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A Tailgating Tale, a Treasure Chest and Apricot Bars…my writing challenge entry!

WordPress has started a weekly writing challenge. Although I don’t consider myself to be a writer (although I do write), I was excited about the topic of this week’s challenge. The challege was to write about a favorite possession…

One of my favorite possessions is a little Cocoa Cola Cooler.  This little cooler warms my heart with some wonderful memories of my Grandparents, Grandpa LaNay and Grandma Alice, and our tailgate parties!

Always and Forever!

We took this little cooler, packed to the brim with a summer feast, and loaded it into Grandpa’s little white and blue Ford pickup. It was his fishin’, pic-nic’n truck! I don’t remember him using it for anything else!

Tailgating typically brings together sports and eating and fans of both! But Grandma and Grandpa had their own style of tailgating…no sports, just the sport of being in the beautiful outdoors and being together!

I am fortunate in having this memorabilia in my kitchen. Now holding a collection of collectible Cocoa Cola bottles, it once held some ‘made with love’ picnics to take along on our adventure paths of laughs, fun and love…our tailgate parties!

This little cooler was the champion of cool! It kept all of Grandma’s delicious goodies at the perfect temperature. I remember touching the cool metal sides of the cooler.  There is no cooler today that can come close to being as cool as my Grandma and Grandpa’s cooler, in more ways than one!

When we had our fishing hole mapped out we stopped for a bite to eat. Grandpa would say “let’s just have an appetizer and come back for more after we do some fishin”. I think he couldn’t wait to dig into the goodies!

Grandma always had some fresh fruit (it was always apricots if they were in season) in the top tray of the cooler.  I have had a fondness of apricots since then (resulting in the purchase of a baby doll named ‘Baby Apricot’ for my youngest daughter). There would also be an assortment of fresh veggies from Grandma’s garden…maybe some cucumbers or some of Grandma’s homemade pickles, or her fantastic spiced veggies that she canned.  I should learn to make those…they were excellent!

What a feast! Ah…now I know why we ate some before fishin’ and some…after fishin’!

Let’s go fishin’!

Grandma took such great care to pack a perfect lunch!

A perfect tailgate picnic!

There were always wrapped sandwiches (like egg salad and bologna) cut into finger sandwiches so that we could choose a couple of each.  And, of course, a homemade cookie (oatmeal or sugar ) or a piece of some homemade cake.

One of the most important things to bring along…some homemade tea, made from mint and canned raspberry juice from Grandma’s own garden! She brought that along in Mason jars. The tea stayed nice and cool in our little cooler and was so refreshing!

After we had a bite or two we headed on over to the lake or stream. Grandpa tried and tried to coax me into putting the worm on the hook. I couldn’t, no sirreeeeee, do it! He got a gigantic kick out of trying though!

After laughing it up a while he would put my mind at ease and hand me a pole, already baited…whew! Then I just had to worry about gutting the fish if I caught one! Yes…there were laughs about that as well!

After doing a little bit of fishin’ with Grandpa, Grandma and I would walk up and down the banks, skip a stone or two and admire the wildflowers. She loved Sunflowers and had her own garden of them. Mom has a picture of me standing in Grandma’s Sunflower garden.  See what this little cooler does? It tugs at my heart to know how Grandma loved me, her garden, and how I feel about my own Grandchildren! They are the flowers in my garden!

One of Grandma’s favorite flowers.

My Grandma Alice was a dedicated woman who valued her family more than anything on earth. She was not a woman of earthly possessions but felt herself to be a wealthy woman because of her family and her faith. She was a true example of commitment and dedication. She once told me that I should never serve myself before serving my husband. I later understood that she meant more than just serving supper and I understood just how much she treasured my Grandfather. I understand why they had such a wonderful friendship and marriage.  I cannot help but think of that…when I look at my little cooler.

My Grandpa LaNay was a gentle man and a true gentleman! He had a kind and generous heart. I never heard him raise his voice or say an unkind word. He had a good sense of humor and loved making all of the kids laugh (and he enjoyed making my Grandma laugh too)! He treasured my Grandmother and always told me what a good woman she was. He was a very talented artist who loved painting nature. I treasure the memory that he has painted on my heart.

What a collectible little cooler! It holds a collection of some of my most treasured childhood moments with Grandparents that I treasure! One little cooler…two wonderful Grandparents!

Bottle opener on the side of the cooler.

On my trip to Utah this summer I was lucky enough to get copies of my Grandmother’s hand written recipes that my Mother now has.  I have not had a chance to start sorting through them or trying each recipe yet but I am looking forward to coming across some memorable dishes that Grandma made…maybe even some recipes that she used for some of our picnics.

Meanwhile…I found a recipe, that I tweaked a bit, for some Apricot Bars that are quite delicious! Even an apprehensive husband, who doesn’t particularly like apricots, loves them. I have named them Picnic Apricot Bars in honor of my Grandma and Grandpa and our picnics that we brought along in our little cooler!

Picnic Apricot Bars…shown here on my other Grandmother’s plate.

Here is a link to the recipe …

(You can print the recipe from the page that the link opens up. Just go to the bottom of the page for the print button).

I am thankful for having such wonderful Grandparents and thankful for this precious cooler that helps me remember such wonderful times together…pretty cool! This ice chest is a treasure chest!

Until we meet again…

Wishing you the blessing of treasured memories…

and Happy Trails along the way!


By the way…that little Baby Apricot smelled like apricots for seventeen years, maybe more. My daughter gave her away when she was seventeen. I…was not happy about that!

30 thoughts on “A Tailgating Tale, a Treasure Chest and Apricot Bars…my writing challenge entry!

    1. Thank you…so much for your thoughtful nomination! I have been overwhelmed and behind in participation. I have, since this nomination, posted my comments of gratitude and participation in award nominations. I appreciate your suppport and visits!


  1. Awww, what a sweet dedication to your grandparents, I almost felt like I got to come along on that picnic. I could feel the warmth and love in your voice, that’s so special. I love vintage things because they come with a past, a history, a story. Thanks for sharing yours. PS charming pictures.


    1. Nice to meet a Kentucky traveler! I still feel like a foreigner or a visitor here…but I do like it! I have a friend in Phoenix that lived in Lexington and loved it. Very nice town with an impressive College. I am glad you traveled my way and…
      my blog way :). Thank you! Love your blog too!


    1. Thank you! Enjoyed my visit at your blog also. I was a health food foodie when my children were very young. The health food options and recipes now are impressive! I really should try your cookies! I guess I need to scope out where to buy the right flour and such. Thanks for the follow…and I’m happy to follow along too!


      1. You can use cloves instead of cardamom. I would use a bit less than the cardamom though because the cloves are such a strong spice. You could also just increase the cinnamon. Gluten free baking seems to be a real art…and pricey. Do you use a combination of flours…and do you get a good result with that? I have wanted to try some gluten free options. Let me know how your recipe turns out. 🙂


  2. The old cooler is awesome!

    The apricot bars look great. I’m looking forward to more recipes as you sort them. I also find that I often need to tweak old recipes a bit to make them turn out right.


    1. Thank you Sheryl! I’m sure you can relate to my attachment to my awesome little cooler. I think it’s pretty awesome that you have your Grandmother’s diary. One of the things I liked about these apricot bars (forgot to mention) is they are low fat (something I would do well to do more of). The applesauce replaces most of the oil. Surprisingly good and moist. I will definitely share some of Grandma’s favorites as I sort and make. 🙂 Have a great week!


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