baked beans and potato salad this was a feast for the eyes and taste buds. It was a must have recipe for the cookbook.

My older aunt was fond of banana pudding. Each Sunday this pudding would appear on the table as dessert. My aunt learned to make this banana pudding as a young child when Meme was teaching her how to cook. A simple recipe that a young child could contribute to the family meal. A wonderful addition to the cookbook.

The younger aunt loved to bake blueberry cobbler for family gatherings. A blueberry cobbler would appear at many family reunions. This is the cobbler from the cookbook that I am preparing this day.

blueberry cobbler may 14

About a month before the birthday celebration the siblings gathered to survey and discuss the recipes collected. In addition to the favorite recipes there were a few included that the grandchildren enjoyed. It was a wonderful afternoon as the siblings sat sorting out and finally settling on the recipes for the cookbook.

Along with the recipes it was decided that little bits of family history would be included in the cookbook. There would be stories to accompany each recipe. Every sibling would contribute at least one family story.

The cookbook was copied and bound with a simple binder. My younger aunt was artistic and liked to draw so all recipes were illustrated by her. Meme was asked to tell a story about cooking for the family which was included on the first page. In relating this story she did not know it would be the foreword of the cookbook.

On that afternoon in June Meme was taken into a gazebo by a lake at the nursing home. Surrounded by her children and grandchildren she was presented a copy of the cookbook. A great speech was made by my aunt’s husband about how special she was on this day. Tears came from her eyes as she smiled at the gift.

Meme passed away about a month after this celebration of her life. Meme had signed a copy of each cookbook that was given to each sibling and grandchild. I cherish that cookbook and the love contained in it.

My blueberry cobbler is finished and the sausage is marinating for my father’s birthday. He will be standing by the grill with his barbecue sauce and thongs. The blueberry cobbler will be dessert and the memories of family will continue to be alive and well.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/crisp/”>Crisp</a&gt;

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camping celebrations culture daily prompt Fourth of July happiness inspiration intentional living life lifestyles memorial day Mississippi story telling summer

Mississippi Summer: A Teenager’s Passport to Adventure

castlewoods pool may 6

School was out for the summer. This was a time of great excitement for me as a young teenager. I was not old enough for a real world job and could still enjoy some of the benefits of childhood.  The responsibilities of adulthood were still distant. The end of the school year was a passport to adventure.

The first adventure would occur on the Memorial Day weekend. On the Saturday before Memorial Day my family would pack our bags and go to the local campground. It was fun to put up the tent and explore the surrounding area. The campground was located near the river where there was an area for swimming. A large rope hung off a tree for those daring enough to swing and jump into the river.

Supper was cooked over a campfire. My mother had several coolers organized according to meals. Drinks were in one and food for the trip in the second. She was determined to enjoy the trip without having to constantly do chores. The meals were simple and delicious. Relaxation was the rule of the day.

river bend may 5

Sunday was spent canoeing down the river. There were a few small rapids on the river that presented a thrill when going down the river. A relaxing way to spend the day. Saturday night was filled with music. My father and brother played the guitar and began to lead the sing a long while s’mores were cooked over the open fire.

The weekend would end on Monday as we packed our bags and returned home. My family would return home in early afternoon. Our neighbors held a small parade each year to honor our veterans. Riding lawnmowers decorated with American flags would ride down the street. It was a pleasant site to observe.

June was a fun month to continue the adventure. Each morning I would ride my bike to the local pool and practice with the swim team. It was fun to compete with my friends each week in the swim meets. Winning was nice but rare for me. It was just fun to be on the team. The lazy days of summer were spent riding bicycles, swimming at the pool, and exploring new hobbies. This time was a wonderful adventure in life.

american flag may 5

July would begin with a huge Independence Day celebration. There would be family and friends gathering at our home. There would be some kind of meat in the smoker to be eaten with the late afternoon meal. My uncle made the best beef brisket with his special marinade. All these years later I can still remember the anticipation of eating that wonderful brisket.

In the afternoon there would be games and conversation. My father would make barbecue sausage on the grill as a snack and homemade ice cream would be made in the churn. The meal would be served on a table decorated with red, white, and blue plates and napkins.

The evening would continue with music until time for the fireworks. We lived close enough to see the firework display of a local festival. It was fun to sit and watch all the wonderful colors crackle in the sky.

In late July it would be time for the family vacation. Each year my family shared a rented house with some relatives on the beach. It was a wonderful week filled with many fun adventures. Usually the first two days were spent playing in the ocean and laying on the beach.

After the sun burn set in on the third day it was time to spend less time in the sun and work on some summer hobbies. I loved to read novels and write. The afternoon was the perfect time to explore new places and solve mysteries through those novels.

The mornings continued to be about beach volleyball. We set up a net and all of the cousins would play. There would also be some teenagers that we had met that would join us. After our afternoon individual pursuits it would be time for one last walk on the beach. Time passed quickly and soon it was time to return home

August came and it was time to prepare for the new school year. Summer vacation was coming to a close and it was time to retire our passports. The final weeks of our summer adventure would include required reading and band camp.

I can still remember those days of freedom and adventure before the responsibilities of adulthood set in. Reading the stories that I wrote of these summer adventures fills me with joy. It returns me to a time when the simple pleasures of life were an adventure.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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celebrations culture daily prompt history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles memorial day Mississippi

In memory of a Mississippi soldier on Memorial Day

american flag may 5

The small Mississippi farm has been the source of survival for the family for a long time. It has been 10 years since the father of the family committed suicide. As the oldest son it has long been his responsibility to take care of the family business. Things have now changed as his mother has remarried and now it is his time to explore the outside world.

The young man is excited as he rushes home to the small farm in Mississippi. He is almost out of breath as he reaches the house with the news. The army recruiter at the small country school has informed him that the college scholarship has arrived. There is now hope for a new life. His smile radiates as he tells the family.

The Mississippi university has been a wonderful time in the young man’s life. The army program has given him structure and confidence. The days are filled with classes and study. There are football games and parties on the weekends. The years pass quickly and soon it is time to move to the next phase of life.

Graduation is here and the air is filled with anticipation and excitement. The engineering degree being awarded today has given him a job with the highway department and entrance into the army reserve as an officer. There is great hope for the future.

There is a war going on across the world in a small country. The army has requested his presence in this foreign land. The young man is frightened as he boards the plane. Life will be hard again and survival is not certain. He is deeply moved by the suffering surrounding him. His view of life will never be the same.

The young man has a wife and children. They anxiously await his return and read the letters he sends with great joy. The war will end soon and he will return. That day will be glorious indeed. The years he spends in a foreign land are difficult but there is a home in Mississippi waiting for him.

The young man is now home and returns to his career in engineering at the highway department. The army reserves are now his secondary job. This is an exciting time in life as his family and career grows. There are birthday parties and family vacations that make his life complete.

The years pass and the young man is now middle-aged with a career, house, and family. The army is still part of his life because of the army reserve. He serves his country in a dual career as an engineer and an army reserve lieutenant. The income from each of these provides him a comfortable living.

The middle-aged man now has time for recreation. His favorite past times include fishing at the local reservoir and playing guitar at his home. This day the sun is out and he is strumming the guitar by the pool while cooking food on the outdoor grill. Life is wonderful and he reflects on his blessings.

grill guitar chair may 5

The world is at war again and the older man reads with great interest the newspaper. His rank as a major with a career as an engineer make him an important part of the war effort at home. He wonders if the world will ever be at peace again. The army reserve has sent him to war college to learn how other countries in the world operate. The older man views these and hopes that diplomacy instead of war will bring the world to peace.

The older man has been promoted to the rank of colonel and is now at the time of retirement from both the army reserve and engineering career. He is looking forward to more time to be spent with his family. Both places of employment give him fond farewells and congratulations for a job well done.

The older man’s family is now larger and spread out. There are now grandchildren to sit and listen to the stories of his life. He again pulls out his guitar and plays around the pool. The grill is sizzling with his signature barbecue sausage.  He smiles with gratitude at the life he has been given.

The man has reached old age and his health is failing. Time grows short as he reaches out to his family and others in a time of reflection. The old man tells of how peace is how the world should be. He reflects that war should be a last resort. There is no glory in seeing the suffering of others. In the end war only brings misery to mankind.

As an engineer the old man has built things throughout his career. Wonderful bridges that he has pointed out to his family every time they drive through the state. He reminds them that bridges connect people to one another.

The family mourns as their father has passed away.  Through the comfort of hospice care he has been granted a peaceful passing. They reflect upon the blessings of having known and lived with this man. His life lessons will remain with them for life.

strawberry patch park memorial april 24

The spirit of the man looks down upon his loved ones and smiles. God has granted him this one final glimpse before moving on to Heaven and eternity. He reflects upon the love given and then turns and walks into eternity.

**In loving memory of my father and uncle who heeded the military call and truly believed that peace between all nations would bring us together. They are gone but never forgotten.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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camping celebrations culture daily prompt hiking humor inspiration intentional living life lifestyles nature story telling travel

Skipper’s Tall Tale: An Adventure in Persistence

Skipper

The early morning clouds were scattering a sprinkle of rain from the sky. Things are being prepared for a Memorial Day visit with family in another state. I am Piper’s dog Skipper and things are getting hectic. Everything is packed and in the car waiting to begin our trip.

I am determined to drive on this trip. The back seat is boring with just my blanket and toy. Now if there had been a nice steak bone in the back we would not be having this conversation. Piper has put me in the back seat with the air conditioner running and gone to make sure the front door to the apartment is locked. That woman is obsessive sometimes.

I am determined to drive at least for the first part of the trip. While her back is turned I jumped into the front seat and have locked the doors. When she noticed the doors were locked she went into panic mode. It was so funny watching her face turn red and start running toward the locked front door. She even dropped her purse on the wet sidewalk.

I decided to honk the horn as she ran to the manager’s office to get an extra key to the apartment. The neighbors came to their doors and there was much laughter as she came back with the manager. The rain is coming down harder now and I turn on the windshield wipers. Back and forth they go spreading the rain from the windshield on Piper as the manager gives her the extra key to use for the apartment.

Normally there is a fee for this service of an extra key.  I honk the horn again and the manager is laughing so hard that she waives the fee and thanks Piper for the entertainment for the day.

Piper gave in to my desire to drive. She exclaimed that taking a nap while riding in the rain would be a great idea. I bark and we begin our trip for the holiday weekend. It is now pouring down rain and the roads are slippery as we drive down the interstate. People are staring at us as if they had never seen a dog drive a car before.

I see a highway patrol car and remember how fun it is to play a game of chase. Quickly I step on the accelerator and am now going one hundred miles an hour. The patrol car quickly enters into a chase which goes on for about ten miles. This is so much fun.

Piper wakes up from her nap and tells me to pull over. The officer is dripping wet as he approaches the car. His expression was priceless as he sees a dog driving the car. I tell him that he is dreaming and that dogs do not drive cars. Angry at first but then laughing he tells me to either slow down or let Piper drive. I agree to slow down and not cause anymore issues. It would be a shame for Piper to spend the weekend in jail.

We arrive at our destination and everyone is excited to see us. I am thrilled to see everyone and explore all the exciting new scents in the yard. We relax for the rest of the day and I am excited for the picnic tomorrow at the local park.

The next morning the sun is out and the rain has left a fresh scent in the air. The clouds in the sky are beautiful as they move slowly in the wind. Piper has decided that we will  walk in the park this morning. I see a bank on the river where some ducks have decided to rest. This is going to be fun.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

I jerk the leash and make Piper fall on the ground and let go. The ducks are so close that I almost catch one before he dives into the water. Missing the duck does not phase me as I plunge into the cold water and begin to swim. There is a turtle on a drifting log in the way but I attempt to jump over the log and splash into the water on the other side.

turtle sunning strawberry patch park april 24

The duck escapes and I return to the shore to check on Piper. She is fine but a little annoyed at me. I wonder why because my adventure was fun.

I decide to give Piper a break until meal time. There is an apple pie on the table and it has my name on it. Someday soon there will be another installment in this adventure. You will have to wait to see if I survive???????????

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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celebrations culture daily prompt inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi mother's day

Hospitality: Mother’s Day: A Reflection of Mother Earth

Mother’s Day in Mississippi is a day to celebrate all of the love and nurturing given to us by our mothers. Southern hospitality is being spread in many homes today.  In many cultures the earth is referred to as humanity’s mother. God created and placed us on this planet so that we could live and thrive. The earth is a living planet that has a symbiotic nature with us .

Mother Earth is our resource for the food that we eat. The soil provides nutrients for the plants that are grown. The raw materials in the soil combined with water from the lakes and rivers provide the ecosystem for the forests that have animals to hunt. Without these resources to sustain us the human race would not survive.

Through the years many of the forests have been destroyed due to greed and short-sighted missions. Mother Earth is not able to heal from the continuous wounds. Our existence is threatened by natural sources of food and shelter being damaged and destroyed.

Mother Earth is our energy source. Through the natural resources that live in her we are able to heat and cool our homes. Coal and oil from the ground provide the raw materials for the framework of our society. Because Mother Earth is a living entity God has provided sun, water, and wind to sustain her. These resources also provide energy for us through solar and thermal energy.

In the industrial age steam was used to power boats that carried people and cargo to all parts of the world. The steam engine transformed how people traveled. This technology enabled the people to expand into places previously thought too far to travel.

Solar energy is abundant and renewable. Use of the sun reduces the burden on Mother Earth and allows her to continue to renew other natural resources.

In the modern age oil is used to produce gasoline for our cars and in many other products that we use today. Use of this resource must be carefully managed due to its finite nature. Mother Earth requires an extended period of time to generate oil. Dependence on oil as the sole energy is short-sighted.

Mother Earth is the source of our building materials. Through the land we are provided with wood, clay, and sand. These materials are used to build the homes in which we live. The land renews itself through a continuous cycle of life.

There is a price to be paid for the use of Mother Earth’s natural resources. In return for the resources and nurturing that Mother Earth has given us there is the responsibility to take care of her. God gave us this  environment so that we may survive and thrive. Taking care of Mother Earth is the only chance that we have for survival. There are several ways that we can honor Mother Earth. We can repay her hospitality.

mom rose garden april 1

In growing our food we can rotate fields to let the land rest. Management of the land is important if we are to continue to feed ourselves. Overuse of the land has caused many crops to fail. There have been pestilence such as bugs and dust that overtake the land. Mother Earth is a precious living environment requiring our respect and care.

Poor land management contributed to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. This was a hard time for the people who lived through it. Many left the land in search of life’s necessities. There were others that died from diseases caused by the dust. It took many years for Mother Earth to recover.

We can look for alternative forms of energy that are in harmony with Mother Earth. The sun and wind are energy sources that are renewable. Proper understanding and use of these natural resources can provide adequate energy for us and the generations to come.

It is important to keep our water supplies clean and free of waste. We can take the time to dispose of our trash in bins instead of on the land or in the water. Fresh clean water is essential for our survival. Water is an essential nutrient for life on Mother Earth. There is a limited amount of clean water to drink. We are called to manage this resource wisely for all living creatures.

fallen limb in reservoir outlook march 31

God has given us the great blessing of living on Mother Earth. He created us to be the caretakers of this planet. If we honor Mother Earth and maintain our part of her existence then the human race will continue to thrive. The choice is ours as we honor our mothers on this day.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Daily Prompt: Hospitality

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celebrations culture daily prompt final inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi transition

Final: The Continuing And Joyful Adventures in Life

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/final/”>Final</a&gt;

It was the final day of working at this job. The road to retirement had been a long one and I was excited that this day had finally come. There was a cake and some balloons on the table. A host of friends and family attended the event and there were some tears shed as we celebrated the end of the long road. It was a wonderful day that came and went with joy.

The next morning I got up and began to ponder on what to do next in my life. Final is never the end of things. It is just a transition into the next phase of life. That is a wonderful concept.

I began to look at all the dreams that had seemed impossible in the past due to work and family obligations. Now the journey through life seemed new and exciting. All things seemed possible again just like when I was a young person. Now was the question of what was the dream to pursue.

Volunteering my time to organizations that matched my ideal world seemed like a good place to begin. As the weeks went by I began to spend time at many organizations. For a while this plan worked and I was busy doing odd jobs for these organizations.

After a few months this work did not match the goals that I had for my life. My life was consumed again and there was no time to pursue other passions. Final became another transition as I chose to work at only one organization and decrease the amount of time spent there.

The next passion I decided to pursue was fitness. It seemed like the perfect time to get into shape. Through the years my passion for desserts and other wonderful high fat foods had finally caught up with me. I began walking each day and revised my diet. For a while this was actually fun.

I learned to cook food that was healthy and tasted good. It was an enlightening experience to realize that my food tasted as well as some of the restaurants that I had frequented in the past. My food was healthier with less fat and sugar. The pounds began to melt off and my health improved dramatically. This was a good final in the health realm for me.

As a child riding a bicycle had been a fun activity. I can remember the sense of freedom at having that first set of wheels. The neighborhood had become an adventure and the hills of where I grew up were fun to coast down. Picking up riding a bicycle again was a fun experience. There were a few falls along the way. I never forgot how to ride a bicycle but gaining balance again took a little time.

My home is near a reservoir with a lot of trails for walking and bicycle riding. The trails offer a vast array of beautiful views. Riding these trails crossing the water renewed my soul. There was peace in these valleys and beautiful scenery. This is when photography entered my life.

I bought a small camera and began taking pictures on my rides. It seemed that every place along the trails had a story to tell. Taking photographs seemed like an excellent way to capture the moments. There are birds in the water resting on perches enjoying the sun filled days. The trees along the trails have seen many years of visitors and have been home to many forms of wildlife. The photographs seem to capture some of their stories.

I had never written anything other than business letters through my life. Writing for fun had never been something that I had considered until now. Looking at the photographs from my travels it seemed like there was more of a story to tell. I wondered if writing stories about the life around me might be a passion worth pursuing.

That is how this blog came into being. The new journey through life seems like a story that needs to be told. This phase of life has so many exciting twists and turns. I hope that most of them will be entertaining and positive. So far this journey has been filled with laughter and few tears.

Final is what we call the transitions through life. There is a final day of  high school, a final day of college, a final day of work, and eventually a final day in the physical existence of this world. But for every final there is a new journey to be experienced. Hopefully it will be a fun and fulfilling one.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

via Daily Prompt: Final