I am going on a small road trip tomorrow which for me will have begun last Saturday by the time you read this.

I have an aunt who is having her 100th birthday party. Aunt Bea lives with her daughter in League City. Some of you might remember she is the one who gave me my all-time favorite recipe for peach cobbler. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

When I was growing up with my mother’s side of the family, it was a hoot. I was the pet of my aunts and my uncles, so of course it was fun for me. I’ve run out of so many relatives who I loved that I have to take this opportunity to go celebrate with her.

When we all lived in Austin, Aunt Bea’s grandson had started wallpapering her kitchen but never finished for whatever reason, I don’t know. But when Aunt Bea and another aunt who lived down the street from her would lure me over by bribing me with a peach cobbler, of course I went.

I asked Aunt Bea one day if she had any wallpaper left over. She said she didn’t, and now she didn’t think the store where they got it would even have it anymore. I asked her where she got it and, long story a little short, she got some more and I finished papering her kitchen.

You would have thought I gave her a million dollars. It had been like that for about two years. Why it took me so long to ask her about it is beyond me. I would have been happy to do it. She told me it was too difficult of a job for me to do so she never asked me.

Boy, she didn’t know how many miles of wallpaper I have hung up over the years. It got me a wonderful home-cooked lunch and, of course, my favorite peach cobbler.

I tried to spend the day with them at least once a week. I would go over and change light bulbs or whatever they needed done that I could do. Man, I miss those days. I was a pretty good handyman, as I remember.

Little things like that really mean a lot if you can’t do what you used to do. So if you know someone who needs something as simple as changing light bulbs, please do it for them. My new friend, Peter, looked around the house the last time he was here and made a list of things he wants to do. He reminded me when he comes Sunday he is replacing light bulbs.

I don’t have the greatest balance and never have, so I try and stay off a ladder. I have 9-foot ceilings and I can’t think of getting on a ladder that high since I’m afraid of heights.

If you ever pick up the paper and see, “Gin Crawford jumps to her death,” please go straight to the police and have it investigated because Gin Crawford ain’t gonna jump off a kitchen chair.

n n n

Here is an email all you fur baby lovers might want to take a look at.

Hi Gin,

I saw your column about dogs and peanut butter and remembered something I had recently read somewhere about some being bad.

Xylitol in some peanut butter can be toxic for dogs. Here is a good article about it: www.seniordog days.com/safe-dog-peanut-butter-list/. And here is a database of safe brands for dogs and those that aren’t: www.seniordogdays.com/alphabetical-list-of-peanut-butter-for-dogs/.

— Susan Chappell

Thank you, Susan, for that information. Mine don’t get any people food at all except one; they get one little round Cheerio in the mornings. Then they get healthy dog treats during the day. But I have had four-legged babies in the past that I have given peanut butter to. I guess it didn’t have any bad ingredients in it because they all lived to a ripe old age.

But I do urge everyone to check it out. I know you don’t want to do anything that will cause harm to your four-legged baby.

n n n

Here is a recipe that will be on your must list. I had two at a funeral meal because I was told to by Father Leo. Who am I to not do what the priest tells me to do. However, he didn’t tell me I had to have two.

Pecan Squares

Makes about 28 squares. Prep time: 20 minutes. Bake 50 minutes.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

2/3 cup butter

3 tablespoons whipping cream

3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans.

Directions

Sift together 2 cups flour and 2/3 cups powdered sugar. Cut in 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of lightly greased 14-by-9-inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.

Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter, and whipping cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in pecans, and pour hot filling into prepared crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

— Judy Russell

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX 77531 or email ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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