As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I come from a family of five daughters. We are very close in age and we try, in adulthood, to maintain the close relationships that we formed when we were children. One of the truths about our childhood, that was never really apparent to any of us when we were growing up, is that we did not have a lot of money. It would be unfair to say we were poor, because we weren't. My mother was a "stay-at-home" mom for most of my childhood so the five of us were raised on my dad's salary. One of the advantages of the parents with whom I was blessed, is that together, they could do just about any/everything. Mom sewed our clothes, could make quilts to warm us, could make a delicious and filling meal from a variety of things and made our house a loving home. In addition to his ability to fix most leaks, breaks and malfunctions around the house, my dad was also an outdoors man who hunted and fished and brought home many different samples of "Nature's Bounty" for our consumption. I remember, growing up, it always seemed like a sort of adventure to discover what the different meats tasted like. Mom would fry, broil and/or bake the game in various recipes (most of her own creation); and Daddy would grill. Most of the things we sampled were delicious, (I never did develop a taste for frog's legs, however and yes, Elizabeth, a lot of the game tasted like chicken).
Now, lest you think these are just random thoughts, let me get back to my original question...when I was young, some of the ideas I had about what was important was to have "store-bought" clothes and to eat in restaurants. As I mentioned, mom made our clothes. Looking back, I can't believe how selfish, the younger version of me, was. With five daughters, mom always took the time to ensure that we had the opportunity to express our individuality. Even though some things were "hand-me-downs," she made sure that we also had our choice of fabrics and patterns for most of our dresses, shorts, shirts etc. It's only as I have gotten older that I've matured(?) enough to realize what a wonderful gift her time and talents were to all of us. Thanks mom, and I'm sorry it's taken so long to realize the treasures you gave us through your time, talents and unconditional love.
It's no wonder, really, that I LOVE to host parties and "get-togethers." One thing I love more than that, however, is spending time with the friends and family that are so dear to me. They are the greatest treasures in my life. This week, I had the opportunity to help host our annual July 4th barbecue. This is always a fun event. This year, some of the regular attendees were unable to join us but they were replaced by others who haven't joined us in a while as well as some new faces. This annual party actually started when we were children.
At Easter-time, one of more of the local department (read "general") stores would carry cute little "Easter chicks" that had been dyed various pastel colors. I remember asking for one of these little cuties for a couple of years with no success. Then one Easter, each of us girls got an "Easter chick" for our "Easter basket." They were ADORABLE!!! They were soft and cute and so much fun. Daddy built a "coop" for them but when we were outside, we love to let them out and play with them. UNTIL...they got big. Let me stress...BIG! They were no longer any kind of cute. They were mean! Whenever they would escape their coop, they'd chase us around the yard and peck us. Well, pretty soon, we weren't about to go outside and play because we were afraid the demon chicks would go on the attack! Finally, my dad had had enough of five screaming and crying little girls who refused to go outside and run off excess energy because of the demon chickens. So, being the problem solver he was, he told mom to call the family and friends and invite them to a July 4th barbecue chicken dinner and Independence Day celebration.
So the tradition continues. We missed a couple of years along the way but not many. While the other foods may differ from year-to-year, (this year, thanks to my garden, we had a pretty tasty grilled eggplant pate), the star of the show is always barbecue chicken. Among this year's partiers were my "sista-from-anotha-mista" and her hubby. Candee and Bob are terrific people. Candee and I worked together in California, where they still live. Bob is our "unofficial, official photographer" and is never without his camera. Candee is probably the most artistic person I know. She has the creativity, talent and determination to "figure out" any artistic medium she chooses. When we are together, she stretches my imagination and encourages me to "get in touch with the right-side of my brain." We are good together and she is definitely one of the "sisters-of-my-heart."
Thankfully, my priorities have changed as I have aged/matured(?). Things have become less and less important to me and people have become more so. I am so blessed to have people in my life that I admire, respect, enjoy, love and TREASURE.