Chocolate Cake

My grandmother had just moved to the Woodbine community in Nashville. It was the early 1950s. A new baby girl, a 2-year-old boy, and her tall handsome husband were the new kids on a short friendly street. A red brick ranch house with a large yard- it was everything a home should be. There was even a cove carved into the hall wall for the telephone to sit. New to the area, far from her family and friends back home in her small town, my grandmother began her hunt for a local church family. They say in Nashville, that there is a church on every corner well, believe it, because there is! It happened that there was on the corner of her little street and so she decided to visit a lady’s class that was held on Wednesday mornings.

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My grandma loved the Bible, she was a scholar and teacher and I don’t know what her expectations where as she entered this new corner church for the first time, but as a new mom, she was probably just wanting some quiet time of study with some good Christian ladies.

After the study, one of the ladies stood to make an announcement. She would be taking some food to a family in the area and wondered if anyone would like to contribute. My grandmother raised her hand and volunteered a chocolate cake that she had just made. “The only thing is,” she said, “my husband has already eaten one slice.” The lady that was making the announcement made my grandmother feel at ease at once. She said, “that’s alright, we will slice it up and put it on a platter, no one will ever know the difference…”

My grandmother had found her new church family and a new friend for life that day. All over a piece of chocolate cake

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There are many “morals” to the story, but my take away is this: If you share your cake, you will make a friend.

 

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Mush Mash

I grew up a few streets over from my grandparents and that meant lots of sleepovers or afternoons spent scooter pootn’ (Scooter poot’n is a southern term that simply means running errands and seeing what needs to be seen.) On those Saturday mornings after our Friday night sleepovers, my grandfather would greet us with a small juice glass filled with orange juice and he would gently scratch our back to help us wake up and start our day. My sister and I would then get out of bed and turn the corner from the guest room right into the kitchen. Breakfast was usually a piece of toast, a canned biscuit, or a frozen waffle.

My grandfather was an inventor at heart. He was always coming up with something new in his shop in the basement. But long before I knew about any of those things, I knew that he had “invented” the most wonderful tasting breakfast condiment. Mush Mash.

Papa’s voice sounded like the texture of his stubbly facial hair. Once we were all seated at the small table that filled the tiny kitchen- you couldn’t open the fridge and unload the dishwasher at the same time- He would ask us, “Hey, you want some mush mash?” Who could say no to those puppy dog brown eyes and the buttery sweetness that was to come? A little pat of butter, a little squeeze of honey or molasses, He would add one or the other until  the mixture was just right. Eventually the two simple ingredients would be transcended into perfection. A good slather of Mush Mash would make any day better and a morning spent with my grandparents perfect.

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