Christmas 2021

I don’t generally get into the Christmas mood until a couple of weeks before, but this year was a little different. It was 3 days before when I started decorating and even shopping! Of course, this meant that I overspent some by not planning and preparing, but it got done and I was quite proud of myself for pulling it off!

What a sweet week we had. We didn’t get to get to see our Texas family and Covid concerns kept us from seeing my parents, so a little sadness was tucked in with the sweetness.

These photos are a mix of the Smithson party and the get together at our house on Christmas Day. I’m also adding some that Hannah and Bill sent us from Texas.

Nanny and Poppy
Nanny made sure everyone respected the elders!
Will bought a beautiful standing rib roast and cooked it in his smoker. Delicious! This may be a new tradition!
Campbell and Davis
Sweet kisses. Lila wasn’t feeling well.
Claire gave me the candlesticks and candles for Christmas. She is my sidekick decorator.
Claire and Davis
Aunt Ann and Troy
Aunt Robbie, Aunt Marilyn and Glena

Texas photos…

Jackson checking out the gifts
Quail hunting
Quail hunting

Our family was blessed with a new addition the day after Christmas! Mary Grace and Trevor welcomed Sawyer Rose! We can’t wait to meet her.

Scribbles

Lila loves to get my ink pens and scribble. Her scribbles are beautiful to me. They are precious pieces of art, because I just love her so much and anything she does is special.

I have kept so many of my children’s scribbles, pieces of art work and flowers (and weeds) that they handed me with love. These things are so precious to me because they were given with a pure heart – “Mommy, look what I drew!” I still have flowers pressed in books from 25 years ago.

I wonder if God feels the same when we give him our heart and our limited talents and abilities? I hope so. We may feel our lives are just a scribble, but I think he sees a masterpiece. He sees what we can be.

Mother’s Day

We celebrated our mothers today with texts, calls, gifts, letters and hugs. Our local family gathered at the new Harpeth Hotel in Franklin for brunch. The food was absolutely delicious and the staff was so accommodating.

Gathering with family becomes more special as the years go by. Maybe it’s just because my children are grown and I’m not wrestling with them to sit still and behave. Lila was a perfect angel today and the center of attention.

My heart is overflowing.

I’m glad we still like each other….

We bought steaks at the Franklin Farmer’s Market and they were marinating. We had fresh broccoli and new potatoes. We were preparing for a sweet Sunday dinner with two of our precious angels.

The first indication this was going downhill was when Camp said in his deep, dark, man voice, “Uhhh…some of the guys are going canoeing….is that ok?”

Claire was all in and then I got a text: Some of us are going to the river. I may not make it.

Alrighty, then!

When did this transition begin? It’s been easing up on us for years. They’re out doing their fun stuff and I’m watching ‘Call the Midwife’. So, I decided, not today! We are going to go do something fun, too!

Have ya’ll ever been to Burgess Falls? It is simply gorgeous. We got some fast food and held hands and drove and talked and hiked and I said, “I’m glad we still like each other.” Because, you know, we have crossed over. We are not the sole entertainers of our children. We must learn to entertain ourselves.

Invest, invest, invest in your marriage. Go to those marriage retreats. Attend that couple’s class at church. Go out on dates and cherish your relationship. Nurture it. Because, one day, you will be glad you can say, “I’m glad we still like each other!”

Apple Pie

Tonight, we have 3 events, so we will all be eating at different times, grabbing something on the go. On nights like this, the crock pot really comes to the rescue. So, even though it’s 92, sticky Tennessee degrees outside, I’m making a fall meal – crock pot of chili and a couple of apple pies.

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Apple Pie
2 c chopped apples
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 stick butter
1/4 t. Cinnamon
2 unbaked pie crusts

Mix ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crust. Use another crust to slice into strips for the lattice.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake until crust is brown and filling is fairly firm.

Our Southern School

I am a child of the 70’s.  I started kindergarten (not mandatory at the time) in 1970, first grade in ’71 and so on.  There were two classes per grade level in our school.  Our particular class was the largest, with 45 children in each class.  Can you imagine?   Pupil teacher ratio was unheard of then, but most of us turned out fine, great even, with many professionals and very high achievers.  If there was ever a disruption, it was swiftly dealt with, usually with a paddling, and that was that.  The teacher would nip it in the bud.  I know that it will never be like that again, and I’m not saying that it should be, but it was a simpler time with no worries of political correctness.

One of the highlights of my elementary career was when Mrs. Hazel, a little snip of a woman who was afflicted with arthritis and could hardly walk,  whacked M. over the head with her yardstick in the middle of English class.  Over and over. We were awestruck.  I’m sure our mouths were wide open with disbelief, but in our hearts, we probably felt he deserved it, the little troublemaker.  He never sassed her again.  She backed off when the yardstick broke.

The lunches, oh my, were delicious.  The government had little or no say so in what those southern cooks whipped up.  Homemade yeast rolls every day, real fried chicken, chili served with pimento cheese sandwiches and homemade cinnamon rolls.  Even with all the recycling programs, we were much greener back then because they actually washed our trays and silverware instead of throwing away plastic trays and utensils.

In 1976, we learned our patriotic songs, spirituals and Civil War songs such as Dixie, This Land is Your Land and Pick a Bale of Cotton.

We had wonderful teachers and some not so wonderful, but we respected them all.

Miss Maida, who we all thought was nearly blind, caught me red-handed when I looked up the answer to a test question in my notebook.  I was terrified when she called me up to her desk.  Thankfully, she didn’t tell my daddy (the assistant principal).  It would have been the end of my little 4th grade world.  She gave us girls a whack on the behind one day when we stayed outside too long working on our barometers and thermometers.

Mr. Hargis taught us to macramé and sang James Taylor songs on the guitar he kept beside his desk.  He sang Fire and Rain and all the girls instantly fell in love.  He let us construct an elaborate haunted house in the boiler room that was connected to our classroom.  It was quite scary and it’s a miracle the thing did not explode.  I remember peeling grapes and making intestines with cold spaghetti.  We were very proud of that haunted house and it consumed most of our school days for a couple of weeks in October.

Mrs. Pratt was all business and she probably thought the hippie science teacher with the long hair strumming his guitar was not doing his job properly.

Mrs. Tippet taught us cursive writing. We watched the cursive writing show on channel 8 once a week – my favorite.  I loved that woman’s soothing voice and the way her chalk was so perfect on the chalkboard.  Mrs. Tippet gave me a C in music.  My mother was concerned.

Mrs. Crockrell was long and tall and showed my daddy the paper I wrote about someone’s face being so dirty it looked like they had been sucking on a sow.  Now, I learned that southern phrase at home and it was so wonderful that I had to use it in my creative writing.  Can’t you just visualize it?

Mrs. Bush was another long, tall sally and was a good math teacher.  She wouldn’t put up with anything from anybody.

Mrs. Byrd was the ultimate in sophistication.  She had a cup of Maxwell House International Coffee after school ~ Café Francais, to be specific, and she would make me a cup  while I  waited for my daddy to finish late bus duty.  I still love that instant, sugar laden coffee and think of her when I see it in the grocery.

We took a recess every day and on pretty days it would stretch out to an hour or sometimes two.  The teachers and boys would always have a baseball game going and the girls would play Donnie and Marie and work on our love lives.  If you had a boyfriend, you were going with him and he would give you his chain.  Notes were passed in between classes and yes, I still have mine in my original jewelry box with the spinning ballet dancer.

A lot of the girls and some of the boys took piano lessons from Mrs. Sills.  We got off the bus at her house and waited in her perfect living room for our lesson.  She had a very elaborate piano recital each year with each grade level doing a song and dance routine in addition to our piano songs.  It was a very big deal. It seemed we practiced those routines for weeks. We used the stage at the elementary school and we bought long dresses and new shoes.  The best piano player was always Paula…and then Susan…and Moira…I was one of the worst, always forgetting my song and living in humiliation the rest of the night.  I truly did hate to practice. Later, Mrs. Bomba moved to town and gave  lessons.  I had never in my life heard anyone play like she did.

It was a good time to be a child.

Suzanneatdover

Chess Pie Recipe

  Chess Pie

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 T melted butter
1 T white corn meal
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell
 
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat eggs with wire whisk.  Add sugar, butter, cornmeal, buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 25 more minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville in the 70’s

Yesterday, as I put groceries in the trunk of my car, the thought occurred to me…I have turned into my grandmother.  In the trunk of my car, besides the groceries, were bags and bags of wonderful yard-sale treasures that haven’t yet found their forever home somewhere in the house.

My grandmother was the yard-sale queen of Belle Meade.  She also knew every thrift store in West Nashville and counted the days until the Ladies of Charity sale and the big Ensworth Auction.

Thinking of her brought back more memories of going to her house for summer visits.  She made the best pot roast I ever have or ever will put in my mouth.  She and my grandfather did not keep a lot of groceries and no junk food, but there was always something delicious in the kitchen like rice pudding or banana pudding.

She took us on little excursions during the day to places like the Life and Casualty Tower (which was the tallest building in Nashville at the time and you could ride the elevator to the top and walk out on the terrace) and the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  She took us to lunch at Sylvan Park, her favorite restaurant besides the Belle Meade Cafeteria and White Castle.

We rode in the old silver Nova to Centennial Park to hear the Nashville Symphony.  I will never forget dipping water from the lake to put into her radiator because the car wouldn’t start.

My grandparents didn’t have a television.  They kept the radio tuned to WSM AM 650 – for the news – though my grandmother loved the Grand Ole Opry on Friday and Saturday nights, with Minnie Pearl being her favorite act.

They didn’t have a television, but they did have a little record player that I almost wore out one summer listening to Bobbie Gentry sing “Ode to Billie Joe”.

They also didn’t run the air conditioner in the summer.  Each room had an oscillating fan and I don’t remember it being hot, just comfortable.

We went with the church youth group to Opryland, rode the glass elevators in the downtown Marriott and visited Night Court.

My grandmother worked at night as a companion to Mrs. Currey.  Yes, that’s the one.  My grandmother was the most witty person I have ever met and being a companion was just a natural job for her.  She could keep you entertained for hours with her stories and dry jokes.  She would sit and watch television with Mrs. Currey and keep her company. Gamma would bring us beautiful ball gowns and pretty clutches that Mrs. Currey no longer wanted.   My grandmother had her own room in the Belle Meade Blvd. home and would come home in the morning with the Nashville Banner and the promise of a delicious breakfast of biscuits, country ham and eggs.

I have indulged myself this morning by writing about my memories of Nashville and grandparents.  I think it does a heart good to  remember and be thankful.

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Peach Pie

Peaches are my favorite summer fruit.  I have memories of picking the white peaches off my uncle’s tree and the sticky juice running down to my elbow.

Peaches are best, I think, just peeled and sliced.  But, sometimes a cobbler or pie is called for!

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Peach Pie

8-10 ripe peaches

1/2 cup sugar

2 T flour

2 Pillsbury pie crusts

Combine peach chunks, flour and sugar in a saucepan.  Cook until the mixture becomes thick.

Pour into one unbaked pie crust.  Top with the second crust.  Prick holes in the crust and top with a little butter and sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees until crust browns, approx. 20-30 minutes.

Chipped Plates

This is one of those blessings that you have to go all around the circle and as you’re coming back around, you realize that you can be thankful for it.
I registered for Wedgwood, Queen’s Shape everyday dishes when we got engaged.  I received about 12 place settings.  We don’t use them every single day, but I do bring them out quite a bit. I like using the salad plates for our breakfast because they’re the perfect size.
Yesterday, as I was washing the ones we had just used, I noticed that every single one of them has a nasty chip on the side.  I am assuming that these chips came from slinging them around too hard when they were being washed.  I also noticed that one of my big serving platters has a crack almost all the way across.  Now, I’m not placing blame on anyone here, but some people in the family wash dishes like it’s a race at the speedway – slinging them here and there, smacking them on the faucet and throwing them into the dishwasher.
How in the world can this be a blessing?
I’m thankful for:
~ the nice plates, chips and all ~
~ food to serve on them ~
~ a husband and children to wash them ~
~ a family to sit around the table and eat from them ~
This is a thought that could just keep on rolling along.  I could talk about how I am not the same glossy plate that I was 22 years ago and how I’ve gotten chipped up along the way, but that all those chips mean I’ve lived a good life and have had tons of battles and blessings, but I’ll save that thought for another time!
Blessings to you today!
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