This morning, as I was laying in bed, I was thinking if I could go back to any point in time at Christmas when would it be?  I decided it would be during the “wonder” years, when you are little and you know for sure there is a giant, fatherly man coming down the chimney after midnight.  That time period would have been in the late ’60s, early ’70s.

Here are the top things I remember:

Tons of Friends Coming Over for Parties:

People like Mary and Rhoda were always at our house. Earnie had such great friends (just like me) who never had to come up with a reason to throw a party.    Earnie and Ray would have parties for their employees, a Christmas Eve party for close friends, neighbors and family, then get together for Christmas day with family for an entire day of eating, playing, and celebrating.  Not to mention the luncheons and coffees with close friends she’d host mid-week.  I remember going with Earnie to the Winn-Dixie to load up carts of jams and jellies so she could make gift baskets for people who dropped by.

Perry Como:

Move over Michael Buble’ the hottie of my time was Mr. Perry Como.  This might have been what started my love of older men.  His smooth musical stylings and TV Christmas specials, along with Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams, were the best way to spend an evening.
Christmas Decor:

Earnie decorated every room in the house.  She had a storage area in a bathroom that housed all of her decor.  She’d get up on the ladder and hand me things telling me the room they were to be delivered to.  By the end of the day our house was transformed into magic with Perry playing on the HiFi.

Cheese Grits:

This was a Christmas brunch staple in our house.  She’d serve her grits in a lovely copper chafing dish on her beautifully decorated buffet table complete with a long centerpiece of greenery and candles down the middle of the table.

When I moved to Maryland for a brief stint in my early young life, I made these and the east coast people thought they tasted like barf (that’s probably why my first marriage ended).  Here’s Earnie’s recipe from Jane Justin’s cookbook “Prescriptions for Hunger” copyright 1968:

Preheat Oven to 350
Put 8 cups of water in a large saucepan and add 1 TBL of salt.
When water starts to boil add 2 cups of grits
Cook slowly until grits are thick
Pour grits into a large bowl and add:
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup of whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp black pepper
3 TBL melted butter
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix well and put into a greased casserole.
Sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few dashes of paprika
Bake one hour at 350 degrees.

Have a fantastic Friday!