There’s really no introduction needed for September 11th. It’s a day etched into the collective memories of anyone born before 2001. It is Kiddo’s assassination of JFK or my father’s Pearl Harbor. Unless you lived under a rock, you know the significance of the day. And it’s sorrow touched you.
Not only is today Patriot Day, it is also National Day of Service and Remembrance Day. Fittingly enough, it’s also Hot Cross Bun Day. That gives most who honor the day with a dish an easy out – Hot Cross Buns. And I will admit, last year I took that easy out.
This year, September 11th has a deeper meaning for me. It’s a memory that now I cling to. On September 11, 2001 our phone rang early in the morning. A phone ringing early in the morning is never a good thing. It was our daughter. Turn on the TV she shouted all breathless and excited. We are under attack. Mind you, Becca was always one for the dramatics. I asked which channel, to which she said it didn’t matter. Every channel was covering the same thing. It was a surreal way to start the day. What has stayed with me is the excited panic of my daughter’s voice.
Becca has never been one to watch out for her health. She was one of those ostridge types with her head buried in the sand. Things will get better tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day. Worry about that tomorrow. Unfortunately, by the time she was willing to pay any attention to painful lump in her breast it was too late. Surgery wasn’t an option and Chemo failed, as did several other treatments. On July 15th, my little girl went into hospice care. With Covid-19, we could not visit, and our only contact was by phone. On August 15th, my baby closed her eyes for the last time. As a mother, I should have been with her, but in today’s crazy world, it was the nurse on duty that brushed the hair from her face and gave her my final message “Rest now, it’s okay to rest now”. The world will continue to move forward, but my baby won’t be making any early morning calls home.
The lights pointing up to the heavens have taken on a new meaning for me. Hope and faith and a belief that all things happen for a reason. God is my source of strength, knowing that He has promised one day we will be together again. And then there will be no pain, no sorrow, no tears to shed.
Once this damn pandemic is behind us and people are allowed to come together again, we will have a Celebration of Life. She did not want a funeral of any kind, but rather a reunion with happy thoughts. My son and I will make all the He suggested we make a Sloppy Joe Bar in honor of his big sister and the first meal she ever made all on her own.
It’s a meal none of us will forget. Becca was all of thirteen and knew everything there was to know about cooking. She needed no help, especially none from me. I was sick and she was “taking over” the kitchen. I thanked my angel and promptly went back to bed. Becca put so much garlic into the Sloppy Joe Sauce that it seeped out Hubby’s pores and even with my stuffy nose, I could smell him. Eventually, Becca became a very good cook. Yet we never let her live down the Sloppy Joe fiasco. So today I as I think of her I wanted to share with you this recipe. It’s one of the many steps I’ll take as we say goodbye to my Booboo Bear.
Crowd Pleasing Sloppy Joes
1 large Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1-1/2 ribs Celery
3 lb Ground Beef
1 cup Barbecue Sauce
1 (26 oz) can Sloppy Joe Sauce
24 Hamburger Buns, split
Butter as needed
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese
Peel and coarsely chop the onion, set aside. Peel and finely mince the garlic, set aside. Rinse, trim and chop the celery ribs, set aside.
In 4-quart Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain well.
Transfer beef mixture to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add Barbecue Sauce, Sloppy Joe Sauce, celery and garlic. Mix well. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or HIGH for 3 hours, then LOW for an additional hour.
When ready to serve, split hamburger buns. Brush with soft butter, warm on a griddle.
Stir the filling meat well before serving. Fill each bun with about 1/3 cup beef mixture.
Set out bowls of shredded mozzarella, sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheese to sprinkle over the meat filling as desired. Serve and enjoy.