MarthaWritten by Stepper McCrery
I think about my mother-in-law. A lot.
I never got to meet her - Martha passed away when the son I eventually married was a tender 12 years of age. I hate that. I hate that I never got to meet her.
But I still feel like I know her, and sometimes I think I can even feel her laughing in appreciative delight over my shoulder at some inexperienced motherly blunder I committed.
Like when my first toddler pooped in the bath.
I'm pretty sure Martha thought that was a classic.
But I get really sad, sometimes, that I don't get to sit down with her, face to face, and ask, "Did Bill ever poop in the tub?"
See, I' pretty sure that Martha and I are kindred spirits. There are a few tells.
The first is that we both like to cook. Martha had a whole slew of recipes that she tweaked to make her own - like I do - and I'd like to think that she loved to do it for the same reason I do: that gratifying moment when your husband walks into the zone - where he can smell what you're up to - and he stops, closes his eyes, breathes in deep, and smiles. All is right with the world. And when you put that sucker on the dinner table, and there's that silence of anticipation as your people come to grips with the delights that you have in store for them. As Bill always says (and did he get this from Martha?), the first bite is with the eyes.
When I make one of her recipes so that Bill can have that "just like mom does it" feeling, I don't get to call her on the phone and say, "Now, what did you mean by a 'pinch', and how exactly do you make a meatball Swedish?"
But I can imagine her there, sometimes, making dinner in my kitchen with me, adding her Martha touch. I'd be deliciously scandalized by the embarrassing stories she'd tell me about Bill the child or the teenager ("you know he used to do his hair in a Mohawk? He's spike it, and then he'd put a cheerio on each tip," she'd say. "No!" I'd say. "I have pictures," she'd say.), and I'd make her proud by telling her about the man that he has become.
I know that Martha was fierce about her faith. And though we don't share the same denomination, we do share a devotion to God and Family. I just know that Martha was fierce about her family, too.
And - most of all - I know her children. By their fruits ye shall know them - whether they be good. And Martha, my dear friend, they are GOOD.
So, I never knew Martha, but I know her.
Full of life.
A remarkable lady who is ever present in my life, even if she was never a physical part of it.
Do you have a favorite story about a relative that is no longer living? Have you shared it with your family?
Martha's Applesauce Cake
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. applesauce
2 C. flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
- Cream shortening and brown sugar together
- Add egg and mix
- Stir in applesauce and flour
- Add remaining ingredients, and mix
- Bake in loaf pan, 25-45 minutes, on low rack at 350 degrees
Note: Nuts or raisins may be added at step 3
Dowload a PDF copy of Martha's Applesauce Cake here.
Stepper grew up in the desert, but is a child of the rain. She lost her heart to Seattle (both to the place and to the boy who grew up there). She loves to write and draw, and used to get in trouble for doodling all over her homework. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Utah State University. She loves to sing, play the violin and guitar, and is learning the mandolin. She bakes a mean spice cake with pinoche icing, hates caramel, and has a real thing for old keys. But her very most favorite thing in the whole world is her cute husband and three amazing kids.
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