Friday, July 27, 2012


                                                                                             Janine Stubbs
                        AUNT MARY’S CHERRY PUDDING
     Great Grandpa Baird was anxious to cultivate many flowers, fruit
trees, nut trees, and whatever else he felt like planting. He designed
gardens around the houses where he and his family had lived over the
years,  but later he wanted more space to create beautiful grounds and
gardens for his friends and family.
      He planned for much more, when he found the right place. He
would experiment with grafting and build a greenhouse and plant cherry
trees everywhere. Cherry trees were his favorite. He loved the beautiful
blooms that burst forth in the springtime.  He popped the newly formed
cherries into his mouth and savored the sweet juices as they
 saturated  the inside of his cheeks.
      It was time to retire. He worked most of his life. When he was a
young man he worked beside his father on the family farm, outside of
Hope, Arkansas.  After he finished high school he went to work for the
Pioneer Telephone Company, laying the first telephone lines all the way to
Oklahoma and Texas, from the far reaches of Arkansas, where he was
born. His father fought in the Civil War, but he fought in no real war.
However, he did fight along with his wife, her war with cancer, as he cared                                                                                                                     
 for her and his four little girls, when younger men than he, were soldiers in
 World War I. 
     Being quite successful in his career as a manager for what eventually
became Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, he saved enough
money to buy a twenty acre farm between Oklahoma City and Lake
Overhoster.  He built a stately house with Grecian columns and a
large basement that covered the entire size of the house.
     He retired in the early 1940’s when this country was involved in
World War II. There were shortages of food and supplies and he wanted
to make sure he could provide enough food for his family that lived
nearby.  The basement provided cool storage for vegetables, fruit,
and canned preserved foods.
     Every Sunday Great Grandpa Baird invited all the relatives to a
big Sunday dinner. It was usually his daughters and their families. The
women would prepare the meals and clean up and the men worked in the
fields, caring for the crops.
     It was a bountiful garden that provided food and beauty for numerous
tables. Fields of daffodils jumped up brilliantly yellow every spring. Red
roses climbed arbors leading into smaller flower gardens with  fish
ponds on three sides of the house.  White lilies floated on

 flat green leaves and peeked out of the ponds' waters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
     There were rows of nut trees and fruit trees, but the most prolific fruit
trees were Great Grandpa Baird’s favorite, his cherry trees. They
blossomed a spectacular show every spring and took up much of the
garden. When the cherries appeared from the pretty pink flowers there
wasn’t much time for harvest. The guys were prompt in picking them
so as not to lose them to the midday sun.
     There was little refrigeration in the 40’s so my aunts used their creativity
to cook and prepare them in different ways. They canned cherries. They
prepared cherry jams and jellies. They cooked cherry pies, cherry cakes,
cherry short cakes, but the family’s favorite cherry dish was Aunt Mary’s
Cherry Pudding.     
    Many years later, I inherited one of my Grandmother Nellie’s cook
books and when I opened it, I saw tucked inside was a yellowed index
card. On the card was written Aunt Mary’s Cherry Pudding Recipe. 
Aunt Mary’s daughter, Daisy,   sent the recipe to my grandmother in a
letter long ago.
     Sometimes, I take out the old yellowed card and display it on a silver
tray on my kitchen sidebar. When I pass by I reflect back to my aunts
and other relatives who worked so diligently  to provide food for their
loved ones’ tables when it was most needed. And I think of my Great 
Grandpa Baird’s beautiful garden and I cherish Aunt Mary’s Cherry
 Pudding Recipe.