We took Blake up to Capital Regional in Jefferson City to see his baby brother, Nathan. We had a good time visiting with Kenny, Shelley, Blake, his Grandma Pat and Uncle Mark. The baby is doing fine and is a cute little guy. We stopped on the way home to get a sandwich and soda. (I won't mention my daughter picked up DIET Mountain Dew!! Yucko!! I will drink most anything but diet. Guess I'll forgive her for her mistake..... this time!!)
The last weekend of September is Molasses Making at my mom and dad's. The family has been continuing this tradition since 1978. My grandma and several great aunts and uncles were alive the first few years we made molasses. It was always a real joy for the family to get together and carry on this old time tradition. The first few years there was live music from anyone that wanted to sing or play an instrument. Tom and Jesse Coffey, better known as The Coffey Brothers of Vienna, performed a few times. This year was no different, my sister Judy, her husband, Joe, my cousin Kenny Williams and his wife played the guitar and sang. Kenny's wife brought a base fiddle and did a wonderful job on it. Along with the work and visiting, we have a huge carry-in meal. The food is always good and a wide variety of covered dishes. Mom had each of us to say a silent prayer in remembrance of my cousin, Albert Allen who passed away in 2005. The 26th would have been Albert's 54th birthday. Dwayne, Chad, Todd, and Dwayne's brother David and his sons work very hard at cooking the molasses. It is a long process from stripping the cane, then cutting and hauling in the cane stalks. There is a press that squeezes out the juice from the stalks. It is powered by a mule hooked up to the "sweet pole" that goes around the press. The juice is then transported to a barrell by the pan that cooks the molasses. The juice is green and looks pretty gross as it starts to cook. As the juice is run through the different stages it starts cooking and turning a golden brown color. The end result is molasses that is poured up and then bottled in different size canning jars. We will do this process again on October 10th and 11th at Meramec Springs during Old Iron Works Days. Dwayne provided a hay ride and trail ride for the kids (old and young) that evening. I played lazy and stayed at home to relax.
Since it rained Saturday morning we were not able to cook the molasses so back to the process. Once again, we had a huge dinner and visiting with relatives we don't see often. I was too tired for our family supper night so I sent April and Mike to pick up pizza from Pizza Hut. Chad and Todd also ate with us. Everyone was tired from the full weekend of work but enjoyed our time together.
I am so thankful my parents are still alive for this tradition. Even though Dad doesn't do the actual cooking anymore, he so enjoys visiting and "showing off". Saturday he did a few jig dances on the wagon for all to see. At 85 years young, he does pretty good. Poor Mom spends her weekend cooking for the guests each year and making her famous chicken and dumplings. She gets pretty worn out but she is happy to still do as much as she does. Her and Dad made several jars of jelly and apple butter this summer. Each relative went home with a jar. I am very grateful to have such a wonderful family.