by Don & Patty Anderson
Dear Mom, and all,
Sorry for the lack of contribution on my part to your wonderful newsletter. Patty and I enjoy it immensely!
So, a little cabin remodel update. Progress has slowed considerably since we completed the main living area (living room, dining room, and kitchen). We are going to get back on track this week and finish the back hall and main floor bath. We have sheetrock to tear out, cabinets to remodel and re-paint, wallboards to install and floor to lay. The old bath was a full bath; we now will have a laundry/bath combination with full sized stacking, frontload washer and dryer, stool and sink. (The old laundry in the basement will become a full bath.)
Meanwhile, Patty has been putting the finishing touches on the kitchen cabinets. we have three upper cabinets that we wanted to be open for display. Our initial thought was to use chicken wire to fill the opening in the door frame, but this proved to be a problem in installation and an unsatisfactory finished product. Patty's solution was to stretch bare copper wire across the opening in a 1" basket weave. The results are stunning (in spite of a doubting husband). Each door took about five hours to weave, but the end results are very rewarding. I am very lucky to have such a talented, resourceful, and determined wife.
The log restoration crew has returned this week to finish the outside trim, and if the weather holds, perhaps they can get the stain and sealer applied.
We have taken a little break these last few weeks to do a little entertaining, first the Ashby crew, then our motorcycle gang ... er ... I mean club, and last weekend, the kids and cousins. So now it's back to work before we get distracted by nice weather and waiting motorcycles.
Keeping to task was a lot simpler this winter as we were not distracted with a lot of snow. We did manage to get up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a nice snowmobile ride, but that was about it.
We look forward to being done with our remodeling and back to our lives as soon as possible.
Don and Patty
by Wyatt Johnson
We haven't sent an update lately, so its time! Rylie now has two teeth right up front on top. It's funny to watch her eat, kind of like Bugs Bunny gnawing on a carrot. She definitely thinks it is pretty fun to have more foods she can eat now. With the weather finally warm enough to go outside once in a while, we've been able to get out and take a few walks. The first walk, we put Rylie on her tricycle which we gave to her for her birthday. I don't know if you heard about it, but it has a big handle on the back for me to push her around and steer her. She holds onto the handlebars and rings her little bell like she's the queen of the block!
Jolene has been putting in a little more time here and there on Rylie's scrapbook. We've got a lot of pictures, so the pages keep piling up. We recently bought a treadmill, so we've both been spending some time while it is cold out trying to get ourselves in shape. I've set a goal for myself to run in a 5K run this summer. (We'll see if I can stay motivated enough … stay tuned!)
I'm also slowly trying to teach myself to play guitar. It started as a way to keep Rylie entertained while Jolene is working, and I'm really enjoying it, even though I am still horrible at it. I took lessons once when I was about 8-10 years old, but I don't remember much from that! Again, stay tuned; we'll see if I actually stick with it, especially once it is nice outside.
Rylie and I are looking forward to attending Rylie's first Minnesota Twins baseball game this Friday at the Dome. Unfortunately, Jolene has to work! Weston got a block of 50 tickets, and we're going with a lot of friends from Ashby, and a lot of Lori's friends in the cities. Last year we *only* had 35 tickets, but Weston decided to expand the operation this year!
We are thoroughly enjoying The Bulletin, and really hope you keep it up. We are learning so much about the family, and it has been a lot of fun!
Love, hugs, and kisses from Moorhead,
Wyatt, Jolene, and Rylie (and Atley the dog and Sam the cat)
As of right now I have 4 B's and one C. I also found out today that if my sinus infection doesn't clear up I will have to have surgery. I have too many sinus infections that just won't go away. I missed a lot school last week and I have not gone yet this week. My head has been hurting me so bad. Nothing I take will make it go away. I am now on antibiotics and I hope that will help.
The Family Cookbook
by Doug Anderson
As promised, it is my distinct pleasure this week to share with you some time-honored recipes and cooking secrets from our North Dakota relatives. Auntie Elaine was kind enough to submit all of today's items, so many thanks go out to her.
Let's dive right in with her first item, a lovely dessert I like to call:
Grandma Cleo's Classic Peach Surprise
Empty a can of peaches (29 Oz. size) into a 9 by 13 cake pan
Sprinkle a dry cake mix over this (Grandma liked butter brickle.)
Drizzle with 1/4 lb. of melted butter (1 stick)
Add shredded coconut, slivered almonds (if desired)
Bake at 350 until brown on top.
Elaine adds, "This is good with whipped topping. It can be cut into squares and it freezes well to have on hand also. I have also made it using a can of cherry pie filling and a little flat can of pineapple, along with a white cake mix."
Our prolific Auntie sent more treasures, and we will get to each one in time, but first, some cooking secrets! (These are all in the author's own words.)
What makes Dorothy's soup so good is the tomato juice and a bit of sugar she adds to the broth. Cleo often added a snitch of sugar to gravy and soup also.
When a recipe calls for margarine, do not use the "Lite" or those with lots of water added. It is best to use butter when a recipe asks for butter.
Always soak egg beaters, whisks and milk containers with COLD water for easier clean up. Always check that you have all the ingredients on hand BEFORE you start to stir up your recipe!
No wiser words have ever been spoken. Thanks for your recipes and helpful hints, Auntie! Keep watching for more of Elaine's cooking contributions in the near future.
Next week: Lori unleashes her Cajun voodoo!
Gifts to Share With You
A Belated Birthday Gift to Donna
Good Morning Sis!
Here it is; all the memories are true, they just didn't happen in the same day. I strung them together for entertainment purposes.
Hank Ketchum Lived At Our House
This story is dedicated to my beloved sister, Donna, in atonement for forgetting her B-day.
The basement was very dark and smelled of dampness. I made baby steps towards the bathroom, hands outstretched to ward off oncoming obstacles. I traversed the tiny hallway and threw the bathroom door open.
Inside was a large Mohawk Indian warrior in full dress, brandishing a stone club menacingly. I didn't even flinch. I wasn't trembling, and my eyes did not bug out of my head. This nightmare had lost its potency and become only a thing of macabre curiosity.
"I know you're just a dream," I informed the warrior. This seemed to hurt his feelings a little, and he let his club flop down to rest at his side.
"I even know why I keep dreaming about you. Because I looked at that Time/Life book about Indians, and I thought the ones who dressed like you were the coolest. And the scariest."
The next morning I had totally forgotten the dream. It was summer and I was young and there wasn't much time for dwelling on things. Our pear trees were almost as tall as me now, and I knew by spring I would be eating luscious ripe pears as big as my head. My father's paint gun wheezed acrid colors inside his new tractor painting shop, transforming grotesque neglected hunks of machinery into beautiful works of practical art.
Just outside my Father's magical laboratory of transformation and redemption was an honor system pop machine. It wasn't like the upright, overblown monsters of today, but rather a small, quadruped type, humble in its zen-like simplicity. The grandest feature was, of course, the grape and orange flavored, bottled, carbonated sugar water that was inside.
There was also the tantalizing fear of the ever present threat of a showdown between Dad and "The Crazy Neighbors." I had every confidence that they were no match for my dad's huge hands and deadly paint gun.
This particular morning I had chosen to take my BB-gun out "hunting," although the actual act of killing something seemed distasteful to me. Of course, I had made a stop at the pop machine and fished out a grape Sunrise on credit. Hunting is thirsty business, after all. I made my way slowly to the scattered collection of trees in our back lot that I liked to refer to as "The Woods."
This morning I actually spotted live game. There was a huge pile of white doors stacked just outside of the trees. This was not uncommon, as many odd jobs seemed to pile up on our property, providing many interesting landmarks for an imaginative young boy. Rooting around the stack of doors was a squirrel, a very brave squirrel indeed, for at the sight of me, he only retreated into the pile of doors, although he could have easily made the sanctuary of the nearby trees.
I decided right then that a truly dedicated hunter must have patience, so I sat down beside the squirrel's fortress of doors. He's got to come out sometime, I reasoned.
When I woke up, the sun was high overhead and I knew I had lost precious hunting time. I plundered into the shelter of trees, forgetting the squirrel and my shameful defeat at his claw-like little paws.
I inevitably ran across several varieties of little medicine bottles and some old car batteries, the latter corroded with chocolate-colored rust and smelling of exotic chemicals. I naturally integrated my two discoveries, and set the bottles atop the batteries for some target practice. This wore on for hours, as I was a terrible shot and the gun barrel had sustained some structural damage from being used as a makeshift crowbar. After a couple of hours of frustration, I gave in and smashed the bottles with the butt of my gun.
Back in the house, I made myself a sandwich comprised of Skippy peanut butter and ludicrously purple grape jelly. Our cousins, The Millers, championed Jif, but this was a Skippy household, thank you very much.
From downstairs there came a terrible din. The downstairs was a wonderful place, during the daytime. Its most fascinating feature was, by far, my sister's room. This was the very place that the pleasant, if not somewhat foreign, racket came from. My oldest sister was different enough from myself to be interesting to me, and she interested me, indeed. The same could not be said of my other two sisters, who were just typical doll-playing girls to me at the time, no surprises, no mystique.
My sister was giving a performance. She was not afraid to sing then, beautiful, mysterious songs of teenage lament, that only later would I come to fully understand and identify with. Today's program included Brand New Key by sultry hippie songstress, Melanie. Of course, I didn't know who sang it then; I thought my sister did.
I've got a brand new pair of roller skates
He's got a brand new key
How novel, I thought. But what does it mean? It seemed beyond my scope of reason. I was drawn into her mysterious studio by the Top Forty siren song, but I was immobilized by what was on the easel: a colored marker rendering of a lifelike Dennis The Menace on tag board. I was speechless. I had never seen anything so perfect, with the exception of maybe when my Dad painted an Allis-Chalmers, because orange was my favorite color. As I stood there, in my sister's room, staring at what might have been (to me, at least) an original Picasso or Renoir, my little cerebrum stirred with a faint glimmer.
My mind panned back like a director's movie camera, to years earlier when I had first been introduced to Hank Ketchum's quintessentially mischievous little boy.
My Grandmother was a huge fan, apparently, and she (and only she) may have the credit for my fine sense of humor, even to this day. I could remember vividly my first exposure to the surly young Mr. Mitchell; Grandma narrated one of his typical tales of mirth and mischief one day in my very early life, as I sat rapt in her lap. By the end of the raucous story, we were both in tears, my Grandmother rocking back and forth with me in tow.
Remembering the whole episode on that day in my sister's room must have been my first ever fit of nostalgia. Maybe six is a little young for sentimentality, but I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
That night when I went to sleep, my subconscious had replaced my obsolete nightmare with bloodied, wounded soldiers. A fair attempt, but not wholly effective. I kept morphing into Dennis Mitchell, hunting squirrels in a huge maze of white doors.
A Gift to the Editor
I had just made the umpteenth mistake -- sent off a Bulletin to my readers with the directions to my staff still attached." Maybe I am too old and forgetful for this job! Oh, well -- get busy and send a note to everyone -- so I don't get deluged with returned copies. As I pulled in my mail, here is what appeared:
This morning when I wakened
And saw the sun above,
I softly said, "Good morning, Lord,
Bless everyone I love."
And right away I thought of you
And said a loving prayer,
That He would bless you specially,
And keep you free from care.
I thought of all the happiness
A day could hold in store,
I wished it all for you because
No one deserves it more.
I sent this message back to Donna:
Thank you ---I needed that!!!
The Gift of Love: Her Answer
You are welcome. And, thank you for the wonderful job of making our family "reach out and touch one another" ... even beats those phone calls, so will swipe their old saying! I know for a fact, Doug and I are enjoying this, maybe almost as much as you are. :-) It's an idea that just keeps growing and blossoming over time. I went back and read some of your very first letters and enjoyed them; at the same time I couldn't help but notice how very much your "Bulletin" has changed. I enjoyed seeing how it's evolved more and more as time went along. Fun! You make a super Editor! Your enthusiasm for family interaction, even from a great distance, has spread to some of the rest of us, thank you!
You asked for memories of our Dad, and I've enjoyed thinking about that. I suppose he was very much a "combination" of Grandpa and Grandma Dake. He had the strong conscience convictions that Grandpa had ... his word was as good as a signed contract. And he had the sincere interest in people that Grandma had ... he tried to treat everyone equally and fairly, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with people. And like Mother mentioned in her account, he could be quite "determined" or "stubborn," depending on how you want to look at it!! :>)
As a child, I scarcely even considered questioning anything he told me or expected of me. I just knew that if he said it, he meant it ... and that was the way it would be. And I knew there would be very definite consequences if I didn't fit in!! :>) But that did give me a feeling of stability and security, even when I didn't exactly "like" it! :>)
I had to smile when I read what Mother wrote about his guitar playing! What he may have lacked in talent, he certainly made up for in enthusiasm!! I can still see him strumming vigorously and tapping his foot ... somewhat in tune and somewhat in time!! :>)
But the memory that has been the very most precious to me in the years since he died, is the memory of the many times through the years that I saw him, after a day of hard work in the fields or whatever (and he was a very hard worker), sitting in his recliner reading his Bible, or kneeling by his bed praying. That is priceless to me, and has encouraged me many, many times through the years ... because it reminds me that having a good relationship with God was the very most important thing in life to him. And I'm so thankful for that example he left us to remember.
One more memory of my Dad ... he would often fall asleep in his recliner after supper. When I was still quite young, I would stand behind the recliner with a comb and brush and whatever "hair stuff" I had ... and comb his hair and put all kinds of rubber bands and hair clips, etc. in it. That would drive me crazy if someone did that to me ... but I never remember him seeming to mind it!! :>)
by Marlene Kaye
I remember sitting on the back porch of our new house in the country with Grandpa Dake and watching the men move their new trailer next to us. We sat there and visited and what was the most special was that he didn't talk to me like I was a kid, but like I was all grown up. I don't remember what we talked about, but I still remember how I felt talking to him.
Memories of Childhood Days
Childhood winter evenings.
We were fortunate to have such good memories of winter evenings as children. Remember, you younger readers, that this is in the height of the depression years. We did not have money, like most didn't, but we had a nice home life. Dad worked at the Dwight Farm and Land company for 35 cents an hour, as foreman in the seed house, and other jobs. We could have gotten welfare, but the folks would not do this. Remember, too, that it was not because he was lazy, or wasteful, or a no-good man; it's the TIMES when a job was hard to get, and low pay if you did get one.
I remember about Dad rocking Don, and Mom would rock Elwood, then later it was DeLoris and me as the boys got bigger. I can still see them playing with the cars the manager of the Dwight Farm gave them, as they crawled around on the floor.
Dad would whistle "The Waltz You Saved For Me" and many other tunes; he was musical, but I did not realize it at that time. They had an old radio they would sing along with. Mom often mentioned my aunt walking over and saying she wished her husband would stay home with his kids, but he liked the pool hall, while she sat home alone so much.
We kids had a few games. I remember dominoes, some kid card games, and Elwood made a checker board on a cardboard box and cut up a broomstick which he colored for checkers, and we played checkers many nights. It could be stormy outside, but we were warm inside with railroad ties burning in the parlor heater. We often had popcorn; Grandma Berndt had a supply drying in their unused upstairs bedroom and often gave us ears to shell out.
Mom would often be mending and making over clothes for us, making quilt tops from old clothes, and she got five cents each for patching the grain sacks for the Dwight Farm. Sometimes she would be washing dishes or baking bread and rolls into the evening.
As we kids got older, we could go down to the creek and skate behind the church where all the Dwight kids gathered round the bonfire. Then the folks would often have company come over and play cards, or they could get out for a little outing themselves.
I often remember Mom telling how tired out she was, with all the washing and several kids in diapers at the same time and dad fixed a motor on an old discarded Maytag washing machine for her. Also the cooking, and how she made such good food and stretched the food with what little money she had to buy things with. The butchering of cattle, pork and chicken, provided us with good meat, fortunately.
It required lots of work to grow and preserve the many jars of vegetables and fruit sauces and jelly and pickles she made to have food on hand in the wintertime, too. However, she told me numerous times how she enjoyed her family, cooking and raising them, and as we look at old pictures, we are as well dressed as any kids in the area, thanks to her sewing machine abilities. We younger generations may feel swamped with work in spite of all our modern appliances, etc. but one has to admire all the mothers who made such happy home life for their families in spite of not much to do with. Surely these are virtuous women, as Proverbs says.
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR?
Another great bulletin! It was so great to read Kathleen's memories about Uncle Billy. I just wish everyone would write more ... it's so wonderfully interesting. Just wish they were longer.
Thank-you so very, very much for sending on the e-mail from Lois. I learned so very much. I really loved Billy, and always enjoyed being out at the farm when he was there. He took me on a tractor ride one time, and I just loved it when I was a little kid. He was so gentle and smiling all the time.
God Bless him!
Lori said you could pass on the following comments. I let her have a "sneak preview" of my gift.
Thanks for letting me read Doug's "birthday present" to you... I LOVE IT! I love his writing style and descriptions ... he has an amazing talent. I hope he'll continue to write these childhood stories!
Thanks for yet again, a superlative bulletin! Eric's comments and Doug's made me laugh right out loud. Mr. In A Jam and associate(s) are crazy. :-) Such a blessing, having all these talented individuals amongst our loved ones! Great memory stories and Beaver took me right back to our trip, second time for free. :-) I know we have more talent hiding in the "wings" ... come on, people -- share!
I DON'T SUFFER FROM STRESS. I AM A CARRIER!
--from Dilbert's Rule of Order
Our Present Staff:
EDITORS: Mom, Grandma, Dorothy, etc.
Doug -------St. Cloud Correspondent
Rich---------Mr. In-A-Jam(b) &
Kim------and his assistant
Donna------Researcher for Memory Lane, etc.