It is the year 2022 and I am 90 years old! Oh my goodness! How did that happen? I have seen so many changes. Can you imagine growing up with no indoor plumbing? No air conditioning? No telephone? I mentioned in last year’s letter that I am in the process of writing a book about my life. I have kept a diary for over 65 years, so I had a lot of information to use for inspiration. Daughter Mona was going to be my editor, but when the book got to be over 500 pages, she found it was beyond her capabilities to do it justice. So I reached out to the person who helped me write my cookbook. We estimate having something ready for publication soon. It is not that my life has been that fascinating, but it has been a long one and I have seen a lot. I smile when I think about future family generations reading about my life. I imagine they will find my past as hard to imagine as I find some of today’s advancements. While my life has been simple one, it still has been a wild and interesting ride. I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed living and writing about it.
As I have mentioned in past letters, I have faced some health challenges. Breast cancer in 2018 and a brain tumor in 2019. I had brain surgery to remove the tumor and have now had 7 gamma knife procedures in an attempt to keep it “under control.” Although I find these procedures daunting, I do my best to remain positive. I think it is vitally important to remain busy, so I always like to have a “project” in process. Puzzles, gardening, reading, and cooking for my family help keep me on my toes. I do love to read and my sweet friends at my local North Davidson library pick out books they know I will enjoy reading and save them for me. I can read a book a day. My daughter Mona says she knows when I have visited the library because all the good (newest) 14 day books are gone. My flower garden is as abundant as ever and although my vegetable garden has decreased in size, I still try to “put up” (freeze) as many fresh vegetables as I can. So I do keep busy even though there are days when I really don’t feel like it. My husband Travis is also 90 years old and he likes to mow and make his ‘famous” walking sticks. He has quite the operation going in his “Whittler on the Roof” studio. (A studio that is NOT on the roof, but in the barn. He just couldn’t resist the name.) His walking sticks were featured in the October 2020 Our State magazine in an article called “Craft of the Staff.” My son Mike helps find the “sticks” on his walks through the woods. You want to look for a branch that has been constricted by a vine (usually honeysuckle) wrapped around it. Travis likes to say, “God and nature does all the work, he just polishes it up.”
70th Wedding Anniversary and Family Reunion.
On June 13, 2022 Travis and I were married for 70 years We decided to celebrate by having a family reunion and a wedding Anniversary party. Family has always been important to me so it was wonderful to see everyone. Mona said she was glad we celebrated the two events together because she knew her cousin Donna would bring her delicious potato salad to the reunion. It is one of Mona’s favorite foods and she has been known to surreptitiously try and hide great portions of it. We now have her on the “Potato Salad watch List.” It is based upon my brother, John Charles Foltz’s (Donna’s father) recipe. It is delicious. Find it on the next page if you are interested along with other family favorites: Mint tea and Chicken salad. All are also found in my cookbook, “Supper’s at Six & We’re Not Waiting!”
Family News: Babies. Babies. Babies.
What an exciting year. I now have 3 Great grandchildren. They serve as our official “Cookie Tasters.” My grandson Jed (President of our bakery) and his wife Lori, (Vice president) welcomed little Adelaide Beatrix Hanes Templin (Addie Bea) in October 2021. When we say we are a family business, we really mean it! Addie comes to work with her parents and rules over the office/nursery. Can you imagine growing up in a cookie factory? I am sure she will have a lot of friends. My first Great Grandchild, Hanes Edmund Boland, was born in Chicago in November 2020 to my granddaughter Madison and her husband Jim. One of the “blessings” from Covid was that they were able to work remotely in NC for a while after Hanes was born. I think I must have won Jim over with my cooking, because in January 2022, they moved to NC. They now live about 25 minutes away. We are so glad to have Madison ‘back home.” In March of 2022, little Georgia James Boland was born. (Grandmother Mona said she was going to call her “Peach.” It sort of began as a joke, however, it seems to be catching on. She does look like a little peach.) Georgia’s big brother Hanes is proving to be quite the Cookie Taster. He is becoming very proficient at his job and takes it very seriously. The first thing he does when he walks in the bakery is goes to get a cookie. Sugar is his favorite. Hanes keeps us all busy. Mona says that to Hanes, everything is meant to be either climbed, opened, eaten, rode or used as a telephone. His nickname is “Mr. Chievous.” (Like Mischievous). She’s guaranteed of at least 18,000 steps a day when Hanes is around because he never walks, he runs. Mona wasn’t so sure about being a grandmother, but I think she is rather enjoying it. I know she is glad to have Madison back “home.” I think Madison is happy about it too. It is very helpful to have family around when you have small children and it is going to be a joy to see the cousins grow up together. There are a lot of things to look forward to. Many projects to plan.
The pandemic certainly presented its challenges, but I think this “new normal” is perhaps even more difficult. It took us almost a year for a new oven to be installed — waiting for parts! Shortages of some key ingredients (like spices) had us nervous for a while. And employees. It takes a lot of people to make a handmade cookie and it is not an easy task. We also had several long-time employees that were ready to retire. (We miss you so much Vickie, Betty, Pat, Jackie, Denece and Dru!) Finding their replacements has not been easy. Even though we make over 100,000 pounds of cookies a year, we have never been able to make enough cookies to meet our demand. Every year we “sell out” and it has always been a very difficult task juggling between our mail order customers and our local bakery “pick up” customers. December of 2021 was especially challenging. This prompted Mona to issue the following “Save the date” invitation to local customers. While this really applies to our local customers, it can also serve as a reminder to you, our mail order fans. The bottom line is “Order early” if you want cookies this year! In closing, I wish you all the best. Your kind emails and letters are a constant encouragement and mean so much to me. Thank you for reading this letter and for your loyal support of my family business. It is a joy sharing my life and my cookies with you.
All the best,
PS. I am very serious about ordering early