Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow!

I was born to one of those amazing women who brought home the bacon AND fried it up in a pan.  She also sewed, kept house better than Mr. Clean, and baked like Julia Child.  Every Christmas, she would make delicious treats and her minions children would be put to work rolling, flouring, baking and packaging her Christmas goodies for all of our neighbors.

I don't know about you, but I don't have near the relationship with my neighbors as my parents did with ours when I was growing up.  Louise and Al across the street were our surrogate grandparents, Mamie was the older southern belle across the street who knew more about my schedule than I did.  Peggy lived on the corner and was the one we went to in case of emergencies if Mom and Dad weren't home.  There are literally countless other neighbors, friendly faces I can see in my mind's eye; peripheral characters who cheered me on from across the street or right next door.

Each Christmas, my mom would load up our red Radio Flyer Wagon and load it to the brim with Saran-wrapped goody plates.  There were sugar cookies, Hello-Dollies, Grandma Capell's doughies--so many varieties I can't remember them all!  We would drag our red wagon from house to house and make our deliveries.  There were hugs and carols and "Merry Christmas!!" over and over, and there was always something more, something I couldn't name as a child, but now see it clearly:  It was Love.

Grandma Capell's Doughies

1/2 lb butter
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
vanilla to taste
nuts (as little or as many as you like)

Mix butter and sugar together with hands.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Add  flour, salt, vanilla and nuts.  Shape into balls or half moons.  Bake until golden brown.  Remove from sheet and roll in powdered sugar.  Allow to cool, then roll in powdered sugar again.

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I think it's time to drag out the wagon, rise up and follow this sacred family tradition!


  1. Your mom sounds like a gem. I wish I lived in her neighborhood. And the Doughies sound doughy-delicious and buttery! Love how you call the children the minions LOL, my kids would say the same about themselves I'm sure. What a little work force they were! *getting teary*

  2. Awww Karen, that's so cute! Oh those memories we treasure and hold dear...this time of year just brings the good thoughts out!

  3. Love love love your mom! (You too!)

  4. You know, I decided not to bake this year because I'm on a diet and, if I bake, I will eat and eat (repeat). I'm holding to my decision but, oh, it is hard. Cookie-making is an integral part of seasonal celebration and posts like yours make me positively drool.
    Enjoy it for me, will you?
    Thanks Lisa!

  5. Cathy, I will eat all your Christmas cookies this season, if YOU help me burn them off come January...;)

  6. I have lamented this sad situation myself! When I was a kid, my parents knew all of our neighbours. We lived next to Mormons, Catholics, non-denominational Christians, and atheists. Some were disinterested in friendship; most were wonderful neighbours. We, too, had adopted grandparents who lived across the street. Barry and Yvonne. We'd invite them to Grandparents Day at school because ours lived hundreds of miles away. We took them treats at Christmas, too. Homemade goodies such as the ones you're talking about.

    Me...in my adult life I've never had neighbours I'd take goodies to. And though the neighbours on one side are friendly, I somehow never think to take them a plate of Christmas cheer. Not sure why.

    This year we're spending the holiday season moving across the state. It's been a hell of a season and I know come January I'm going to wish we could do Christmas all over so I could actually enjoy it. I guess in the grand scheme of things 12 months isn't that long to wait. I think maybe this year we'll take New Years goodies to our new neighbours. Nothing like starting the year on the right foot.

    I'm enjoying your blog immensely. I like your simple, frank way of stating life the way it is; thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting so I could find your blog...and add it to my ever-growing list of fantastic reads I need to keep up with.

    Happy holidays...may this be the year you befriend all your neighbours...in your neighbourhood and beyond.