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Cooking with Myra: Kids always come back for taste of home

May 17, 2010 at 12:17 a.m.
Updated May 19, 2010 at 12:19 a.m.

Steak Sandwich with fries

By Myra Starkey

Last weekend, Taylor and I made a trip to Waco to attend the Baylor University graduation ceremony of our only daughter, Hannah.

She is getting married in three weeks, so her mind was not particularly on donning her cap and gown and marching with pomp and circumstance.

Miles, our oldest son, was home with a fever and sore throat. We hated to subject him to several hours in the event center, while we waited for Hannah to cross the stage.

Graduation ceremonies are painfully long, especially if there are a large number of graduates, and although you don't generally care that deeply about everyone else's child, when your little graduate crosses that stage you want to hear their entire name, first-middle-last, said in a very dignified manner.

Thousands of parents, grandparents and friends anxiously waited until their loved one's name was called. The ceremony was in the same arena where Baylor plays basketball. We were sitting high in the stands, because we had not arrived early.

We were barely able to see the graduates, but kept our ears tuned for their names and watched the large TV screens as they walked across the stage.

When a particular student would cross, there would usually be intense applause and hollering from one distinct area in the arena where their family was sitting.

If the graduate had gone through their entire four years and had a 4.0 (all A's) the announcer would say that and there would be polite applause from the entire crowd, but certainly not with the level of intensity that one would hear if someone had just slam dunked the basketball during a game.

I had a lot of time to think since Hannah's name was the third to last name on the program. My mind wandered back to the time when Hannah was born in Waco on Jan. 18, 1988. She was the second child in our family. Taylor was in a residency program in Waco, and I was busy at home with a 15-month-old son when she arrived.

From the time she was able to walk and talk, she seemed in command of most situations. Hannah possessed an extraordinary amount of common sense and applied that knowledge to most situations, even as a child.

Most parents tell their children that if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams. That is only true if their dreams are realistic; they are willing to study and are intelligent enough to master the courses; they make the right life choices most of the time; they have parents who push them; they have adequate financial support; and they get a few lucky breaks.

In other words, it is really hard to achieve big dreams. So, people often settle for something a little below their original goals. Such is life.

For Hannah, she seems to have had things work out. She is getting married to a really nice guy, and then she'll be starting medical school in about two months.

Hannah is the first of our children to graduate from college. She did it in four years.

Miles will follow in a year with a degree in art/graphic design. He really enjoys that. He changed his major three times, so that has delayed him.

Spencer has finished his first year, and I'm not sure that he is all that certain about what he wants to do at this point other than to chase girls. We told him that he can't get a degree in that.

I know that college kids think they are grown up. Once they leave the house, they become used to making their own decisions and feel like mom and dad don't know best. I have been told countless times by my children that "things have changed" since I was in school. I remember thinking the same things about my parents, only to find out that I was wrong. I married Taylor soon after graduation.

I recall thinking that being grown up was not as much fun as I thought. New freedoms brought new responsibilities, but with all things, I managed by living one day at a time. I continue to seek my parents and in-laws advice on some of the difficult decisions. I know I will never have everything figured out.

But our children have a lifetime of coming to the same conclusions, and I look forward to being here to advise them as they grow and learn.

Hannah, Spencer and our almost son-in-law, Ben, are home this week. When I questioned them about what they wanted for dinner, they replied "steak." Steaks are often that entree that kids crave because they don't often eat that on their limited budgets. Unfortunately, it was late at night, and I hoped to prepare something I had in the freezer. I decided to stretch two ribeye steaks by making steak sandwiches with a special sauce. They gobbled the sandwiches, but saved room for the dewberry pie. Steak sandwiches and pie ... these are the tastes of home.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail myra@vicad.com.

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