I love rain sounds-so relaxing! When I was younger, I used to be afraid
of thunder storms, so I made up my mind to "face up" to the next storm
that came along. The "next storm" happened to come along in the middle
of the night! Instead of pulling the covers over my head, I sat up in
bed and watched the whole thing until it passed. I grew to enjoy the
fierce beauty of the storms, even when the lightning cracked so loudly
it shook the house. I did have a healthy respect for lightning, though.
Our kitchen sink usually served as a direct line from the lightning to
the telephone and that was one room we learned to stay out of whenever
a storm came up. My grandparents had a mulberry tree in their yard that
was struck at least twice a summer. That old tree lasted for years and
years and years, until one summer it just got tired of being a lightning
rod and withered away. We had to chop it down. I was glad to see it go.
Every spring when the mulberrys started ripening, the tree would be surrounded
by bees and insects of all kinds. Since the tree was in the direct path
of our route to Grandma's kitchen, we had to detour or risk getting stung.
We could also end up with very sticky feet and then we had to scrub down
in the wash house before we could go into the kitchen.
My Grandparents' house was built around a real-live log cabin. This cabin was surrounded by a porch. It was used to store Grandpa's tools, Grandma's canning supplies and was home to the dinner bell, which could be heard all over the neighborhood when it pealed out! (My Grandpa was a farmer and the dinner bell called the field workers back to the house for supper). The cabin consisted of two rooms-one downstairs and one upstairs. It had one fireplace and worn, creaky wooden floors. My cousins and I played there as kids and pretended we were cowboys and Indians(of course!). There were many, many Indian arrow heads in the area that my mother used to collect as a child. They were mostly gone by the time I came into the world, though we never gave up trying to find more. That cabin is still a part of the house, even though my family does not own the house anymore. When my Grandmother passed away, the house was sold to one of our neighbors.
I'm reminded of four Easter "peepees" we got one year. This was in the "old days", when Easter chicks were colored and sold in 5&10 stores. My parents got four chicks one year, one for each of us kids. The chicks were green, purple, blue and pink. Mine was the purple one. We raised them in the basement,
gradually getting them used to wider spaces, until they eventually turned into four very healthy roosters. The biggest one was named "Grandpa", because he bossed the others around. "Grandpa" loved to sit on our laps. He would sidle up to one of us, cock his head, cluck and then jump into the chosen lap. After situating himself, he would begin to make soft clucking noises in his throat, almost like a cat purring! The more we stroked his feathers, the more he clucked contentedly. Our four roosters slept in the Apricot tree out back and would awaken us each morning at the crack of dawn. They made good watchdogs, as they would cackle and run to meet anyone who came to visit. "Grandpa" did not like bike riders, especially my youngest sister. He always targeted her feet and no amount of yelling or scolding would deter him from his mission. My brother, sister and I would often go to her rescue and chase "Grandpa" away! We eventually gave the roosters to my Grandpa-we got tired of having to watch where we walked in the yard. We kids went barefoot all summer and it got to the point where the whole yard was declared "unsafe" to walk in! I think our neighbor's pet raccoon broke into the chicken house one night and got "Grandpa". The other three roosters eventually ended up in chicken corn soup, which we kids didn't find out until years later. But that was the way of country life.
I read something in the paper that was destined to make it to my Memory Page. I spoke of the Gettysburg College Choir and of their director, Kermit Finstad, on my South Central PA/Northern MD Happenings Page. Kermit directed his final concert on Saturday, March 21, 1998. Kermit
graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and holds a master of music
degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Besides
studying in the United States, Kermit also was educated in Holland and
Norway. I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Kermit when I
accompanied one of his voice students, who is also a friend of mine.
The photo on my Home Page is from that recital. It was my friend, Janice's
debut recital. Janice has given several other recitals since then.
During the balmy summer months, our family often got together at least twice a month(and frequently more), to make good old-fashioned homemade ice cream. My grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunt and cousins would gather at Grandma and Grandpa's house on the weekend and we all took turns cranking away for what seemed like hours, in order to savor that deliciously hot-cold sweet treat. The hardest part came when the ice cream was nearly done-the crank was almost impossible to turn and that's when my male cousins tried to show off their muscles by giving the final few cranks. Then the paddle was taken out and the kids would all gather 'round to sample the sweet drippings from the paddle. If one of us gobbled down the ice cream too quickly, we were rewarded with an instant headache, right in the center of our foreheads. We sometimes had contests to see who could eat the quickest and not get a headache. I always lost-I can't eat cold things quickly to this day! We sometimes made vanilla ice cream, sometimes peach, strawberry and even blueberry! Grandma always had plenty of toppings available: chocolate syrup, homemade strawberry jam, molasses, bananas and any fresh fruit that happend to be ripe. Sometimes we ate at the big kitchen table. At other times, we gathered underneath the rose trellis, unless the bees were too bad. Not only did the bees like the roses, they also liked our ice cream. Actually, the honeybees could be chased away, but just let one yellow jacket show up and that was a different story! One yellow jacket always led to many more yellow jackets and they were quite insistent little fellows!
My cousins had a roly-poly black Doberman named Fritz, who loved to get into mischief. One evening as we were eating our ice cream, Fritz came barreling onto the front porch, with the intention of running right into the kitchen. Close behind came my cousin, yelling and hollering, "Catch him! Catch him!" Fritz had made his first encounter with a local pest, one of the neighborhood skunks, and he had definitely gotten the worse of the bargain! My grandma got out the old washtub and went to the pantry to retrieve some jars of tomatoes. Fritz was scrubbed down with tomato juice until he was bearable to be around. Then he got a good rinsing off with the hose. Needless to say, he didn't get to sit on his favorite couch that night, but he did get an extra serving of ice cream for all his trouble!
Ice cream has an interesting history. Bonnie Altland wrote an article for The Evening Sun(our local newspaper), about ice cream. Alexander the Great may have eaten the delicacy, as it was supposed to have been around 356 to 323 B.C. When ice cream was first introduced to Americans in the early 1700s, it was available only to presidents and governors. Reportedly, George Washington spent $200 on the creamy treat! First Lady Dolly Madison served ice cream during an inaugural banquet.
Ed Marks, ice cream historian and spokesman for Turkey Hill, is credited with introducing the first soft-serve ice cream to Europe during the Brussel's World Fair in 1958. Mr. Marks states that there are early accounts of Chinese emporers combining and freezing milk and sweetened rice. One legend has it that England's King Charles I hid his ice cream recipe from his subjects. After a political upheaval, in which Charles was beheaded, his recipe was made public!
In 1670, ice cream was available to Europe's commoners by way of cafes, coffee houses and street vendors, and made its debut in America 30 years later. A New Jersey homemaker invented a hand-cranked freezer in 1843. She sold the patent for $200. By 1878, the first ice cream scoop had been invented. An Italian immigrant produced the first ice cream cone. By 1921, ice cream was served to immigrants arriving on Ellis Island.
Turkey Hill Dairy was founded during the Depression and added homemade ice cream for customers on their milk delivery route in 1947. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were the standard flavors.
Today, Americans consume about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen desserts each year.
Now that you know all these ice cream tid-bits, aren't you getting a tad hungry? Feel free to help yourself to your favorite sweet ice cream treat! My favorite was Caramel Fudge(I don't think the flavor exists any more, but I remember getting a Caramel Fudge ice cream cone for a nickel-yum!). "Sweet Dreams". . .
Nana's real name was Golda A. Staley. She and her husband owned and operated the former Schottie's Restaurant in Littlestown, PA. In 1994, a cookbook was published in her memory. Not only did Nana have delicious food for the body, she also had some tasty morsels for the spirit. Here are some of her thoughts from the book, Food At Its Best.
I need a hug. . .you need a hug. . .all God's children need hugs. We're just made that way. . .from birth throughout life, a never-ending need. In the medical field, hugging is being used by nurses, health educators and doctors to calm and reassure people in the midst of a health crisis. Hugging is also offered to people in chronic pain as well. This "therapeutic touch" affects the hemoglobin levels and hemoglobin helps deliver oxygen to body tissues. Family therapist, Virginia Satir, suggests we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day to maintain our equilibrium and 12 hugs a day to grow. In this "touch-me-not" society, reach out. . .and hug someone.
A Grandmother is a lady who has no little children of her own. She likes other people's. A Grandfather is a man Grandmother. Grandmothers don't have anything to do except be there. They are old so they shouldn't play hard or run. It is enough if they drive us to the market and have plenty of dimes handy. When they take us for a walk, they slow down past pretty things, like leaves and caterpillars. They never say "Hurry up". Usually Grandmothers wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take out their gums and their teeth. Usually they are fat, yet not too fat to tie your shoes. Grandmothers don't have to be smart, only answer questions like "why isn't God married?" and "how come dogs chase cats?" Everybody should try to love a Grandmother especially if you don't have TV because they are the only ones who have time.
My mother remembers being "hexed" as a young girl when she was very sick because her mother(my grandmother) felt the doctor wasn't doing anything to help my mother get well. A neighborhood woman went out into the field with my mother and grandmother and "hexed" up a healing spell. Needless to say, my mother got well. I remember several folk cures being used on me when I was young. Whenever I got a bee sting on the foot, my mother held a paring knife against the wound-it was supposed to draw the poison out. When my children got bee stings, my farmer's-wife neighbor would make a mud paste and put in on the bee sting. I remember my cousin putting cobwebs on minor cuts to stop the bleeding. Following are several home cures that many of you might have used or, at least, heard of. Many of these are from our "not-too-distant" past!
It may not come immediately
nor from the obvious source,
but the LAW applies unfailingly
through some invisible source.
Whatever you feel about another,
be it love or hate or passion,
will surely bounce right back to you
in some clear or secret fashion.
Our thoughts are broadcasts of the soul,
not secrets of the brain.
Kind ones bring us happiness,
petty ones, untold pain.
Giving works as surely as
reflections in a mirror.
If hate you send, hate you'll get back.
but loving brings love nearer.
Let that thought and this one
direct you through each day. . .
The only things we ever keep
are the things we give away!
It's a peaceful, quiet evening here tonight. I am thoroughly enjoying the stillness and
the company of the dog. Kirby is part black lab and part retriever. He is the most
loving and intuitive dog I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He's always a
good friend. Kirby loves to go for walks. He loves to play ball. He loves to
greet visitors and feels left out if visitors don't acknowledge him. Kirby is the
center of the universe in this household. He's true-blue and loyal. He is one of
the best friends I have. I love him very much. If you don't have a dog around,
I'd very much suggest getting one: life is definitely enriched by these wonderful creatures!
I had such a busy and fast-paced day at work today, that it feels delicious just to
slow the clock down a bit! I'm thinking about things that make me feel serene and
cozy. There are lots of things that give peace to my soul: