Pound Cake

My youngest daughter has become the queen of pound cake bakers.  She was here last week and whipped up two loaf pans of warm goodness for her parents and siblings to relish.  Calorie free of course!

The recipe was mine, I was once the supreme baker, having inherited the recipe from my grandmother, the grandmother I was afraid of for most of my childhood.  As a teenager I summoned enough bravery to ask for her recipe and of course she gave it to me.  It’s been one of my favorites ever since.

Grandma Lillie was not intentionally mean, but had endured many hardships in her life; her mother died when she was eight and her first born son died in infancy.  She lived through a war, a depression, and a second war when her husband and both of her sons went off to fight leaving her home alone.  I can’t imagine.  All three returned to her but the sons soon married and went away; the oldest was my father.

I’ve been thinking these last few weeks of memories that matter.  My father died on June 28th and all my children and my siblings and their children gathered to celebrate his life and to stand united around my mother as the rock of her life left, never to return.  He is in heaven we all know, and that is a great comfort.

Of course my father wasn’t perfect.  He had a sad mother whose unhappiness frightened my brothers and me.  Her depression marked him, too.  My dad fought in WWII in Germany, Africa, and Asia, earning both a purple heart and a bronze star.  Experiences like that made him impatient with our childish concerns and our nation’s weakening moral strength.  My children were sometimes afraid of him.  But he was loyal to the core, worked hard every day, refused to live in the past, and always looked forward to the next adventure.  He loved teasing about old people as if he wasn’t one at 90!  In his mind he wasn’t.  He read books voraciously and loved watching the stock market.  I missed that gene, the stock market one and the math gene, too.

The pound cake reminded me last week of my paternal heritage.  Now that I am not a child anymore I see my grandmother with eyes of compassion.  The smooth texture of a cake I’ve eaten all my life ties me to her still.  And to my dear father, too, who gave me more strengths, more gifts, more memories than I could count.  I am like him.  Very much like him.  And it is a great honor.

Pound Cake