Monday, February 2, 2009

Sweet Taste of Nostalgia


I made myself a treat the other day. It is a pear salad that my Mom used to make my brother and I when we were kids~only my brother, who has an aversion to Mayonnaise, ate his with NO mayo. It is very simple... lettuce, canned pears, cheese, mayo and I added a maraschino cherry, Mom didn't use those.
I made mine with a different type of cheese than she used... I adore extra sharp cheddar. Plus I was fresh out of the government issue sliced American.
Times were very lean when it was just the three of us. My Mom worked two jobs to make ends meet, as a Dental Assistant during the day and as a Shirt Factory seamstress at night. I spent lots of time with my Grandmaw and Papa and my three Aunts. I remember making biscuits with my Grandmaw in her big round biscuit bowl, scooping out the flour and lard from big metal containers in the pantry. She never measured the ingredients or followed a recipe, she just knew how to make them from years of practice. I helped my Papa in the garden, he grew corn so tall that it towered above us and row after row of ripe juicy tomatoes. Green beans, squash, okra, cucumbers, onions and the best cantaloupes I have ever eaten.... from this my love of cultivating the earth was born. My Aunts played with me and pampered me, especially my Aunt Doris who was a young teenager when I was a child.
As an adult, I can understand how difficult it was for my Mom, how tired and worried she must have been. There is a picture of the three of us on Easter Sunday. I must have been three and my brother was 1. We are all dressed for church, me in my white bonnet with little yellow daises, my brother in a striped jacket and clip on tie and my beautiful mother is dressed in a pale yellow sheath dress that details how thin she is. We are all smiling, me with a silly grin that stretches from ear to ear, but under my Mother's eyes are deep dark circles.... she is not even 20 years old in this photo. I cry every time I think of it.
It was not until I was older that I came to comprehend the sacrifices she made for us. Because as a child, I was happy and I was loved, and that was all that mattered.
Funny, isn't it ? How a simple pear salad had the power to transport me back almost 40 years.~Rhonda

12 comments:

BittersweetPunkin said...

Hi Rhonda.....that looks yummy. We use to have powdered milk and government cheese...I look back on those days with much gratitude and appreciation for my Mom too.

Hugs,
Robin

Back Through Time said...

Rhonda that salad looks really good! Never heard of it. I loved your pear story. Aren't we glad we have memories of love to reflect back on??
Have a wonderful week!
Michelle

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

I am reflecting back on a similar photo...similar background and a deep understanding of how special that pear salad is. I'm going to have to make this dish. Beautiful post.

Hugs,
Dena

Meggie said...

The salad looks delish, Rhonda, and your story is lovely. Isn't it interesting how our perspective changes as we get older? As children, if we are loved and cared for we are happy. It's only later when we see what our parents sacrificed for us that we have a true appreciation for that love.

Tracy said...

Pear Salad reminds me so much of my grandmother, that was something we had often. Isn't it something how such simple things can make our minds wonder back.
I sure miss my grandmother (Mama Hayes) and my Papa ......

Alison May said...

Oh Rhonda that was absolutely lovely...thank you.x

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket and Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh I know how you feel! Smells and some songs do that for me. I can smell moth balls..funny I know...but it takes me back to getting to look in granpa's trunk at all of his treasures stashed away. Loved your words! blessings,Kathleen

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Being a mom, made me really appreciate what my mom did for me. That salad looks yummy! I love pears.

Sand Flat Farm said...

We used to have that pear salad, too, and occasionally my mother still makes it. Sweet memories, Rhonda. Funny how becoming a parent grows you up and makes you realize what's most important. I didn't understand my folks until I became a mom. I am still learning even tho my kids are already in their 20's. It's never going to "be over". Our kids are our kids all our lives.

Carrie J said...

We used that government cheese. I loved it. Pear salad is one of our favorites. We are much more casual though. I chop up the pears and mix it all together. My kids love it. Most of their friends think it sounds gross until they try it themselves.

Anonymous said...

My mom made pear salad. I hadn't thought of it for years until this past Christmas family dinner when my niece made it. It brought back so many memories...

Julie said...

I ate this salad too. My mom put cottate cheese on ours though. When I saw this I said to myself, "I ate this when I was young".