Little Almie

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

When I was little I had a neighbor who I loved like a grandma.  We lived in a little house on Hickory Street and Little Almie lived 2 houses down on the corner.  They say that kids don’t remember much from their childhood, but I remember her like it was yesterday. I could not wait to go to her house to spend time with her.  Her husband had passed away and she had no children, so I think she enjoyed my company as well.  I spent most of my time either in her kitchen watching intently as she baked, or we would wander into the dining room, where she would pull out my own personal crayons and color books.  I will pass on a little secret about me that not many people know…..I still to this day love to tear a fresh page out of a coloring book and sit with a new 64 count box of Crayola crayons and just color.  There is nothing more relaxing than coloring….ANYWAY…..Little Almie taught me the fine art of shading with 2 or 3 colors in the same color family.  I can clearly remember a beautiful rooster she colored, with all of the shading she did.  Honestly, I thought she was Picasso.

If she was busy, I was still welcomed into her home, and I would head to the basement.  That basement was a treasure trove for someone who was 5 years old.  It was a plain old basement, with concrete walls and floors, shelves lined with home canned fruits and vegetables, an old scary boiler and my favorite……plastic pint containers that berries came in.  My goodness the things I could do with those containers.  She had a big roll of twine she had saved and I was allowed to use pieces to tie these boxes together to make a train.  I would then place items that I found in the basement, and pull that “train” around on the floor “delivering” my treasures to make belive houses.  Almie was always kind and patient and I loved her so much.  She was truly the best friend  5 years old could have.  Soon, sometimes too soon, it would be time for me to go home.  She would gently take my hand in hers and walk me home.  At that point, I would be afraid for her to walk home alone, so I would then walk her home.  Back and forth we would go, until my mom would come out and we would walk Little Almie back half way, so that I could see that she arrived home unharmed.

One day, I came in through that side door a noticed excitement in the air.  Little Almie spent the entire Saturday cleaning and cooking.  Even then, I was allowed to visit her and follow her around like a shadow.  There was going to be an important visitor that weekend and it was Ken Berry.  He was, I think, a nephew of Little Almies, and he was coming for dinner.  She was so excited and so proud to be welcoming this famous actor into her house to share a meal.  I was invited to come and visit the day he arrived.  I don’t remember much, except the dining room was full of  many family members and one awfully handsome man.  I was star struck and honored at the same time, even at that young age.  He was very kind, funny and Little Almie was beaming from ear to ear.  There has never been a time that I have seen him on tv and not thought of that time I shared with him in my favorite house on Hickory Street, in small town Wenona Illinois, with the best friend a 5-year-old could ask for.  I love you Little Almie ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

 Creme Puff Dessert

1 stick butter

1 cup flour

1 cup water

4 eggs

2 (3oz each) boxes instant vanilla pudding

1 (12oz) container frozen whipped topping

Bring butter and water to a boil.

Add flour and stir until it forms a ball

Cool to room temperature and then add eggs and mix in one at a time.

Spread into an ungreased 13×9 pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

After crust cools, mix pudding and pour over the crust.

Top with the thawed whipped topping and if you want, drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Refrigerate and enjoy.

To those of us who make cream puffs, this is a nice quick easy way to enjoy cream puffs without all the mess.

If you really want to make it better yet, skip the pudding and make a vanilla cream pie filling in its place. ♥

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