By Penny Cliff Guest Columnist
March 1, 2014
My daffodils are blooming. I love daffodils. In fact, they are my favorite flower. Sunflowers come in a close second. I enjoy sunny yellow. This love of daffodils goes back to the family trips of my youth, to the market in the square in Warwick, England, the town where my grandmother lived. In booth after booth were vegetables, eggs, biscuits, pies, and flowers. There were tons of flowers; and blanket of colors. But my absolute favorite were the bunches galore of yellow daffodils. It is amazing how our childhood experiences can have an effect on what we like and what we do not like.
There are other things as well that have their beginnings in my childhood. My sweet tooth for instance. There was the Sweet Shop (candy shop) close to my grandmother’s house. This magical place offered Cadbury Walnut Whips. These delights were chocolate volcanos, filled with whipped marshmallows and topped with walnuts. And then there were the sugar mice in pink and white and yellow. Their cute little eyes peaked out from the glass counter. The sugar melted in your mouth.
The man in the shop weighed the candy and put it with a big scoop into a white paper cone. There was something Willy Wonkerish about the Sweet Shop. To this day, going into a store dedicated solely to confectionary delights will always be a joy. There is a part in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie buys his Wonka bars. If you have ever seen that 1971 movie? This was the Sweet Shop I remember as a child.
My sweet tooth was forever and indelibly created with the help of my Aunt Peggy. After school I walked to the donut shop where Aunt Peggy worked. She would give me donuts dolloped in icing; practically running off the sides.
To this day, I love the yeasty smells wafting from bakeries. Only, I can’t get anywhere near as much icing on donuts in stores today as my Aunt put on the donuts all those decades ago.
What about the hot chocolate that I love to drink? It goes back to a commercial I would watch at my grandmothers during the winters. In the commercial the actors sat snuggled in plump, comfy chairs, in front of a warm fire and sip smooth and creamy Cadbury’s hot chocolate out of steaming mugs. I can still hear the tune of this commercial: “Hot chocolate drinking chocolate; hot chocolate; drinking chocolate. Cadbury’s drinking chocolate.” Who says that commercials aren’t effective? To this day, we are (usually) never out of hot chocolate. I think I’m going see if I can find some Cadbury’s hot chocolate.
Away from the food, that is now making me crave too many sweets, one of my favorite childhood experiences that flew through the years was flying kites, combined with picnics on blankets under windy, sunny skies. This was the Burton Hills of my youth. And, to this very day, I’ve always loved hills and picnics. I googled Burton Hills and the photograph took my breath away. It was as if I had stepped into my childhood. The green rolling hills, the clouds rolling in the sky and the beautiful English countryside was just as I remembered.
Why do I like going on Family Fun Saturdays? Because on her day off, our mother drove me and my sister to woods, castles and museums, or what we called a “drive in the country.” That long ago tradition of day trips has continued with our own family.
As the yellow blanket of daffodils cover the landscape in Upson County, I take a trip down to memory lane, where these same narcissus bloom in the memory of my youth.