My Nostalgic Find

  • A most wonderful and nostalgic find in my recipe box a few afternoons ago; I decided to post it today and you will see why.  62 years ago today in 1957,  my grandmother-whom we always called Nana-wrote down a recipe for Easy Chocolate Frosting from the back of a Baker’s Chocolate box. Nana always wrote down on her recipes what the weather was, the date and often what the occasion was-someone’s birthday, a family picnic, or holiday-but also where she was living.  I was only four years old on this date. What I found quite interesting is that Nana wrote the word “enuf” for “enough”.  Why? Maybe to save space? Being a Latin and English teacher herself (she inspired me to go into teaching) I wondered about this. Apparently, she made it for my brother’s 10th birthday, however, his birthday was not until March 26th. Mmmm…maybe she wanted to try it out first? Or wrote his birth date on her recipe card after his birthday?   
  • If you look closely, you will see chocolate spatter stains on her recipe card. I turned the recipe card over and found the real chocolate on the card. Yes, it is an actual “lump” of chocolate frosting!  For the last 45 plus years, I have kept her original handwritten recipes in plastic sleeves to keep them. To see the chocolate preserved as well was so much fun to smell and touch reliving my four old self’s curiosity. Yes, all the way back to January 31, 1957.  Perfect.

        The picture is Nana with my grandfather whom we called Pop. You will meet and come to know them in the forthcoming book titled ‘Corn Silk’.  The flour sifter I have had Nana’s flour sifter since I married in 1974; Pop gave it to me one winter day in 1974 when I sat at their kitchen table copying Nana’s recipes.  Nana and I spent many of my childhood hours cooking together. Always she would give me a blank recipe card that was printed at the top -“From the Kitchen of Cora Godbout.” She would always tell me to cross out her name Cora and write my name Nancy over it.   Her flour sifter still goes on being used all these years since I had it. Yes, cakes, cookies biscuits and more have been made because of her recipes and flour sifter. And the spoon? Yes, it was hers too engraved with a fancy “ G” on the handle. It was often used for “tea precisely at three” *.  Three o’clock in the afternoon was always tea time with Nana accompanied by whatever baked goods we created together. Pieces of my family history were made through each of Nana’s handwritten recipes that she wrote with her soft pink fountain pen along with the grinding sound of her Bromwell flour sifter blending memories along with Gold Medal flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder and Arm and Hammer Baking Soda and of course Morton Salt.

* From the poem “A Quilt Whispers” published in the poetry collection ‘Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way’ by Anna Blake Godbout.

A Quilt Whispers

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This poem is based upon a true event. Shortly after my grandfather passed away in August 1974, I found a battered worn down quilt in the corner of my grandparents’ living room. I had not seen it before in all my childhood years visiting there. I carefully picked it up, took it home with the hope chest my grandfather built for my grandmother when they married. I always relive that day in Goshen, NY when I reading this poem.

Poetry Project Bridges the Generation Gap

As President of the Pikes Peak Branch of NLAPW, I am very proud of the Poetry in the Schools Outreach Program that was the inspiration of the collaborative book titled “Creating Students who Soar Higher Through the Poetry in the Schools Project’. Thank you Sarah Byrn Rickman for this amazing article! Visit our web site at www.pikespeakpenwomen.com for more about the Poetry in the Schools Project. ~Nancy Godbout Jurka

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In Honor Of National Poetry Month: Jane Kenyon’s Advice

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“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”  -Poet Jane Kenyon

The First Evening of the New Year: Quiet Blessings Live On in a Journal

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                                                                                                                                            Every New Year’s Day, I have followed a tradition from my grandmother and mother of opening up a new and fresh journal filled with welcoming pages for events, thoughts, poems, memorabilia and daily musings. This evening was no different. My 2017 journal is now filled with what came our way each day of the past 52 weeks. There are many good things that filled this journal and some not so great. We weathered them and came out on the other side of each one. Some are still in progress such as having a nephew still in South Korea serving his country, grieving off the loss of a sibling, and new baby on the way for my nephew and his wife and a wedding in the coming year.  The good things outweighed the bad although with the world the way it is, the way our country has become and the way natural disasters made a swath of tragedy in the West and South did not take away daily quiet blessings. Often, it was sometimes hard to see quiet blessings prevail, but they did. At times when it becomes a struggle to see light, we must create our own. I hope I have. Whether it is a lighted snow village on my dining room table, or helping a young writer with her dream to write, light comes through little by little-and it endures.

In the dark days of winter that are coming, we have memories of all the good, and the light behind them. I can only say this: That everyone has done their hardest and their best. The love here among us all stays and stays strong.  This is the most important  New Year’s intention or as some call it resolution that truly matters to me. It is not on a to do list to be accomplished…it is ongoing. Quiet blessings and welcome to a new year and a new light in 2018.

Enjoying Christmas…for a few days more

 

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“There is more to life than increasing its speed” -Ghandi

It has been a busy and exhausting couple of months. Losing a family member suddenly and without warning brings life to a sudden stop. Everyday tasks, schedules, work responsibilities and other commitments come to a grinding halt. You persevere, forge on and take care of what needs to be with the best you can give to such situations. But this is not what this posting is about.  It is about enjoying Christmas for a few days more.

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Christmas was just two short days ago and already I am seeing social media postings about taking down the tree and putting all decorations away. It is no different that seeing the same kind of postings in November only the opposite-who is getting their tree up and putting lights on the outside of homes. My first thought was this: “Why can’t we enjoy Christmas for a few days more?” It all comes to a finality on December 26th. Yes, it is done, over with for another year.  And then I read the quote above by Gandhi and wonder why the rush to take it all down? I do realize that it is necessary due to personal preferences and time constraints. Two years ago, Christmas had to end for us on December 26th as a emergency kitchen floor renovation needed to begin on December 27th. And it was depressing, I will admit to see everything packed up and done for another year.

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You see, I live in a small town nestled against the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I live where the biggest star in the world ( historical fact) shines from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. It’s light shines for miles in all directions. The Bright Star of Palmer Lake has shone each holiday season for 82 years. (Please see about the Star in the book titled ‘Bright Star of Palmer Lake’ available on Amazon.) It does not shut off on December 26th just because Christmas is over and neither does my Christmas lights.

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Photo by Aaron Jurka, Mountain Tapestry Press, LLC

I want to extend the memories of Christmas for just a few more days. Yes, they will be held in our hearts and minds for years to come. I want the quiet moments of drinking cups of tea and become absorbed into a new book that was a Christmas gift. I have no need or desire to do post-Christmas sales. But this year, it is the moments of memories that were made by family and friends that I do not want to rush away.

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In the closing days of December and all of 2017, quiet reflection and slowing down for a few moments can do wonders. There is time to pack up Christmas and turn to normalcy but I don’t want to hurry it up just because others are doing so. In the poem “Waiting for Christmas”, I believe I convey the quietness of the winter season:

A Walk in Wintered Woods

Almost evening, the winter sunlight fades

through darkened aspen and pine.

The tranquility of two white tailed deer

grazing through snow is interrupted

by the creaking of branches in a brisk,

twenty degree December wind.

The silent flight of a hawk disappears;

only to pop back into my view as it circles

over the mountains blanketed in thick, quilted snow.

There is no path here; the wintered woods

lie ahead in deep shadows.

I stand still listening to this land call out

its life to me; the woodland loner now

warmed with the peaceful wonder of falling snowflakes

upon my Christmas mittens.

Christmas Dawn

This poem, written and published in my first poetry collection titled ‘Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way, is accompanied by a translation into Latvian.
 

Christmas Dawn 
 
I awake in the Christmas dawn light; 
a shimmering snowfall 

echoes upon the mountains. 
Through parted curtains,  

my curious eyes follow 
a shaking of snow 

from pine needled branches. 
 
An opera of sun slowly takes over; 
erasing long blue gray shadows. 
We lie under the soft warmth 

of the red plaid comforter, 
meeting the moment  

of a gentle and tender us. 

 
 

Ziemassvētku Ausma 

(Latvian) 

 

Es pamostos Ziemassvētku ausmas gaisma; 

spīdīgs sniegputenis atbalsojas kalnos. 

Ar šķīrušiem aizkariemmanas interesantas acis seko 

sniega raupšana no priedes adatas zariem. 

 

Saules lāva pārņem opera; 

dzēšot garas zilas pelēkas ēnas. 

Mēs gulējam zem sarkanā pleds mierīgā siltā siltuma, 

satikties ar maigu un maigu mirkli. 

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A Note From Abroad

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

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