Recently I was down in Arkansas doing some articles for our sister paper, Ozarks Farm & Neighbor-Arkansas. My grandma's family hails from the Ozark Mountains down in Arkansas, and I spent many summers playing at my Grandpa and Grandma Rains' old house, chasing kitties and getting bleach baths at night to clean the chiggers off. My Grandma Rains passed away in I believe 1992, and Grandpa Rains passed in, I think it was 1998. My Grandpa Rains was a special man, quiet, but sincere. He'd farmed on that mountain his entire life, scraping out a living for his family. I remember him waking early to do the chores, feed the chickens and gather eggs for visiting family to eat. After breakfast we kids would be ready to play and he'd amble up to us, presenting a kitten or two from his pockets, for us to play with. He was gentle enough the kittens would let him catch them, then he'd delight us with a new playmate for a few hours. I used to think he just kept the kittens in his pockets for the sake of us girls as kids, but I think he really liked the little barn kitties, and I imagine he kept them with him, even when we weren't down to visit. It brings tears to my eyes, remembering his simple gesture of love.  
It's important to remember the old times, because in our at-your-fingertips digital age, it seems those old, dusty memories get covered up by the flashy sights of the present.
Another dear story to pass on to you – I had a reader stop by and bring me a gift. One of the absolute pleasures of this job is the treats I've collected over the years – cookies, home canned honey, jams, books and now this. KP Walker, of Grovespring, Mo., came by and requested I submit a "Walnut Molasses Cake" recipe. He brought with him a half pint of hand-shelled walnuts. I was so excited. So, the search was on for a walnut molasses cake recipe. Through e-mail (yeah, I guess technology's not all bad) my grandma in Kentucky was able to relay a couple of recipe options, and we settled on this, the Elegant Tennessee Black Walnut Cake. It incorporates the molasses in the cake and the black walnuts in the frosting, and may not be exactly what KP's wife used to make, but it looked mighty good. KP, Thank you so much for the walnuts.
And to you, reader, I hope you enjoy this tasty recipe as well. God Bless,


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