Oct. 11, 2015

Mothers-In Law And A Really Great Bran Muffin...

“If I didn’t have you as a mother-in-law, I’d choose you as a friend.”

I felt that way about my mother-in-law, Leila Jamison Davis, and I know for sure that our daughter, Crissy, feels that way about the lovely woman standing on my right, who is her mother-in-law, Dianne Brown. The lovely woman standing on my left is Deanna Stark, who is Dianne’s life-long BFF. I met these ladies some sixteen years ago just as Dianne’s son, Christopher, was about to marry our daughter. The three of us had our hair done for the wedding, had a great time, laughed a lot and Dianne and I have spent many happy hours together since.

The three of us went to tea at Barbara’s Tea House last Friday in Rancho Cucamonga. We had calendared this date months ago and were looking forward to spending time together; sans husbands, sans children, sans grandchildren. It was fabulous.


Barbara’s Tea House is a Victorian mansion built in 1891 and, as she says, “It’s ‘Forever Christmas’ there with trees and garlands decorated year round in the theme of the seasons.” It was flat out beautiful in there and we spent an astonishing two hours over pots of tea, scones, tea sandwiches and lemon bars.

You’re wondering where I’m going with this, aren’t you. I’m going Family. Family is just plain wonderful, when the people in it are wonderful. So many unpleasant things have been said about mothers-in-law and I think, most of the time, we get a raw deal! Alan Toussaint wrote a song which was recorded by Herman’s Hermits back in the ‘60s that went: “The worst person I know, Mother-in-law, Mother-in-law!” It went downhill from there.

It’s not that hard to be a good mother-in-law, and all three of us have succeeded, Deanna, Dianne and I. We love the husband, wife, that our son or daughter has brought us unconditionally. We refrain from criticism and giving too much advice, and adore the grandchildren. That last part is pretty easy, actually. I personally love all the in-laws our children have given us. Leah’s mother-in-law, Elaine, at 93 is a great friend and, as she lives just blocks away, we enjoy a visit together a couple of times a week. Patti’s mother-in-law, Margie, also at about 93 is a great friend who volunteers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. I honestly think the place would close down without her. Son, John’s, mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ed and Karen, live in Montana, and don’t get down here often enough to make us happy.

I guess what I’m doing this week is bragging about having won all the in-law lotteries. Hope you all did, too.

I never have made scones, but I do want to pass along my dear friend, Jane Rickard’s Bran Muffin recipe. Jane, who is residing in heaven now, was like a mom across the street to me and these muffins are really easy and really good.

Jane Rickard’s Bran Muffins

2 cups 100% Nabisco Bran Flakes

4 cups Kellogg’s All Bran

2 cups boiling water

4 eggs

1 cup oil

1 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups sugar, half granulated, half brown

1 qt. buttermilk

5 tsp. baking soda

5 cups flour

1 cup raisins

Mix bran and boiling water. Let stand. Mix eggs, oil, buttermilk and add to bran mixture. Combine flour, soda, salt and fold in with the raisins. This will keep an astonishing 7 weeks in the refrigerator in a covered container so you can make as many muffins at a time as you really want.

When you know you want a muffin, preheat the oven to 350, grease your muffin tin and fill the cups 2/3 full. Bake ‘em for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.

Think kind and loving thoughts about your mother-in-law.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother (or maybe your mother-in-law) Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well”

2 Tim 1:5