One of many things you may not know about me is the fact that I’m an uncle to a variety of neices and nephews. That’s right people. I’ve got three of them here in town, two up north, and one out west. Even more unique is the fact that two of them are named Max.
TharpSter’s latest and greatest dispatch to the web orbits on the periphery around one of those nephews named Max.
At the end of October, I received a letter from Max’s school. Naturally, when the school sends out a letter, things could potentially be bad. Imagine how bad they are when the school takes to sending letters not only to a kid’s parents, but his uncles and aunts as well. Max must have been in a world of Dutch.
Much to my relief, he wasn’t. It seems his class is putting together books this year chronicling the favorite Christmas memories of the students’ loved ones. Yours truly was invited to offer a contribution to this year’s tome, to which I graciously accepted. I should probably make it known here and now that the extension of such an invitation to me of all people to write a Christmas memory for a fifth grader attending a private Christian school is solid, undisputable evidence that Max and his parents haven’t read much of my work prior to the point where someone in their house said “Hey, why don’t you ask Uncle Randy to write something?”
Insert evil, maniacal laugh right here.
Rest assured my dear reader, that regardless of the verbal brilliance and colorful imagery you normally read here on your favorite website, I applied my filters. In fact I used the same filters I engaged when I was sitting next to my adopted 87 year old Grammy last night at dinner.
In that story for Max, I wrote about that time I was 10 and opened a Christmas present or two a few weeks before I was supposed to. I wrote about the Angel Trees I’ve participated in, and a few of the dogs that came into my life during the season. I also talked about a recipe for fudge that had been handed down to my Dad by way of one his aunts. For some reason, that particular fudge was a key indicator to me that the holiday season was well underway.
Several weeks ago, I printed that bad boy out, folded and inserted it into the self-addressed, stamped envelope, and subsequently entrusted it to the U.S. Postal Service in hopes that it would make it to its final destination.
So I told you that story so I could tell you this one.
Dad was in town this weekend, and not a minute to soon.
After the Pit Bull stopped barking at him, we were able to sit down and shoot the bull for a while. In the process of catching up, I mentioned Max’s request and produced a copy of what I had written for him to read. Since he was a key player in some of those memories, Dad naturally knew what I was talking about.
He began to read it, and commented on the memories I had recalled. As he read about my crystal clear recollection about the fudge, he said something that just shattered my view of things. “I didn’t get that fudge recipe from an Aunt. I got it out of a Parade magazine.”
Some of my fondest memories of growing up around Christmas time revolve around Dad making fudge from a recipe which was passed down to him from a beloved aunt. Instead, it now turns out that the recipe was born of a magazine which forces its way into the Sunday newspaper because it probably couldn’t sell on its own on the newsstand.
It’s a good thing that Santa Claus still exists.
I’ve spent the last day and a half pondering this troubling revelation and came to the conclusion to apply the Liberty Valance theme to this issue. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” I wasn’t going to tell the CFO or the kids that the fudge wasn’t an old family recipe. Instead, I would perpetuate their blissful ignorance of the matter and let them continue to believe that Aunt Era had things figured out where my favorite Christmas delight was concerned.
But then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have to do that. Dad did in fact get that recipe from Aunt Era. Sure, he has suggested otherwise, but I’m pretty sure he skipped a vital part of that story which is critical to the source of the fudge.
It would seem that sometime during the late 60’s or early 70’s, Aunt Era (we actually called her Aunt E. but that’s whole other story) took to cataloging her recipes on 3×5 note cards with a Bic Banana. Once she had compiled all of her delectable concoctions and palatable creations onto all of those cards, she engineered a publishing deal with a variety of magazines and other Sunday newspaper inserts to share her culinary brilliance with the world. Among those recipes, ladies and gentlemen, was one for fudge. Just by co-inky-dink, one her nephews (aka Dad) ran across it one morning while looking for whatever shenanigans Snoopy was up to in the funnies. Based on how I’ve made it up, that’s the honest truth.
Dad got that recipe from Aunt E. It’s as easy as that.
This morning, Dad got up early and ran to the grocery store to pick up the precious elements of my favorite Christmas snack. Shortly thereafter, the CFO combined those elements in the double boiler and then spread it out in a pan on top of a layer of wax paper. After a few hours in the fridge, your favorite blogger was recipient of the first sign of Christmas for the year 2010.
Even better is the fact that the stuff is absolutely calorie free.