m-dThe first day of a new year is a great day to begin a new pathway. My mom and dad agreed with that idea and got married on New Years Day sixty-nine years ago.  It  turned out to be a good start for them as they succeeded in a good marriage that lasted one month short of fifty years. 

They met when they were both in band in high school. Mom played trombone and Dad played baritone. They retained their love of music. Dad taught mom to love the outdoors and camping. Dad loved to golf, Mom loved knit and sew, and they both loved being active in the church. 

They struggled together through hard times. One of the hardest decisions they made was to  leave large families on both sides and move with their four children to California. That was in the early fifties. It turned out to be a good move, both financially and culturally. Dad found good steady work and we all found good schools, friends and extended family. In addition to their four, they were very involved in the lives of nine grandchildren and now there are nine great-grandchildren with one more on the way. 

They had a big family/church wedding. Home movies were made of the event which have been copied into dvds. Mom wore a white velvet dress she  made herself and her bridesmaids wore shades of blue. The men wore their Sunday suits.

The reception was a huge feast, made by both families. There are only two things that anyone remembers from this feast – the cake (not from a bakery) and a salad, fittingly called Reception Salad. Jello salads were a big deal in those days. This dish was made by my dad’s mom and the recipe passed on down in the family. It was also served at my wedding reception in 1964. My mom still makes it on special occasions like last week for Christmas. Here’s the recipe:

                         Reception Salad

  •   2 small or one large package of lime jello (lemon is also good)
  •    2 cups of hot water. Stir completely. Add 2 cups of cold water (part pineapple juice)
  •    1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese at room temperaturerecsld
  •    1 small jar of pimentos, drained and slightly chopped
  •    1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, drained – save the juice
  •    1/2 c. celery, chopped fine
  •    1/2 c. chopped nuts (usually pecans)
  •    1 c. heavy cream, whipped

Dissolve the jello in 2 c. boiling water. Stir good to dissolve. Take drained pineapple juice and add cold water to it to make 2 cups total. Let the jello chill in the refrigerator until thick but not set. Mash drained pimento into the cream cheese. Add to the thickened jello and mix well. Then add the drained pineapple, the celery and the nuts. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the salad. Put it into a pretty dish, cover with plastic wrap and chill. It can be made a day ahead of time. I hope you enjoy.

And, thanks to Mom and Dad for making the first day of a new year special.