Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
My mother has been gone now for over a year. She suffered for many year's from Alzheimer's disease. I've been thinking about mom a lot these past few months. I recently found an old black and white picture of us, she is tying a bow in my hair, I am looking up at her with the biggest smile. I adored her.
I remember fighting with mother because she always kept too much money in her checking account. What is the point, when a savings account is so much better? Now I am the one who keeps too much money in my checking account. Now I understand that when you grow up being poor, it is a measure of comfort, a cushion; and money in a savings account is never touched except in extreme emergencies.
I smile when I see green and white gingham fabric, and remember my mother. She made mother/daughter outfits for us from green and white gingham, by hand, she never had a sewing machine. If I close my eyes I can see us standing in the sun in our new clothes, mother in her skirt and me in my sunsuit.
I am remembering my mother giving me money for a plastic flute when she had little to give. I told her "everyone else in class has one." I thought nothing of it then, but at some point the memory came back to me and stayed. Years later, before moms Alzheimer's worsened, I was able to take her to Bermuda for seven glorious days. She woke up early every morning to watch the sun rise and the ships come into port. When she worried that I had spent far too much money, I reminded her of that time long ago, and of the flute she could ill afford.
Mother was such a good cook. Her baking was out of this world, blackberry cobbler, pineapple coconut cake (or is it coconut pineapple cake?). However, my favorite dessert was a cake that had no frills. It had no frosting, no icing, she called it sweet bread. Mom made this for my brothers and me when there were no sweets in the house and no money for treats. Squares of fragrant, warm sweet bread served with ice-cold milk or Ovaltine; my dad preferred buttermilk. As an adult I have searched for this 'sweet bread' recipe but never found it. I mentioned this online a while back, and this month I received a cook book titled The Taste of Country Cooking, written by Edna Lewis in 1976 and newly released again in 2003. It was there I found a recipe for busy-day bread, also called sweet bread. I thank the kind reader who sent this book to me and simply signed herself "A Mother."
Many blessings, and happy Mother's Day to everyone.
Edna Lewis' cook book The Taste of Country Cooking: 30th Anniversary Edition is available from Amazon.