They were my taste testers.
Whenever I needed an honest evaluation of a recipe I was creating, I went to them. Even during the senior time of life as senses would customarily begin to fade, their taste buds did not fail them.
As my participation as a baking competitor in the illustrious Iowa State fair grew, theirs did, too! The names of Calvin and Mary Ellen Knop were not officially imprinted alongside mine on the manila-colored entry tags. However, they were as much entrants as I was. For as they comfortably sat in well-loved recliners in their Century Farm home, it was as if their 80-year-old-and-then-some spirits jubilantly cheered my entries into the championship lineup.
A Fond Memory
Forty-six years ago Dearly Beloved introduced me to his family. Etched in my mind is the, “Call me Cal” greeting upon initially shaking hands with the family patriarch.
“Where was the family’s matriarch,” you might ask, Dear Readers? She was rhythmically moving from counter to dining table in her well-honed kitchen environment while busily preparing a meal that was fit for royalty! This was not an uncommon site!
Their overflowing hospitality was a continual river of “Welcome to Our Home” throughout the entirety of their married life. A slice of homemade pie and cup of coffee along with how-are-you-doing conversation were never far away. And those Mary-Ellen-created, melt-in-your-mouth fantastic “chip chocolate” cookies found their way from the Dutch girl cookie jar to the mouths of visitors time after time!
Leaving a Legacy
But, Dear Readers, as time marches onward, so does the ying and yang of life. Just as the pennings of my heart will someday have their last hurrah, so does life, itself.
The legacy of loved ones of this dear couple recently gathered to whisper final “Goodbyes.” And as “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” was proclaimed, the torch passed to the next generation—to Dearly Beloved’s and my generation.
Miss NiNi will still continue to create and test dessert recipes. Dearly Beloved will keep following the professional passion of his agricultural-loving heart, and the legacy we pass on to our children and grandchildren will persist within the test of time.
A virtuous pattern of living was demonstrated by Calvin and Mary Ellen that, in turn, has been etched into the spirits of so many who knew them. May their memories live on into Eternity.