The rock n’ roll road is no place to be when autumn rolls up its blanket of fallen leaves to make way for the snow that will surely follow. Summer has long gone, and autumn’s final days are just a few weeks away. While everyone is gearing up for the holidays to come, Brewer and Shipley were just trying to find the motel among the throngs of consumers dashing in and out. First, at grocery stores and supermarkets, frozen turkeys fill up the shopping carts and stuffing mix starts flying off the shelves. Later, the rush is to find the perfect gift for everyone on the Christmas list.
These days the season is no longer something to dread. “No,” is the answer to the question, “Do you guys want to play… pick the place… the first week in December?” These days the only place to be at this time of year is home. The only people we want to see are family.
This holiday season began a few weeks early, not at the shopping center, but in our woods. Last year I noticed a persimmon tree at the end of the driveway. I picked a fruit and saw that it wasn’t ripe. By the time I got down to harvest some, I found I had been beaten by the critters that we share the land with. This year would be different.
As autumn rolled along, I started keeping an eye on my persimmon tree. This year it was loaded. Since last year’s brush with persimmons, I read everything I could on the tiny fruit, actually a large berry, where I learned to let them ripen and fall to the ground before harvesting.
So there were Jan and I, on our hands and knees, picking up the bluish-purple fruits that had fallen. Marc managed to attach a rope to one of the branches which we used to shake loose those that had not yet fallen. That was the easy part.
The next step was a mess. The fruit had to be washed. Then it was off to the food mill to get rid of the skin and seeds. Words can’t describe what a sticky substance is hiding inside a ripe persimmon. As I was processing them, I remarked to Jan that the stuff could be used as a building material. “Stronger than cement,” I thought.
There are several recipes for persimmons. Bread, baked pudding, and muffins. I chose the latter. The family would be here for Thanksgiving, and I wanted something to go along with the traditional meal. Muffins. I chose muffins. After reading all of the recipes I realized that they all had pretty much the same ingredients. Only the shape and density were different. Muffins sounded foolproof, so that is what I made.
The muffins were done, the turkey thawed, and here comes the family. Matt and Ashley live in Kansas City so they have a long drive and can only make it down a couple of times a year. That alone is a reason to celebrate. A thanksgiving day feast with the whole family is something very special. There were all the favorites. Turkey, of course, and cranberry relish, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and this year… persimmon muffins. Was this a new addition to tradition? Next year the persimmon harvest will tell.
The table was set. This year a special Thanksgiving happened. Matt and Ashley brought their dogs so Jan and I got our puppy fix. After having had dogs all of our married life and now being dogless, we always look forward to the Kansas City members of our clan coming down to Rolla with Cookie and Bogart.
As I sat on the couch looking at our Thanksgiving reunion, I couldn’t help but think of the rock n’ roll road. I thought about how glad I was that I was in my own house with my family and not trying to find a hotel in New York City while dodging the throngs of Christmas shoppers that crowd the streets and spend too much money.
It was a great Thanksgiving. A day I no longer dread and I now look forward to Christmas. I will be on the road, but I will be in Kansas City with the family. And family tradition? I believe we are conjuring up new ones. A question. Will it include persimmon muffins?