April 14, 2003
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For those who don't know the students very well I will introduce each. First meet Ben -- he is Curt and Patty Henderson's oldest son. He attends NDSU, and is finishing up his second year there.
Hey Grandma ... Well I'm gonna "get with it." 'Bout time huh? It is great to hear that you and grandpa are doing great! That makes us all feel a little better being that we all wish we could see you more!! But it makes us rest a little easier if we know you are doing fine! Also ... I am enjoying the "paper" very much! It is really cool to see how everyone is doing ... being that that is the only way to hear about everyone when it isn't Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Well ... life up here is going very well. The cold spell has finally broken and we have finally gotten Springfield weather. It is really, really nice! Can't wait for summer ... it is quickly approaching though, only four more weeks of regular class left ... very amazing really! But they have sure been keeping us busy with tests and homework ... seems to be all I am doing lately.
I have the same job That I had last year in the cities -- should be fun. A little pay raise too I believe! Well, I had better get back to my physics! Fun stuff!
I will now introduce to you Becky. She is Donna's daughter -- and the mother of Caity and Jayce. She goes to Alexandria Technical College -- studying to become a "Human Services Practitioner"
I thought I would write you a letter to update you. Last Monday the 7th I had to speak in front of the Ethics class *we had a group topic and speech I think I did okay. The teacher looked pleased. The on Wednesday I had to be the teacher for a little while. We had to make or own lesson plan. I taught the class how to play Mancala.
Next Monday I have a speech do in my Monday night class. I'm doing my speech on Down Syndrome. Then next Tuesday I have to do another presentation. I have to be a facilitator. I have to ask someone about their life. I have to get their life story out of them.
This last Monday I went to the ENT to see what he thinks about my sinus. Well he had another cat scan ordered I will have to wait to get the results until sometime next week. I will let you know when I know more.
Jayce has an IEP meeting at the end of the month. Caity has a birthday party to go to on Friday night. They are going bowling. She is so excited.
Well that is the news from here!!
*Got this note from Becky right before I had this ready to send.
Remember how I told you I had a presentation last week in Ethics? Well I got 49 out of 50. cool, huh. Well I will write back later.
The Family Cookbook
by Doug Anderson
This week's recipe comes from a chef I used to make mud pies with back in the day. I'm just going to send it along as she sent it, because every syllable is pure magic! So dig out your zydeco records and ready yourself for:
Lori's Jazzed-up Jambalaya
This is a recipe I got from my friend Jenni whose Dad lives in Louisiana. Since I've been in a Cajun food "mood" ever since getting back from there, I thought I'd send you this one. What's nice about this dish is that you can add to it or make variations and it will still turn out great!
1 small can of tomato paste
1 can chicken broth
1/3 lb. chicken (You may also substitute pork, shrimp or crawfish)
2 sausage links (The food editor suggests Andouille)
1 green pepper
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
Green onions (optional)
Saute vegetables in oil (or chicken broth). Add sausage and whatever kind of meat you have chosen. Slowly add tomato past and chicken broth until it gets soupy. Let it simmer for one hour, adding Cajun spice, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Add rice and top with green onions.
I like to use tomato sauce (or juice) and fresh tomatoes to have more liquid. I've recently discovered (and gotten the thumbs-up) that instead of adding the rice to the sauce and then serving, it's nice to serve them separately, more like a Gumbo. You could then just dish up your rice and top it with sauce, green onions and additional Tabasco. (I like it hot!)
I also use turkey kielbasa to cut the fat (Without sacrificing taste) and I prefer the chicken broth to the oil for sauteing the vegetables. You can also add red/yellow/orange peppers for more color, taste and bulk. It freezes nicely.
Another note: This dish, much like chili, tastes better the longer it simmers, or even better the next day. Another good reason to keep the rice and sauce separate.
Mm-mmmm, that sounds good! Sounds like Weston chose a roommate wisely! Thanks, Lori, your recipe is now immortalized for generations to come.
Next week: Classics from Auntie Blanche!
Grandpa and Grandma Dake
After they moved over to our house on Hwy 12, Grandpa and Grandma let us play the record player for hours. I can't imagine hearing the same tunes over and over and over again, but that's what happened. Imagine, they invented Karaoke before anyone else!! I wonder where those records are ... hum a few bars and I bet I could still join in!!
Miss Blanche Dake
by her sister Dorothy
After Blanche finished high school in Howard Lake she decided she would like to go to Teacher's Training and become a country school teacher. She really had already had lots of practice, what with always being the teacher when we played school (and that was very serious play -- and was done right) and she had also had opportunity to take over a class of elementary children several times -- when there was a need for quick help. (The practice of having high school girls help out in teaching the elementary classes was rather common in that day.)
The Teacher's Training was an added on year that you attended in a high school -- it was usually taught by a lady who had been a country school teacher before becoming an instructor of the students. No tuition was charged, but there were conditions you had to meet to be a student. You needed to be in the top third of the high school student population of your grade. You must have maintained at least a B average in all English classes. And you had to have passed all state boards with acceptable grades.
Blanche had all of that in line. One other thing was that only one school per county had the department. Wright County's school was in Buffalo. Which meant that Blanche, who was very shy, must leave home and board and room at the home of a family in Buffalo.
I know that year was very hard for Blanche. She told us she really had kind treatment and plenty to eat from the kindly German family where she lived (as example, their breakfast not only had all the regular breakfast things you could think of but was very often topped off with a big piece of apple pie and a slab of cheese). But she was always glad when she could come home for the weekend.
There were 14 girls in the group attending Teacher's Training. (My mother told of going to the same kind of school -- but in her day it was referred to as Normal School.) The work was intense, with many opportunities to practice the theories of teaching that the students were learning. I really think she was an excellent teacher, even before she went there, being what I consider a born teacher, but when she graduated she was prepared well for the job ahead and was the proud possessor of an Elementary License to teach in the rural schools of Minnesota for three years. How were we all to know that she would actually teach for six years -- World War Two with its manpower shortage brought many married woman back into the teaching field and gave extensions to expired licenses.
Blanche taught her first year in Cosmos, Minnesota. She was an associate teacher. The teacher there had such a heavy load she threatened to quit if she didn't get some help. It was a nice, modern school and the teacher she taught with was a very friendly, appreciative, helpful woman. By the end of the year she had put a polish on Miss Dake -- and had helped her overcome the shyness she had suffered with her whole life.
She went on into her own school and ran it like an old pro. For three years she taught at Melquist School, which was a few miles from home. By this time she had become engaged to Jim. When he returned from his army service overseas in 1945, they were married -- and she finished out her school year as Mrs. Miller. But that is another story. I think the teaching profession lost a great teacher when my sister retired!!!!
I remember Mom letting Donny and me play in the mud, which was a real adventure to us. I made myself mud "boots" and full length "gloves." I thought they were so neat and stylish! Then, when we were through playing, she hosed us off with the garden hose, more fun! Kept us happy for some time, I would imagine!
I enjoyed when Mom read to me, before I learned to read and even after I'd started. I still have that love of reading now. I can remember getting warnings about "lights out" and taking out the flashlight to finish the chapter under the covers! (Also with the warning I was going to "ruin my eyes" doing it.)
Once, when we were very young, Stacey and I spent many summer days playing with a tape recorder. I'm not sure where it came from, because it just seemed to appear in our lives and completely monopolize them for a time. We taped little vignettes that were largely improvised, sometimes using siblings or cousins as extras.
We didn't have a cord to plug the recorder in, so eventually the batteries went dead. Before they were completely drained, however, the dying batteries produced a delightful effect; When we played back what we had recorded, our voices were sped up! We sounded just like Alvin and The Chipmunks!
You can well imagine how entertaining that was to our prepubescent minds. We derived hours of gut-wrenching laughter from the tape recorder until, sadly, at last, the batteries died.
Eventually we would have fresh batteries again, but it just wasn't the same, and the tape recorder became an outdated phase. Sometime later, after some minor spat, Stacey erased most (I thought all) of what we recorded.
In the mid-80's I was rummaging through a box of tapes and I happened upon the orange and white cassette tape that we used for all of our recording back in those days so long ago. I put it in and let it roll, going on about my business in the garage, and eventually forgetting it was even on. At the very end of the tape, I came upon a rare treasure -- a recording of Stacey, singing along with KDWB to the song she loved so well:
I'm on the top of the world
looking down on creation
and the only explanation I can find
Is the one that I've found
ever since you've been around
Your love put me on the top of the world
ALMOSA, 23 MILES, the sign promised. The scenery outside our rolling living room was simply too fantastical to be true! I actually saw longhorn cattle skulls and tumbling sagebrush, like a John Ford western movie come to life. The sky was streaked with green and orange, the most immense and sublimely garish mural I have ever seen in my life.
A few more miles passed and we had finally reached our first port-of-call, and it was a good thing, because I was out of film and the tension in the car was growing. My obsession with the enormous penny I had seen at the Stuckeys miles earlier was completely eclipsed by the excitement of actually arriving somewhere, especially somewhere as infinitely interesting as my cousin's sprawling dairy farm perched among azure mountains and arid plains. Nothing in my mountainous stack of cowboy comics had prepared me for this.
It was strictly western for the next few days. We ate western food, wore western clothes, and (most importantly) did western things. Space exploration may have wounded the popularity of the cowboy genre, but it most certainly could not kill it. It was alive in my bony little chest and pumping like blood through my veins.
The dairy farm was an endless source of amazement and wonder to an awkward, spectacled eleven-year-old. I imagined myself as a frontier cowpuncher, surveying the vast expanse of the untamed west. I was, actually, probably just underfoot while my cousin's husband tried to do chores, but I didn't realize that then, and they were much too charming to ever hint at it. Real cowboys are always polite, or so I learned in my western travels.
At night the coyotes howled, making my whole living fantasy complete. What Western Xanadu would be complete without howling coyotes?
After a few days of fine western food and hospitality we loaded into the black landshark and headed south, minus one passenger. Grandma stayed in Almosa, perhaps weary of my repetitive mathematical queries, but we would retrieve her on the return trip, so she wouldn't be free of me that easily.
As we stabbed southward the thought of the penny wrapped itself around me again. I had glimpsed it briefly at a Stuckeys in South Dakota. It was as large as a Frisbee and detailed with the subtle intricacies of a hand-painted Faberge Easter egg. I waffled, torn between the penny and saving my money for California. I opted for the latter, but now I could not stop thinking about it. It was a thing of beauty, and it would become my grail, as trivial, senseless things often will, to frail human beings.
I awoke from my fuzzy daydream to the wet nose of a not-so-fuzzy cat that looked like a refugee from Bloom County. I still hadn't gotten around to finishing his haircut because he kept wedging himself under my speaker cabinets at the mere sight of the razor.
I fell back in my chair, exasperated and elated by the intensity of my memories. Had this "brainfood" really amplified them? Stuff like that never works, I assured myself. Still, the memories were more vivid than in recent years, the details sharper. I would have to try this again, approach it scientifically. Something here, I thought.
So I ordered more.
(To be continued)
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR?
Mom has forwarded some of the bulletins and I have enjoyed them so much. The other day I chuckled to myself as I recalled a quote of Grandma Cleo's.
A certain percentage of us in the family have a shoe size that, let's just say, wouldn't have allowed us to fit into Cinderella's glass slipper. Grandma Cleo was no exception. Oh, well, our shoe size is really no big deal if we can remember her statement:
I WEAR A SIZE EIGHT. BUT NINES FEEL SO GOOD I BUY TENS!
Doug thinks that gardening tips need to be included with cooking tips.
If you're interested, I'll offer another tip -- I've tried it and it works. Apply a band of copper around a flower planter box and it will repel slugs/snails from crawling in. I buy it at our local nursery. It comes in two widths, as far as I know, with an adhesive backing. It can be used as a decorative trim piece on the outside of a flower box. I use the narrower variety and apply it to the underside lip of my plastic pots. Slugs do not like crawling over this stuff and make a quick U-turn and go the other way! :-) The April 2003 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, page 114, shows an example of this on a wooden window box.
Thanks for The Bulletin,
another fun read! I appreciate each and every piece. And to Doug, thanks for the time you take to entertain us, I love the way you use words.
Donna R called last night, during our conversation she mentioned what a treasure The Bulletin is giving to our family. I can't quote her words, but she was very generous in her praise and I agree with her, it's turned into something precious! She mentioned how so many of the memories reminded her of her grandparents and other family members, a bonus to her!
A Great Big Thank You!!!!!
Today I had my yearly check-up. My doctor asked me how I was feeling -- so I told her, "I'm flying high!!" She asked me just exactly what was causing that -- and I told her about The Bulletin and how it had worked to draw us all close over the miles.
This is what she said to me,* You really have a nice family -- Don't you!!!!!!* and I assured her that we have the BEST!!!
Now I must say to be treated so well by * The Best* is invigorating ... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WONDERFUL GIFT. Grandpa has already started out to buy some rose bushes -- and that is exciting for him.
I have plans for my share, too -- but I will not tell you until I have it in hand!!! I think I will be eclectic in my purchases (about like Donna was with her gift certificate from the other Donna)!!
Thanks for Everything you do
to make our lives more pleasant!!!
Mom and Dad
Grandma and Grandpa
I suppose I had better tell what I did with the birthday gift of money that our kids and grandkids gave me. I outfitted an office for myself befitting the Editor of such a prestigious paper. :-) Seriously, I bought a nice filing cabinet that I now have beside my desk and table. I also bought all the supplies that I need -- stapler, paper, ink cartridges, etc. I did have a lot of fun and am now ready to run the office -- so drop in and see me!!! And when you do, you will probably catch me all decked out in the new clothes I bought while I was spending your gift!!!!
Our Present Staff:
EDITORS: Mom, Grandma, Dorothy, etc.
Doug -------St. Cloud Correspondent
Rich---------Mr. In-A-Jam(b) &
Donna------Researcher for Memory Lane, etc.