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 BoyntonsMincemeat@hotmail.com
    to place an order.

    Just thought you would like to know!

    ReplyDelete