2021: Expect the Unexpected – Black River Memories

It’s Thanksgiving this week, a time to think of family.

My aunt passed away in the last year and due to Covid her children were unable to bury immediately. It took a year, but they finally were able to have the service. Our family is from northeast Arkansas in the Ozark mountains, and we gathered there once more.

In talking to my cousin about the funeral, we began to discuss our grandmother, a petite woman who raised eight children during the Great Depression with the bible in one hand and a spoon in the other—she was always cooking. That is when the conversation was drawn to her recipes and memories of picnics on her lawn with all the grandchildren.

It was a place of family gatherings when I was young, but the large family has dwindled, and we wanted to keep the memories of those gatherings alive. That is when the idea of creating a book of memories and recipes came to light. My cousin and I had contacted everyone else in the family for memories of their time at our grandparent’s house and recipes of our grandmother’s. We called the book Black River Memories Black River Memories: Chambers, Peggy, Descendants, Coats: 9798459526288: Amazon.com: Books because the Black River runs through the countryside there and we swam in that river many times. We self-published it on Amazon so everyone would have access to it and then sat around at my aunt’s house and reminisced. It was a wonderful time, and I was so glad we had a chance to get together.

Here is my grandmother’s recipe for our favorite cookie. Of course, it is in the book.

From Ethel Downing Coats (a/k/a “BaBaa”) 1902 – 1975

my maternal grandmother

Mix Together:

1 Cup soft shortening

1 ½ Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

Sift Together and Stir in:

2 ¾ Cups Sifted Flour

2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix together and chill at least one hour. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll each ball in a mixture of 2 tsp. sugar and 2 T. cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown but still soft approximately 8 – 10 minutes at 400 °.

What are you reading this Thanksgiving week?


About peggylchambers

Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home. She has been writing for several years and is an award winning, published author, always working on another. She spends her days, nights, and weekends making up stories. She attended Phillips University, the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Enid Writers’ Club, and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. There is always another story weaving itself around in her brain trying to come out. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
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