I have a thing for walnuts. I can hardly walk by the walnut bin at the grocery store without digging in with both hands. I love how they sound and the texture. I know I would love how they smell too, but due to a genetic weakness inherited from my Grandfather, I have never been able to smell. That's just one more thing in a long list that will get fixed in Heaven.
I had a walnut adventure yesterday, well the cats and I did.
It all started with a package of store-bought cookies. They were mexican wedding cookies, the ones that I decided I wasn't going to make this year. They were okay. In fact, I am ashamed to say, I ate every single one of them. But they were nothing like mine. Now I had an unrequitted craving that wasn't about to go away. I had no choice but to make them.
I had pecans but I really wanted walnuts. My funny friend knows about my walnut fetish so last Christmas she gave me a sack in the shell, and they were still there in the cupboard. I dug out my nutcracker from wayyyy under the cabinet, since now I mostly buy nuts that Costco has already cracked and packaged very nicely. It was too cold to go outside so I spread a sheet in my room and let the shells fly!
The cats thought it was a great adventure. They interrupted their morning naps and sprang off the bed like kittens: "What have we here? We don't recognize this thing you are doing on our floor." Somehow a rogue pecan had made its way into the bag so I rolled it their way. They batted it back and forth, but then Sydney smelled food like substance coming from the cracked nuts, so he stayed close by. His begging could put any dog to shame.
It was great fun. It only took me about 20 minutes and I had a nice little pile. I was surprised how I remembered some things. My Mom and I cracking walnuts on the cold garage floor on fall days. And going out to my Aunt's little country house and picking them off her trees. I closed my eyes and heard the sounds, the voices.....it seemed so far away.
I heard the squawking of the blue jays, and the flutter of their wings as they swooped down. I remembered the brick wall in her kitchen and how she had See's candy in the fridge. And how her sunny yellow bathroom curtains had fuzzy balls on the ends that I liked to touch.
And I remember all those years of Christmas baking and all the smiles of joy as they got their basket of homemade goodies. All of the trips to the store for a forgotten ingredient. And it surprised me how memories of those walnuts hurt. Hurt for those years gone and that they went so fast.
But there is more to be thankful for.......I still have my Mom, and I still have my Aunt. Though many years have passed, there is hope in every moment we all have right now, together.
This morning I broke the rules. I didn't eat a sensible breakfast, I had two Mexican Wedding cookies with my coffee at 4:30 AM, and they were just as good as I thought they would be.
I have not one regret.