I just returned from spending six days in Missouri. Although most of the trees were past their peak, I did still see some red trees in the St. Louis area. But the further north I drove to northeast Missouri, most of the leaves had fallen. I had a whirlwind visit with my mother helping her prepare for the upcoming holidays. We did Thanksgiving grocery shopping one day and Christmas gift shopping another! We bought greeting cards and memorial flowers for loved ones. One day it reached over fifty degrees and my sister and I cleared off frozen plants, planted tulip bulbs and put away pots. Another day the temperature dipped in the 30s and my mother made potato soup. I had not tasted her homemade potato soup for years, and the aroma brought back special Sunday nights of yesteryear. I tried my hand in the kitchen on Sunday morning and made pumpkin pancakes. Mother made pumpkin pies as well. My uncle (my mother’s brother) was also celebrating his 87th birthday with ice cream, brownies, and angel food cake, and I got to see him along with my mother’s two sisters.

My mother sent me to a store called Gate City Supply in Keokuk, Iowa, to buy bulk candy. She encouraged me to buy several pounds as she handed me a $50 bill. Although they are a gardening store, in November they are known for their bulk candy—70 kinds to be exact! I just love this tradition of buying the candy. Well, I admit it—I just love candy. So I donned the plastic gloves and filled little white bags with the goodies. Scales were nearby to weigh the bags. I felt like I was in an old time general store. I think that is the other reason I like going there. The shop owner is always so friendly and accommodating.  One of my favorite candies (and my mother’s as well) is coconut bon bons—in assorted chocolate, vanilla, lemon and strawberry flavors.  Then I filled bags of anything covered with chocolate—cashews, peanuts, raisins, pretzels! The candied orange slices and spiced orange drops were not forgotten. And I had to have something peppermint!

I returned to Florida with the warm thought that I would be returning in exactly one month—this time to cheese cake gems, date cake and oyster dressing. Food, family and holidays—what a heartwarming combination!

Bountiful Blessings!

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