When my children were young, we often rode the bus downtown to visit dad’s office to take him to lunch. In those days, the business district of town was booming. Two lively malls flanked Main Street. There were restaurants, galleries, theaters and all the trappings of a vibrant downtown. My children covered their eyes and trembled as we walked past the punk rockers who loitered in front of Nordstrom, as if covering their eyes would protect them from the spiked haired individuals with chains and black lipstick. They giggled at the absurdity of walking over the bridges temporarily built to cross the rivers diverting flood waters down the streets of Salt Lake City. They oohed and awed as we observed the beautiful gardens at Temple Square after sipping a bowl of Lentil soup from Lambs Café. From time to time we visited the bakery at ZCMI, America’s oldest department store, and bought a sugar cookie with white frosting that was oddly offset but piled high and adorned with colorful sprinkles. This ritual was usually the culminatation of the outing before dad went back to work and we boarded the bus for home and naptime.
Just the sight of my cookies took me on a fieldtrip of sorts and put a smile of deep satisfaction on my face and warmed my spirit for bygone days filled with love, learning and spending time together as a family. How quickly time passes, but for a moment or two, long enough to look at those cookies, it seemed like yesterday.
Last Saturday, I went to a Vintage market with my daughter and her friend. There were vendors with their wares and creations from several western states. In the very first booth, I discovered some vintage puzzles. Caught with wonderful surprise, memories of my sweet grandmother overwhelmed me and tears welled up in my eyes as outing after outing rolled past my mind like a filmstrip. ( I don’t expect many of you to remember what that is.) I remembered her constant scent of rose perfume, her cotton candy strawberry blond hair and her smile that made me believe I was the most important person in the world. I could almost hear the music that played from a stereo that was as large as a set of dresser drawers and remembered her walk-in closet that had more hats, belts, brooches, clip-on earrings that made our tender ears ache and shoes than were befitting a princess which kept my sister and I busy for years. In the few minutes it took for me to purchase those three little cardboard puzzles, I had all those memories and so many, many more.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
Bringing things to our remembrance is a spiritual gift that comforts us with past knowledge of our competence and goodness when we falter, reminds us of lessons learned from past relationships, pricks our conscience when we are at the fork in the road as decisions must be made, helps us to strive to lift ourselves beyond where we currently are to what we can undoubtedly become. Bringing things to our remembrance as we go about our daily lives, gives us cause to not only be fortified by the past, but to help us have faith in the future. The best defenses we have to tackle an uncertain future are our successes and failures of the past.
“How important is it for each of us to remember those times when without the Lord’s help we could never have accomplished the mission or the calling, the task or the challenge given to us? When we can draw from the past, we don’t have to retest every decision or experience, or burn our hand on the hot stove yet again. We can turn to our storehouse of memory over and over again to recall, replay, or relive precious, important, and sacred moments. These will sustain, comfort, and protect us against uncertainty or a faltering faith. “ ~Ardith Kapp
My two remembrances this past week have nothing to do with cookies and puzzles but have everything to do with my desire to be a wonderful and caring mother to my grown children and an equal desire to be the same type of doting and loving grandmother that made my childhood rich with experiences offering self esteem and confidence to my young life. I am reminded that my priorities are still with my family even if we are scattered from coast to coast. Situations, jobs, opportunities to serve come and go, but those deeply rooted areas of great importance or urgency enlarge and develop. What is sometimes lost or dimmed from our immediate view becomes new again, if only we can remember.
I have included my favorite sugar cookie recipe shared with me by my neighbor Linda Anderson.
Crisp Sugar Cookies
1 c butter
½ c vegetable oil
1c powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
4 ½ c flour
1 t salt
1 t cream of tarter
Cream butter, oil and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well. Add all dry ingredients and mix until incorporated but don’t over mix. Roll out and cut into shapes or drop into balls with small ice cream scoop. Bake 350 degrees for 8 min or until barely turning brown on edges.
¼ c butter
4 c powdered sugar
1 ½ t almond flavoring
Few drops half and half, cream or milk to achieve desired consistency