Sorry, dear blogging friends...I have not forgotten you...it's just that I have been up to my armpits in Grandma Goldie's Holiday Snack Mix with my head in the oven!
It seems the tradition of my beloved "Gran" will never die...even though she passed away from ovarian cancer 20 years ago. Grandma Goldie (my mother's mother) used to make this delicious snack mix every year for as far back as I can remember. Most of us know the mix simply as "Chex Mix" purchased in a store, but my Gran made her own...every holiday...rain, shine, or sickness...for an entire family gathering of around 30 people.
I don't know if Gran made up her own recipe or if she copied it off a cereal box, but the recipe got passed on to my mother and then to me. And I've been making the blasted stuff for as far back as I can remember, too! Much to my coworkers and friends delight...
When I started working in my current job, I decided to make up enough mix for 40+ small bags to distribute to all of my coworkers...that was 8 years ago. And, during the past eight years, those "small" bags have grown in size as has the number of people I prepare bags for. What began as a quadruple batch of snack mix has now grown to TEN, LARGE ROASTER PANS...a task that takes nearly 12 hours to complete...not to mention the couple hundred dollars it takes to purchase multiple boxes of cereal, nuts, pretzels, cheese balls, oil, etc.
Every year I say to myself, "Self...stop the madness. You don't have to continue this tradition. It's grown too big and besides...you have MS. Time is energy and you have so little of both these days."
And every year, sometime around Thanksgiving, my coworkers and friends begin to drop hints (some subtle, some not so subtle) of "wonder"...wondering if I am going to make the "mix" again this year! As a matter of fact, one of my coworkers even wrote a song this year (rewrote a Christmas carole) and sang it in a voice message for me...she's hoping for an extra bag I imagine.
Last year, I fell ill in relapse in December (was in the hospital) and the holiday tradition passed until January. And somehow...some way...I managed to get the "mix" out just after New Year's. I felt I owed it to my dear colleagues and friends who stood by me through a very dark holiday time.
This year, I began grumbling about "the mix" just before Thanksgiving. When was I going to find the time (an entire day) in my schedule to shop then stay home to MAKE the madness? Why was I spending so much money on this crap? Did anyone really appreciate the time and energy I spent just for their 5 minutes of snacking delight? And then, I remembered my grandmother...
Grandma Goldie lived through the Great Depression when food was very scarce in this country if you were poor. She later owned and ran a restaurant and enjoyed cooking and serving food for people. When she switched jobs and became a US Post Mistress, she continued to gather up her extended family for two, large meals every year...Thanksgiving and Christmas. She cooked for days in preparation to feed 30-40 relatives...mostly her children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and any other "stragglers" off the street who needed a meal. She did this EVERY year with a smile...because feeding others reminded her of her own "wealth and abundance" in her life...a satisfaction obtained not from financial gain, but from the gain and significance of family, friends, and relationships.
I imagine I will continue to carry on the tradition of my Gran until I can no longer hold myself up at the counter top and oven...I have so much and so many to be thankful for...because it is what she would have done...because I am my grandmother's child...