Last weekend I learned to twist flowers for arrangements, by an expert. There were twelve of us in the class and all she would say while she helped others was “Dee, yours looks beautiful.”
The next day they were closed. The spray roses had died so I had to find an alternative to my trusty florist. I substitued red carnations for a holiday feel, and gold balls on wire. I thought I did it without thinking.
Witness our holiday tree. This morning I looked at it and realized it has morphed. One year ago I returned to my home to find a number of floral arrangements and a sort of evergreen tree that needs to grow indoors in this weather. It was the day after my father’s funeral and the women of my husband’s family decided to give me a living memory of Dad. It was topped with a silver star with his name and dates of birth and death.
This year I decided it would be our tree, and started at the top of Dad’s tree with the star. I added family ornaments and hand-made aluminum drops, then a topper of silver bows from former flower arrangements that calls attention to the silver star. The dripping tin twisted strips rain down on what Dad created. Several families. Ours sits in the middle in hand-made finger puppets. Husband is a cow, I’m a horse, don’t know why as the last time I rode one I was thrown. Our dog Zoe is the dog and she’s leaning on me.
The tree includes paper ornaments for an intensive development project I created over 20 years ago. Kids decorated round tag-board ornaments and I saved a few. The tree shows that from his efforts in life, we were allowed to have lives, enjoy our lives.
Dad made things possible, not always attainable, but possible. Our living tree is an homage to my father, and the dripping tin strips from a trip to Vermont with my in-laws show how he has affected all our lives. I know the ornaments I chose, and chose the family tradition of one ornament each, every year. Subliminally, I chose a vignette of my life and the impact my father had on this life. He allowed me courage, even to get married and he never gave the “stare” above the bi-focals to my husband of nearly 15 years. He was the first “boyfriend” he ever liked.
Heaven forbid I become a floral arranger for anyone else. I’d have to go back to my soc/psy education. No, don’t tell me he’s saying this now. I already have a broken reindeer ornament carrying a tray with cookies, now with no legs or hat that my husband has already glued together once. I think Dad wants me to place more energy into business rather than cooking. We will have a burial ceremony for the reindeer ornament (is parchment paper and trash OK?) today. Perhaps her jumping off the tree means we should not return to the state which she represents in our hearts. I’ll have to figure that one out. Cheers! Dee
ps Pedernales Chili tonight. Lady Bird Johnson, 1962. Five thousand guests including JFK. Most requested document from the White House that year until the assassination. Check out the LBJ Library website. And yes, Texas chili has no beans. Dee
My new favorite spicy soup/cheese dip has beans, white ones. Texans like chicken or venison for chile also and this chicken chile has white beans and is a favorite here, both for hubby and grandson. They do eat it like a dip so I make it with less chicken broth and more cheese.
(I don’t really do the venison but it mixes well with regular ground meat because the venison is too lean to cook up well. When I had a supply, I used it up in chile. I just don’t have a taste for game meats so I fed it to the guys.)
Cheesy Southwest Chicken Soup
2 chicken breasts, boiled or deli, chopped
large onion, chop and cook in 1/2 stick butter with about 3 stalks chopped celery.
Stir in 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp garlic pwd (or add fresh chopped garlic)
Then dump in:
1 can regular or shoe-peg corn
2-3 cans white beans, Navy, Cannellini, or Great Northerns
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
2-4 cups chicken broth
1-2 lbs velveeta cheese
Heat gently in large crock pot or dutch oven
Serve with tostadas chips and sliced avocados