Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Warm Memories of Gingerbread, Family - Sort Of

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Warm Memories of Gingerbread, Family - Sort Of

Article excerpt

SELECTIVE MEMORY is a wonderful gift, and I am blessed with it.

I was reminded of this recently when a woman from a charitable organization called and asked if I would decorate a gingerbread house again this year.

"Of course," I said.

This particular organization, the Assistance League, sponsors a Gingerbread Village each year during the holiday season. Pastry chefs from various restaurants and hotels build elaborate gingerbread structures. Politicians and people from the media are given kits for gingerbread houses.

Then people pay to tour the village, and eventually the structures and houses are auctioned off. The money goes to worthwhile causes.

But the real reason I was delighted to be included in this year's Gingerbread Village had little to do with worthwhile causes. The truth is, it's fun to decorate a gingerbread house.

Mom and Dad and the kids, sitting around the kitchen table, decorating the gingerbread house. What could better capture the mood of the holiday season?

I mentioned my vision to my wife. I explained that the gingerbread house was becoming a family tradition.

She gave me a puzzled look.

"What do you remember about last year's house?" she asked.

I chuckled. I remember the cat eating the house, I said.

Yes, we did have a minor disaster last year. We had bought a cat at Soulard Market, and the cat had jumped on to the kitchen table while we were asleep and had gnawed a large hole in our gingerbread house.

I don't know who was more upset - my wife or the dog.

Oh, he was angry! He's a pug, and he lives to eat. To his way of thinking, it was horribly unfair that the cat, who merely likes to eat, had been blessed with such jumping ability. Had the dog been able to jump on to the table, he'd have done more than gnaw a hole in the gingerbread house.

So, yes, I assured my wife, I remember the cat eating the house. But it is precisely these little disasters that build family traditions. Our grandchildren will probably hear the story about the cat and our first gingerbread house, I said.

My wife still looked puzzled. I'm not talking about the cat, she said. I'm asking you what you remember about decorating the gingerbread house. …

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