PRECIOUS MEMORIES OF LORETTA
Over the years I have shared many experiences on the blog that I had enjoyed with my sister Loretta. She was an avid follower of the blog and always encouraged me to keep writing. In February, Loretta’s time on this earth ended. Her passing has left such an empty place in my heart. There is something very special about having an older sibling. For me, I just wanted to be with her and do everything and anything she could think of. For her, it was probably not quite as much fun having this ‘brat’ tagging along all the time asking questions.
Something Loretta and I always had in common was being adventurous. Whenever we got the chance to explore something mysterious that was right up our alley. One such occasion arose one day when we decided to investigate an old empty farmhouse. This house was 3-4 kilometers from our farm. The land itself was being farmed by a neighboring farmer and was posted ‘No Trespassing’. Nevertheless, this intriguing old ‘haunted house’ was like a magnet for us. If I remember correctly, it took a little bit of doing to get in, but we managed it. For being such an old house, I recall the inside being quite unique in its design. It had one of those staircases that you see in the movies. We went upstairs and snooped around. Of course, to add to the intrigue, one room was locked. When we listened, we could hear a distinct buzzing or humming sound. After figuring out how to get in, to our surprise wasps had made it their home. The floor was covered with a huge pile of dead wasps but there were still lots of live ones buzzing around. At this point we decided we had best call it a day and leave. Just when we were about to go the farmer came and was working in the fields close to the buildings. Not to be caught ‘trespassing’ we hid by a granary, then high-tailed it out of there as soon as the coast was clear.
Another such memory was that of the ‘clam race’ we invented. About 6 kilometers or so from our farm, the Willow Creek ran through the farmlands. Starting up at the Chain Lakes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it snaked its way through southern Alberta eventually emptying into the Old Man River. On occasion, during summer vacation, Loretta and I would either walk or ride our bike down to the creek. This was fun because we could roll up our pant legs and walk in the water when it was so hot. We came to realize that there were some ‘clam beds’ as we explored different areas of the creek. Just for fun one day we decided to line up some of the clams across the width of the creek. On our next trip we would check to see how far they had gone. There are endless memories that replay over and over in my mind. Life in the fifties had a such a gentle rhythm to it …. what a pleasure it was to be a kid at that time and be a part of it all.
Later in our adult years, Loretta and I had the opportunity to spend a vacation travelling the California coast. It was an amazing experience with memories to last a lifetime. Although our lives took us in many different directions, we always seemed to gravitate back to our sibling bond.
In 2001, Loretta had joined my husband, Brion and I on a French vacation. After we had left Paris, we drove 613 km (380 miles) south to the sleepy village of St. Thibery. This little medieval village, population of 2481, can be traced back more than 4000 years of known history. For this segment of the trip, we had rented an apartment in St Thibery to use as ‘home base’ during our time there. Many of these houses are from the 14th, 15th and 17th century. The apartment was quaint but adequate, even having a roof top patio. We spent about a week in St Thibery and it was there that the three of us made some special memories enjoying our leisure French brunches.
Loretta lived in many places during her life, including California and Vancouver Island, but was particularly drawn to the Peace Country in Northern Alberta. She worked as an LPN for 25 years north of Grand Prairie for Central Peace Hospital in Spirit River and Fairview General Hospital.
Loretta had a love for music, gardening, crafting, and reading. She cared for all animals big and small which included one little precious Dachshund dog named Amigo.
Loretta & Amigo spent a lot of time after she retired with Brion & I. For many years they would come and look after our home while we were away on vacation. Of course, that always included some time after we came home so we could enjoy their company. The three of us loved Amigo so it was great being together.
Today, July 25, would have been Loretta’s 80th birthday. I wanted to make something special on the blog to honor her memory. This fruit tart was what developed.
Loretta was a very kind, gentle soul. She was a sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and professional health care worker as well as many other things she did with such love and compassion.
Wishing you where here today, for even just a while so I could say happy birthday and see your loving smile.
The only gifts today will be the sweet memories you left behind of laughter, joy and happiness that echo in my mind.
I’ll gaze upon your pictures, I’ll think of you with love and hope you’re doing fine in heaven up above.
May our friends and family in heaven hold you closely and sing you a song. I’ll be sending a million hugs and kisses to today and all year long.
As we remember Loretta today, we hold on to those precious memories she left with us that will never fade from our minds.
Summer Fruit Tart
Apple cream cheese filling with a wonderful blend of 'Dutch' spices, baked in a shortbread cookie crust and topped with fresh fruit!
In a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar & cornstarch. Cover & process until combined; add butter. Pulse with on/off turns until mixture forms fine crumbs. Press mixture onto the bottom & 1 1/2" up the sides of a 9" spring form pan.
Beat cream cheese & 1/4 cup sugar with mixer until well blended. Add egg & vanilla; mix well. Spread onto bottom of crust. Mix remaining sugar, 2 Tbsp flour & spice blend. Add to apples in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spoon over cream cheese layer.
Bake, cover with foil for about 20 minutes. Uncover & continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from ove & cool completely on a wire rack.
Place sugar, cornstarch & water into a saucepan and bring a boil while constantly stirring with a hand whisk or a spoon.
Once boiled, remove the glaze from the heat and let it cool a bit. Stir every 3-5 minutes to prevent a film from forming on the surface of the glaze.
Prepare fruit for topping. Place in 12 'wedges' on top of cooled tart. With a silicone brush, gently apply the glaze on top of the fruit to keep the made pattern. Refrigerate the pastry for at least 1 hour before serving.
- SPICE BLEND MIX
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp anise seed
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp mace
- Grind the spices together in a coffee grinder or blender; place in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator.
- Any extra spice mix can be used in recipes calling for 'apple or pumpkin pie spice'.