Archive for May, 2014

Perspectives

It is important to sometimes take a step back and look at things from another perspective. Especially when reflecting on things past to keep from imagining it to be better than it really was.

May 1989

Perspectives shape our views of life

“Gee, you sure live away out in the sticks, don’t you?” said a new acquaintance as I answered the doorbell on a recent evening.

“I never think of it that way,” I replied and we went on with our business. But the more I thought about her remark the more I realized that most things in life are just a matter of perspective.

To her, I lived in the sticks. To me, I live in the best of all possible worlds. I live in a township with good roads and can be in Sedgwick, my home base, in eight minutes. I’m 10 minutes from Halstead and 12 minutes from Newton. The libraries in Sedgwick and Newton keep me supplied with books. If they don’t have a book I want, they send for it from the Central Library in Hutchinson.

The Sedgwick ambulance crew got here in 12 minutes when we needed them. The Sedgwick Fire Department made it in 13 minutes when a hay stack caught on fire.

The Wichita airport is 30 minutes away to connect me with the east coast, where two of my adult children and their families live. If I don’t want to fly, Amtrak gets me to the east coast in about 36 hours and stops in Newton.
I have all this, but also the peace and quiet of the country and good neighbors who are a blessing. I have Emma Creek to walk along. I have peaceful twilight hours. I have the birds, the soft green fields and the wide Kansas skies. I am only lonely if I let myself be.

In thinking of the overpowering importance of perspective, I remember my high school days at Abbyville as happy. Everyone in school was poor. I’m sure we would have been eligible for relief programs if there had been any to apply for. The girls had two cotton dresses for school and a better dress for Sunday. The boys wore overalls that had patches sewed on top of patches.

The high school library was inadequate, but our teachers were dedicated to helping us learn. Honora Becker, who later was a professor of English at Bethel College, introduced all of us country kids to Shakespeare with her detailed teaching of Julius Caesar.

We had just moved back to my mother’s birthplace so, as a freshman, I was the new kid in school. When, at the end of the first week I was elected president of the freshman class, I was elated. From most perspectives this was no big deal, since there were only 10 freshmen. But from my perspective, it was the equivalent of being elected governor of Kansas.

The school was so small everyone who wanted to could be on the first team. I’ll never forget the thrill of winning the Reno County championship in volleyball my senior year. Glen Moore, who still lives in Wichita, was our coach.
As we grow older, there is a temptation to talk of the good old days when everyone was honest, marriages lasted a lifetime and hard work was the key to success.

But from another perspective, how good were the good old days for pioneer families who worked from morning to night? How good were the good old days when women often died in childbirth and babies died of whooping cough, measles and diptheria? When little children were doomed to a life time in a wheelchair from the ravages of polio? When cataracts condemned a person to spend his years in darkness? How good were they for the children who lived out their short lives laboring long hours in the sweatshops? How good were they for the slaves living in fear of lynchings and beatings for no reason at all?

Perhaps the good old days were good if you were a man, white and very rich. But even they died of cholera, pneumonia and tuberculosis just like the women, children and slaves.

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Omelettes

Here are some good quick recipes for this busy time so you can spend more time outside enjoying the nice weather.

May 24, 1984

It is difficult to keep on top of the housework, the job, the garden and school activities this month, let alone get food on the table three times a day. Life gets to be a perpetual hurrying from one task to the next with no chance to relax and smell the flowers.

The grind of preparing family meals can be lightened by using frozen dinners and entrees, but these are hard on the budget especially noticeable in May with all the expenses of graduation and Memorial Day trips taking a big chunk out of the paycheck.

By using leftover potatoes the preparation time can be cut way down. Fortunately, eggs are not as expensive as they were last winter.

CREAMY OMELETTE

4 medium sized potatoes
2 tablespoons margarine
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley Salt and Pepper

Boil potatoes. Peel and dice. Melt margarine. Add onion. Cook lightly. Add potatoes. Cook until lightly browned. Season. Add eggs, beaten with sour cream. Pour into potatoes. Stir gently and cook until eggs are set.

PUFFY OMELETTE

1 medium potato, cooked
2 tablespoons margarine
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley Salt and Pepper

Mash potato (should be ¾ cup). Beat in egg yolks and milk. Add chives or parsley if desired. Season to taste. Beat egg whites stiff. Gently fold into first mixture.

Melt margarine in 10-inch skillet. Pour in mixture. Bake at 400° until lightly browned about 10 or 15 minutes.

SCRAMBLED EGGS

4 eggs
¼ cup milk or cream
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons margarine
Salt and Pepper

Beat eggs, milk and potatoes. Season. Melt margarine in small skillet. Add egg mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until creamy and soft.

SUPPER EGGS

6 potatoes, cooked
6 slices bacon
1 onion, diced
4 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. Pour off fat. Return 3 tablespoons of fat to skillet. Add onion and potatoes. Cook over low heat until lightly brown.
Beat eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour into pan and cook slowly, stirring gently until eggs are just set. Garnish with bacon.

HAMBURGERS

2 large potatoes
1 medium onion
2 eggs
1 ½ pounds hamburger
Garlic Salt
Pepper

Grate raw potatoes and onion. Blend with rest of ingredients. Shape into patties and cook on griddle or broiler rack until cooked through. Serve on buns with the usual hamburger accompaniments.

POTATO BAKE

4 medium potatoes
1 cup milk
1 onion
2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped
4 ounces Cheddar cheese
3 eggs
Salt and Pepper

Grate raw potatoes into milk in 8-inch casserole. Grate onion and add along with green pepper, cheese and seasonings. Beat eggs and combine. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until done. Cut into squares to serve.

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Mother’s Day

I love this article so much I decided to post it again. Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day

Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday I thought I would share these thoughts my Grandma had about the day from May 10, 1984.

Mother’s Day is almost here and all the little and not so little children are trying to find just the right gift to give Mother.

I remember the years when a plaster hand print or a crayoned picture or a crumpled bunch of violets were my gifts. I remember the year the whole bunch of kids pooled their money and bought a rose- colored, footed dish of Fenton glass. After buying the dish there was a bit of money left so they bought one bunch of purple grapes and draped it rakishly down the side.

The grapes are gone, but the rose colored dish reflects the afternoon sun from the shelf where it sits; reminding me of the thoughtfulness of little children, long grown but still dear as ever.

From a 6 or 7 year old kid’s point of view the best of all gifts is to serve Mom breakfast in bed.

For a Mom to stay in bed during the preparation of this Mother’s Day breakfast is the supreme test of motherhood.

The house may be disintegrating around you, the odor of burning bacon rising up the stairway, and the sound of pottery crashing to the floor, but you must stay in bed, steel yourself to the voices of children squabbling.

“Careful, Jimmy, you’re stepping in the egg I dropped on the floor.”

“Gee, this coffee looks funny.”

“I get to carry the tray.”

“Oh, no, you don’t, you got to carry it last year.”

Mothers, clutch the headboard and hang on. You must not, I repeat, must not rush to the kitchen threatening mayhem. It is essential to stay in bed- to pass the test that entitles you to be called a Mother’s Day Veteran.

Stay right there among your bitten- off fingernails and smile lovingly when the burnt offering appears at your bedside.

The kids will stand with beaming smiles as you look at the tray with its dandelion centerpiece.

“Mommie, try some of the scrambled eggs. I broke the eggs myself and only let a few pieces of shell get in.”

“How do you like the orange juice? I made it all by myself?”

“Did you have a good sleep while we fixed your breakfast? Oh, Mommy, we love you so much.”

Forget about the pains in your fingers from gripping the headboard to keep from leaping out of the bed in panic at the commotion in the kitchen.

Forget about the two hours you’ll have to spend cleaning up the horrible mess the kids made on the stove and floor. Savor the moment.

You have just been given the greatest gift in the world. Pure, unadulterated, shining love masquerading in the guise of burned bacon and scrambled eggs.

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Spring Time

May 14, 1987

With spring settling in and the lawn growing like mad, a garden to plant, the asparagus to pick and freeze, and the social life of a small community to keep up with, May is a month full of activity for most of us.

But I’m going to find time to go quietly outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and the balmy southern breezes. People who aren’t in awe with Kansas call those same breezes hot winds, but I prefer to give them a nice name and enjoy the fresh air they bring in as they blow by.

Here are some recipes that can be made up fairly quick and then reheated in the microwave as you linger outside past the time to start supper.

Rye Bread

1 cup rye flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon caraway seed

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup raisins

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Stir in milk and raisins. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing.

You can also add a half cup of sunflower seeds to this recipe.

I made up a double recipe and had a little trouble adjusting the taste. I’m pretty sure I’ll leave out the raisins next time. It is good served with cheese and also good as toast. After eating it for three days I’m growing more fond of it. Nutritionally, this bread is a good deal.

Several of asked for the recipe for the Spanish Rice thaw was at the Sedgwick-Halstead UMW luncheon meeting. Here it is, but it is one of those recipes that can be varied for individuals taste preferences.

Spanish Rice

1 cup raw rice

1 pound hamburger

1 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoons Worcestshire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups tomato sauce

1 cup cooked cracked wheat

6 cheese slices

Cook rice according to package directions. Cook peppers and onions in the hot oil until translucent. Remove from skillet. Lightly brown hamburger. Drain well. Add rest of ingredients, but just add 2 cups of the tomato sauce. Simmer for 2 hours adding the rest of sauce as needed. After 1 1/2 hours add the cooked cracked wheat.

When sauce is thick add the rice and simmer until blended. Top with cheese and serve.

Bitki

3 slices bread

1 pound hamburger

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups small cooked potatoes

1 cup commercial sour cream

Soak bread in water for five minutes. Drain and mix with hamburger, onion, salt and black pepper. Shape into patties and saute in hot butter. Remove patties to a small casserole and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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