Saturday, August 18, 2007

Contentment


There's something to be said about people who have grown up in difficult times. I don't think we understand difficulties in the same way as generations before us. I realize there are folks and families who suffer, but to suffer as a complete generation I'm sure changes how one views the world.

Mamaw and Papa, my mom's parents, were such people. I remember sitting in Mamaw's kitchen shelling crowder peas during summer vacation. If one pea fell to the ground and rolled under a chair or cabinet, they found that pea. It was something we would tease them about. They recycled without being told to do so. They lived frugally, even though they didn't have to. They had what they needed, and that was that.

Their lives weren't easy. Papa had rheumatoid arthritis, and suffered a slow deterioration of his health and independence. I'm sure that had to be hard, since he was a strong vibrant man in his youth. But Mamaw took her place at his side as caretaker, without ever complaining. She was his wife, and this was what she was called to do. Her job of caretaker was not glamorous, and she received no "atta girl's" or "way to go's" She just did what she was supposed to do. She was a part of that great generation, who knew suffering, knew how to do without, how to ration....and it taught her to love the moment.

In all of the years of knowing Mamaw, I never knew her to say a cross word, even when we were visiting and filling her house with noise and bed rolls. Huge breakfasts of homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs and gravy were the norm, and evenings filled with card games and dominoes, or watermelon seed spitting contests were our entertainment. She would start cooking two weeks before we arrived, because she wanted to ensure that each grandchild had their favorite dessert. Mine was chocolate chess pie.

What did all of that work accomplish? Her children and grandchildren grew up knowing they were loved. We knew how to have fun without having to be entertained. Her children and grandchildren have fond memories of catching fireflies in jars and lining the front porch with them, or riding the lawn mower around the yard. We look back on our times at her home, and one word comes to mind: contentment.

It's what Mamaw emulated. She lived her life content with what she had, who she was, and what she was called to do. It wasn't glamorous. It wasn't exciting or adventurous. But it instilled in all who knew her this much forgotten quality. All I need to recall it is a piece of chocolate chess pie.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon flour
* pinch of salt
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 unbaked 9" pastry shell

PREPARATION:
Melt butter with chocolate. In a mixing bowl, combine chocolate and butter mixture with sugar, flour, salt, milk, eggs, and vanilla; beat with electric mixer for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour filling into prepared pastry shell; bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, until set.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a tribute to Mamaw, Stacy, and you discribed her to a 't'. She was truly a great, great example of contentment and committment. Thanks for the memories!!

Merry Christiams!

Stacy said...

Her children rise up and call her blessed, don't they? :)

Like a milkshake on the moon!