Today, weather permitting, I will go to the store and buy some chocolate chips for the pecan pie and some eggs.
I am trying my Aunty Vera's recipe for pecan pie. That's her there, with the white hair standing next to my sister. Well, I don't imagine it is really her recipe, but she is the one that told my mom and dad they just had to make it. So they did, and they sent me the recipe and told me I had to try it too. It has raisins in it. The recipe does not call for chocolate chips, but I am going to add them anyway. I had a piece of pecan pie last night at a dinner a friend's house that had chocolate chips in it. It was wonderful. I think raisins and chocolate go together well, so the pie should be OK. And you know what? If the pie does not turn out, it is of little consequence. Just a few dollars out on the compost heap.
It will be a simple meal tomorrow for just the 3 of us. Nothing fancy. I have tried fancy a couple of times in the past, and mostly with disastrous results.
The lyric "Chestnuts roasting on the open fire..." took quite a whole new meaning for me after I attempted to roast chestnuts in the oven to put in Christmas turkey dressing, and they exploded and made a terrible mess in the oven. We were living in Oregon when that happened.
Then I think about the truly awful Christmas dinner I prepared after we moved here.
And tonight's the night when Sandy Claws comes down the chimney. Yep, there was a lot of excitement in our home at Christmas when I was a kid growing up. But it wasn't just about getting presents.
I remember how much fun it was when Dad got out the box of ornaments. It was filled with shredded newspaper, and the ornaments were buried in that, and one had to fish around in there to find them. It was like a treasure hunt. And it was so much fun to decorate the tree.
I even remember a few of the Christmas presents I got -- a chemistry set, a snake, a bicycle.
But now, looking back on it, it seems like what I remember looking forward to the most was the arrival of the box that contained the tin with Aunt Betty's cookies.
I took this picture in 1979, which was the last time I saw her. She died in 1981.
She made wonderful cookies. And my favorites were these little cookie balls dusted in powdered sugar. Maybe they were Russian teacakes, or just Scottish shortbread. She used real butter, which was a luxury we seldom enjoyed. You could taste the butter. Oh my, they were truly wonderful.
Gives pause for thought balancing large amounts of money spent on presents when years later it will be something much more mundane that a child might remember, like a box of cookies, or making ornaments for the tree, or...
I first heard John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story on National Public Radio, and they aired it every Christmas for many years, before finally stopping. Take a few moments and listen to it -- it will take maybe 5 minutes, or read if it you prefer. It will give you pause for thought.