Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Simple Gifts

Among other things, Boynton's Market in Hallowell, Maine is known for its mincemeat.

A blend of known and secret ingredients, the filling typically is in high demand - especially around the holidays.

I visited the store recently to buy a quart of mincemeat and stood in a line several people deep who were after the same thing. 

An earlier rush had cleaned out the store's refrigerated cooler and a harried employee worked to keep up with the demand as she stirred the concoction in a large stoneware crock before scooping it quickly into clear containers. 

I must admit that the purchase was not for me. A lifelong Mainer, I've never acquired a taste for mincemeat - or Moxie too, for that matter.

When I was young, my mother would make two versions of mincement pie at Christmas - one traditional, the other a modified recipe that used raisins and sweet fruits instead of meat. 

My sibs and I preferred the latter, but my father relished the former. And so does my father-in-law - better known as Grampa Harry.

At 73, Grampa Harry has led a full and interesting life and the stories he shares - particularly with me - are always memorable and very funny.

A man who appreciates the little things in life - his grandchildren's visits, a faithful dog to keep him company and daily viewings of Judge Judy - he asks little for himself and gives much more in return.

My visit to Boynton's at Missy's request and with Grampa's sweet tooth in mind was a very small gesture of kindness - an expenditure of $9 for the filling and 20 minutes of my time to make the pie crust.

I couldn't have imagined how much this simple gift would brighten his day. His eyes widened like a child's on Christmas morning as he pretended to spirit the pie away from others at the table who may want a slice.

Grampa needn't have worried. While the pie may have looked and smelled delicious, I was in good company with those who couldn't quite wrap their palates around a "delicacy" that combined meat, fruit and spices in a dessert offering.

Sometimes the best gifts we can give are the ones without tremendous expense or complexity.

Sometimes all it takes is a few dollars and a little time to let someone know how much he is appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. You can still order Boynton's Famous Mincemeat online... the store may be gone but the mincemeat lives on!

    Just send an email to
    to place an order.

    Just thought you would like to know!