Valentine's Day, according to Mama
Patsy Lawson | Feb 9, 2012, 4:18 p.m.
I got the same lecture from Mama every year around Valentine’s Day. It began like this: “Now there ain’t no use in buying Valentine cards for all your friends at school. They cost good money; they are looked at only once; and I have to burn ‘em up with the rest of the trash.”
Mama's Chocolate Fudge
5 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 jar marshmallow cream
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups walnuts or pecans, if you like them
Mix first three ingredients and heat until melted over low heat until dissolved. Increase temperature to medium heat, and when it starts to boil, turn on time for 10 minutes and stir constantly. It can stick to the bottom of the pan if not constantly stirred. After 10 minutes, do a soft ball test to see if it will hold a soft ball consistency when a few drops of the mixture is placed in a cup of cold water. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, vanilla, marshmallow cream and nuts. Continue to beat until chips are dissolved and marshmallow cream disappears. Pour immediately into a large 9x12 Pyrex dish which has been greased. When cool, cut into pieces.
From these four statements, you can tell that Mama was not romantic – she conserved money, was an environmentalist, and was very practical about all her decisions. Every year, I had to argue with her about purchasing my packet of 50 valentines from Turner’s Drug Store. She would eventually give in, but not without a lecture on waste and saving money. This practice of arguing over purchasing Valentine’s Day cards dampened my excitement of the whole event, but when the big day came I always had cards to put in the big red crepe paper box decorated with white paper doily hearts. I would say that I was “mildly excited” by the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.
In my husband Herman’s family, Valentine’s Day was a big deal because his mother was a teacher who prepared for the event at school each year. His step-granddad, Elmer, was one of those guys who bought the biggest boxes of candy packaged in tons of frilly decorations and cards the size of a billboard. Elmer bought one of everything Turner’s Drug Store was selling for Valentine’s Day.
Herman remembered Elmer’s approach to Valentine’s Day; I remembered Mama’s approach. As a couple, we’ve had to negotiate and compromise to reach mutually acceptable ways of sharing Valentine’s Day. From my previous work as a marriage and family therapist, I know there are many others who have had to negotiate on these issues as well. Mama and Daddy never had to negotiate because Daddy seemed more than happy to accept Mama’s view of Valentine’s Day. He had it easy, and he knew it.
While Mama never chose to make a big deal of Valentine’s Day, she did love to cook, especially cookies, cakes, and candy – and she loved sharing these goodies with neighbors and friends. In this respect, Valentine’s Day was no different than Christmas and other major holidays. In her system, Valentine’s Day called for a batch of her favorite chocolate fudge. Even though she would never have bought a Valentine’s Day card for a neighbor or friend, Mama delighted in making big batches of fudge to share around Valentine’s Day.
Mama had her notions about how everything had to be done, and Valentine’s Day was no exception. Today, I remember her by sharing her fudge recipe so that you can continue her system of sharing food with others on Valentine’s Day. And by the way, this is a large recipe, so unless you have tons of relatives and friends – or you want to have some left over for Easter – I suggest you cut the recipe in half. Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) is looking for new volunteers aged 55 ...
- Scarritt-Bennett Center will host a community discussion series this summer called "Hot ...