This past Friday was my birthday. I don’t say that to illicit warm wishes…just to say that my birthday causes me to be a little more nostalgic than usual. More than anything, I think about Mamaw. My daddy’s mother. This coming Thursday is her birthday. I was 6 days short of being exactly 50 years younger than her. On the days that I remember how old I am, I know exactly how old she would be.
When I think of my grandparents the first word that pops to mind is…cousins! There were a whole lot of us. I wasn’t the oldest or the youngest…just somewhere in between. And that suited me just fine. There was always somebody to play with… usually enough for a baseball game.
I remember sleepovers at my grandparents’ house with at least 4 or 5 cousins together. I remember massive Easter egg hunts. I remember Christmas eve dinners with a house full of relatives. Eating until we were stuffed, then watching the radar on TV to see just where Santa was and what time we would have to go to bed so Santa wouldn’t pass us by for being awake. I remember creamsicle popsicles in the freezer on hot summer days, fish fries, laughter, and always the feeling of belonging somewhere and the feeling of being loved unconditionally.
One of my favorite things Mamaw cooked was a chocolate bundt cake. It had the most wonderful fudge frosting. I remember being just tall enough to see over the kitchen table to where that glorious cake sat. I also remember peeling the frosting off the backside of that cake and how delicious that chocolatey yumminess tasted.
But, my very favorite thing that Mamaw cooked was a black eyed pea and butterbean mix. I don’t know what kind of magic she worked on those peas and beans because I have tried to replicate it many times and have failed every single time. I remember sitting under the big trees in their front yard helping to shell purple hull peas. Mamaw’s thumbs would be as purple as the pea hulls she shelled.
There are so many memories, but I won’t bore you with that. Birthdays do that to me every time. And, it has been a fantastic birthday…I’ve celebrated all weekend. I have eaten well and laughed a lot. And will actually finish up my birthday celebration with a family dinner next Saturday during the Alabama/Texas A&M football game. (That is, unless Coach Saban calls needing my help on the sidelines. That is always a possibility.) If that is the case, the dinner will be postponed until another time.
Family is a wonderful thing. Enjoy yours.
Today’s recipe reminds me of summertime at my Mamaw’s house. There was always creamsicle popsicles in the freezer. That cold, orange-y goodness takes me back every time.
Orange Creamsicle Cake
1 box orange cake mix 1 cup sour cream
2 small boxes orange gelatin 16 oz. Cool Whip
½ cup vegetable oil ½ cup orange juice
1 ½ cup milk 1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs 1 tsp. orange extract
Mix 1st 5 ingredients. Bake at 350 in 2-9” cake pans. Cool completely. Mix orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add orange extract. Mix in sour cream. Fold in Cool Whip.
Cut each layer in half, making 4 layers. Frost between layers, then frost top and sides. Delicious!
This is me with Mamaw and Daddy Dave.