By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
George H.W. Bush was a hero of mine. I didn’t always agree with him politically, but in 1999 I read his book, All the Best, and fell in love. I fell in love with his character, his joyful sense of fun, his integrity and his love of family and friends. In so many ways he represented what was good about the Greatest Generation – an ethic forged through the Depression and WWII that stood for so many values we cherish. As luck would have it, just weeks after finishing his book I was privileged to meet him. He was as charming in person as he was on the written page. I had my photo taken with him and was so excited to learn they would send me a copy of it. I imagined framing it and placing it prominently in my office. A few weeks later when it arrived my heart sunk. The photo looked so unlike me that for an instant I thought they had mixed up my photo with someone else’s. Finally in my despair I figured out the problem – a few days before the photo was taken I had undergone Lasik surgery. Obviously I was still sensitive to light so when the camera flashed on my pupils I scrunched up like a Shar Pei dog. For almost 20 years the photo has been hidden in a closet. But as I watched his memorial services a couple of weeks ago I thought again about my encounter with him and dragged it out. It did not improve with time. But still…I love having that moment captured. As I listened to his eulogies I thought about something told to me when my father died – that when a friend loses a parent it brings back all of the emotions you have about your own parents’ passing.
That rang especially true as I heard George W. say that the last words his dad said to him was, “I love you.” A week before my dad died I boondoggled a trip up to Northern California so that I could go visit him in the hospital. He was in rare form that day, laughing and joking, and generally keeping the nurses merrily entertained. When I had to leave to attend that pesky meeting I’d manufactured, I leaned over his bed and told him I loved him. He gave me a big smile and said, “I love you too, sweetheart.” Although I spoke with my mom daily about his condition, those words from him were his last to me – a week later he died suddenly at home of a heart attack. I know what comfort his words have brought me over the years and I know that George W. will undoubtedly take solace in those same words from his dad. I miss my dad all year, but especially at Christmas when I remember all the fun we had and the joy he brought to every family gathering.
So for this Christmas post I’d like to pay tribute and toast all of the people of that generation. We are losing them far too quickly and with each of their deaths we mourn not only them, but the civility they embodied. I can’t think of a better beverage with which to toast than Pop’s famous Ice Cream Gin Fizz. He served it every Christmas morning and it gave a roseate hue to the entire day. We share his recipe in the hopes that you will also take a moment to remember those we’ve lost with a toast of ice cream and gin. How can you go wrong?
POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ
Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes
Add 6 jiggers of gin
Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)
My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg. Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.
Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and every thing!
Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg. As we got older we conspired with Pop and ditched the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.
Wishing all of our subscribers a very happy holiday season! Cheers!