This past week has been a roller coaster. My neighbor's nephew passed away suddenly and my husband has found out that apparently there is something wrong with his heart. A blog friend, whom I really admired, Lisa, also passed away suddenly on the same day.
I've been spoiling my husband and that is all I really know to do for him. For Lisa, I chose a few words, posted a special blog dedicated to her and what she meant to me as a friend, I even found the music I had been searching for. I hope her family will see it. She lived in another state so carrying a cake was out of the question.
Now when someone passes away in the South, and you attend church with them or they are your neighbors, or close to your "Momma and them" forever...you cook. We take food. That is just how it goes. Now if you are lucky, your Grandmother or (my "Memommie") taught you right, and you have her example to follow. If so you know being a Southern Belle you should a/join in with the church family as to what is going to be prepared and when and by whom. b/Never cross certain lines here.
Delivery is important also. My Memommie always used her best dishes too, china and crystal with Silver spoons to serve. On the bottom of the bowls there was a thin piece of tape with her name glued or taped on so that the item could be returned within the appropriate passing of time of course. It isn't lady or christian like to nag people about dishes and they (the family) should truly return them with a thank you note. That is how I was taught.
I am so fortunate to have a few of these pieces. I can tell by how warn the tape is or how well it has stuck on over the years, it is old. They don't make tape like that anymore. In her best handwriting will be her last name only. That way there was no room for error or confusion.
Certain dishes were prepared over and over again and some of my Memom's friends were kinda famous for those dishes. One lady always made Lasagna, and if need be she would fry chicken too. While one was famous for her Chicken Salad. One lady made Chicken and Dumplings no matter what. My Memommie always made Potato Salad and Banana Pudding or a pound cake. Now if it were in the fall of the year she still made potato salad but would change dessert to Apple cobbler or Pie. My Mother usually opted to cook a vegetable fearing people never eat enough vegetables in stressful/sad times. But my Memom, she always said people needed great food to comfort them at these uncertain and upsetting times. If she made a cake it was beautifully decorated with icing or nuts and maybe fruits if in summer time. Always place on one of her better cake servers with a doily underneath. She felt if it looked really appetizing maybe they would be more inclined to take a bite or another bite. Even if it was a salad it too was given special attention to top it off just right with the julienne slices of red peppers swirled about and pickles sliced just so dotted among the peppers, smoked paprika sprinkled on for color and taste. But don't get me wrong a Honey Baked Ham is never a bad idea. Just have to put that out there for the record. Just don't purchase the sides, make them for goodness sake.
So tonight I made her recipe for Cream Cheese Pound Cake, polished the Cake pedestal and server. In the morning I'll finish a pasta salad and bread and take over to my friends home, who is also my neighbor. The Cake has been dusted with confectioners sugar and lemon zest and fresh mint picked from the garden. The fresh whipped cream will be done last and maybe I'll find some berries to serve with it. I could almost hear my Memom coaching me saying, "that will look real nice there, now don't over do it. It will bring them comfort along with your card with the right verses tucked inside."
Tomorrow I'll carry them over and hope they will know they are prepared with love and sympathy for them. I do love them all and would do anything to lessen the pain they all feel.
I'll be remembering who taught me this was the right thing to do. My Memommie's Sunday School class. Those women could come to your home in stealth mode, deliver food, clean and organize, make another pot of coffee in case anyone else were to stop by and they were like Santa's elves you never knew it and they had the next day planned too. Thank you God for giving me such a good roll model.
This is just how we do it in the South, we feed you till you feel better. I think today, people send flowers, or maybe an e mail or e card. Maybe sign a guestbook online, it's less personal and no one likes to deal with loss.
It's up to us Southern Ladies that are left to teach our children this is how it is to be done. You show up in person for those you love and treat them like they are very special because they are. Who knows I might think of something else too.