Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's All Relative

It's All Relative

Do you have relatives in your life that aren't related?
People who, by cosmic mistake, aren't in your family tree but have always
been so involved in your life that they should have been kin?

It may be the luck of the draw but I prefer to think that these people
come into our lives by Design.

At any rate, I have been blessed with many such gifts, beginning when I was
very young. We lived in a neighborhood where everybody knew everybody else,
and it was devilishly difficult to get into any kind of mischief because
there was always someone glancing out a window to witness attempt at said
mischief, see who the perps were, and more than happy to place a
quick and informative update to your mother.

You don't find that kind of caring and neighborliness much anymore.
Most people don't know their neighbors well enough anymore.

Our street was made up of mostly retired couples whose grown children
were living out of the county or state or who were childless.
They were happy to serve as surrogate grandparents for
me and my two older brothers. This paid off well at Christmas
time, I must admit, but these days I just cherish those memories
of those older friends who wanted to be involved in our lives.
They bought cheapo fund raiser goods, attended band concerts and my
dance recitals year after year, when there was no official family ties
to enforce their attendance. They just wanted to. And it wasn't
because we were such precious lovable kids, either.
(I have to insert that since I signed the full disclosure contract,
but my brothers were sometimes fractious.
Not me. Never me.)

In later years, my family and I have inherited a warm and lovely couple that
also are in no legal way related but are certainly and emphatically
considered family by my children and I and the rest of the family.

My eldest brother had the great good fortune to marry a woman
with the greatest parents in the world (after our own, you know).
So they're my brother's in-laws. Jack and Wanda Allen have shown
us nothing but love and generosity and fun ever since
Jon married their daughter Cindy more than a few years ago. If good
people are the salt of the earth, these two are Maldon Sea Salt!

They are at every family get-together or holiday gathering we hold
because when we plan something, we can't imagine them not being there.
That's how beautifully our families have all meshed.
Wouldn't it be great if every marriage produced such close ties?

Of course, when we all get together food with a capital F is the main
topic of conversation. I find it a not-to-be-missed opportunity to get tried and
true delicious recipes. Did I mention that Wanda is a gifted and wonderful cook?

Wanda's Cauliflower Salad


1 large head cauliflower, pulled apart into florets
1 lb bacon, fried crispy, then diced
1 medium green pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip)
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup cubed cheddar or colby cheese


Mix all together, stirring well. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more to let flavors blend.*

* I mixed this up this afternoon and had it for dinner about 2 hours later, and it was incredibly good, blended well or not so well.

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