Sunday, December 20, 2020

Incoming Christmas Banana Nut Fruitcake Memories From Sedro Woolley's Miss Beth

This year I am finding more packages under my virtual Christmas tree than I can remember seeing in a long long time. I do not know what is causing this phenomenon.

One of the recent arrivals you see above. Sent from Sedro-Woolley, Washington by Miss Beth C M.

I have known Miss Beth for over a half a century. We were born in the same hospital in Eugene, Oregon.

About four years after I was born, my parental units moved me north, to Washington, to a town known as Mount Vernon, across the street from what was soon to be the campus of a new school, Skagit Valley College.

Miss Beth's parental units also moved from Eugene. But they headed east, to Ames, Iowa, if I am remembering correctly, and sometimes I do.

Several years passed. My parental units moved us from Mount Vernon to the nearby town of Burlington.

When I was in 6th or 7th grade, one Sunday, myself and my siblings came home from Sunday School, all excited to report to mom and dad that a new family had arrived in town, and that they had a lot of kids, just like us, and all our ages almost matched.

Miss Beth was the oldest of her siblings, with me being the oldest of mine.

Miss Beth's parental units had moved to Washington so her dad could be a professor at that new college I watched getting built when I was a real little kid. Miss Beth's mom was a nurse, nursing at United General Hospital, located between Burlington and Sedro Woolley.

When I was a junior in high school, on a special day in April, a crowd gathered around me at the phone outside the principal's office. I was calling the hospital to see if mom had delivered a new sibling yet. It was Miss Beth's mom who delivered me the news that I had a new baby sister. I turned to the gathered crowd and said "It's a girl". There was a collective groan. I guess most want the baby to be a boy. Miss Beth's mom told my mom that it sounded like I was calling from some sort of assembly and there was cheering when I shared the news.

Later that same day Linda Lou rode with me to United General to meet my new baby sister, Michele, for the first time. It was a happy day.

On August 13, 2017, Linda Lou and Betty Jo Bouvier ventured north to Birch Bay to see me, along with Michele, and to meet David, Theo and Ruby and mama Kristen. It had been many years since either Linda Lou or Betty Jo had seen Michele. I don't think Michele remembered either of them.

Growing up during the holiday season there were always a plethora of baked goods. Mom and dad would cooperate in making some of the goodies, usually things which required a thermometer, like peanut brittle or divinity. Many of the things mom baked were Dutch type pastries, usually with almond paste involved.

I am not a big desert fan, but mom's almond pastries, those I miss.

It was part of the Christmas season, back then, for friends and relatives to share platters of their baked goods. I remember the next door neighbors in Burlington, the Dutch Ploegs, made some real tasty Christmas cookies. The word "krumkaken" comes to mind. Likely totally misspelled.

Miss Beth's mom was also a great baker of tasty goods.

During the past couple years Miss Beth has posted an incalculable number of tasty things to bake, on Facebook. I remember at one point commenting that she was tormenting me with all this tempting tasty stuff. And I recollect asking if I happened to be in the Skagit Valley was it possible to finagle an invite to partake in some of Miss Beth's kitchen products.

And then yesterday a box arrived in my mailbox. From Beth. I asked Miss Beth if this was something I needed to open, or could it reside with the other packages under the virtual Christmas tree.

Beth replied I should stick the package in the fridge. And so I did so.

That lasted about a day before my curiosity caused me to open the package to find a loaf of banana nut bread and two what look to be fruitcakes. I have yet to try the fruitcake, but I have sampled the banana nut bread. Tasty. This made me realize I just do not get good stuff like this anymore at my current location.

I have always liked fruitcake, well, good fruitcake, and have never understood its sort of negative reputation.

These Christmas baked goods from Miss Beth marks the first time in years I have found something like this in my mailbox.

For years every Christmas season I would get a box of baked goodies from mom and dad. When mom's eyesight failed she became the director whilst dad did the actual constructing. I would by lying if I said the quality was at the same level as when mom was still in full function mode.

I do not remember what year was the last one I got a box of Christmas baked goodies from mom and dad. At least five years, probably longer.

Thinking about all this is making me a bit melancholy. 

Thanks Beth! I wish I had baking skills so I could send Beth something tasty...

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