—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

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I adored my grandma when I was growing up. She was a wonderful woman who taught me many things. To respect absolutely everybody, to be color blind with respect to people and how to speak Spanish, though sometimes I forget when I’m in a hurry and lapse back to the Spanish of my youth and say thervetha instead of cerveza. They talk differently in Mallorca.

Grandma was a hoot, a cookie making, pie baking bear of a woman, who didn’t resemble my svelte mother one bit. She was a roly, poly bundle of laughter. So when Mama told me my other grandma and grandpa were coming to visit, I was excited, but Dad wasn’t. My father and his parents had become estranged over that police action called Korea. Mama told me that Dad went away to war a Republican and came back a Democrat and because of this, he didn’t talk to his parents.

Ike was in the White House, wherever that was, and we had JFK posters on our front window. Mama said that Dad should take them down, but he said if his parents didn’t like it, they could lump it.

My excitement flew out the window. I became a little girl afraid. But I needn’t have worried, because Republican though they were, my new Grandpa was all right and my new Grandma too, especially her. We hit it off right away and after they left we exchanged letters once or twice a month right up till she passed away, because she was a writer like me. However, Dad found some reason to be off on the boat when he wasn’t at work for the first week they were there. And he left on a sailboat delivery for the second. For the little time he was home, he and his parents hardly spoke.

When I was fourteen, I flew out to spend the summer with them at their place in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. That summer, I discovered a different kind of life. Already tan and used to a bathing suit, because I was, after all, a sailing girl, I fit right in. However when I went home three months later, I was starting to resemble my Spanish grandma because I had discovered that I really, really liked key lime pie. Actually that’s not the only reason. Some people retain their figures naturally (I hate them) and some of us have a few too many fat genes and we have to work at it.

Nana, (that’s what Dad’s mother wanted me to call her and for the longest time that’s what I thought Republicans called their grandmothers) made a terrific key lime pie that’s perfect for the cruising galley if you have refrigeration, because there is no cooking involved. You use none of your precious propane at all.

Captain Katie’s Nana’s Sublime Key Lime Pie

3/4 cup key lime juice

2 1/4 cups sweetened condensed

1 teaspoon grated key lime rind

3 egg yolks

1 nine inch Graham Cracker pie crust

sweetened whipped cream

Squeeze juice from 4 large or 6 small key limes and grate rind; set aside. Using a whisk beat egg yolks until buttercup yellow. Add about half the condensed milk, using whisk. Blend well and add remaining milk. Add half the lime juice and blend slowly. Add remaining juice and blend. Add grated rind; mix and pour into chilled pie crust.

Refrigerate 4 hours.

May be frozen. To serve, slice while still frozen and let stand about 10 minutes. Top with whipped cream.

Many places in the Keys say they serve the original key lime pie, but who actually made the first is questionable. Types of crust vary, and whether a pie has meringue or not is left to the discretion of the pie maker. However, what is not debatable is the color. Beware of establishments that serve green key lime pie. Key limes are yellow, not green. Restaurants that add green food coloring say the tourists expect it to be green, so don’t fall prey to one of those recipes that calls for food coloring, because someday you might accidentally whip up a pie and serve it to someone who knows better.

Nana also makes up this great big bundle of calories that she calls her Islamorada Fudge Key Lime Pie and it is largely responsible for all the weight I fought so hard to get rid of when I got back to California.

Captain Katie’s Nana’s Islamorada Fudge Key Lime Pie

1 nine inch Graham Cracker pie crust

1/2 cup chocolate fudge topping

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water 1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup milk

3 lightly beaten egg yolks

1/3 cup Key lime juice

1/4 cup shortening 1 teaspoon butter

1 cup sour cream

2 cups whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioner sugar

chocolate shavings

For fudge layer, spread fudge topping over bottom of Graham Cracker pie crust. (Heat topping gently if it is too thick to spread). Sprinkle with nuts.

For filling, soften gelatin in water in top of double boiler. Place boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Combine granulated sugar and cornstarch in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in milk until smooth. Stir in egg yolks and lime juice. Add shortening and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin mixture slowly. Pour into large bowl. Chill 40 to 50 minutes. Fold in sour cream. Pour into Graham Cracker pie crust. Chill 2 hours.

For topping, combine whipping cream and confectioners sugar. Beat until stiff. Pile on top of pie. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

One lazy afternoon with only thirteen days left of my summer in the Keys, I was starting to think of home, a diet, school, the friends I’d missed, Mama, Dad, when all of a sudden Dad was at the door.

Gumpy (that must be what Republicans called their grandfathers) was beside himself, Nana almost fainted. They didn’t speak for about a minute, and a minute can be a long time in a situation like that.

“Why don’t we have some Islamorada Fudge,” I said to break the ice.

“What’s that?” Dad said.

“You’ll like it, son,” Gumpy said and we all went out to the kitchen.

Nana went to the fridge, got out the pie and served it up with cold milk.

“Mom,” my dad said after the first bite. “That’s about the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”

“Oh, Jack.” Nana said and they hugged. Somehow Gumpy and I got into that great big hug too and ever since it’s been like that war in Korea never happened. Like Dad never stopped being a Republican. No, more like Nana and Gumpy were Democrats all along.

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Sailing on stormy seas. Well, maybe not that stormy. But it was raining. And it was windy. And maybe just a little scary. Well, I asked her to look like she was a little scared, but she didn’t really pull it off.

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Good Morning, Trinidad.

When this story was published in Trinidad, I didn’t have to define the word “Lime” when used as a verb. But here, I think I might have to, so I’m borrowing the defination of the verb, “to lime,” from the Urban Dictionary and here it is:

-lime (verb), lime (noun), liming (noun)- 
"lime" is a Trinidadian word, which means to socialize and hang out. A "lime" is any event where you socialize and hang out. But the fact that there is a specific *word* for socializing and hanging out emphasizes how important this activity is, gives it high priority, and makes people more prone to do it on a regular basis. "hanging out" is like something you do when you don't have any better plans, or your plans fall through: you invite someone to come over, they ask you what's going on, you might say "just hanging out", or, you were planning to go a party but plans fall through so you decide to settle for "just hanging out" instead.

In Trinidad, liming is a respectable alternative to having a barbecue, going out to a bar, partying, or seeing a movie. On a Friday night you will invite 10 people over to your house and tell them you're having a lime, and they will all show up, sit in your living room, and enjoy themselves liming all night. You don't have to entice them to come or structure the social event with a movie, games, barbecue, or plans to go out (although all of these things are liming as well). When you walk some friends back to their car after a movie or party, instead of just saying goodbye and driving home, it's completely natural for people to spontaneously decide to stand up outside their car and lime for the next couple hours (this could be called a parking lot lime). Passing the time with various weekend and evening hobbies doesn't really happen in Trinidad, because every Trinidadian's primary form of entertainment is... LIMING!

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