Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Spring Flowers and Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I made a cinnamon coffee cake last Saturday, prompted I suspect by the spring flowers in Santa Fe.


My Mother loved flowers. She wanted me to know the names of flowers. It was important to her.


When we lived in Georgia, at the first hint of spring we began our hunt for green leaves and buds. Mother and I toured the yard after dinner, wandering from spot to spot as she pointed and said, “These leaves will be purple iris. Look, the red and yellow parrot tulips made it through the winter.  These are the purple crocus. White snow drops. Daffodils. Cherry blossoms.”


She would have loved spring in Santa Fe. Georgia and I walked to the Plaza last weekend and along the way I saw all of the flowers I met with Mother: iris blossoms, red tulips, forsythia, pussy willows, cherry blossoms, apricot blossoms.


“Flowers are for the living,” Mother would say. I am the one living to see them and remember her, which brings me to the coffee cake. Mother had many wonderful qualities and skills but cooking wasn’t one of them with a few exceptions. One exception was her cinnamon coffee cake.

On occasion she made one for Sunday breakfast. The fragrance drew me to the table and the cinnamon and butter and brown sugar melted into the warm cake kept me there until the last crumb. That coffee cake was love.


So after Georgia and I toured the flowers, I went to the grocery store. A few hours later a friend of mine and I sat at my table with a vase filled with daffodils and ate warm cinnamon coffee cake at 3 P.M.  Flowers and cinnamon coffee cake are for the living and for remembering those who loved us and taught us all we ever needed to know.

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