Ok get out your box of Kleenex…….
Two years ago my husband and I were driving to Grand Forks, North Dakota for a
Fighting Sioux University of North Dakota hockey game. I was almost 6 months pregnant at the time and looking forward to an exhilarating Valentine’s Day weekend with friends. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on the long, weary drive across the state of North Dakota, when I suddenly burst into tears. These weren’t tears of sadness, but more so tears from a place of love and happiness.
There on my Facebook newsfeed was a photo of my grandparents, Catherine & Odie West. They were being honored for Valentine’s Day as the King and Queen of the Valentine’s Day Party at the nursing home where they resided. Now the tears didn’t come from just that distinct honor, but from my Grandpa’s response when asked what he was going to get my Grandma for Valentine’s Day.
“Oh I will just go up on the ranch and pick her some wild flowers” as he had always done for his sweetheart for the past 66 years it read. At this point my Grandpa’s Parkinson’s had taken most of his mobility leaving this task, be it an impossible one. I know he would have done just that if he could of at the time.
My grandparents were a true love story, 66 years in the making at the time. They raised 5 children and built a beautiful ranch and farm north of Pierre, South Dakota. My Grandma once wrote, “Ours is a life story of two people who together with determination, hard work and play filled their lives with love and memories.” And they did just that, they built a wonderful life that was overflowing with love and memories.
This year will be my Grandma’s first Valentine’s Day without her sweetheart by her side. My Grandpa Odie passed away this fall. They were married for almost 68 years.
One of my favorite memories with my Grandma when I was little were the small pieces of fudge that my Grandma would wrap up and place underneath a small Christmas tree. One year, when we still lived in New York, she gave me a few small presents from under the tree and told me that I couldn’t open them until I got on the airplane. I loved waiting to open the delicate wrapped fudge pieces and enjoying them on my trip home.
This year I will be remembering what my Grandpa said. Make sure to show those around you how much you care, even if it’s a simple bouquet of wild flowers, a small surprise of fudge, or even a phone call, it’s the thought that counts.
Here is a simple recipe for homemade fudge for you to enjoy with those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. Cherish those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. If it’s not a sweetheart, maybe it’s a good friend, or a family member that you love dearly. Love is a powerful bond.
To read more about my Grandpa Odie’s amazing life, check out this article here.
Homemade Fudge with Walnuts
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
1 t. vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Grease a 9 inch square baking pan, set aside. In a large saucepan combine sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and marshmallow fluff. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium and bring to a full following boil. Boil slowly, stirring for 5 minutes until fudge reaches soft ball test consistency (234-241 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips until melted. Add nuts. Pour into greased pan and cool. Cut and enjoy!