Eight Days and Counting

RDP Friday: Hopeful

*12 Days of Christmas Memories and Adventures

Photographer Unknown

Some of my relatives were known as good magicians, good enough to have had their own acts back in the Vaudeville days.

A sizable number of my family members are gifted musicians and artists and a few writers ( ahem ), but the one who out shone us all was my Grandfather’s sister- my Aunt Irene.

Was she well known for being able to whistle through her teeth? Playing the Banjo? Landing a husband  younger then herself ( well, to be frank most of the women in my Mom’s family as well as my Dad’s were older then their husbands- my Mom included. It’s  a thing I guess.)


She was famous for her Christmas dinners and her Bourbon Balls.

On this particular Christmas Eve in 1972 when I was around seven years old, if you had walked into the conversation between my relatives as they discussed the upcoming Christmas festivities you’d think all we had to eat were Bourbon Balls and sugar cookies and that  the majority of us were out of our minds with happiness over the thought.

So back on Christmas Eve in  ’72, I was sitting in the kitchen watching my Aunt putting her last minute touches on  her latest fabulous dinner  when at the last minute she  decided to whip up more Bourbon Balls.

I watched her add the bourbon ( which one year I decided tasted the way cat pee smelled and I haven’t touched the stuff since ). Then someone called to her from the dining room ( it was my Aunt Sharon my Dad’s sister ) and as soon as Aunt Irene left the room one of my Dad’s cousins scooted in an poured in a few more shots.

When she got back into the kitchen I watched my Dad, his sister, my Grandfather and my Dad’s cousins distracting my Aunt Irene  and as they did, someone poured some bourbon into the mix.

As my Aunt started to roll the bourbon balls I asked her, ‘if the Bourbon Balls would catch on fire in the oven if there was too much cat pee in the cookie mix.’

Aunt Irene had her back to me at this point because she was about to pop the cookie sheet into the oven. My Dad though was standing behind me and when he was sure Aunt Irene couldn’t see us, he sort of lifted my chair up off the ground and gave it a little thump to shut me up. Ha. He should have known better.

” Don’t be silly, of course not ” he said a little loud, probably to drown out the sound of  my chair landing on the floor.

” And quit calling Bourbon cat pee. ” my Grandfather said, ” show some respect. ”

” To the cat pee?” I asked as I tried to scoot my chair away from my Dad.

” To the Bourbon Miss Smarty Pants ” Grandpa said, ” to the Bourbon.” Then he popped a raw Bourbon ball into his mouth and smiled.

That year my Aunt Irene’s Bourbon Balls went down in history and the many cooks whose  hands there in  the cookie dough and then later on the cookie tray dined on that story- literally until their dying days.

My Aunt Irene- the most famous member of my family. I am hopeful that one day I will be well known for something or be part of a story as great as this one.


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