Memories outweigh the calories

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2013

I’m not joking. There are three items on my list of Things I Never Want to Know:
• How much money I’ve spent on disposable diapers. (Each one was worth it.)
• How much money I’ve spent on photographs. (Each one was worth it.)
• How many calories were on the table at the Christmas Treat Swap I recently attended. (Each one was worth it!)
Weeks before the actual event, the topic of a Cookie Exchange resurfaced. My cousins’ wives, Nowanna and Tammy, Aunt Judy and I decided this would be the year we would do more than talk about it. We set a date and time and accepted Nowanna’s offer to host the premier party. My job was to find out the rules for such a gathering, and the Internet was filled with advice.
• “Invite 8 to 12 people.” (Too late. We had already spread the word.)
• “The main ingredient of each recipe must be flour. Only cookies are allowed.” (Go without my niece Brandi’s Ooey Gooey dessert bars? Rule No. 2 was quickly struck down along with the title, Cookie Exchange.)
• “Bring copies of the recipe
to distribute.” (Take up valuable table space with paper? Instead guests were asked to email a copy
of the recipe so that booklets could be made and distributed at the party.)
Guests arriving at the Christmas Treat Swap were welcomed by the warm glow of a fire in a fire pit, an artfully decorated front porch and a wreath on the roof. The work my cousin Tait had done outside set the stage for their home, which Nowanna had beautifully dressed in the colors of Christmas. Knowing I would want to look back on the night and try my best to copy her decorating ideas, I sent a text to my daughter Monique, “bring camera.” Tait and Nowanna’s labor of love was enjoyed by all who gathered to talk, laugh and eat.
Personally, the night was more than a party. It was visit back in time, for Tait and Nowanna live
in my grandmother’s house.
They have restored and enlarged the home in such a way it feels
as though it was never altered.
My grandmother would love it!
What a privilege I have to walk through rooms that have seen
every stage of my life, rinse my hands in the same kitchen sink
my grandmother washed my hair
in, and stir a pot on the stove I can still picture her using. Memories created at the Treat Swap were stored with a lifetime of other moments spent in that house. I’m sure those memories even outnumber the amount of calories on the table.
And I’m not joking.
Ronny may be reached at