May 11, 2021

Recipe for Memorial Day

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Dody-Denman-FPwebComing home and Memorial Day
By Dody Denman
Memorial Day is Monday, May 30th and I have a story to share with you that only a few people have heard. I, like most freedom loving people, appreciate the sacrifice from our military. Ours was not a military family. There wasn’t a history of parents, grandparents being in the service. My eldest grandson changed that.
Justin joined the United States Army Reserve. He had already completed EMT, paramedic and firefighter training and those skills were wanted by Uncle Sam. In a short time he was shipped overseas for a specific assignment. A huge piece of my heart went with him. It was the first time anyone in my family was so far away. For almost nine months I prayed for him daily and grieved for him. He was greatly missed.
Meanwhile, number four grandson, Mason, graduated from high school and was heading to college in another state. One more leaving the nest! I decided to take a trip with him, his sweet girlfriend and youngest grandson to Florida. We spent a glorious week playing in the white sand and emerald green water. The morning we had to leave for home went as planned. We were packed and ready to go before check out, ahead of the tremendous amount of vacationers that would also be leaving.
All went well on the drive back to Texas until Louisiana where a massive car fire stopped all lanes of traffic. We were only a few automobiles from the burning vehicle, and spent hours parked on the highway waiting for it to clear. Thankfully, we were prepared with a loaded ice chest full of food and drinks. Finally traffic was moving and we were headed home. All totaled, it was over 12 hours spent sitting in the truck!
As we neared home I told the kids to call their parents to meet us at my house. I was done with driving and didn’t want to go 15 more minutes. I just wanted to be home…horizontal on my sofa! Moments after we arrived my daughter called insisting I come to her house. I pleaded exhaustion and total aversion to getting back in an automobile. She assured me all would be worth it, although I could not imagine that it would. She was making some noise about having bought me something that wouldn’t fit in the car…I needed to pick it up. “Can’t I get it tomorrow?” I whined. She was adamant that the trip was urgent and necessary. As usual, I gave in to my child’s request…but this time, complaining all the way.
I begged my husband to drive us over…if I had to return to the truck at least it would be as a passenger. When I walked in to my daughter’s house, she greeted me with a big hug. Now you need to understand, my daughter, who I adore, is not very demonstrative. Not a big hugger, so right away I was suspicious. Then my husband hugged me from the back. As I was wrapped by this hug sandwich a thought gripped my heart….something had happened to Justin! A dark thought that something really, really bad had happened to my precious grandson. This was a thought my mind did not want to process.
Everything stopped. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I don’t think my heart beat for that moment…until I realized….in the corner of the room was one of Justin’s friends. I then pulled away from Kristie and asked, “Where is he?” She answered with, “Are you kidding?” “No”, I said, “Where is Justin?” “Mom”, she laughed, “he is behind you.” The hug I thought was from Mike was instead from my grandchild. I turned and held him for a long time…but not long enough…never enough. My number one was home. I could breathe again. My heart was intact.
I always cry at the reunion videos posted on social media of those returning justin in uniformto their families and surprising loved ones. I think, “This time I won’t cry”, but I always do. Then I think of the tears that have flowed for those that never returned. The young lives lost for duty and love of country. I, like most freedom loving people, feel grateful for their sacrifice…and those made by their family. God bless our military. God bless freedom. God bless America…this Memorial Day and every day.

Justin came home hungry and requested many dishes, but one that he asked for several times was Rum Cake. This is the recipe I made for him.

rum cake pix1Dishin’ with Dody

Rum Cake



  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
  • 1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
  • one 3.4 ounce package (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (I use golden or coconut Tortuga Rum)


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum


Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. (Can also be made in 9 x 12 pan.) Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan. Invert cake onto serving plate. Meanwhile, make glaze by adding butter, water and sugar into small pan over medium heat. Stir until butter and sugar is melted. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Prick top with fork. Slowly drizzle glaze over top of cake.

Another way to glaze the cake is to leave in pan and carefully pull away from side of pan as you pour about half the glaze around the perimeter of the pan. Pour the rest of the glaze over top of cake. Allow it to absorb then turn out onto serving plate.


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