Simply Southern Cappy

A Christmas Feeling

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“Oh my! It’s fruitcake weather, Buddy.”
~ A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

 

Our house is unusually quiet today while Babe recovers from serious but incredibly successful surgery, one that saved his life. He sleeps a lot. After a certain age recovery is no walk in the park.  

Emotionally, I swing between an overwhelming feeling of relief that he was snoring next to me when I woke up this morning, and genuine joy that we have been granted additional time together.  

The antique clock on the mantle is flanked on both sides by the traditional manger scene that was carefully boxed up until earlier today. Hoping to festive things up around here, I pruned the magnolia tree down to a nub and quietly began to decorate for Christmas. That old clock seems to be ticking even louder than normal. But then, this house of ours is unusually quiet today. 

I stand at the window and look out at a leafless, birdless winter morning while two words thread through my mind: Fruitcake weather. Those words naturally segue to a story written in 1963 by Truman Capote.   

I have penned many Christmas stories in the past because Capote inspired me to capture my seasonal thoughts on paper. His haunting tale of baking fruitcakes with his cousin, Sook, is the story that motivated me to write my own holiday memories of growing up in the South.  

Today, I look up at a gray sky and wonder if it will snow. I look at the bare trees in our yard amazed at finding things I was unable to see before winter snatched away the greeness. I gaze down at the love of my life as he sleeps and heals, and when I do I experience an overpowering need to do something that will make him smile again.  

The leafless, birdless trees sway gently in the cold winter breeze as if singing: “Oh my! It’s fruitcake weather.” 

That’s what I can do! I can buy candied cherries and pineapple and pecans and walnuts and chop, mix and bake. The fragrance of a baking fruitcake will waft through each room of this unusually quiet house of ours and drown out time ticking away. 

Mama’s White Fruitcake

1             Cup Sugar

2             Cups Flour

5             Eggs

2             Sticks Butter

1             Teaspoon Baking Powder

½            Teaspoon Salt

1             1-ounce Bottle Vanilla

1             Teaspoon  to ½ ounce Almond Flavoring (depending on your love of Almond)

1             Pound Candied Cherries

1             Pound Candied Pineapple

4             Cups Chopped Nuts (mix walnuts and pecans if both are available)

Chop fruit and nuts and dredge with 3 Tablespoons of flour.  

In a separate bowl:  Cream sugar and butter until fluffy and add well-beaten eggs, one at a time

Slowly add remaining flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla and almond flavorings.

Combine batter and fruit/nut mixture and mix it all up with your hands, squeezing to get the batter evenly distributed.

Pour into a greased tube pan and bake for three hours at 250 degrees.

If you have a big pressure cooker, steam the cake for one hour, then cook in the oven for an additional hour at 325 degrees.

If not, place a pan of water under the tube pan for the entire cooking time.

 

Then, sit back in your recliner with a good book of Christmas Stories and enjoy the fragrance of fruitcake baking in the oven and a good Christmas feeling.

__________
Editor’s Note: 
Cappy Hall Rearick is a humor columnist for the Lowcountry Sun in Charleston, South Carolina. She is the author of seven published books. Visit her at www.simplysoutherncappy.com.  www.simplycappy.blogspot.com

 

“PUTTIN’ ON THE GRITZ”

Cappy Hall Rearick was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was an English major at the University of South Carolina and later became a Flight Attendant for American Airlines. Some years later, she moved to Los Angeles and then to Pennsylvania. In 1994, she returned to her beloved South to settle in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia with her husband Bill.

Cappy, an award winning short story writer and syndicated columnist, is the author ofseveral successful columns, including:ALIVE AND WELL IN HOLLYWOOD, TIDINGS, SIMPLY SOUTHERN and PUTTIN’ ON THE GRITZ monthly in the Lowcountry Sun Newspaper in Charleston, SC. She also writes an e-column called SIMPLY SOMETHING.

Cappy is past president of the Southeastern Writers Association. Her recently published novel, THE ROAD TO HELL IS SELDOM SEEN, a 2012 nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year, is available at www.amazon.comin print and can be downloaded and enjoyed at Kindle, Nook and all the electronic readers. Get ready to read and do nothing else because it’s a page-turner!

She is writing her next book, BRIDGING THE GAP, a psychological novel of deception and suspense. The SIMPLY books (SIMPLY SOUTHERN; SIMPLY SOUTHERN EASE; SIMPLY CHRISTMAS) are bound to make you laugh and maybe even tear up a little bit, especially if you enjoy remembering the good old days. With every page you turn, however, Cappy Hall Rearick will bring the South alive for you.

Rearick holds membership in the Georgia Writers, South Carolina Writers, Atlanta Writers Club, Florida Writers, North Carolina Writers and she is a sitting Board member of the Southeastern Writers Association.

In addition to writing, Cappy is a popular public speaker and can breathe new life into those good old days for your conference attendees. She is a dynamic creative writing instructor and is available to teach classes in column writing, Southern fiction, humor, memoir and short story writing. She brings forth fresh ideas to match her imaginative ways of turning a phrase. Book her now … and breathe new life into your next writer’s conference. Attendees will learn a lot, laugh a lot and go away itching to write better than ever.

If you would like to receive a monthly column of SIMPLY SOMETHING via email, send your request along with your email address to Cappy at: cappyhall@comcast.net She will be delighted to add your name to the preferred column list.

Read Cappy’s BLOG at: simplycappy.blogspot.com

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