Make a Celebration

When I was small, I lived next door to my great-grandmother, Mama Lois, and I would run to her house barefoot. I ran alternating from the burning blacktop to the thistled grasses. And then in the cold carport that smelled like Dr. Pepper and wet pecans, I would cool my feet and then eat a Starburst on my way in.

Mama Lois had 4 daughters. The oldest is my grandmother, a red-head in her heart. She lived down the road, too, and I visited her house often for yard pears and sun tea.

On special occasions we all got together in Mama Lois’s yard. There was a pond and a picnic table, and my big cousin Keith wore ringed-kneehigh socks and spoke of Star Wars. He instructed me in the ways of the Rubik’s Cube. We ate fried chicken, potato salad, and something with jello in it. Hot white rolls in a basket. Papers plates in plastic plate holders. Buttered Corn on the cob.

One of Grandmother’s little sisters was my Aunt Judy, tall and so very unstingy with her bosomy hugs. She gave me a bag of Este Lauder samples when I was 6, and she bought me some pastel purple shorts and jelly shoes. After the 4th of July, I spent the night with her and witnessed my first french kiss. It was awesome, fireworks and MTV in the 80’s.

Only a few times of the year would we see each other, summer time for swimming and fried chicken, and winter time for unexpected Christmas gifts. Other than that were the broken days, how I knew in kitchen whispers that family was a wrinkle-maker and hard work.

The older I get, the more I see life do what it does. I look back and remember those celebratory moments, the times we declared a Picnic Day. Those highlights sit on the other side of the scale sometimes and remind us that it’s just not all bad.

My Aunt Judy and her bosom and the Este Lauder bag that I still have to this day – I loved her so, and thoughts of her remind me to make a celebration once in a while, to grab the kids and hug them up, hand them a cookie, and ask to see the cartwheels. Summer is coming early it seems. Here’s another chance.


Today we woke and called it a donut day. We ate sprinkles, and we read Wind in the Willows.

About me


Reply March 7, 2012

This is delightful Amber. You helped me wander back to a place of big Italian family gatherings and people who populated my little world. Most of them are gone now, but the memories are so precious. Thank you for reminding me and encouraging all of us to make happy moments.

Reply March 7, 2012

That's some great nostalgia there! Takes me back to neighborhood BBQs and black and white t.v. Rolling the 14" screen onto the back porch to watch the Cleveland Indians lose and then Jackie Gleason remind us of what marriage is all about! Thanks Amber!

Reply March 7, 2012

Ran into Seth this morning and we talked doughnuts and the joys of cheating on restrictive gluten free diets, then I saw your post. :) Our big splurge are the nuggets from chick-fil-a... but now I want a doughnut.

Amy @ themessymiddle
Reply March 7, 2012

Love it. We don't really have good donuts in China so instead we have "snow days." That means you can stay inside in pj's or comfy clothes. I love a good "snow day!"

Audrey @ Q and A
Reply March 7, 2012

I LOVE this post. One of my favorites that I've read on here in a while. Mainly because I love posts about good memories from the past about growing up in the deep south. :) I also needed to reminder to make fun memories with my girls more than I do...

imperfect prose
Reply March 7, 2012

yes! yes. this is life in all of its fullness. yes.

Reply March 8, 2012

I loved opening up my reader this morning to this pie-perfect slice of the south. When I was growing in Texas, we never had Dr. Pepper around (unless we smuggled it under my mother's nose), but our carport always smelled like wet pecans. I once gave a paper bag full of them as a wedding present. "So you can make pie," I wrote on the front. Celebration, southern style!

Reply March 8, 2012

i remember those special days. Oh I often long for them again. Just to have a breath of that time again. To Bring it back into my soul. Thank you for today.

Reply March 8, 2012

Lord, help! Please let that first French kiss that my baby cousin witnessed be between Aunt Judy and Uncle Bob. :) Life does move us on. I fills my heart up to know that you have those same fabulous memories of being at Granny Lois's house, with the whole clan, that I do. We can't give that exact pleasure to our own children, but that was how we were raised. I know that the things that you do for your four and that I do for my three, will someday be rembered this fondly by them. I love you so much! So far away in physical distance, but always held lovingly in my heart!

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Reply March 8, 2012

This is so, so good, Amber. I had to walk away from my computer for a little while because it made me think all kinds of things. Such goodness.

Reply March 9, 2012

I would love to try this kind of donut..The flavor is new for me..I love posts about good memories from the past about growing up in the deep south.

Reply March 9, 2012

Your boys are very adorable! :)

diana trautwein
Reply March 11, 2012

Oh, honey - donut days are the BEST. Such gifts you are giving those beautiful boys. I didn't grow up in the deep south, but for about eight years I lived three blocks from my aunt and cousins and I loved wandering into their house, sneaking peeks at her array of movie magazines, checking out how many horned toads they had in their back yard (compared to ours). It's fun to have family nearby, even if just once in a while. And it's fun to make fun just BECAUSE.

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