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The Legend of Katie Reilly's Irish Soda Bread

Katie Reilly, by any standard, was a piece of work, a feisty legend and a character.  Each of her six children relished the secret conversations, her special caring and the wonderful knowledge that Mom loved them best.

Katie's kitchen was the arena for argument and arbitration, a laboratory for laughter where we kids tried out jokes, a haven from rejection and a warm place to gossip.  It was a place of nourishment and giving.  It was Mom's realm and without pomp and ceremony, she ruled over it with such ease and benevolence that we never knew she was in complete control.  That little kitchen of hers was many things:  a cathedral of care for the family, a chapel of concern for neighbors and friends, and the library of memories of her long life with all its triumphs and tears.

We all knew two things.  Mom was one smart apple and she loved us without question even when we were holy or unholy terrors.  She could always lift your spirits with a nice hot cup of tea, an open heart of love, a smile and a large slab of her Irish soda bread with butter on top.  That was our special reward.

Maybe the reason her Irish soda bread rose so high and was so delicious was because in addition to flour, buttermilk, baking powder and raisins, there was something else.  Katie Reilly baked her bread for others.  Like love, you have to give it away to realize how precious it is to those who require it.

Give someone you love a nice cup of tea, a piece of Katie's Irish soda bread and a hug.  They need all three.

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