Today I turned 23 years old. Birthdays make me smile.
I treasure every birthday memory. It is not because my birthday memories are filled with parties and gifts received. They aren’t. My mom did something better. When my mom had no more than a nickel in her purse, she created precious memories. There were times in my youth when all we had to eat was cabbage and cornbread. I remember hiding our small supply of butter when one particular visitor stopped by to eat with us. Yet, every September 13th I would awaken with a knowing smile. Mom would be cooking our special “Egg La’Pearla Mountain” birthday breakfast. The birthday person would find his or her place at the table set with special decorations, which we thought were fit for a king or queen. My spot would be adorned with a placemat made from our best and newest dish towel. The fanciest plate we had would be sitting in the middle, and the utensils would be wrapped in a nice, smaller dish rag and laid out like the finest restaurant in town. On one side of our placemat would be a fancy wineglass (purchased at the second-hand store) full of fresh cow’s milk. On the other side of the plate would be a jar of water with a pretty wildflower in it, all of this creating an illusion of wonder and delight in my young mind. Under the plate would be a one-dollar bill from my brothers. Oh, what excitement! The thrill of anticipating the morning of my birthday was beyond words. One day each year, I was Queen. Queen! Treated like royalty! That day I did not do the dishes. It was MY DAY. During much of my younger years, my parents were as poor as church mice, so all they had to give was a genuine grand statement that we were special to them. As time passed, their circumstances allowed them to buy presents; but after being Queen for the day, presents seemed almost unimportant. More than any present, each year I looked forward to that glorious feeling of being very, very cherished and special.
Here I am today, a happily married mother. This birthday morning, my husband woke me and smiled, “Do you want me to make you a breakfast?” He could buy me gifts, but those dear birthday memories are so ingrained in me that all I wanted was that special place at Mom’s table and the warm fuzzies that accompany the day. “No! Let’s go to Mom and Dad’s. She will make breakfast for both of us.” He smiled! He understands my desire to go back, and for just one day a year, to recapture those precious moments, “Today I am Queen. It is my birthday!”
Recipe for Egg La’Pearla’
(Specialty created for illusions of grandeur). Create your own specialty and name it after your family.
Boil eggs; peel, chop white; crumble yolk. Cook small amount of bacon or sausage, crumble.
Make “southern” milk gravy.
2 tablespoons of butter, melted in heavy skillet
2 tablespoons of white flour, browned golden in the butter (this is called a roux)
2 cups of milk whisked into the roux, until thickened (medium high heat)
Salt and pepper to taste
To assemble “Egg La’Pearla Mountain”
Place 2 pieces of toast or open biscuits on a plate. Pour ½ cup hot milk gravy over toast. Next put chopped egg whites on top of gravy. Sprinkle crumbled yolk, and finish with sprinkles of bacon crumbs. Ahh! Beautiful! Egla-whatsyourname.
Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling