Monthly Archives: September 2009

Grandparents Day

I know I’m a little late for the “official” Grandparents Day – but I also know it’s never too late to honor those who are special to you.

Meet my Grandpa and Grandma.

Melinda & Grandma

My Grandma – so sweet and soft!

Melinda & Grandpa

My grandpa – still a tease, and so much fun!

We now live over 10 hours apart – but a trip with my sisters to my uncle’s funeral provided me the opportunity to spend some time with them.

It brought back so many memories.

My Grandpa has always been a tease! When we were little, he would grab our feet and pretend he was going to cut off our toes with his pocket knife. We would scream and giggle while he proceeded to tickle us!

At meal times he would point out the window and when we looked – he would steal our desserts.

He has always seemed to me to be a big man. He had a big presence, a big voice, a big laugh, and a big smile.

He seemed smaller now.

He lives in the Alzheimer’s Unit at the nursing home. I’m not sure he knew who I was, but I hope he know I loved him.

It was a bittersweet visit with Grandpa. Sweet because of all the memories it brought back – but bitter because he couldn’t share them with me.

Sweet because it was so good to hear his voice, but bitter because that voice couldn’t say my name.

He does still remember Grandma – who is just down the hall in another wing. He kept asking, “Have you seen Miriam?” “She looks good! They paint her nails here and do her hair. She gets all gussied up. Have you seen Miriam? “

Yes, Grandpa, we saw Grandma – and she does look good.

She was thrilled to see us and knew immediately who we were.

Her mind was sharp and her memories clear, even though her voice was as soft as a whisper.

I felt the need to touch her, I guess to make her real again.

She looked rested and good. After years of feeding the multitudes on the farm, she loves having her meals served to her. After carrying the burden of care for Grandpa, she can now just enjoy his daily visits.

It was sweet, so sweet to talk to Grandma – to hold her hand, finally soft after a lifetime of working beside and caring for her man – to hug her.

She smelled so good. It reminded me of the powder puff she always kept in the bathroom – the one that we  used to layer ourselves with every time we visited!

I can’t tell you how hard it was to say good bye…

…to wonder if this would be my last visit, my last hug, my last memories with both of them.

I just hope they know that I love them.

Civil War Days

Our weekend got off to an unusual start – we stepped back in history!

We attended a local Civil War Re-enactment – complete with period clothing, guns, and attitude!

First we checked out the Union camp (not just because that’s where our sympathies lie – but it was closer!)

After a demonstration on how to load and fire an authentic civil war rifle,  we moved up to heavy artillery.

While we were admiring the big guns, an older gent in Union blues came out and asked the kids if they would like to shoot the cannon.

Their eyes got big!

“Really – we can actually shoot it?”

And they did!

Do you have any idea how many steps were required to fire out one shot from the cannon? I lost count at 8.

It took 4 men (in our case – 4 kids) – and they had to remember all these steps while the enemy is shooting at them.

Civil Wars Days Then we moved on the northern entrenchment – which is basically a big hole in the ground with places to shoot from.

The northern one was nice – but not nearly as nice as the southern one!

We were very impressed with the quality of the work on the southern workmanship.

They had deluxe accommodations –

Civil Wars Days Trench – sod covered tarps to protect the men.

-reinforced walls

-gradually earthen steps down into the entrenchment (they Northern one was just a slope – that I slide down of course)

-lots more room

It could have almost graced the cover of a home improvement magazine (okay – so I exaggerate a little – but my pride is still a little bruised after my fall into the Northern one!)

We next traveled on up the hill to the Confederate Camp. It was there we learned that these re-enactors actually take the role of a real regiment in the Southern army.

They study these regiments – reading books and journals – until they know the history well.

Most of them had relatives who fought for the South – and all are proud to wear the Confederate grey (if only for a weekend).

And they all really got into this!

But then – so did we! My history loving – sword fighting – very imaginative family – all loved seeing the past come to life.

And the sweetest part of all – we could count it as school!

Sweet Corn – First Fruits

Sweet Corn Finally!

After several years without, we have finally harvested our very own sweet corn from the garden!

The weather cooperated.

We were able to finally out- smart the coons.

And our 3 layer fence kept the deer out.

It was late – very late. But that just made it more delicious!

We’ve enjoyed several “all-you-can eat” sweet corn meals and even put a few bags in the freezer.

There’s nothing quite as sweet as the food you grew yourself. All the labor, all the effort, all the waiting pays off as you enjoy bite after luscious bite of corn – butter and salt dripping down your chin.

It’s a good life.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (a.k.a. Zebra Cookies)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies When my daughter first showed me this recipe, I wasn’t very excited.

When I heard the word “crinkle” – I instantly thought of crunchy and I am a soft cookie person.

I was very pleasantly surprised when these came out of the oven! They were soft and chewy inside with a slightly crisp but velvety sweet outside.

My oldest son called them “storm troopers” Since they reminded him of the black and white armor worn by the storm troopers from Star Wars.

But I think they look more like zebras.

I guess you could call that a generation gap!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

Combine granulated sugar and oil in large bowl; add cocoa and mix well. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture, beating well.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours. (We went overnight.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops are crackled. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheets to wire racks. Cool completely. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

These are absolutely amazing when warm from the oven, but will still taste great for awhile in a tight container on the counter. I haven’t tried freezing them (they didn’t last that long here!), so I don’t know what the powdered sugar will do in the freezer.

Enjoy!

911 – Our Battle Continues

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9/11

Who can forget the images, the horror, and the shock as the reality of that day unfolded.

The incredible loss of human life – especially civilians – brought the reality of war to our doorstep.

I recently watched the classic movie Mrs. Miniver and was struck again by the Vicar”s speech at the end of the movie.

I saw some remarkable parallels between the incredible courage and strength shown by the British during WWII as the Nazi war machine hammered the English coast for weeks on end – and the battle we are facing in our country today.

The Vicar’s speech:

We, in this quiet corner of England, have suffered the loss of friends very dear to us. Some close to this church: George West, choir boy; James Bellard, station master and bell ringer and a proud winner, only one hour before his death, of the Belding Cup for his beautiful Miniver rose; and our hearts go out in sympathy to the two families who share the cruel loss of a young girl who was married at this altar only two weeks ago.

The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn’t been struck to the heart. And why? Surely you must have asked yourself this question. Why in all conscience should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed?

I shall tell you why.

Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom!

Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them.

Instead they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down.

This is the people’s war!

It is our war!

We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us.

And may God defend the right.”

We are still in battle – fighting for the freedom our country has been founded on.

And our battle isn’t just fought in the deserts of the middle East. It is fought in our cities, our homes and our minds.

This is our battle people!

Our freedoms are at stake.

May God defend our rights.