Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hawaiian Haystacks and Lyndsay: A Sort-of New Year's Eve Story

Tonight is New Year's Eve. I just drove Lyndsay and her friend back over to the friend's house, where her family is hosting a pre-dance dinner for the youth in our ward before they go to the Stake New Year's Eve dance. (didya get that?)

I knew from an inside scoop that they were serving Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner, so I mentioned it in the car as we drove. Lyndsay had never heard of them. "Really?" I said (maybe that's kudos to me, or not, I'm not sure.) "Oh, I've got a great Hawaiian Haystacks story that actually involves you, if you'd like to hear it."

Well, who can turn that down, right?

I told her that way back when, I had a visiting teacher and very good friend named Shannon Oaks. She was one of the very first friends I had as a newly married woman, herself newly married. She and her husband, Dan, became great friends of ours. I can remember her bringing me her amazing homemade cinnamon rolls when she would come visiting teaching. Man, they were good. Well, one day she came for her monthly visit, and by this time, she was great with child, as they say. We got to talking about pregnancies, and I mentioned that my period was late. "How late?" she asked. "Three weeks," I remember saying. And her eyes bugged out of her head.

"Three weeks!?! You're pregnant! Are you kidding me? Take a test!"

I was filled with excitement and anticipation over her excitement and anticipation. Looking back, I'm not really sure what I was waiting for, except that I didn't feel any different (that gross part would hit in another 2 weeks and about knock me off my feet for the next 4 months.) and I wasn't sure when was the right time to take a test to be sure. You know, we were poor college students, and a pregnancy test was no chump change.

So, I bought a test. And I took it. And she was right! A little baby Lyndsay was growing!

Well, she gave birth to her first daughter, Amanda, and she and Dan bought a condo and moved out of our ward. Months later, my husband and I bought our first home and we moved out of the ward also, but we stayed in touch. I'll never forget bringing Lyndsay home from the hospital. She was wearing a little pink onesie with a pink ribbon headband adorned with a silky white ribbon rose. Shannon and Dan (and baby Amanda) were the first to come over to see her and to bring us dinner. (Here it is!)

Hawaiian Haystacks!

A classic dish of the 80's, carried over into the 90's by well-meaning Mormons everywhere. Comfort food. She had all the components in separate bowls for us to construct our haystacks. Rice, chicken, green onions, olives, cheddar cheese, mandarin oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, crunchy chow mein noodles, and of course, the chicken gravy. They were delicious! Of course, I was a ravenous newly postpartum mom whose nipples were blistering and bleeding and whose episiotomy was on its way to becoming infected, but even without those factors, I remember how loved and cared for I felt as I ate that delicious meal made by my first friend as a married woman.

So, I've never made Hawaiian Haystacks myself, that I remember, though I can recall plenty of ward parties where they were served. But every time I think of them, I think of Shannon Oaks, and baby Lyndsay, all fresh from God. And me, a brand new mother, with no idea of what was coming my way in life.

A sweet memory. I often wonder what ever happened to Shannon Oaks. I miss her.

I pulled up to the friend's house, and the two girls jumped out. "Enjoy your Hawaiian Haystacks!" I called.

"We will! And now we'll always think of that story whenever we eat them," Lyndsay said, her friend laughing and agreeing. And just before she closed the car door, she said, "Love you! See you next year!"

Her last year at home.

Funny how Hawaiian Haystacks are now both a first and a last.


Luisa Perkins said...

That's a great story--and very well told. Happy New Year!

Andrea said...

I can't read your blog anymore. It always makes me cry :) Great story!
I had never had or heard of hawaiian haystacks until last year. It's now one of my kids favorite meals. i think because they can "make" it themselves.

Julie Wright said...

That is an awesome story. Thanks for sharing it.