UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed reading your memories of loved ones. The winner of one issue of Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living is Patsy H. Congratulations, Patsy!
Today’s post is written by my Amish-Mennonite friend Sherry Gore, who will be posting here once each month. You will find Sherry’s bio and a link to her website at the end of the article.
My Father’s Legacy
I remember, as a little girl, listening to my father as he spoke “teaching words” to me. Sometimes they were necessary words of reproof for unkind things he’d overheard me speak. He’d take these opportunities to tell me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Other times, when one of my siblings or I would come to him with a problem and ask, “What should I do?” we’d hear things like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As a parent myself now, I understand that he wanted to teach his children by using words that would help shape us into better people while we were growing up and would become lessons we would teach our own children one day. But more important to me than his words were his actions. They left more of an impression on me than anything he ever said.
My father was, by anyone’s standards, a man of means. He worked hard to make something of himself as soon as he was old enough to step out on his own. While I was growing up and long into my adulthood, my father was an important man to his colleagues. The treatment he received varied according to the knowledge people had of his business dealings. I noticed he received special preference over others when he visited the bank. But nobody cared who he was when he stood in line at the hardware store.
Each week on garbage pick-up days, my father would go into his home office, where he kept a little refrigerator, and grab three cans of soda. Then he’d head out the front door and take them to where the refuse truck sat idling as the men dressed in green uniforms scurried to empty the cans before replacing them neatly on the curbside. My father would hand each fellow an ice-cold drink. The men always removed a glove and thanked my father with a handshake. Every man smiled as they exchanged a few words before downing their refreshment. For as long as I can remember, my father did this twice a week, every week, rain or shine.
Once, when my parents went on vacation, they asked me to house-sit for them. Among the list of instructions they left were these words written in my father’s handwriting: “Remember to take the garbage men their drinks. Don’t be late, and make sure you give them regular Pepsi—it’s their favorite.” Even in his absence, he wanted the men to know they were appreciated.
Today I see my father’s actions as instruction from God: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” (James 2:1 NIV). My father held everyone in high regard, regardless of who they were or what they did for a living.
As I look back today on how I’ve raised my own children (they’re mostly grown—my youngest is sixteen), I wonder what legacy I will leave them when I am gone. Will they remember my words? Probably. But mostly they’ll remember the things I did. And I hope there’s something I’ve done that outlasts me, even if only in the memories my children have when they ponder my life long after I’m gone.
One of my father’s special treats was shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream. It’s a favorite of mine too! So I’d love to share this scrumptious recipe with you today. It’s also featured in the upcoming summer issue of Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine.
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
Mix flour, sugar, butter, and salt like you would for pie dough. Set aside 2 cups of the resulting dough crumb mixture. To remaining mixture, add milk and baking powder. Pour in greased jelly roll pan and top with crumbs.
Bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes.
Cut into squares (be generous!) and stack with sugared strawberries. Top with sweetened whipped cream.
Sherry Gore is a scribe for the national edition of The Budget newspaper, author of Taste of Pinecraft: Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens; contributing writer for Ladies Journal and editor-in-chief of Cooking and Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine. She makes her home in Sarasota, Florida, with her children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church. Sherry is the owner of a nonresistant double-barrel shotgun and an official pie contest judge. When not writing, she can often be found discovering tempting things to eat at Yoder’s Amish Village. She learned the hard way one spring day not to wear ChapStick while driving an open buggy behind a shedding horse.
For a chance to win one copy of the summer issue of Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website. You may leave a comment of any type, as long as it is on my website, and you’ll be entered into the giveaway.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway. Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
The deadline for this contest is Friday, May 25, 2012, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next Monday’s post.
Do you have a fond first memory of a loved one you’d like to share–perhaps one of mom, dad, sibling, another relative, or even the family pet?