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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)

TITLE: A Taste Of The Sunshine
By Dolores Stohler


As I reach into my grab bag of childhood memories, I come up with one I truly cherish--
waking up to the tantalizing aroma of something baking in the oven. Some days it would be muffins filled with plump blueberries and topped with cinnamon streusel. On other days perhaps a coffeecake chock full of custard and apple slices, smelling wonderfully of cinnamon. Who could resist that smell? It drew me from bed like a magnet and down to the kitchen where Mom and Dad would be having breakfast around 5:00 am. World War II was in progress and my dad worked long hours at a steel company making templates for fighter planes. Those planes were crucial to the war effort and I was proud of my dad.

Occasionally there would be waffles on the griddle and a pitcher of maple syrup awaiting my quivering taste buds. From the stove came the sizzle of bacon frying in the pan. We had fresh milk, too, with a dollop of cream on top, perhaps delivered that very morning. Almost everything my mother served was made with the freshest ingredients and was, perhaps, the secret to the fact that my father never got sick.

We kids were not so fortunate, being exposed to all the viruses that float around a typical classroom. But every illness was short lived. We never had to pack a lunchbox either since we lived only a block from the grammar school. On a cold winterís day we might arrive home to find a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove or some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Culinary delights were never too far away so you might be surprised to hear that all of us were thin as a rail with the exception of Mom who ďlived to eatď as my father so aptly put it. Our thinness was probably due to the fact that we led a very active life with much of it spent outdoors. I grew up during the 1940ís when TV and computers were virtually unknown and nobody knew what a sex offender was so we were free to run and play wherever we wanted .

Once I arrived at the breakfast table, Mom would get to work with the juice squeezer, preparing fresh orange juice to go with our breakfast. As she placed the glass before me, she would say, ďHere you are, a taste of the sunshine.Ē To this day, I must have my glass parents never bought anything they didnít have cash to pay for other than the house we lived in. It took years to save the down payment on that little white colonial house I called ďHeaven on earthĒ. I had a bedroom at last but my three brothers were squeezed into one small room. There was only one bathroom and no shower stall.

As I look back to childhood, however, I realize that I was greatly blessed, and not just because of Momís cooking or Dadís steady paycheck. No, what impressed me most was the love my parents demonstrated. If they ever quarreled, my brothers and I never heard them. And I canít remember ever hearing my Dad utter profanity or use foul language. But he raised his voice when he was mad and we were all smart enough to hop to his tune. If one of us dared to sass Mom, Dad would immediately come to her defense.

In retrospect, I would say that the tough times I went through later in life were met with greater stamina due to the upbringing I received. God was never far from me because He was never far from Mother. She taught me to walk in the sunshine and avoof sunshine to have the day start out right--the sunshine to my left and the Holy Bible on my right hand side.

Life wasnít perfect back in the 40ís. Most of us were short on material things--very few toys and technical gadgets and we had to cut back on chocolate bars to aid in the war effort. We did without fast food, clothes dryers, dishwashers and credit cards and my id the shadows and thatís what I did. With a Bible at my right hand and a prayer on my lips, what could defeat me? Always and forever I will start my day with a taste of the sunshine, my Momís sweet legacy.

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This article has been read 446 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/22/10
This is such an idyllic picture of what life used to be like. it's so wonderful for you to share it. It's a time that may seem foreign to kids now, but it's time that should not be forgotten. In the paragraph where you were talking about the orange juice, I think some words might have accidently been deleted. But other than that little bit, it was a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
Sarah Heywood07/24/10
I enjoyed this slice of Americana. Knowing that it was a true story made it even sweeter as I read. It makes me wish I could have raised my family then instead of now! Nice writing!
Tina Leonard07/27/10
Enjoyed reading this. It made me really hungry for some good southern cookin' :). Also, your point was right on. So many parents today argue in front of children and it sets a very tension filled home for everyone. God blessed you growing up in a home so full of peace.