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by Kenzie
Rated: E · Article · Family · #522976
No holiday would be complete without them!
Burned Bottoms
No holiday would be complete without them!
By Marilyn Mackenzie

Have you ever noticed how certain smells have made long-forgotten memories race to the forefront of your mind? Our olfactory memories have always amazed me.

As I wandered down a country lane and detected the pungent odor of a skunk, it reminded me of childhood days. Skunks were prevalent in our lives then, and even my father was cornered one night in the middle of the road, afraid to move too quickly lest he be sprayed.

Visiting county fairs, the smells of animals have attacked my nose and made me recall my childhood as well. Surrounding our home were farms with goats, horses, cows, and chickens, and the smells that accompanied them.

Fresh-brewed coffee reminded me of my mother, the first one awake each morning and the brewer of coffee. That wonderful aroma invaded my dreams in the early morning hours, and I was usually awakened before my mother appeared at my bed each day.

The smell of chocolate fudge bubbling on the stove reminded me of my junior high years. My friend’s mom made the best chocolate fudge.

Inhaling that sweet smell of peanut butter fudge reminded me of a winter visit to Michigan. My baby sister’s father-in-law made the best peanut butter fudge; she and her in-laws resided in northern Michigan.

Fresh-baked cranberry nutbread, pumpkin pie and roasted turkey were happy smells that represented Thanksgiving and Christmas, times of huge family gatherings and singing around the piano.

And then, the aroma of fresh-baked rolls with the bottoms slightly burned brought a smile to my face. No holiday dinner was complete without burned rolls.

From the youngest to the eldest, each person had an assignment. Mom was in charge of the food preparations. Kids set the table or filled water glasses; the men found chairs for family members and guests.

Hot and steamy rolls would be brought to the table after the festivities had begun so butter smeared on them would melt without effort. At least that was the plan.

But, soon the turkey was being carved, and prayers of thanksgiving were lifted. Memories of the past year were shared, and the food was passed. The rolls baking in the oven were forgotten...until the aroma of slightly burned bottoms reached our noses.

My sisters and I have learned well from our mom, and it’s become quite a family joke. Even as we were spread out over the country during holidays, we’ve shared the burned roll dilemma.

One would think that someone might have stepped forward to take over the task of baking unburned rolls. Sometimes they have. Yet, once prayers were offered, the food was passed, and the blessings of the past year had been recalled, baking rolls were forgotten no matter who took charge. Then, as that unmistakable odor assailed our senses, we shouted in unison, "Where are the rolls?"

Yes, we’ve learned well from our mom – how to share the bounty of our blessings with the birds and squirrels. The creatures in our neighborhoods must think that such treats are meant to be slightly blackened.

Over this shared family tradition, we’ve learned to laugh at ourselves. And I’ve imagined the birds and squirrels proclaiming, "Yum, burned bottoms. No holiday would be complete without them."

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

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