With Thanksgiving coming up, I reminded Lindy of one of Mary’s favorite things to make—stuffed celery. Our mother thought that creating a special treat like celery with cheese was going above and beyond the call of duty. She would take a stalk of celery and chop off most of the leaves and, unfortunately, leave the bottom part of the celery. You know, the part that widens at the end and is kind of white? Anyway, her next step was to open a jar of pimento cheese and start spreading the stuff along the length of the celery.
In case you are not familiar with the concept of cheese in a jar, I will fill you in. The jar itself was extremely versatile since it could later be used as a small juice glass (or, in Mary’s case, a whiskey glass). The cheese (if one could call it that) was a cross between cream cheese and Velveeta with some pimento thrown in for good measure. Lindy and I have always hated pimento; however, that made no difference to Mary. Not only did she buy the pimento cheese, she also bought pimento loaf whenever she could. Of course, she was the only one who ate it. So that worked out pretty well for her.
Finally, may I remind you that the jars of cheese were never refrigerated–nor did they need to be. They had so many preservatives they could have survived for hundreds of years. They may have been Mary’s secret beauty weapon–she never seemed to have any wrinkles–not even at age 89.
Every holiday Mary would create the stuffed celery and as the time to eat neared and the turkey continued to need more cooking time, she would bring out the celery. I don’t know how she did it, but in every situation, Mary was able to have the cold food items warm and the warm food items were always cold. The celery was always wilting and warm and, frankly, when you are ready for turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy, warm stuffed celery just doesn’t do it. Lindy and I would make a face and half-heartedly nibble on the celery. Mary would need a reason to throw a fit and our response to her magnificent effort would be just the ticket. If she could throw a fit for thirty minutes or so, the turkey had the possibility of being done. A win-win for her and another Far from Normal holiday for her family.