Mr Davis’ Toffee Squares
~ Patty ~ JP ~
in an email to Patty & JP …… going through my recipe box and ran across a very dirty recipe card for Toffee Squares and immediately thought of Mr Davis they were synonyms right? “Mr Davis is coming he’s got a sweet tooth hurry, whip up some toffee squares.”……
Patty: How well I remember. He absolutely lived on coffee, sweets and cigarettes. In looking back,that probably is why he died so young.
I sure miss him. The husband of my best friend since high school and a real life cowboy. He loved our farm with all its wide open spaces and wonderful pastures. He brought up those four gorgeous Tennessee Walker mares to live and reproduce on our farm. Young Lady MacKay, Joe’s Country Music, Chocolate, and Minnie. His stud, Sultan, was his pride and joy.
JP went over to his house, after school and football practice, every night one fall season. He taught JP how to break our first foal, Johnny Cash. (The first-born of Joe’s Country Music.)
Johnny was always everyone’s favorite, but only JP could ride him. He was JP’s horse. And the most well-mannered, fastest horse I’ve ever seen! As the years went by each one had his or her own horse, some were more interested than others. To me it was the very best way to get a teen-ager to pay attention to something other than him/herself. When you’re riding, or working with, a great big horse you have to pay close attention to the horse.
It was wonderful training for all of us. I learned as much as the kids.
I have never forgotten Gail’s contribution to all of us.
I remember the day they buried him. I planted dozens of daffodils in his honor. They bloomed and multiplied for some 20 years. Then, due to the help of some inexperienced gardeners, most of the bulbs got dug up and thrown out. I didn’t even know they were gone until the following spring. Today I have 150 new bulbs ready to plant……again, in honor of my good friend Gail Davis.
JP: Gail Davis – my first mentor, long before I knew what that meant. I had wanted to be a cowboy for as long as I could remember, and here was a man with boots, hat, and a saddle. He brought with him smells of leather, tinged with sweat and horse hide. Then he’d climb aboard one of those big horses and ride up a storm. It didn’t seem to matter that the horses weren’t used to being ridden. He’d work them into shape and have them minding their manners in no time.
Learning to ride was a big deal for me. I wanted to know more about horses, but in a wishful way – like wanting to win the lottery. The chance came when Gail offered to teach me to break and train one of the young stock and I’ll never forget it. I was in 8th grade, and playing football after school. After practice, I’d walk to the Davis’s house just outside of town. I learned the basics – lunging, grooming, and handling an animal much bigger than me. Most of all I learned how to guide and reassure my horse, earning his trust. And my relationship with Joe’s Johnny Cash would become one the most important of my lifetime, lasting nearly 20 years.
Somewhere along the way, I realized Mr. Davis was more than a cowboy, he was a horseman. He had a firm hand, but worked more through steadiness than strength. He was demanding, but absolutely fair. And he loved his horses. He earned a horse’s trust by understanding and respecting them first. With Gail in the saddle, a horse knew he could surrender control because Gail would look out for him. Often, they did things they ordinarily wouldn’t have – because Gail asked them to. And if he asked, it must be okay.
I never thought much about these things while growing up – how much I learned from Gail, or how I wanted to be a horseman like him. He had his own family with kids my age, yet found the time to share his passion with me. I started working with horses more and more, never looking back. When he died suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. I realized what a profound gift he’d given me so many years ago. And although I deeply regret never having thanked him, I see a new way I want to be more like him.
Toffee Squares (up-graded)
In mixer on med-high speed beat together until fluffy:
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
Add and mix well:
1 tsp Vanilla
Add and mix just until blended:
2 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
Pat into greased 9″x13″ cake pan.
Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden
Remove from oven and IMMEDIATELY sprinkle on about
1 Cup Ghirardelli 60% Chocolate Chips
when they start to melt, and are still hot, spread them around with a knife or rubber scrapper to make your “frosting”.