My mother's mother loved margaritas. We called her Clancy, although her real name was Lois Meagher. She came from a big family and grew up poor in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee. "Clancy" suited her better than "grandmother," although I'm not sure why I called her that. She sang like a bird. She could be as silly as a girl but undoubtedly the word I've heard most to describe her, in any circle, has always been "classy". She wore ironed gloves and her hair was always perfect. She was infinitely poised.
She was beautiful. Really beautiful, with a killer smile.
My mother has told me that when she was little and they would visit Tennessee, the moment my grandmother's foot touched southern soil a southern accent would spill into her speech like honey. When I was young and we were alone for a day, she would watch All My Children with me and let me paint my fingernails with her army of polishes. She fed me Dixie cups of mini marshmallows and had the cleanest house I have ever seen. She would take me to the pool to swim and would look Fantastic. She always had plenty of cheddar Goldfish crackers. She collected owls.
She died gracefully, which was not easy, but my grandmother was the strongest woman I have ever met.
When we see rainbows we say, "there is Clancy," and at my wedding, the weather ran from blustery to foggy to rainy and hot, but she made an appearance after dinner, reaching from one end to another across the sky-- a pure stretch of almost solid color against the steel gray of the clouds. It was so vivid. I didn't even think to make sure someone got a photograph. But I'm not upset about it. It was still a perfect moment.
I won't be having a margarita, but I will be drinking some wine. I also will be cooking a full dinner, which she did almost every day. It's a real rarity for me. I love you Clancy. She also made the best pecan pie, and I thought you might like to have the recipe for it yourself. It's ridiculously easy and always tastes like a dream.
Clancy's Pecan Pie
3 cups whole pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3-4 eggs (depending on size)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line pie pan with dough and refrigerate. In a large bowl, lightly mix all of the ingredients except pecans. Once they are well blended, fold in pecans. Pour into the chilled pie crust, and bake on the lowest rack in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 5-6 hours.
I don't know why there is the whole unsalted butter/additional salt thing going on, but I do know if you use salted butter it doesn't taste the same.
Brian made me laugh when I was feeling my most geeky and alone (ninth grade). My all-girls school and his all-boys school had a mixed show choir and that's where we met. We were both awkward. He had a beautiful deep voice. He loved to cook.
Years later, I ended up hanging out with Brian on an almost nightly basis. He still made me laugh and feel at ease. He still loved to cook. He had a huge heart that he wore on his sleeve. He did not give himself credit, and he didn't allow himself a break, although he deserved one.