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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

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Peaceful Mountain Dream

smokey mountatin waterfall 1

Crisp cool water

down a mountain stream

lying down after lunch

having a pleasant dream

 

The wildlife surrounds me

so tranquil and serene

living life peacefully

just like my dream

 

God blesses this world

with kindness to all

just like the beginning

before the fall

 

We can all live in a peaceful world

if we take the time

to learn about one another

and be kind

 

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Tin Man with a Golden Heart

tin bicycle man clinton march 28 2017

The tin man is polished

riding along the line

tipping his hat to the ladies

looking so fine

 

He is searching for a heart

to make his love gold

riding on a bike

while growing old

 

Everyday he rides the bicycle

down the street

speaking to everyone

each day he meets

 

God blesses him

with a woman of gold

they are married now

living life till they are old

 

copyright2017 Debbie Pierce

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Rainbow Promises

rainbow on colorado mountain

The summer rains on the mountains fall

the sky is now clearing

with a rainbow across the sky

peace is nearing

 

Beautiful valleys

with grass and trees

are beckoning all to come visit

if they please

 

The colorful promise

of a new day

making all wildlife smile

as they make their way

 

God’s awesome creation

a sight to see

For every person

praying on his knee

 

The rainbow is a promise

from a long time ago

to never flood the Earth again

renewal for the soul

 

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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culture daily prompt forest God happiness hiking inspiration life lifestyles nature poetry preservation spiritual story telling

Nourishing the Soul in the Forest

colorado falls in park

The forest is vivacious

filled with trees and waterfalls

quiet and serene

filled with it all

 

It is summer in the forest

the trees are so green

reflecting off the water

an incredible scene

 

God made nature

for us to learn and observe

nourishing our souls

while we preserve

 

Never take for granted the beauty of the land

its lush creeks and waterfalls

trash and poor land management

will destroy it all

 

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Beauty Inside and Out

penguins in las vegas 2

Penguins strutting around

so natty and smart

waddling in front of the visitors

like living works of art

 

Coats like a tuxedo

dressed in black and white

anxious for the guests to provide fish

oh what a site

 

God created the penguins

placed them in dapper attire

never having to worry

about fulfilling clothing desire

 

People should be so content

in the skin that they wear

God made everyone beautiful

kind souls to bare

 

Inner beauty is to be found

for all to see

showing kindness to all

is the key for you and me

 

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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The Serenity of Waterfalls

smokey mountain waterfall 2

Waterfalls are beautiful

They carry water away

Water flows into the river

And rushes down the way

 

Waterfalls contain energy

To power things far and wide

People canoe over them

Swaying side to side

 

Life is like a waterfall

Sliding over the cliff

Some people are angry

And get into a tiff

 

Other people are happy

Sliding over the fall

Never giving up hope

Of having it all

 

Waterfalls are calming to the soul

Listening to the rushing clatter

Sitting in meditation

Where nothing in the world seems to matter

 

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Renewal and Peace

snow capped mountain alaska

In the distance a snow capped mountain

Surrounded by a lake of blue

Renewal is coming

The spring is new

The wildlife awoke

From a long winter’s sleep

Peace in the valley

Beginning so unique

God’s promise to us

If we will hear

Working together

Renewal and peace are near

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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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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Imagine: Praying for London

ne

mom rose garden april 1

Imagine if you can

A world filled with love

A world filled with kindness

Imagine a world with no evil

A world without hate

Where people love one another

A world where people communicate

God loves us all

Of that there is no doubt

Pray for all who suffer tonight

Because of another person’s hate

**Praying for London tonight

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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