Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The halls have been decked, shopping and gift making is done, holiday cards written and mailed, all of the wrapping that I plan to do has happened (have I mentioned I don't like gift wrapping?) festive holiday music has been playing . . . still I just didn't seem to be filled with the holiday spirit. It has bothered me. I just couldn't seem to find the joy and anticipation I have always had in the past.
Yesterday I finally found it tucked away in a drawer in the kitchen inside this old cardboard box - my mom's kitchen thermometer set. Mom made fudge and sometimes other candies every year at Christmas time. That glass thermometer was clipped to the side of her copper-bottomed Revereware pan. Not one to trust such highfalutin technology, she always had a measuring cup of cold water next to the stove to drop a bit of the cooked syrup in to check doneness . . . soft ball, hard ball, hard crack - depending on the recipe. If I waited quietly and patiently, I could count on being given the little ball of sugary goo to eat when the test was complete.
Wonderful memories of Christmases past came flooding back yesterday when I clipped that old thermometer to the side of that copper-bottomed pan. I used her aluminum measuring spoons that dangle and clink from their little ring. I have other, newer measuring spoons, but it seems that recipes turn out better when these trusty old relics are employed.
Once the clean up was accomplished and the candies packaged, I began delivering to friends and neighbors. With hugs and good wishes for a Merry Christmas, it came to me that the holiday spirit is all around me . . . I just needed to let it out of that old cardboard box.

28 comments:

Colleen Eskridge said...

Libby,you are a kindred spirit.I have a vintage thermometer...with red lettering.I used it every year, to make pralines and fudge. Maybe that is why I haven't made any here....don't have my trusty thermometer.I loved the story. It makes me feel like Christmas all the way from Africa. Love, Colleen

Beth said...

My mom to this day still has that one of those Revere copper bottom pots, it was always the fudge making pot. But she never had a thermometer, she used the ice water in a glass method too. A couple of years ago my brother asked me to make some of the fudge like mom makes, the "hard" kind he calls it. Boy, what a disaster! I tried it twice, the first time it came out like goo and never set up, the second time it came out like a rock! And forget the hard ball, soft ball in the cold water thing, never did get that right.

Bonnie said...

Well said. Good post! Brought back memories for me and made me smile. Thank you.

Guðrún said...

I am glad that you found the Christmas spirit.

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

Nothing like a bit of nostalgia is there? Glad you have the Christmas Spirit - mine is still lost somewhere. I have been using my Grandmother's mixer that is older than me I think, and that makes me feel like cooking all the old family recipes.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

What a nice story about your mom. I loved making all the candy and cookies and giving them to friends and neighbors. That's what it is all about.

Darlene said...

Great story! Your Mom helped you find your Christmas Spirit in your heart. She lives in your heart, as well. :-)

anne bebbington said...

Mom's are clever people even when they're no longer here - the fudge sounds yummy

Karen said...

What a nice Christmasy post, Libby.

Juliann in WA said...

If only I was close enough for a piece of fudge and a cup of coffee. I could use some Christmas spirit too.

Chris said...

Have a very Happy Christmas Libby. We're having a very white one in NH. Fourth storm in less than 2 weeks here in NH. LOTS of snow.

Screen Door said...

My grandma had one--- guess that why her Christmas baking was always the best....Thanks for sharing...

Rose said...

What a nice story, A fine tribute to your mom. Mom's always make Christmas special.

Juliann in WA, I'm sending you a warm Christmas {{hug}}

Happy Holidays!

McIrish Annie said...

I am having the same problem with finding the spirit. This year seems particularly difficult but don't know why. Decorating is done, cards are mailed, still have some shopping to do! If you could spare a wee bit of that spirit, please send it my way!:/

Dawn said...

Oh such good memories! And I remember those gooey balls! I still use that method!

Wendy said...

Wonderful story to get your spirit going. It's the old things that bring back the memories.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

A wonderful, well-told story, Libby! I dare say this takes many of us right back to our own childhoods. Merry, merry Christmas!!

CONNIE W said...

What a great way to involve yourself in the holiday traditions. I haven't made holiday candies for years although there was a time when it was a big part of my ritual, especially when my sons were boys and life was simple. While they were at school I would make fudge and divinity and they were so gooooood. Somehow I lost the tradition along the way. Glad you are feeling the Christmas spirit! With a hug!

Rosemary said...

hey Libby, i love the quilt at the top of the page! Is it one of Cheris? rosemary

Marcie said...

Hi Libby, I am enjoying your memories! Merry Christmas to you!

KCQuilter said...

Oh, wow, what a beautiful banner at the top of your blog!!! You are one talented lady, Miss Libby.

gloria g. said...

Oh Libby, I too am touched by your memories. I feel like you. My heart is aching.....but I'm making cookies tomorrow. I think it will help! Thanks for sharing it all with us.

I too love the quilt on your banner! Is there a pattern????

fondly, gloria g. Richards, TX

Colleen Eskridge said...

Love the banner quilt.Please would you mind if I "borrowed" your idea?Maybe I will get it done by next Christmas when we come back to the states!Have a blessed, wonderful Christmas. We are off for vacation in the morning...to the beach and the Indian ocean!Colleen

yellowfarmhouse said...

Libby - like you I have been struggling this holiday season with finding that special spirit that I usually have. Your post brought back some special memories that I had forgotten. Thank you for sharing this timely message. I think I can find mine in a special cookie tin of my grandma's filled with her sugar cookies that I haven't taken the time to make. It's one of those holiday traditions that I always do. Some how I didn't think it would matter if it didn't happen this year. I'm thinking that it does.
Happy Holidays - Hugs - karen

Rabbit Stitchings said...

Merry Christmas Libby

Grazia said...

Oh, they're beautiful memories!!!
Merry christmas Libby!
Grazia

meggie said...

What a lovely post, with memories of your mother.

Merry Christmas, Libby.

Shelina said...

What a beautiful wallhanging you have for a banner. My mother never made candy, but she does have her own tools. I'm so glad you found the spirit.