Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rich's Mom

Last Sunday, August 12th, we had to say goodbye to someone very dear, Rich's Mom, Dottie, known to her grandchildren as "Grandy." Many of you read my post on Rich's Mom's 85th birthday last March. Grandy was doing very well then, but unfortunately in May began declining in health. From May to early August, she was either in the hospital or in a nursing home, until last week, when the decision was made to begin hospice care, and she returned to her longtime home on Capistrano Avenue. She spent her last few days there, in the comfort and peace of her own familiar home, surrounded by her children and a very caring hospice staff. When she passed away on Sunday afternoon, she was indeed blessed to have her three loving children by her side.

As the preparations are in process for her Memorial Service and Burial, I have been reflecting on my own thankfulness for the way God blessed me through Dottie. The most obvious thought is that if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have my sweet husband, or my precious children. How different my life would be! She and Rich's dad, Frank, took care of him until I could grow up and take over (Like the way I put that?) Dottie is the one who carried Rich in pregnancy for 9 months, birthed him, changed his diapers, carpooled him to various events, clothed and fed him, and made him much of what he is today. I will be forever grateful to both Frank and Dottie for all they have done in Rich's life.

On a lighter note, I am thankful for some of the other ways she blessed me. In her day, she was an unbelievable cook, and being a foodie, I was after her recipes. Rich said, "all I want are Mom's cast iron skillets" and I have warned him even if we do get those pans that it was SHE that worked the magic, not the pans, so not to be too disappointed! (by the way, all 3 children want those pans so it will be interesting.) I do remember one day, over 10 years ago, sitting at her kitchen table while she handwrote the recipe for Dottie's Spaghetti Sauce for me. I felt so privileged. That recipe is GOLD. Rich would eat it every day if I would make it. There is one secret ingredient in it that people would never guess in a million years. Like I'm going to tell you!

From her kitchen came many delicacies that my husband has never forgotten. Just say the words "Dottie's pot roast" around Rich and see his face light up. Her potato salad was legendary (yup, got that recipe too). And one more honorable mention is "Dottie's Cool Whip Dessert" (notice the trend in recipe titles, "Dottie's" everything). One of my favorites to be sure. So I thank her for passing on to me, something that I can bless my husband with, and remind us all of her-those cherished recipes.

I am sad to think of Christmas and Easter without her. On Christmas Eve, we always have her wonderful stuffed filet of sole with cheese sauce (sounds weird but believe me, it's amazing) and I hope we always will. She opened her home every Christmas morning to all of us, even when it became too much for her in recent years, and we brought the food, she still wanted it at her house. There was breakfast casserole with bacon, Honeybaked Ham, rolls, and of course, her potato salad. On Easter there was always "the egg game" where she doled out ridiculous amounts of money stuffed into little plastic eggs. Not exactly the proper focus for the holiday, but nonetheless, unforgettable, especially to her grandchildren. More honeybaked ham, more potato salad (Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining!) Lots of traditions that I want to carry on, because of her.

And, last, but not least, my house is surrounded with many items that will remind me of her. Yes, if you look around you will see over 50 or so Longaberger Baskets weaved into my decor. Dottie was the very first person to sell Longaberger Baskets in California, and her friends exclaimed when she urged them to buy, "Twenty five dollars for ONE basket??!!" Yeah, if they had that $25 basket now they could sell it on Ebay for thousands. Anyways, we were blessed with many Longaberger baskets as presents on many occasions. They are both useful and pretty.

Well, I guess I could say more, but in summary I thank God for the many ways he has blessed me through Dottie. I especially love the one that sleeps next to me every night. Thank you Dottie for the gifts you have given me.

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