The Beauty of Peanut Butter Fudge

When I was growing up, Christmas meant packing suitcases and presents into a vehicle and traveling over 1,300 miles to Northern Missouri to visit extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather for meals, gift exchanges, and laughter, and my sister and I learned to soak up as much enjoyment and love as we could in this two-week, annual tradition.

My mom and dad grew up in towns only twenty miles apart, so it was easy to split our time between both sides of the family. Each household had their own customs and routines around the holiday which led to many unique, long-lasting memories.

Now, I can be instantly transported back in time to those cozy, safe, and loved feelings with the smallest sensory details.

Each year, my Grandma Kelley would make a large batch of fudge, both chocolate and peanut butter, to give as gifts and to serve to her family. There was nothing I enjoyed more than a large hunk of peanut butter fudge with a Pepsi while watching a movie or playing cards. Just opening the Tupperware container and smelling the richness gave me a thrill of excitement. And I could eat as much as I wanted!

Last weekend, my sister made Grandma's fudge and shared it with me. I let the sweet smell coat my lungs, and that first bite made me feel as if I were sitting with my cousins in Grandma's basement, waiting for Christmas Day.

My Grandpa Hume, on my mom's side, always asked his grandchildren to sing Christmas carols in a little performance. We would huddle together in the next room, planning our routine, and then put on our show, as Grandpa sat in his recliner. We could barely make it through the songs before breaking down in giggles at our fumbled lines or dance moves.

To this day, whenever I hear Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I can't help but grin at the way we improvised the names of the reindeer. Or how we added humor to the verses with witty phrases... "They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games (like Monopoly!)" 

What kinds of sensory memories do you have around Christmas or other holidays?

How can you hold them close in the dark and challenging times?

Our brain is a complex, almost magical, part of us that allows smells, sounds, textures, and flavors to be stored as memories. We can find them during holidays and year-round as we continue to seek beauty and joy.

Some doorways from this week:

  • I finally turned the corner after a rough day of being sick, and I was grateful for a good day after several sequential bad days.

  • My husband and I went to the mountains to find a Christmas tree. It was a beautiful day as the sunshine made the snow drifts sparkle.

  • I share reviews on Facebook when I finish reading a book, and this week I was grateful for the people who took the time to thank me for posting them and let me know they found the reviews helpful.


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