Mamaw Avon’s Pink Stuff

photo by Anna

Southerners love their “get-togethers,” especially if the holidays and food are involved. My husband Danny’s family is no exception. Though his mother, Mamaw Avon, now lives in her heavenly residence, her bright smile and recipes live on. Thanksgiving meant turkey, Christmas meant ham, and for both holidays, she made cherry fluff, or as we called it, pink stuff.

On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake early to the smell of the turkey which had baked all night. “Dressing,” which is a southern-type of cornbread stuffing, was tasted and re-tasted to get the spices just right. Vegetables were cooked and the house filled quickly with family and friends bearing casseroles and cake plates brimming with delectable dishes. The pink stuff was mixed together and chilled before the start of our late afternoon celebration.

The large crowd would be quieted before we’d give thanks to God for His abundant goodness, then to the feasting. Most of us ate our pink stuff with the meal, but a few would save a bowlful for desert later. The left-overs brought us all together for several days thereafter and the fun would begin all over again.

Do your holidays have enjoyable food traditions or memories?

 

Pink Stuff

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup pecans, finely chopped

 

Mix all ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Pour in decorative bowl and refrigerate for one hour.

 

Today’s writing prompt: Sandra emptied the pecans she’d chopped into the faded hand-painted bowl as a tear slipped down her cheek. Her mother’s bowl…

Camping in the South

A totally different experience from our “beach” vacation spots would be camping in the South. Think warm to hot weather much of the year, vast forests, rivers, and creeks, complete with swimming, hiking, campfires, and bicycling. Camping has proven to be one of my personal favorite vacations.
photo from Wikipedia Commons
I love the quiet times in a wooded area, especially state parks where time moves slower than at home. We like to sleep in, then cook a late breakfast before going to ride bikes, paddleboat, or hike the trails and perhaps snap a photo of a white-tailed deer. The afternoon might be spent napping in a chaise lounge or exploring local attractions. Evening means grilling supper, a campfire, and s’mores. What could be better than that?
Observation point/David Crockett
Two campgrounds are favorites of ours: one in Tennessee and one in Alabama. David Crockett State Park is a state park in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, located on Shoal Creek and commemorates the historical activities of famous frontiersman David Crockett in the local area. The park was established in 1959 on 1,100 acres of land that includes the site where Crockett had his mills and distillery. A 40-acre lake offers opportunities for fishing and boating. Visitor facilities include two campgrounds and a restaurant. While camping in the heavily wooded area, it’s not uncommon to be visited by wild turkeys, deer, or raccoons.
View from paddleboat
The park’s two campgrounds contain a total of 107 sites, each equipped with a table and grill plus electrical and water hookups. Bathhouses provide hot showers, commodes and lavatories.  Campsites are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. While there, we enjoy the paddleboats on Lindsey Lake, wonderful hiking trails that lead down to Shoal Creek and Crockett Falls, and bike riding.
Joe Wheeler State Park is a 2,550 acre park in Northwest Alabama, located along Wheeler Lake. Beside the 110 wooded, yet modern campsites, complete with water, electric and sewer, there are primitive sites for the individuals who want to “rough” it. The park includes a resort lodge, full service convention facilities, restaurant, a marina with 140 boat slips, a 2.5-mile looped trail for hiking and biking, and an 18-hole championship golf course.
No matter where you live in the United States, think camping. My brother and his family also enjoy camping and they live in Anchorage, Alaska. More about this in next week’s post.
What kind of trouble—er—adventure could the characters in your next novel find while camping at their local state park?  
This week’s writing prompt:  Joe pushed through the dense underbrush that flourished beside the hiking trail near their campsite, Mary clutching his hand tightly. He jerked to a stop when…

Fall Holidays – Thanksgiving and Perseverance

Thanksgiving Day is the most obvious choice among the Fall Holidays, but I intend to take a slightly different track. Since Thanksgiving is high on my list of favorite holidays, I would like to give homage to Sarah Josepha Hale, who ardently campaigned for its creation. She would not back down, but pursued her dream for seventeen years. Hey, that’s perseverance! Of course she was a writer. Writers understand rejection and perseverance. 

Hale wrote letters to five American presidents, asking that they declare Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. Up to this time, it was only celebrated in New England and those states chose their own day to celebrate. Abraham Lincoln was persuaded by her letter to support legislation for the holiday in 1863. Thanksgiving became the third national holiday, joining George Washington’s birthday and Independence Day. 

For more information on this fascinating individual, you can click the link (her name above) or under research, below. I would encourage you to read about her life and perhaps you can include her, or references to her, in your historical writing.

My son’s first turkey
Of course I can’t leave the discussion of Thanksgiving without also giving homage to the humble turkey. If Benjamin Franklin had had his way, the turkey would have been declared our national bird, instead of the eagle. 

Franklin wrote, “For a truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.”

Ha! So as you slice into your golden-brown turkey on Thanksgiving Day, be sure to thank him (the turkey) for his ongoing contribution to your celebration.

Research:

List of Fall Holidays:
September
Autumnal Equinox – Sept 22 @ 10:49 a.m. Northern Hemisphere
Native American Day 28
Sukkot (begins at sundown) 30
Yom Kippur 30
October
Columbus Day 8
Thanksgiving Day 8 (C)
Boss’s Day 16
Sweetest Day 20
United Nations Day 24
Halloween 31
November
All Saint’s Day 1
All Soul’s Day 2
Veteran’s Day 11
Sadie Hawkins Day 13
Thanksgiving Day 22
December
Pearl Harbor Day 7
Chanukah 8 (lasts 8 days) 
Poinsettia Day 12

This week’s prompt: 
When Ardmore grabbed the knife to begin carving the Thanksgiving turkey, Charlotte’s face paled. . .