After years of wondering why he didn’t look like his younger sister or brother, a young man finally got up the nerve to ask his mother if he was adopted.
“Yes, you were son,” his mother said as she started to cry softly. “but it didn’t work out and they brought you back.”
My brother Scott brought over a photo album of his camping trip. One picture showed a brown bear helping itself to his food. “What kind of bear is that?” I asked.
“It’s called a Kodiak,” Scott replied.
“Oh, yeah?” my husband Keith shot back. “And I suppose those white ones in the Arctic are called Polaroids.”
Q: How do hair stylists speed up their job? A: They take short cuts!
The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat says to the other, ‘You stay here, I’ll go on a head.’.
The girl quit her job at the doughnut factory because she was fed up with the hole business
I refuse to work with compost, it’s degrading.
What do you call a pig in a rickshaw? Pulled pork.
I’m Not Paying This BILL
Three animals were having a drink in a cafe, when the owner asked for the money.
“I’m not paying,” said the duck. “I’ve only got one bill and I’m not breaking it.”
“I’ve spent my last buck,” said the deer.
“Then the duck’ll have to pay,” said the skunk.
“Getting here cost me my last scent.”
The Bigger Family
There was a family, Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger, and their baby. Who was the biggest?
The baby. He was a little Bigger.
Crazy About Fruit Cake
I never cared for the taste of fruitcake, but I’ve been saving one for years.
It’s the last of those I used to get every Christmas from Elizabeth, my friend Paul’s mom. She always cooked up what seemed like hundreds for family and friends, wrapping them in plastic, and tying them with red and green ribbons.
Fruitcakes are known to take on lives of their own, passing from one person to the next, sometimes lingering long enough to carbon-date. Cut one open, if you dare, and divine its age like you’d count the rings of some ancient tree.
Though we pretended to like them, Elizabeth never pressed us for reports on their flavor, probably sensing that many simply became souvenirs—if not albatrosses—not that it seemed to matter. Still, everybody got one, delivered with a proud smile and wrapped in love, a present from this woman who used her recipes to nourish our souls as much as our bodies.
The tradition was passed down by Elizabeth’s mom, who had learned it from her own aunt. With nobody sure how many generations back it goes, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn an early version of the recipe, scripted on papyrus and stored in an urn, has been unearthed during some distant archaeological dig.
Paul’s father lost his hearing some years back, and got to where he couldn’t see very well. Then Elizabeth’s diabetes eventually put her in a wheelchair and robbed her of sight, so Paul moved back home that fall to help care for them.
As Christmas approached, Elizabeth kept mentioning how much she wished she could hand out those fruitcakes again. Saddened by having to break the tradition, she reminisced about helping Grandma when she was a little girl. Tears welled in her eyes as she talked about her fruitcakes, admitting that eating them isn’t what matters, that it’s cooking up some love and sharing it with people who mean the most to her.
During her nap that afternoon, Paul searched through two boxes stuffed with hundreds of recipes filed in no particular order. He finally found it, flour-crusted, yellow with age, and difficult to read. He went out and bought the ingredients, then set about mixing, determined to make her a batch to give away. Paul’s not known for his culinary finesse, and most family recipes require a dollop of magic beyond what’s actually written down, so he finally had to wake her, confessing his plan and asking her to help.
They spent the rest of the afternoon making fruitcakes. She took charge, while Paul served as her eyes and hands. They didn’t need that old recipe card; Elizabeth knew this one by heart.
She glowed with pride as she handed them out, accepting kisses and thanks, hugging back with newfound strength despite her frail condition. She’d probably felt that way every year, but this marked the first time we really noticed.
Several days after Christmas, Elizabeth required hospitalization, but there was little that could be done, and she took a turn for the worse. In a stark, antiseptic room far from the familiar aromas of her kitchen, Paul lost his mother, and we all lost a friend.
Gathered at the house after the funeral, Paul and his siblings carefully copied her fruitcake recipe, all vowing to carry on the custom. Several of them did, too—for a couple of years. Busy with their own lives and still discovering their own unique ways to celebrate, they gradually let the fruitcake tradition slip away.
Some things will never leave us, though. Elizabeth’s children, like all of us she touched, will always carry on with a more important tradition: living the way she taught. Devotion to our families, integrity, loyalty, and love for each other . . . these are what I see being passed on to the next generation. These are truly Elizabeth’s recipe for life.
I still have that fruitcake somewhere, the one she and my friend made together. When I look at it, I can see her face lighting up as she presented it to me.
It is, after all, just a fruitcake. I still don’t care for the taste. And I can’t say how long I’ll manage to hang on to this odd thing, a souvenir wrapped in plastic and tied with red and green ribbons . . .
A family recipe, the reminder of those last precious moments my friend spent with his mom, a Christmas gift from the heart.