It was a cold, crisp morning and I decided to walk to my grandparent’s house. The sky was a charcoal gray and the smell of burning firewood wafted through the air. Nearing the final bend of the last turn before their house, a light snow began to fall. When I reached their driveway, a coating of snow had already spread across the landscape. The garage door was open and my grandfather appeared to be busily working at a project. “Hello, young fella,” he said as he continued his work. I gave little attention to his toiling and waved as I headed into the house.
Smiling, I set to work. My grandmother finished pouring the batter and then began to wash out her batter bowl in her old country sink. Looking out the window, she began to pause, staring at a spruce tree in the front yard. “Grandmamma? Are you OK?” I asked. Startled, she turned and then reached over the counter for her container of white sugar. She then began to sprinkle it over each muffin. “I am fine. I was just thinking of this snow and story I once heard from my fabled town of Donbridge.”
On the northern side of the town was a vegetable farm owed by the Taylor family. At their small farm, a small cabin sat behind their home and an old man named Walter Timmons resided there. Walter was the oldest man in Donbridge and most people paid him little attention as he was never one for conversation, but famously he would sit upon his porch each morning puffing away at his pipe and every so often he would knock it against the porch pillar to load it with fresh tobacco. For most people, Walter was a common old man, but unknown to many, he had a special way about him that many people never really knew.
Years back, a massive summer storm littered the town in tree limbs making roads near impassable. The town struggled to find a way to clear the massive limbs, but something happened that many did not expect. For the next two mornings after the storm, the town woke up to less and less debris until the third morning the town awoke to cleared streets and something else. Each home of Donbridge had neatly, freshly chopped firewood stacked in the back of their yards made from the storm limbs. No one admitted to performing the act, but upon looking at the streets, all that remained were a few pipe ash piles which scattered about the street in the wind.
A few years later, a blizzard hit Donbridge. The roads in the town were quite clear from the berry bushes that lined the roads, but the stores that supplied Donbridge from the neighboring towns were shut down as their roads were deep with drifted snow. The town was in dismay as supplies to the country store were now being rationed. Soon Christmas Eve came and the streets were not decorated and store fronts were dark. The town looked bleak. Even the bakery, whose window shelves were usually adorned with muffins, breads and pastries, was now empty as flour was in short supply. That soon would change as the town slept.
When Christmas morning arrived, the townfolks came upon a strange sight. Each house in the town had a pine bow wreath hanging from its door. The bakery was full of baked goods and cedar-wrapped rope hung from each lamppost to the next. Red berries were tied into bows at each intersecting point and the town looked cheerful. Even a large delivery skid sat in front of Sharps General Store. The town was in shock. As folks walked about, the only thing they found were small piles of pipe ash which were near gone as a light breeze had blown most of it away. The town never knew who did these tiny miracles, but unlike other legends and folktales in Donbridge, this one remained a mystery.
When my grandmother finished her tale, I heard a light rapping at the door. My grandmother arose from her chair and went to the front door. Opening it carefully, she bent down and picked up what appeared to be a wreath.
“Well, what da ya know, I guess it’s that time of year again,” she said as she hung the wreath on the door. Smiling, I got up and went to the door to check outside for who sent it. All I saw was a small pile of pipe ash which was disappearing into the wind.
Blueberry Morning Muffins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
2 1/2 cups of blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tray or use muffin cups. Mix ingredients together. Spoon muffin dough into each cup. Sprinkle sugar on each one. Bake until golden brown. Makes 12-15 muffins.