Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hearts Aplenty

Happy Valentine's Day. I always called it a Hallmark holiday, but most folks aren't as cynical as me. Daughter Julia ignores it completely, but still expects a package of goodies each year. Go figure. This year, I sent each of my far away kiddos Chicago-based Fannie May chocolates in heart boxes. When they were little bitty kids, Fannie May stores were in every neighborhood in the D.C. area. I would get each of them a half-pound heart shaped box and a card, which they'd find at their place at the breakfast table on Valentine's Day. I discovered that just because they grow up and move out doesn't mean I'm off the hook, either. They still expect their Valentine chocolates! And their Easter bunnies, Christmas stockings, etc.

Claire's been seriously under the weather with the flu since Sunday. I had a less virulent version, so I went to GAUGE on Monday and bought some Malabrigo worsted for both of us to knit a couple of easy (mindless) projects. My brain was too feverish to work on SOTSii lace project, but I had to do something while taking it easy.
The too-cute-for-words hat to the left is one of them. Called Si CAPITAN, by talented fiber artist Rosi Garmendia, it took only eight hours to make and fifteen minutes to pack up and Express Mail to Liz. Claire felt too awful to knit, so while keeping her company and supplying endless pots of tea and bowls of soup, I knit. Claire wasn't really happy about modeling it, but it was the only option before it vanished into the ether. I think it looks cute on her --- she claims she isn't a hat person.

I bought two hanks of this Amoroso colorway, so another one will be on the way to Julia in March, when I make it during Malabrigo March (a challenge on the Malabrigo Junkies board on Ravelry.)

There was a lot left on one hank, so I knit up and felted these little hearts, which Claire then stuffed and whipstitched together as little Valentine gifts for friends.

Our knitting group met this morning, so last night I made a batch of my Aunt Esther's justly famous frosted sugar cookies for everyone to enjoy. They are exactly as I remember them as a kid: Slightly crisp, sweet, sandy textured, and very vanilla-y.

Every year, on the day before Valentine's Day, Aunt Esther'd spend the entire day making an enormous batch of these, coloring the icing the same pale, delicate pink. I was transported back to her sunny kitchen some 50 years ago, when I wasn't even tall enough to look over the counter. I had a sixth sense when she was making cookies, and since our families lived across the street from each other, I'd appear at her elbow with wide, expectant eyes. She never disappointed, and always offered me my own plateful with a glass of milk at her dining room table. Every Valentine's Day, she set that table with a lace tablecloth and a bowl of pink carnations. She made the evening meal a treat for her family, with those cookies as the dessert. Every year. Without fail.

Years after I'd left the nest, I always sent her a Valentine's Day card thanking her for all the years of Valentine cookie baking days.

She now lives in a nursing home. During a visit last summer, she asked me if I remembered all the Valentine cookies we made together. Well, she made them; I just ate them. But her touching reminisce will always stick with me.

Happy Valentine's Day, Aunt Esther.

1 comment:

  1. What a cute hat! I think Claire should be a hat person. ;-)


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