Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)
TITLE: Christmas Taffy
By Judy Meyers
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Sandy opened the car door and stuck her brand new, shiny black patent leather Mary Jane shoes out where Alice could see them. Alice squealed, “You got some too!” Not only were these two girls cousins, they were friends. Getting a pair of new shoes was something they both wanted for this Christmas. Now, after individual families had been able to have their private holiday, the entire Randolph family was coming together for a holiday reunion. Every year the family would drive from Colorado, Alabama, New Jersey and Indiana to Aunt Ruth’s house. It was home to everyone. Ruby was the oldest remaining sibling of a large family and was more of a grandmother than an aunt,
Each year was more exciting as the family grew. There were more babies, children getting older, and some preparing to marry. Of course, there was sadness as some of the older aunts and uncles were missing. Faces changed every year. Some new faces were added. Some of the boys, growing up enough to go into the military, were not present. Others, who had finished their stint, were home. It always took a while to give hugs and kisses to each one and catch up on family news.
Food was plentiful. Plates were piled high with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and potatoes and gravy. Aunt Ruth’s homemade yeast rolls were fresh from the oven. Sandy always had to sneak one with a glob of butter. Butter melted into her hands. Desserts of every variety were waiting on the kitchen tabled. As wonderful as this might be, the dinner was only the prelude to the most exciting part of the day.
After everyone had had their fill and the kitchen was clean again, the aunts and uncles began the annual taffy pull. All the children who had been busily playing throughout the house and in the yard came into the large kitchen to share in the festivities. Pots of ingredients were boiling away on the stove. Uncle Bob was starting to get his hands ready by saturating them with butter. Uncle Pete made sure that his taffy hook was prepared. The children were now sitting on the floor, out of the way, to watch this annual creation.
Uncle Bob took the scalding hot mixture out of the pot and began to form a ball. As he did, he would stretch it out a little, and then he would bring it back and knead it again. After a few minutes, he would throw it onto the taffy hook and stretch it again. Uncle Bob and Uncle Pete were only 3 feet away from each other. The taffy was molded and pulled for several minutes. Each time the taffy was pulled the uncles separated a little more. After the taffy turned white and began to string as it was pulled; the aunts began putting walnut pieces along the white rope. Uncle Bob gathered the taffy up a couple of time and then gave it to the aunts to lay on the kitchen table prepared with powered sugar. The women rolled the taffy in the sugar and then cut it into pieces about and inch long.
Sandy and Alice were the first to snatch a piece of the warm delicious morsel. Gleefully, the rest of the family took their ration.
Today, Sandy looks at that taffy hook hanging among the memorabilia in her family room. Uncle Pete had left it to her. Tears flooded Sandy’s eyes as she remembered those days. With her own large family, she had her own traditions. There would always be memories of being home for Christmas.
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