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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

11/29/17

Judy Bluhm

How was your Black Friday? If you were one of the brave souls who headed out to shop on Thanksgiving night, I hope you survived the rush. It may be the season of giving, but it is the shopping that happens first. So many presents to buy and so little money! Yikes…what are we to do? Are you feeling courageous? What lies ahead is not for the weak of heart. Tis’ the season to go shopping, and only the brave, the strong and the determined (crazy) can handle the “shopping challenges” that awaits us at malls and retails centers.

My friend said she was thrilled to go out to shop All Night Long the night of Thanksgiving in search of big deals, treasures, bargains, and “perfect gifts.” Why? And is this safe? Plus, aren’t we supposed to be asleep in our cozy beds after a big meal? When I told her she could have stayed home in her PJs and ordered online, she looked insulted and horrified. “You are missing out,” is all she could murmur.

Hey, the approaching Holidays shouldn’t be so stressful! We should be happy to give (and receive) a basket of homemade cookies. Well, that’s if we baked cookies. Actually, I do bake cookies, but with four grandsons there will never be a hope of me giving a basket to anyone. When they were younger, I used to hide cookies from them just so I could have a few left for Christmas Day. Stashing food in obscure places can be tricky, especially if you have the tendency to forget where you placed those butter cookies. (It’s a bit disconcerting to discover cookies in your clothes closet in February).

My grandmother used to bake fruitcakes and give them to family and friends. A proper English woman, plus a teetotaler, she put enough rum in those cakes to get a family of four tipsy. One bite of Grandma’s cake (which was as hard as a brick), and it could make your head spin. I recently read that a fruitcake (one that is well-fermented) can last in a tin for more than forty years and still be edible! For the gift that might last a lifetime, perhaps I’ll start my own little tradition of baking fruitcakes. Oh, if you get one from me, please, don’t eat and drive.

Dear Readers, shop wisely and calmly. Bake some cookies or a fruitcake. Forget about presents! It’s the warm thoughts and actions that count. Yes, mayhem may await us during this hectic time, when what we really long for is “peace on earth.” Perhaps I will dig up my grandmother’s fruitcake recipe and rekindle an old tradition. Like my grandma, I’ll taste-test everything (a few times) before I mix in the ingredients. Only the best for my friends!

And if you receive a little loaf, wrapped carefully in brown paper, please do not confuse this heavy object with a doorstop or one of those fireplace logs. Be brave, take one little bite and you’ll discover the “happy” in the Holidays!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story of a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.