Skip to main content

Ronnie's Apple Cake

"Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown." (Marcie, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

My kids think of it as a long weekend away from school. A lot of people look at it as the start of the Christmas shopping season. For me, it is a special time to reflect on the many things I am thankful for. One special thing I am thankful for this year is Ronnie's Apple Cake and all that it allows me to remember. You see, Ronnie's Apple Cake is more than just a dessert...it is a door that leads to a time in my life that holds many wonderful memories. Memories of my family, when we were all there...together as one. It was a special time in my life.

Ronnie's Apple Cake was not always known as Ronnie's Apple Cake. Originally, it was just known as the delicious apple cake that mom baked. I am not sure how many pieces of that cake I ate from the time I was a youngster until I reached the age of 21, but it was a lot. We all loved it, but Ronnie, my brother, man he loved it more than any of us, and he let it be known that it was his favorite dessert. That was fine by me. I didn't mind who asked her to bake it, as long as she did. Only later did it matter which child asked her to bake it the most. You see, that apple cake was the very last thing Ronnie would ever eat of my mom's cooking and baking as he sat down at the kitchen table on the afternoon of May 6, 1981. At 5:30 a.m. the following morning, we found him dead of a car accident just five-tenths of a mile from home. No long after Ronnie's death, mom announced that she could no longer bare to bake another apple cake again and that was the end of it. We understood. Never again would anyone ask her to bake that apple cake and that was the end of it.

"Isn't it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away" (Lucy, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.)
President Dwight David Eisenhower once said, "There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." Things have never really gotten back to the way they were for us following Ronnie's death in 1981, but one day recently - 29 years, 5 months and 3 days later to be exact - one very nice memory came back. It was Sunday, and after Church my son, J.D., and I drove to mom's house for lunch. I wasn't expecting to see mom's apple cake sitting there on the food bar, but there it was. Naturally, as soon as I saw it a ton of memories came flooding back as I recalled that time in my life when things were the way they used to be. I never expected things to remain the same after Ronnie's death, but who would expect that after such a tragedy? I am not really sure as to when exactly it happened, but somehow, over the years, I managed to put that part of my life in its special place in my mind, as I struggled to go on with my life.

Standing there, staring down at the apple cake I said, "Wow, you baked that apple cake!" Mom had forgotten about it, because she said she had found the recipe but did not know why she had not baked it. I reminded her it was Ronnie's favorite dessert and that after his death, she had said she could no longer bake it. She just said "Yeah," and that was it. It was nice to sit there and enjoy something I once thought to be the best thing I had ever tasted. 29 years, 5 months and 3 days. That is how long it had been since I had eaten that cake. The best part was that I was able to remember something my brother had loved so much during his short life. That day, I renamed mom's apple cake, Ronnie's Apple Cake.

As I write this, Thanksgiving Day is almost here. As Governor William Bradford of the Pilgrim Colony once said, it is a time to render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings. This year, as we always do, my family will gather together to enjoy one another in food and fellowship, and I look forward to it. I have witnessed many Thanksgiving Day's in my life and I have many blessings to be thankful for, including Ronnie's Apple Cake and all that it now means to me.

For those of you who are curious as to why my brother loved that apple cake so much, here is the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it as much as he did.

Ronnie's Apple Cake

Ingredients:
3 cups diced apples
1 1/2 cups of oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs well beaten
3 cups self-rising flour
1 tp cinnamon
1 tp vanilla
1 cup raisins or nuts (mix well)
optional -1 cup powdered sugar
and 1/2 cup of milk for a glaze

Instructions:
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…