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Muffin Memories Put Some Sweet Into Morning

I woke up before the alarm rang this morning. Stumbling into the kitchen, I saw two bananas lying side by side on the counter. They looked pitiful and pretty old. Since they were practically black, I decided I had better put them to use or throw them out.

My boys love my banana muffins, so I grabbed my Jiffy mix and started stirring. The final step in my muffin masterpiece is to add a small handful of chocolate chips. I always feel guilty about adding this extra sugar, but my boys love it.

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While I considered whether to omit the chocolate, my mind started to meander, and I smiled to myself at the memory of a breakfast long ago with my Aunt Lucy.

Aunt Lucy still lives in Horse Cave, Ky., a town right outside of Glasgow, not far from where my parents were raised. She's in her 80s now and lives on the farm where she raised her four children. Something about making muffins this morning reminded me of the last time my dad and I visited there about 10 years ago. We only spent one night, but I'll never forget breakfast the following morning.

The amount of food Aunt Lucy fixed could have fed a third-world country, but there were only three of us. Her homemade biscuits and rich milk gravy were almost beyond description - heavenly. But after we had sufficiently sated ourselves, a frown of disapproval suddenly came across Aunt Lucy's brow. Looking up at me over her glasses she asked sharply, "Ain't you gonna eat no sweetnin'?"

"Sweetnin'?" I repeated dumbly, mystified until I saw her reach toward the small jars she had placed in the center of the table.

"Picked 'em berries myself this past year and put up plenty a preserves from 'em," she added with a tone of pride.

Finally realizing the error of my ways from the meaning I'd missed, I recovered quickly. "I'd love to taste your strawberry preserves, Aunt Lucy. I'm just so full, but I'll have some on half a biscuit."

Aunt Lucy quickly pushed preserves in my direction, her disdain dissolving. "No wonder you look so poorly," she remarked. "You need some more meat on them there bones. Reckon you don't get enough sweetnin' at home!"

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Bringing my thoughts back to my muffins, I smiled at the memory of that long-ago breakfast with my Aunt Lucy. My decision made, I added a more generous amount of chocolate chips than usual to my muffins, but this time I omitted the guilt.

I knew Aunt Lucy would approve because growing boys need their "sweetnin' "!

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