It’s funny how many kinds of holiday food I loved in my childhood haven’t made it to the table in the present. I know why – my children didn’t like the same things, so I didn’t fix them. I long for mincemeat pit and cinnamon apples, pea salad and stuffed celery. The one thing we can all agree on, ripe olives, disappear so fast you’d think they were zapped by a ray gun. Food is part of the holiday experience, but having family around is more important to me.
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When my babies were tiny I wished they would talk to me so I’d know what they were crying about. When they were teens I wished they would talk to me so I could help them through the perils of high school. Now they are grown and they talk to me about all the other things that adults talk about: overwork, horrifying political events, worries over their kids, being stretched to the limit. I didn’t manage to raise them to have a better life than mine, which makes me sad.
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I don’t know how that particular recipe for mashed potatoes became the centerpiece of holiday meals. It’s been that way for several years. Everyone loves those potatoes and looks forward to them more than the pie or any other goodies at holidays. I could say it is the cream cheese and sour cream that get beaten into the mix, but it’s more than that. It’s about something special just for family. The . . .
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It’s a plaid Pendleton wool shirt that used to belong to my dad. If I wear it long enough to get it warmed up, I can smell my dad’s sweat. I don’t do that very often, just when I really miss him and know his smell will make me feel closer to him. I have other things of his – his pocket knife, a carved duck – but they don’t carry a scent like that shirt. It takes me back to . . .
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The mambo is popular in my exercise class, but the dance I learned early and used all my life for every kind of music imaginable is the two step. Not the country-western two step they do in Texas dance halls. The two step that is two steps one way and one step back. It works for swing, rock, even techno dancing. You know that old saw about how the world would be a happy place if every child was given a ukulele at birth? Well, I add that every child should be taught to do the two step as soon as they are steady on their feet.
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Ten knew she had to decide. Was she going to turn to her friends, playing a game with their stuffed animals in a tent on the floor? Or was she going to leave all that behind and tell her mother what went on in her room at night? She’d tried to talk to her mother before, but she was brushed off. But now she was Ten. She’d just had a birthday. Surely her mother would pay attention now that she was Ten.
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Do you remember how to do things the old fashioned way? What if you were in a place like Puerto Rico and had no electricity? Ignore all the rest of their problems like water and impassable roads and no medicine. Just imagine doing without electricity.
I could make a fire and cook over it. I have a fireplace in my house so it could help keep me warm. I have a few candles, not many, to keep the dark away.
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My friend Rebecca is a mess. Her life is a mess. She’s unreliable. She’s irresponsible. Why do I love her so much? She makes me feel alive, she makes me feel things are possible. She supports me when everyone else thinks I’m crazy. She has a big heart and would do anything for me – and sometimes does. She . . .
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It was 60 years old, that cookbook. You know, the one with the red checkered cover like a tablecloth. The pages were falling out of the binder. Some pages were greasy with use, others were untouched. I found what I wanted in the section on pancakes and waffles. Yes, exactly what I remembered – mama’s pancakes. I pulled a big bowl . . .
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Although this blog has several thousand subscribers, the number of people who come by to write something has dwindled. For that reason I’m going to change my publishing schedule. There will be a new writing prompt on Monday only.
There are almost 3000 writing prompts on this blog, so if you’re looking for an idea to get you started, there are plenty of them. Just look around.