In our family peaches always have seemed to be synonymous with a celebration; the events of a few days ago were no exception.
In this blog and in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, I write about the Quick Peach Cobbler that once was served when my cousin, Lynda, and her fiance, George, visited our house to discuss their upcoming wedding ceremony. The peaches in that cobbler represented the renewal of our peach orchard, since floods had wiped out our first prolific peach trees some years back.
Earlier this week I stirred up Fresh Peach Muffins on the occasion of another great event. Family and friends from all over gathered here for a baby shower for our daughter, Katie, who's on the verge of giving birth to a baby boy.
I served the muffins to houseguests--our brother- and sister-in-law--who traveled down from Oklahoma to help honor Katie. Biting into these sweet muffins and tasting a peach morsel that hailed from our now-prolific orchard always has been pure delight.
These loved ones' visit produced another reason for celebrating. On Monday we journeyed back across the Red River for the grand opening of the brand-new, $145 million, state-of-the-art Chickasaw Nation Hospital in Ada, OK. Because my hubby and his sister (and all their Moore blood kin) are Chickasaw Nation citizens, the health care that they will be able to obtain from this beautiful medical center will be provided for them at no charge to them. No wonder they wasted no time in taking the grand-opening tour and seeing what this marvelous new facility had to offer them.
In my way of thinking these terrific blessings couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch. My hubby and his two siblings were left without a father when their dad, who actually was born on the old Chickasaw reservation just months before Oklahoma became a state , died an untimely death as the three Moore children were teen-agers. Their widowed mom struggled for years to support, on her own, her children. All three ultimately were college graduates; two obtained advanced degrees. But their early lot was not an easy one. Deprived of a father's love and nurture and provision during their crucial teen-age years, they did not have a family's financial security to undergird them as they were launched into the adult world.
Now, as these three Baby Boomers enter their senior years, the benefits that are theirs through their father's bloodline of his Chickasaw heritage are absolutely astounding. The once-poor tribe today flourishes because of outstanding modern leadership that practices the best of financial stewardship and management. Medical care is but one of the incredible, mind-bogging perks that recently have arrived at their doorsteps as a result of their father's kinship to Chickasaw ancestors (my new cookbook details this in the chapter, "One Smart Indian".) These youngsters who spent anxious years of heartache without a dad's paycheck to give them life's necessities now at long-last are having that made up to them as they become seniors. I can think of no more worthy group of people; I'm thankful that the Lord enabled them to live long enough to see their Chickasaw connection (of which many people once were ashamed because of discriminatory attitudes against Native Americans) bring great blessings to their lives.
Sparkling new hospital wings that offer dental, hearing, and eye care as well as clinics for routine physical exams and testing were proudly toured by our family group. Naturally an emergency room, operating rooms, and critical care areas were a part of the new structure as well. Certainly one can hope that good health will prevail and that the occasions to visit such a place will be few, but the Chickasaw Nation can be proud of having this fine facility for its people in time of need.
Hooray, Fresh Peach Muffins! Once again, you crowned a day well-worth celebrating.
Fresh Peach Muffins
1 egg (we use egg substitute)
1 cup milk (we use skim)
1/4 cup melted shortening
2/3 cup sugar (we use sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt (we use salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup peeled, chopped, fresh peaches
Beat egg. Stir in milk, shortening, sugar, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into milk mixture until all is blended. Do not overmix. Fold in peaches. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown. Serve warm.