Cooking with Myra: Sweet memories like sweet desserts are good to revisit
By Myra Starkey
Feb. 7, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 6, 2012 at 8:07 p.m.
Many years ago, we owned a small home in Fredericksburg. When we purchased it, the 100-year-old rock structure was in shambles, but we patiently and lovingly restored it to its former splendor.
Our kids were very young at the time and were happy to be with us wherever we were, so we went to Fredericksburg almost every weekend. We lived our lives there just like the locals.
The church we attended was just across the street, so we could walk to the services on Sunday morning.
We attended parades and even a funeral or two of our neighbors. We worked in the yard, raking leaves in autumn and planting bulbs in spring. We rode our bikes to the grocery store. We ate at the same German bakery every Saturday morning.
The house was a happy place, and both of us cherished each moment we spent there. It seemed particularly special because we were away from work and our busy schedules back at our real lives in Victoria. It was just the two of us and our three little kids.
As the children got older, they began to realize they were missing out on some important things back home, such as junior high school dances. They became resistant to our weekend travels.
We even let them bring friends for the weekends, but they simply did not share our desire to escape.
We stopped making the trips to the Hill Country and rented the house out for a few years and then eventually sold it.
The town of Fredericksburg holds such special memories for us that when we visit, it is much like we never left. Last weekend, we traveled to visit Taylor's sister, Marsella, and her husband, Tim.
They are residents of Fredericksburg, after giving up their big city life in Dallas. They built their house on a ranch about 20 minutes north of town. We love spending time with them and hiking around their property.
The Hill Country vistas of grassy pastures, rocky hills, clear streams and deer scurrying about gives calm to one's soul.
Their house is near one of our favorite places, Enchanted Rock, where we used to go hiking with our kids. I remember taking Spencer when he was about 3 years old.
Miles and Hannah were older and counted it quite an accomplishment to hike the large granite outcropping in the center of the park. Spencer was usually left with me at the car to wait for the others, but on this occasion he insisted he could make it to the top and he did, one little foot in front of the other until he was on the top of the massive stone hill.
During the weekend, Taylor took me back into town, and I shopped for awhile on Main Street. I used to do that a lot on Saturday mornings when friends would come to visit.
I remember that when I got tired, I would purchase an ice cream cone or a fresh peach smoothie and sit on one of the many benches while my companions continued to search for bargains.
Last weekend, I walked along these same sidewalks packed with excited women in search of the perfect outfit or gift and their husbands who were tagging along with some reluctance. I had a sense of longing for a return to those old days in this fun place. And there seemed now to be a lot more restaurants and art galleries.
On Sunday, we attended the Evangelical Free Church. That is where we faithfully attended when we had our weekend house in Fredericksburg. I admit, I spent part of the time during the singing looking around to see if I recognized some of the congregation.
After the service, I had time to catch up with some of our old friends. Although we have not been a part of their lives in awhile, our conversation fell right back to the old lines of communication regarding work, health and raising children.
When we sold our house there, all of our kids were still in elementary school and junior high, and now, most have graduated college and some even married. The men had gray hair while their wives did not appear to have aged as much. Isn't it amazing how that happens?
After church, we left to make the three-hour trip home. I asked Taylor if he regretted the decision to sell our house all those years ago, and he just smiled.
I think both of us realize that life is about seasons, and we pass through each one looking forward to the next. Each part of life has its joy and sorrow, and beauty and ugliness, and through it all, we learn about ourselves and our world.
I admit that I was a little homesick when I passed by the old house. No one was in the yard raking leaves or getting the garden ready for spring. Upon closer inspection, I saw a sand pile and some children's toys strewn about.
The house trim is in need of paint and the picket fence is missing one or two pickets. Our name is barely visible on the mailbox, having been replaced with only a house number, and my memories of that special place have also faded and peeled and been covered over by what has passed my way since.
We drove up in our driveway in Victoria. I sighed and thought, "There is no place like home," but I sure like to visit Fredericksburg every now and then.
My brother-in-law, Tim, prepared smoked pork tenderloin for supper, and Marsella prepared a delicious cauliflower dish and couscous. Tim smoked the tenderloin after dusting it with paprika, salt and cracked pepper. We enjoyed an evening around the table, which is one of my favorite places.
Valentine's Day is upon us and adding a cour de creme to this menu makes it perfect for your sweetheart.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.