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Visit someone in a nursing home.
Volunteer to work at a church or community dinner.
Volunteer at a mission or shelter. Many are serving meals AND passing out warm clothing.
Invite an elderly neighbor or church member to eat with you.
Arrange to eat with another single; chances are you know someone who is away from other family members.
Help deliver meals to those in your community who can’t get out. Your church or “meals on wheels” program will know who needs your services.
Eat at a restaurant.
If you have ever wondered how children reacted to the death of our president, here is a glimpse. I still have my diary from 1963-64. And this is how I looked in 1963. (No, the handsome boy wasn’t mine. He belonged to my best friend and he was graduating. I also have her picture with him.)
November 22, 1963- Today President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while touring Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to be the assassin. The governor of Texas was also shot, but not killed. We were in homemaking when we heard the news. (I was sweeping the floor.) We couldn’t believe it!
November 23, 1963- There were pictures on TV today of the President when he was killed. There will be nothing but news on TV until his funeral on Monday.
November 24, 1963- Today Oswald was killed by a night club owner while transferring from the city to county jail. Jack Ruby shot him right out in the open!
November 25, 1963- No school today. A national day of mourning. Today they showed pictures of the funeral. There were 1,100 guests invited to the mass by Mrs. Kennedy. Every country except communist China was represented at the funeral. Even Moscow was represented.
I also kept a scrapbook of every newspaper clipping I could find. I gave it away several years ago.
One week until Thanksgiving! Thankful for all the usual things: family, friends, health, job. But also thankful for some quirky things:
I failed to mention it, but during our Veteran’s assembly I had a flashback to my own school experience and it occurred to me that we are doing very little to instill patriotism in our younger children. Beyond teaching the flag salute and occasionally discussing military service there isn’t much included in our early educational system that encourages loyalty and citizenship. I suppose we leave most of that to the higher grades.
What made me think of it was hearing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” playing as background music and wondering how many students could sing at least one verse of it. Then I wondered if any of the adults in the audience could sing more than three verses of it. I could as a child. And many of the words came rushing back to me. We also sang “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country ‘tis of Thee”, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, and “The Star Spangled Banner”. At one school the whole student body sang a song each morning and our junior cadets brought out the flag for the flag salute.
If our patriotic lessons are lacking I suppose I am as much at fault as anyone. I need to incorporate more patriotic songs into our routine. But then there is the quandary of deciding whether “God Bless America” is politically correct in today’s educational climate. I feel guilty enough when I slip and say “Indian” instead of “Native American” or “Christmas” instead of “holiday celebration”. I am well aware that many parents are not patriotic and might take offense to my actions. So…one more thing to ponder.
Yes, I've posted this before, but you know we need a reminder from time to time about how cooking has changed over the years!
Three great choices for your Thanksgiving table from the Welcome Baking Powder cookbook, 1890:
Draw and wash the inside very carefully, as with all game. Domestic fowls are, or should be, kept up without eating for at least twelve hours before they are killed; but we must shoot wild when we can get the chance, and of course it often happens that their crops are distended by the recent hearty meal of rank or green food. Wipe the cavity with a dry, soft cloth before you stuff. Have a rich force-meat, bread crumbs, some bits of fat pork, chopped fine, pepper and salt. Moisten with milk, and beat in an egg and a couple of tablespoonfuls of melted butter. Baste with butter and water for the first hour, then three or four times with gravy; lastly, five or six times with melted butter. A generous and able housekeeper told me once that she always allowed a pound of butter for basting a large wild turkey. This was an extravagant quantity, but the meat is drier than that of the domestic fowl, and not nearly so fat. Dredge with flour at the last, froth with butter, and when he is of a tempting brown, serve. Skim the gravy, add a little hot water, pepper, thicken with the giblets chopped fine, and browned flour, boil up and pour into a tureen. At the South the giblets are not put in the gravy, but laid whole, one under each wing, when the turkey is dished. Garnish with small fried sausages, not large than a dollar, crisped parsley between them. Send around currant jelly and cranberry sauce with it.
Boiled Calf Head (without the skin)
Calf’s head, water, a little salt, four tablespoonfuls of melted butter, one tablespoonful of minced parsley, pepper and salt to taste, one tablespoonful of lemon juice.
After the head has been thoroughly cleaned, and the brains removed, soak it in warm water to blanch it. Lay the brains also into warm water to soak, and let them remain for about an hour. Put the head into a stew pan, with sufficient cold water to cover it, and when it boils, add a little salt; take off every particle of scum as it rises and boil the head until perfectly tender. Boil the brains, chop them, and mix with them melted butter, minced parsley, pepper, salt, and lemon juice in the above proportion. Take up the head, skin the tongue, and put it on a small dish with the brains round it. Have ready some parsley and butter, smother the head with it, and the remainder send to table in a tureen. Bacon, ham, pickled pork, or a pig’s cheek are indispensable with calf’s head. The brains are sometimes chopped with hard-boiled eggs. (My mom served pig brains with scrambled eggs.)
Thoroughly clean the pig, then rinse it in cold water, wipe it dry; then rub the inside with a mixture of salt and pepper, and if liked, a little pounded and sifted sage; make a stuffing of this: cut some wheat bread in slices half an inch thick, spread butter on to half its thickness, sprinkled with pepper and salt, and if liked, a little pounded sage and minced onion; pour enough hot water over the bread to make it moist or soft, then fill the body with it and sew it together, or tie a cord around it to keep the dressing in, then spit it; put a pint of water in the dripping pan, put into it a tablespoonful of salt and a teaspoonful of pepper, let the fire be hotter at each end than in the middle, put the pig down at a little distance from the fire, baste it as it begins to roast, and gradually draw it nearer; continue to baste occasionally, turn it that it may be evenly cooked; when the eyes drop out it is done; or a better rule is to judge by the weight, fifteen minutes for each pound of meat, if the fire is right.
Have a bright clear fire, with a bed of coals at the bottom; first put the roast at a little distance, and gradually draw it nearer; when the pig is done stir up the fire, take a coarse cloth with a good bit of butter in it, and wet the pig all over with it, and when the crackling is crisp take it up; dredge a little flour into the gravy, let it boil up once, and having boiled the heart, liver, etc. tender, and chopped it fine, add it to the gravy, give it one boil, then serve.
This is the perfect weekend for a person like me! I usually cram too many projects and plans into any weekend because my conscience tells me repeatedly that “things must be done” and I only have two days before I return to the limitations of the work week. But not this weekend! This is my procrastination weekend.
I should dust, but I can wait until Thanksgiving break.
I should clean my office, but I can wait until break.
I should wash the blinds, but I can wait…
Ditto for filing, sorting photos for my new calendar, buying new shoes, finishing my Christmas shopping, cleaning the kitchen cabinets…
So this weekend I’m doing a little gardening, reading, writing, relaxing, and duck watching. Perfect!
BTW- There were 53 ducks on the pond today and I did not stop to take a picture of them because it was so cloudy. So the photo is from last November.
I figured out what is wrong with our education system!
I know, I know…you’ve waited years for a definition of the problem so we can create a solution, and you can move on with your life. Well here it is at last…
Our educational system is created and controlled by math people.
Yep! It’s that simple. Occurred to me yesterday as I listened to someone giving me advice.
You see, there are really just two types of people in the world: math people, and language people. No, no, science people don’t get their own category; they are just math people in disguise. And art people are just creative language people. Trust me on this.
So…math people believe that everything can be explained in neat formulas and tidy equations and found on a chart or a graph somewhere. 2+2=4, even if you stand on your head and look at it without wearing your glasses. What works today will work tomorrow, unless of course some genius comes up with a new equation, then everybody has to use it. Math is concrete and reassuring and stretches off into infinity. Math people speak the same language and understand each other and confidently pass down their formulas and equations and charts and graphs to each generation. Give a math teacher a text book and a calculator and they know no boundaries! Give a kid a math test and you know immediately what they need to learn to perform better on the next test.
Language people know that two plus two equals four, but only if the two aren’t cats or pizzas. Because everyone knows that if you have two cats you can get six kittens and if you have two pizzas you can cut them into sixteen slices and share with your friends. And on Thursday you can get two pizzas for the price of one, so you could really have a pizza party! Language people are so accustomed to “exceptions to the rule” and “multiple definitions” that they just can’t think in terms of absolutes. Language teachers know there are a dozen combinations of words that can be used to express an idea and are hesitant to tell someone their way is wrong. A text book or dictionary of all our words cannot teach a child to read and write. No test can tell us exactly why one child understands a story and the next one thinks we told it in Greek. Language is constantly changing and the vocabulary familiar to one generation no longer exists in the next. The rules applied in one context do not apply in another. Language is not concrete and reassuring; it is fluid and bewildering.
So when someone looks me in the eye and tells me that if we can diagnose reading problems we can fix them, I don’t argue. I don’t remind them of the dozens of problems we HAVE diagnosed and not corrected. I don’t get upset. I know it’s just the math talking.
Note to math people: I still love you, so don't send me hate mail. I've been told since the sixth grade that I just "don't get it". lol