In the early 1930’s, James Clinton Davis was a student at Oregon State and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. One year he and a few of his fraternity brothers decided to ring in the holiday with a batch of homemade eggnog. Affectionately known to his friends as Clink, and his grandchildren as Pop, he was also my dad. Originally whipped up on a whim by a bunch of fraternity brothers, our family has been making Pop’s Eggnog ever since.
For as long as I can remember, making, drinking and sharing this family nog has marked every Christmas with a tradition as sweet and rich as that first sip. My earliest memories include loading up the family car on Christmas Eve with precious jars of the stuff, and heading out to go, as Pop called it, “Christmas Calling”, to deliver liquid goodwill to good friends and neighbors. Later that same night, after attending their candlelight Christmas service, dear family friends would ring the doorbell, and over glasses of Pop’s eggnog, always topped with freshly grated nutmeg, we would ring in the earliest hours of a new Christmas Day.
As life goes, looking back, some years were better than others, and some were downright painful and hard. But Pop’s Eggnog? It was always the same. Rich, sweet, tasty, and delicious. It tasted as good when we were down on our luck as it did when we were in the chips.
Pop is gone, but his eggnog and the memories gathered over the years of making, drinking, and sharing it live on. Every year, it is made, sipped, and shared by our family, now spread out in towns and cities near and far.
And today, Pop’s Eggnog is officially being served, topped of course with freshly ground nutmeg, to welcome in another holiday season at Solstice Woodfire Cafe & Bar in Hood River, Oregon, which is managed by Pop’s youngest granddaughter.
Traditions matter, and in times of turmoil, uncertainty, and stress, they can remind us that there are some things that can always be counted on no matter what. Like Pop’s Eggnog.