Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 21 - Sweet Memories


"What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories." --George Eliot


Easter Sunday, 2008 was the third anniversary of my dad's death.

In the weeks and months immediately following his passing, thoughts of him filled my mind. I could see him in his kitchen making an eight-pound batch of his famous buttermilk fudge to give to family and friends. I could hear his laughter as he forced an unwelcomed play upon his dominoes opponents. I could see my mom and him dressed up in matching square dance clothes getting ready to do-si-do the night away.

Three years later the memories were starting to fade. I needed to remember. I wanted all of us to remember.

My walk down memory lane started in the aisles of Walmart. For two hours I searched for inexpensive dad-themed gifts for eleven adults and two children. Shelves of books and magazines reminded me of his fondness for crossword puzzles. In the hardware section, I remembered how he loved to tinker with tools and gadgets. Once he made a band saw using scrap materials and based on an article he read in POPULAR MECHANICS. I bought thirteen gifts and wrapped them in colorful paper.

My husband and I went to visit my mom in Albuquerque. She had invited my sister and her extended family, including my niece's new husband and his parents for Easter dinner. After dinner, I arranged an Easter egg hunt. Red, yellow and orange eggs were filled with candy. Green eggs contained slips of paper with numbers from one to eleven for the adults. Two blue eggs had the names of the children. Each adult could gather one green egg and each child, one blue. The other eggs were up for grabs by whoever found them. The numbers inside the green eggs indicated the order in which each adult would select a gift, just like a Christmas white elephant gift exchange.

The children were given their gifts first, then the adults began to choose. When each gift was opened, we'd reminisce about what it meant to dad. One of the new family members picked a DVD of the movie ASTRONAUT FARMER. We explained that my mom had been an extra in the square dancing scene. When my sister opened a box of popcorn, she and my niece talked about how my dad liked his popcorn slightly burned with parmesan cheese. Games, crossword puzzles, a can of WD-40 (his cure-all for many malfunctions), a cooking magazine, and a kitchen utensil each sparked a story of its own. Gifts traded hands if a person with a higher number wanted a gift that had already been opened. My mom was awarded the highest number so that she would have the final pick of all the presents.

Before Easter, My husband and I had made two eight-pound batches of my dad's famous fudge. Three-inch squares of the sweet confection were wrapped with aluminum foil and labeled with a picture of his smiling face and the words:

       Buttermilk Fudge

       Made in Memory of
                 Jim Ross

           March 8, 1930
          March 23, 2005


The afternoon was one of tears and laughter, a sense of loss and rediscovered memories. Everyone received a square of fudge. (If you'd like the recipe, I'd be happy to email it to you.) We'll never have our dad back, but his sweet memory is alive in our hearts.


This was a special time for our family to celebrate the life of a lost loved one. Is there a person whose life you could honor?

Use spring, the time of rebirth and renewal, to recall the shining moments of that person's life. Let your loved one live on in your memory.


Here's what people had to say about some recent workshops:

"I must say I was deeply touched by the things that happened that afternoon. My husband Stan, who has always been a great husband but never particularly demonstrative, totally blew my socks off. . . He's been so warm and considerate since that afternoon--I'm just elated! So thank you from the bottom of my heart--you are amazing!!" -- Linda L.

"We had 25 couples participate in the workshop, who ranged in ages from 27 to 78. What a wealth of wisdom was shared during our time together! The environment was light-hearted, even as we spoke of the serious topic of love and honoring our spouses.

Mary's leadership created a non-threatening atmosphere that made the event enjoyable even to the wife or husband who may have agreed to attend the romance workshop with very little enthusiasm." - Rev. Ann M.

"This workshop raised my energy vibration by about 100%. I think this may save my relationship which was almost lost." - Val E.

Would you like to host a workshop for your church, workplace or social group? It's an affordable and exciting way for couples to invest in their future. A 3-hour workshop is $10 per person.

THE ART OF THE SPARK is the core reference of the workshop; therefore, each couple must have or purchase the book. When more than ten people attend, 20% of the proceeds are paid to the hosting organization or person. Workshops in Colorado can be scheduled anytime, and workshops in various parts of the US can be scheduled this summer.


If you enjoyed this free e-zine, please forward it to friends.

I care about people and how they celebrate. If you have any stories you'd like to share with others, please send them to me at We can all learn from each other.

Wishing you a life of romantic adventure,
Mary Zalmanek

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