Chocolate cake and lights was all I had to go on for Cody’s third birthday party. I knew I had hit the target when he woke up to find lights strung throughout the living and dining room and his eyes followed the colorful strings of lights to a big chocolate cake in the center of the table.
“My friends are coming soon?” he asks.
“Yes, in about two hours. Want to see the cake?”
He nods enthusiastically and climbs into a chair to get a closer look. The cover on the cake removed, Cody smiled broadly, “Miles from Tomorrowland! Chocolate cake! Lights! Can I taste it?” He quickly swiped a finger full of icing and the party began.
Four years ago the ultrasound technician smiled broadly and announced the swirling baby within me was a girl. I remember two feelings in that moment: the wet gel circulating on my belly and the deafening silence of Chris. Both of us had reserved ourselves with the knowing we would produce only boys. We had nothing to base this on except a likely subconscious preference. I, never feeling like I knew how to have great girl friendships and thus figured I’d be a better mother of boys. Chris, well girls talk and are dramatic, it would be all around easier for all involved if our children were male. And yet, God has a way of mixing it up…
I was barely five years old and the brick steps in her garage were high. The railing was of little help to my short arms as I balanced from step to step behind my mother. As soon as we entered the kitchen the warm smell of a boiling chicken in a pot on the stove met my round face. My cheeks flushed pink with the sound of her voice, “Good morning Charity Ann…” I shyly tucked behind my mother’s hip, peeking around to my Nannie, my mother’s mother. She was at her usual spot at the stove stirring and checking. She was midway through her workday at 9am, as she often rose before the sun to read her Bible. A farm girl from Franklin, Virginia, she knew the importance of home cooking and hard work. She was equal magic and intimidation.
When I was a kid there was one thing I strove to do with the utmost dedication – be my older brother Ben’s sidekick. Three years older, he was (and still is) one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. Loyal, reliable, and has the most hilarious dry humor you will ever hear. My only complaint is that Ben always got to do more than I did (yes mom, you can roll your eyes now). He would disappear after school in the afternoons to race and chase with our cousin a few neighborhoods over or “secretly” ride his bike to 7-11 when our mom was teaching music students in her backyard studio. He is the reason I frowned at dresses and refused to play with dolls. Because if I showed I was tough, maybe, just maybe, I’d get to bike with him on an adventure too.
Before we get started, first the winners of the Mini Macks’ Culinary Adventures and Giveaway! Ms. Marsha, Ms. Jenny Sue, Ms. Rita, and Ms. Felicity from across the pond in England! Congratulations winners! Thank you all for sharing some fun stories of culinary adventures from your past. I will be contacting each of you to receive your beautiful tote bag from Crooked Brook!
What do you get when you cross upstate New York with a Mini Mack? A honey hunt, that’s what. It is our annual pilgrimage to the north where we visit the great and powerful Great-Grandma Bates (think the Wizard of Oz times ten). To the village of Weedsport, with the quaintest of Victorian homes and green hills with winding double-line roads outlined by wildflowers waving by. We embarked on a honey hunt fit for a queen bee. Inspired by the Cayuga Office of Tourism, we consulted their Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail brochure.