One of the things that I love most about being a writer is that every once in awhile I get the privilege of sharing a story that unexpectedly reminds me of how beautiful life is. With every passing year I have known more loss, just as each and every one of us have. However, what I have come to understand and cherish more than anything are the memories and keepsakes that are left behind.
Last week I shared Brittanie Kelso's story. Britt has endured much loss in her life, and last week she not only delivered a powerful message for all of us that have been left behind, but she also shared some of the beautiful memories that she has been left with.
When Britt sat down and poured her heart onto the page in the message that I shared in A Message for Those Left Behind, she closed with the following:
"A few days ago, I was at my parents’ house and found myself in the big garages where I have all the things I hold dearest to my heart but don’t want to lose stored. I opened a box where I found a letter from my Gramma from 12 years ago and right beneath that letter was Brians Boston Red Sox hat that he wore EVERYWHERE. That hat is the only physical item I have to remember him by. The letter was regarding some wedding dishes from my Gram and Grandpas wedding that she knew Grandpa would want me to have and, in the letter, she shared in her beautiful handwriting her and Grandpas love and support for me…they were many times in my life the people I would go when I needed a pick me up and some advice and they both always pushed me to follow what I believe in. I for some reason decided it was time to pull that letter and hat out and bring them home with me where they belong. My husband, Thomas Kelso, now of 13 years asked me “why are you bringing that stuff home today?” I responded with “I’m not sure I just feel like it’s time.” Now… I know why. It took a long time but all my growth over the last decade and half along with all these events listed above aligned perfectly to support a mission I am meant to see through."
~ Brittanie Kelso
There was one more item that Britt found in that box that she didn't include in her letter. She came across a handwritten notebook of her grandmother's zucchini recipes that was written in the 1970's. When Luke McAllister arrived from the greenhouse with more zucchini than I had ever seen, and I also got a request for some new recipes on the same day, it seemed like Britt's Gramma had left that notebook for us to share. I know I am looking forward to trying both her Zucchini Bread and Zucchini Pizza recipes!
There have been many difficult losses that our community has faced in the recent months. I hope that your week is filled with beautiful memories that make you smile, laugh, and remember all of the wonderful things that our loved ones have brought into our lives - because that is truly the gifts that are left behind.
Director of Wellness and Rehabilitation Services
Sylvia Armstrong's Zucchini Recipes
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups peeled, shredded, zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Beat eggs, oil, and sugars until foamy. Add zucchini and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add, beating well. Add nuts. Divide batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 325°F. Let sit 10 minutes before removing from pan. Freezes well.
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
4 oz. cheddar cheese
4 cups grated zucchini
2 Tbsp. biscuit mix
1/2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
1 minced onion
1 clove garlic - minced
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. oregano
2 oz. mozzarella cheese
2 oz. cheddar cheese
Combine all ingredients and press into 10x5 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
Sauté oil, onion, garlic, and beef 10 minutes. Drain off fat. Stir tomato sauce, salt, pepper, ad oregano into meat. Spoon over baked crust. Grate 2 oz. mozzarella and 2 oz. cheddar over meat. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.