In late September, my cousin, Marjorie Clark, from Baton Rouge called me and asked if I wanted to travel with her to visit her brother and his wife, Howard E. (also my cousin of course) and Joyce Grant in the town of Salida, Colorado.  After much deliberation with myself, I decided, “yes” I would go with her and I am thankful for my decision.

We left October 13.  The trip was delightful.  Not only was the scenery magnificent; Marjorie and I developed a close camaraderie laced with much laughter.  We spent two nights out going and coming.

As is known, Colorado is a beautiful state.  Howard E.’s and Joyce’s home is located in a valley, which were surrounded by snow-capped mountains during our visit.  It is a busy tourist town with lovely houses, restaurants, churches and plenty of places to shop.  There is a ski lodge just outside of town.  The population in town is 5,000 but many reside outside of town.  There are tourist houses for rent and people that have summer homes that leave when winter approaches.

As a young family, Howard E., Joyce and their children would camp in a nearby area outside of Salida on their vacations.  That is how they discovered the town and decided that was where they wanted to retire.  Then fifteen years ago they purchased an old house and made (and are still making) multiple improvements.  They have a guesthouse that was once a candy store and a lovely arbor covered with grape vines.  They are gracious hosts and made us feel comfortable and welcome.

Joyce and Howard E. spent a day taking us sightseeing.  One day they took us to the town of Fountain, located near Colorado Springs, to spend an evening visiting with my great granddaughters, Anastasia, age 12 and Whitney, age 9.and their Dad and stepmother, Jason and Dana Austin and their dog, Abby and pig, Velma.  I had planned to take them out to dinner but unexpectedly they had cooked and served us a delectable meal.  For me, that was the highlight of the whole trip.

While we were there the weather was pleasantly cool during the day and at night, it would drop down to temperatures in the 30s, often freezing or below.  Howard E. would cover their tomato garden at night.

Each evening, we would spend the time playing the domino game “42.”  At the total end of our visit, Joyce and I won five games out of nine.  For me that was a huge victory as Howard E. has his doctorate degree and is so intelligent he plays and teaches the game of chess.

Howard E. is a retired minister and the Sunday we were there, he filled in as interim pastor because their minister was out of town.  That was the first time I had the privilege of hearing him preach.

Marjorie had told me that together Howard E. and Joyce made a spectacular homemade Strawberry ice cream.  Although out of season, she talked them into making it for us.  It was as she claimed.  On our trip home, I kept craving a bowl of that luscious ice cream.  It was difficult to admit and hard to believe but it was as good if not better than my mother’s ice cream recipe (column 5/21/2010).  Although it is not the season for homemade ice cream, for those that still do make homemade ice cream, I am sharing their KEEPER recipe to save for summer time.  Joyce says it is also good using peaches.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

15 ½ oz. frozen strawberries

16 oz. of Half & Half, divided

Enough Egg Beater Eggs to equal 8 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 (12 oz.) Fat-Free cans Carnation Evaporated Milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Thaw frozen strawberries in the microwave, when thawed, using an electric mixer ,place strawberries in the mixing bowl; add half of the half & half to the strawberries and mix well.  Still using the electric mixer, gradually add the Egg Beaters and sugar to the strawberry mixture and continue mixing.  Add remaining evaporated milk and vanilla; continue to blend well.  Pour contents into the freezer’s metal receptacle.  Freeze according to the ice cream freezer’s instructions.

We made many treasured memories.