Friday, January 27, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

A fresh batch
Valuable Junk
by Jaime Kaufhold
(January 27, 1991)

January seems like the longest month of the year. Thank goodness it is almost over. My poor little plum tree looks so desolate, cold and lonely. Spring will be here before we know it, and once again it will flourish. I can hardly wait.

Most New Year's resolutions are broken by now. I no longer make resolutions since I cannot keep them. I have tried and failed.

I use the winter months to reorganize my home so that when spring finally arrives, I am ready to spend my days outdoors.

Once I read in a magazine that if you do not use an item for a year to dispose of it to eliminate clutter. I am the original pack rat. I have discovered over the years that if I throw it out today, I will need it tomorrow.

Once during a cleaning frenzy in the garage, I shamed my husband into junking an old rusty walking tractor. To my knowledge, it never ran. Not long afterwards we were at a farm sale auction and a replica of our old beat up tractor sold for $1,500. When it comes to the garage, I now organize, I do not discard.

If I pack all our 'valuables' away in an orderly fashion, I can make room for all the new things that I'm sure to find this spring at flea markets and garage sales. Last week my iron died, but did I worry? Not on your life - I have three in the cupboard in the basement. I'm not sure where they came from, must have been a garage sale.

I decided last week to throw out the old useless stuff in the attic, to make room for my more current and much more valuable junk. I proceeded to the attic, garbage bag in hand.

What I discovered in the cramped quarters was a goldmine of memories. I began removing boxes but couldn't throw them out without first examining their contents. Old posters which had been glued to a bedroom ceiling, school notes and stuffed toys were in one box. Could I throw out my daughter's first painting made in kindergarten, with the heading, "To Mom, with love" or their report cards? What about the crumpled paper which held the speech, "Why I love my brother." That speech commanded and received a red pencil mark of 100.

At the bottom of the box was "Baby Boo." Baby Boo was a doll that Santa Claus brought to our home many years ago. She had been a lovely doll, with long blonde hair. My youngest daughter had cut the hair off and fed Baby Boo peanut butter once. Remnants of both still remained, and as ugly as the doll was, she was loved. She nursed my daughter through many fevers and even spent a couple of days in the hospital. Did this doll deserve to die?

I sorted for many hours and almost everything was returned to the attic. Someday when my grandchildren are older they will enjoy looking through their mothers' school work and books and who knows, maybe one will adopt Baby Boo.

Many items were placed in a separate box and placed not in the garbage heap, but in my bedroom closet. Some items should not only not be thrown out, but kept within closer reach.

Today I cleaned out my kitchen cupboard where I keep cook books and recipes. I came across my son's favourite cookie recipe. Maybe I will make some tomorrow and send them home with him next time he comes by.

Until next month, don't clean too hard.

Jaime's Oatmeal Date Cookies

1 1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and add sugar. Add milk and rolled oats. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. The dough should be very soft. Chill for about 30 minutes. Roll thin, cut out with the rim of a large glass and bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Date filling:
1/2 lb. dates
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Cut the dates into small pieces. Add water, sugar and cinnamon, cook until mixture is quite thick, stirring often to prevent sticking.

When the cookies are cool, spread an ample amount of the warm filling across the bottom of one, then place another on top. Serve with a glass of milk and your children will love you. Store the rest in a plastic container and the cookies will stay soft and chewy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life as we know it

The writer in me

Mom always wanted to be a writer. I was reminded of this on the weekend as we went through Mom and Paul's house, dividing up their belongings amongst the seven families. It felt like an intrusive thing to do, that it was a little too soon, but the circumstances were unusual in that they were both gone. A house cannot sit unoccupied for long. Besides, two of us from out of town were there.

Upstairs in the spare bedroom closet was an old word processor I'd helped Mom buy and a scrapbook that I didn't know existed. I brought home the scrapbook and Mom's reading glasses, plus a few other things so precious I'll mention them in future posts.

Today I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down in my office with the scrapbook. It is unseasonably warm this year and the sun is shining brightly in through the patio door that opens onto the deck in the backyard. I'd moved from the farm to Winnipeg in 2009 and this past September, followed my heart to the house with the most beautiful yard in Grunthal, Manitoba. The last three years have been emotionally difficult, overflowing with change and grief. Once I realized in June 2010 that my Dad was going to die, I lost the ability to formulate what I want to say. Since I was a little girl my best writing always emerged while sorting through emotionally charged events and with the exception of Dad's eulogy, the blank page has become my enemy. It's called writers block and I've never experienced that before.

Opening the scrapbook is overwhelming. Taped to the pages are a year's worth of monthly columns written by my Mother, her musings printed under the heading, "Under the Dumb Plum Tree." The clippings were from the North Interlake Echo, the paper I once owned. Twenty years have passed since then and I'd long forgotten that Mom was once our columnist.

Later today my son Laurie is coming for a visit. I'll bake a batch of cookies from the column she wrote on January 27, 1991. Tomorrow I will publish her column here and will continue every month for a year.

I am more like my mother than I ever realized.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


“So dear I love him that with him,
all deaths I could endure.
Without him, live no life.”
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Horst Paul Julius Kaufhold
Paul was born February 17, 1934 in Dusseldorf, Germany to Matilda and Wilhelm Kaufhold. When Paul was a young man he immigrated to Canada and began working as a farmhand and then in 1969 as the mechanic at Andrés Wines / Peller Estates Winery in Grimsby, Ontario. In 1959 he married Grace Burnham and together they raised three children, Peter (Carole) Kaufhold, Pat Duperron and Robert (Margaret) Kaufhold.

Jaime Ann Kaufhold
Jaime was born August 10, 1942 to Pamela and Jack Easlick of Hamilton, Ontario. Jaime worked as a medical receptionist until she married Bruce Snively in 1961. They moved to Stoney Creek and together they raised four children, Karen Emilson, Mark (Margaret) Snively, Nance (John) Lester and Darlene (Don) West.

It was a mutual love for sailing that brought Paul and Jaime together when they met at the Port Maitland Sailing Club. They became inseparable and moved to Grimsby, marrying in 1984. Paul continued working at Andrés Wines, retiring in 1999 after 30 years of dedicated service. Jaime worked at odd jobs and then after Paul retired, they began volunteering their time at the Grimsby Benevolent Fund. Whether it was renovating the house or working in the yard, Paul and Jaime did everything together. In their younger years they enjoyed traveling and made trips to Germany, Florida, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Ireland, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Their home was a warm and inviting place where family was always welcome. Every one of us benefitted from their wise counsel and loving support. They will be greatly missed by everyone who knew them.

On January 16, Paul suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to the hospital where, surrounded by family, he passed away a few hours later. Jaime refused to say good-bye to Paul and within a few minutes following his death, also suffered an aneurysm and joined Paul later that night.

Left to cherish their memory are Pamela Easlick; all seven children and spouses, along with grandchildren Laurie, Lace, Kassarah, Alicia, Emma, Daniel, Cheyenne, Christine, Kelsi, Dana, Katherine and Kate. They will also be missed by Paul’s family including brothers Ewald (Christina) Kaufhold, Hans (Hildegard) Kaufhold and sister Ursula Ilgner, all of Germany.
Paul was predeceased by his parents; Grace Kaufhold and brother Dieter Kaufhold. Jaime was predeceased by her father Jack Easlick; and Bruce Snively.

The family would like to thank the staff at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for the excellent care given to our parents and for the compassion shown to us that day.

A private family funeral service was held Saturday, January 21, 2012. If desired, memorial contributions to The Heart and Stroke Foundation or The Lincoln County Humane Society can be made through the funeral home (905) 957-7031 or