With Father’s Day coming up this weekend in the US, I am, of course, in a reflective mood, especially when it comes to my Dad. I lost my Dad years ago from heart disease. He was 52.
Was my Dad perfect, no. He was known to smoke and drink and swear and eat too much food and was an incredibly insular person towards most people. Most would call him a real son of a b@*%h. When it came to me though, my Dad had a tender heart.
Before I attended art school, I had never heard of the “intrinsic” value of something. Well, let me re-phrase that; I did not have a vocabulary word for the meaning of something that has more sentimental value than real value. Though I am good at getting rid of items once they are spent or tired, I do have a few items that I will never see myself letting go of.
One of these items is an old worn out camouflage shirt that was my Dad’s from the 1970’s. My Dad was a skinny dude back then and there are still tell tale signs of his personality within it, such as the worn out pocket on the front from his cigarette packs and the tag that reads “made in the U.S.A. (because everything he bought had to be made in the USA.)
In the early 90’s, I took it from his closet because it was fashionable for girls to wear camouflage (and flannel and doc martin’s and other various manly attire), but I ‘ve kept it all these years, certainly not because it is becoming of me and my figure, because it is a far cry from fashionable anymore, but because the 30+ year old fabric has been washed so many times that it has a softness to it that can’t be replicated, it is comfortable and cozy, and in a way, it makes me feel closer to my Dad even though he has been gone for a very long time.
Moving on with life and moving around the country, you sometimes are lucky enough to get glimpses of your old life in new and refreshing ways. As I have told you guys before, I have the fondest memories of peaches and a lot of them involve my Dad. Shaking peaches from our tree out beside the barn with my bare feet (he never made me wear shoes, because I hated them.) My Dad reaching in his back pocket to retrieve his ever present pocket knife to cut a peach into slices for me and him to share together in the early afternoon hours.
Living on the West Coast of the United States, peaches aren’t in season until much later in the year, so I don’t get to stand with the sun at my back savoring the memories of a fresh cut peach shared between me and my Dad.
Sometimes, I think my Dad gives me little gifts from wherever his spirit is now, I see little glimpses of him in everything and it’s good to feel like you have someone on your side out there somewhere, pushing you to move forward and make progress. Last week, I tried my first fresh nectarine and it was so similar to the taste of a perfectly ripe peach that my heart soared. What a wonderful gift for me.
I bought a few nectarines and used one of them along with fresh blueberries to make my beloved coffee cake, an adapted recipe of a simple sour cream coffee cake from the Joy of Cooking that I love to add cut up fruit to, especially peaches. So curl up to this comfortable, cozy dish and rejoice in the bounty of this earth and the people who have your back, even the ones who are whispers of wind that help fill your sails. Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day to the Dad’s out there, even the imperfect one’s.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of fruit of your choice (this time I used a combination of Blueberries and Nectarines) or 1/2 cup of jam spooned over top.
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Prepare streusel topping: With fork, combine flour, butter and sugar till crumbly. Add cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine sour cream and eggs. Beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Beat just till smooth as over-beating tends to toughen dough. Spread in a lightly oiled 9×9 pan. Lay fruit evenly over the top.
Sprinkle with streusel. Bake about 30-40 minutes at 350 degree F, or till tester comes out clean.