Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Big Picture

Life can turn on a dime. That lesson can make for a tough reality and it's one we all have to learn and relearn constantly.

Keith's cousin, Rhonda, her husband Brett and their beautiful girls Morgan and Shelby have had to deal with the horror of losing their family home to a devastating fire two days ago. They lost the majority of their home as well as family pets. Their home was a beautiful old farmhouse. Morgan couldn't retrieve a single thing from her room. The loss they are feeling is just unimaginable. Thank God they themselves were not at home and have each other.

Keith and Rhonda are part of a large extended family that truly knows the meaning of being there for each other. Be it Allie's recent wedding or this tragedy, they come to support their own, no matter what. I will write in greater detail about the many truly unique and wonderful family traditions these folks celebrate that of course, always center on great food.

For this post, I will focus on one celebration. Brett and Rhonda host what they call a "Stump Burning Party" every Halloween weekend. It features huge bonfires, crowds of family and friends and of course, massive amounts of mouth-watering food. The folks gather at long tables in the garage area of that beautiful house for a great meal and lots of laughs. The food highlight for me was Brett's extra-spicy hot dog sauce. After the meal, Rhonda's father Dave brought in the tractor and took all of the kids(and a few adults) on a hayride through the hills.

Rhonda is quite the kitchen whiz herself. She made this wonderfully hearty chicken noodle soup for Cookie Sunday and I've also sampled her very tasty Monkey Bread at a family camping trip in Tennessee. I've yet to taste her rice pilaf which apparently she is famous for amongst the family.

I pray the family can heal and rebuild quickly. I look forward to them having a kitchen to cook in again very soon. I also hope to share their recipes for these as well.

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