Monday, November 30, 2009

Royal Mutt

In ancient times, the Egyptians would mummify their dogs and bury them with themselves. Sometimes they would be put underneath the royalty or sometimes they would lay beside them. The dogs were so revered, that the Egyptians would shave their heads when their pets died. The royal dogs would have after life foods and goodies to take with them. I have seen pictures of some of the Egyptian dogs. A lot of them were crossed with wolves.
We have a dog and she thinks she is in the line of the royal Egyptian dogs. She goes to the beauty shop once a week for her bubble bath, has her nails done, has her fur done and is a really good smelling dog. She does not always appreciate this beauty shop though. At times she really likes to roll in “Stuff” that does not smell good when she comes home.
This week we have had company, one of them being a one year old toddler that fed Maggie cookies and other goodies. Maggie thought he was a toy that carried food. It scared me to death, but there were no accidents. Then the company left last night. Then there was today. How can a dog become so spoiled in four days. She is bored with just two old people. She is bored with dog food. She tells me she wants to go out and just wants to play. It is cold, and windy and I am not going to stand out there in the elements because she is bored.
Maggie is a poodle and a schutzu and I cannot spell that. I have tried and tried and looked it up and still cannot spell schutzu.. So anyway, she is a mutt. She is not royalty. She may be in store for mutt boot camp for awhile. Poor baby.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Precious Moments Fingerprints

On one of my last posts I mentioned my dad washing the television set because my children had left their little finger prints on the screen. My mother always called him “Daddy” but occasionally when he would do something that upset her she would call him “Ray.” The washing of the screen was one of those times. My head whirled around and I grinned one of my nasty grins and shook my head. At those times they were real. Most of the time they were like June and Ward Cleaver, not real. Nobody can be that nice.
While Fran was putting away all of our thousands of cd’s, I was cleaning the glass top end table thinking of my dad. However, I did not give it a thought that the baby who was coming to visit, would put new fingerprints on it.
When I saw this sweet little baby toddling into the living room with a chocolate cookie and head for the end table. I almost laughed out loud, wondering what my dad would do. I actually took a picture of the finger prints, but being glass the flash took what was below the glass on the bottom shelf. When the baby wasn’t eating, his little fingers were in his mouth chewing on them because he was teething. His little shirts always had to be changed because of his drooling. In the old days we used terry cloth bibs to absorb the drool and the spills. I know, I am so old fashioned.
Maggie, our little dog just loved the baby because he would feed her whatever he was eating. We were talking about how we could make extra money. I suggested training dogs to “corral” babies so that they would be safe and not go out doors, and into cleaning supplies etc. The cowboys use them for corralling sheep and cattle, why not babies and then no one would have to worry? I think that is a wonderful idea. Dogs are used to keep Alzheimer patients safe, for guide dogs for the blind folks and I am sure for a multitude of reasons. I think dogs for baby protection is the next big money maker. Would I have to patent that? The whole thing is though, the precious moment fingerprints are memorable. I remember my children's and my grandchildren's and now one of Fran's grandchild's. They are all precious moments.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stay Put Mom

When my kids were about two and four our finances were non existent. Our house payment was seventy five dollars a month and we had trouble paying that. The year was about 1971. My husband made three dollars an hour with no overtime, but worked at least four hours a week overtime. We had a car payment and utilities. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was. I had difficulty going to sleep at night because I was worrying my self sick over bills that we couldn’t pay. I even did the sit com thing of sending the gas bill to the electric company. That would give me time, but I could only do that about twice a year. The kids’ dad told me if he never saw another pancake it would be too soon. The only thing I could think of to do to make extra money and stay home with my little ones, was to baby sit. I advertised by word of mouth only. I had a big day care center, almost instantly. The little town that we lived in was in dire need of day care. I started out with a family of five children. I charged such a little amount that I think their mother felt bad. She would send food and snacks for them. She did not work, she just wanted some time to herself for a few hours a week. After some time, I got lawyers and teachers that wanted me to take care of their children for a week at a time so they could take a vacation. That paid about fifty dollars a week. The finances started to be financials at last. I was even able to save some money.
I had good days and bad days. I saw some suspicious people that I felt might be mistreating their children. I felt terrible when a child would hold onto my legs for dear life when being picked up. I felt helpless when alcoholic mothers would not pick up their children for days. The most sad was a little two year old with inoperable brain cancer.
I had crafts for the children, music time, story time and nap time. They did not have television time until four o’clock. At three forty five, the children stopped playing with toys, picked them up and put them in the toy boxes. There was no fussing or refusing to do their chores. After all the toys were put away, then the children all got in a circle and watched cartoons.
In retrospect, I suppose my children would have been happier if I would not have had to sit to help keep our family afloat, but like my daughter said the other day. “You weren’t a bad mom, none of us ever went to jail.”
And another thought, my kids always had someone to play with!

Friday, November 27, 2009

First Four Generation Picture

Our Thanksgiving was so special for Fran and his mother this year. Fran had not spent any holidays together with his children for years and years.
This is the first Thanksgiving Fran’s mom got to spend a Thanksgiving with her great great grandson, Lawrence.
The outfit she is wearing she made herself, isn’t it pretty?
In back of the picture is Fran all dressed up in his work gray t-shirt, then on the left is Albert his son, then Fran’s grandson, Lawrence sitting on Marie’s lap. First four generation picture.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For Good Health

This year more than others, I think I am carrying around a lot of nostalgia. The days of the big Thanksgiving dinners are all over. The table is little, the diners are few. There is still a turkey and mashed potatoes, and an apple pie. There is much thankfulness that Fran’s elderly mother is still with us. There are no children that have sticky fingers that need washed. There are no finger prints that my dad continually washed from the television set while we were there. There are no admonishments to little ones to sit still and be quiet.
My parents never came to our house on the holidays. I can’t remember even one time. My family always went to my mom and dad’s. We only lived about eighty miles away and even then I can remember risking our lives traveling there because of the weather.
Some times the kids’ dad’s family came to our house for Thanksgiving because we had such a big house and had room for everyone.
Those days are gone, but they leave fond memories. These changes occur with everyone. Traditions are something that most families have. Traditions can be special foods. The special foods at my daughter’s house was a Mexican dip she made that was to die for. My sister made a wonderful punch of raspberry sherbet and of course, 7-up and I am sure other good stuff. I can’t remember any more, but it sure was good. My mother’s food she always brought was her wonderful clover leaf rolls and she made her sweet cranberry salad. I think just looking at that salad made Thanksgiving. I still make that salad and nobody eats it, it just is something they don’t care for. This will probably be the last Thanksgiving I will make it.
I am remembering traditions but you know what, I can remember my roommate and I had a fudge bar and split a can of beer for our lunch for Thanksgiving. We were very thankful to have each other and to have the money to buy the fudge bar.
This post was begun three days ago. Day before yesterday, Fran got a surprise phone call from his son saying that he and his family were going to drive all night to be at our house hopefully in thirteen hours. It had been about twenty years since they had celebrated Thanksgiving together. The weather was good, and the kids were pretty good. They were all exhausted when they got here, but they did get a chance to visit some before they laid down for a nap. Fran had such a cool idea. He set up my propane heater and heated the porch so that gave us thirty extra feet to house the visitors.
Today we got phone calls from Fran’s family and of course, Fran’s mother and brother were here.
Yes, Melanie, it is God’s day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When I Turned Thirty

When I turned thirty I was so depressed! I thought the world had come to an end. All my friends tried to cheer me up and had a party for me. My kids’ dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. He was not a big present giver so he was really trying to cheer me up. Well, I thought and thought and told him that I wanted a bicycle. Needless to say, that surprised him. I had never had a bicycle of my own and had never had a girl’s bike. I don’t know where he got the bike, but this I do know he paid twenty five dollars for it. This amount of money was huge in those days. Oh, I loved that bike, I rode and rode it. I can still feel the wind blowing through my hair and how free it made me feel. If you remember one of my posts was how much I loved speed.
One day shortly after my birthday, I needed to go to the grocery store. When I got home from riding my bike, I jumped in the car and backed up to make a u-turn. I lived in a small town. Everything was legal in those days. As I backed up I heard the most awful crunching noise. It sounded like metal bones breaking. My new bike!!! I knew that my husband had done odd jobs to be able to buy my new bike, so I went to the neighbor man to see if he could fix it. He was the father of those five children I wrote about, so I am sure he had practice. To make a long story short, he did an excellent job and my husband never noticed it.
Some time later, maybe a few weeks I made sure that I parked my bike in front of the car to make sure that I did not back over it. I did not back over it, I ran over it! This time my husband saw it. He suggested that I park the bike on the porch or the front yard, somebody had snitched on me about the last time I had run over it. He didn’t get mad at me, he just quietly fixed it, put it up on the porch and smiled and said, “ Now keep it away from that car, it just doesn’t like your bike!”
When I was checking the computer for a picture of a mangled bike, I saw hundreds of them. I wonder if these people were all turning thirty?!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Excuses

I did not want to clean the kitchen. I did not want to go out to sing. I really did not want to watch television or go to bed. I just wanted to sit and “veg.” Fran didn’t want to go out either and he was really in touch with his computer games.
I started “talking” to Fran’s sister-in-law who is also my friend on the computer. I told her I needed to clean the kitchen. It was a mess because we had had a deep fat fried supper; catfish and home made French fries. Oh it was good, but what a mess. I am just like my grandmother, I cook good, but the counter held tell tale drips of batter, flour, grease etc. I always make coffee the night before and I hadn’t done that either, I was just a dud. Finally I told her that I needed to get going and clean the kitchen. By the time I got going, the batter that I had dripped had dried on the counter. I really had to work at it, to get it off. I took one of those scratcher pads to loosen it. Right beside the deep fat fryer was a bread knife with a serrated blade. As I was applying a lot of elbow grease I got a little too close to the knife. I let out a bellow and Fran came running. I had cut my little finger; what a curved bloody mess. It has been years since I have done that. I got this set of knives for Christmas about four years ago and was warned that they were very very sharp and to be careful. Well, needless to say I was not.
Fran and I ran to the bathroom and I washed it with Hydrogen Peroxide and water while Fran looked for band aides. You are not going to believe this; a house without band aides. Not only a house without band aides, but a house that had zero band aides for almost two years.
Being the ever resourceful man, he found some gauze and cut it in half and wound some tape around it. I am here to tell you, my finger hurts.
So to tell you the short of it, we went for coffee to the same lady’s house this morning. She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Boy you will do anything to get out of cleaning your kitchen."
P.S. I found a can in the camper. Always have to be prepared when you go camping you know!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Young People May Be Swinging To The Forties

As most of you know, Fran and I usually go out on one of the weekend nights to sing karaoke. Once in awhile we go out on both nights, but it is getting more difficult for me to do that. Last weekend we did go out on both evenings. Much to my surprise, we heard some exception to the rules music. The young people like the rock and roll I can’t stand; I know it’s hard for me to change. The older people either like the fifties rock and roll or the classic country. Classic country is Fran’s favorite. My mother taught me to enjoy all kinds of music and I frequently thank her for that. This weekend one gal sang Billy Holiday blues and jazz. Wow this is like jalapeƱos in the chili. It really jazzed it up, no pun intended. Then there was a gal there that sang old music from the southern plantation era of the black slaves. It was so sad, yet beautiful. Then much to my surprise, this music made me swing around in my chair, Tommy Dorsey big band music playing the Charleston and the “kids” dancing to it. How cool, except I just really really wanted to get up and show them how to do it right! While I was watching them I remembered the day that my mother showed me how to do the Charleston. She essentially grew up during the flapper days and could really dance. My mother was the disciplinarian, mother, not friend and church goer not dancer. That was the second time she surprised me; the first when she danced the jitter-bug with me one day when I got home from school. I sure did love that lady, and every once in a while she just amazed me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Gizmo

A widget is a gizmo, or a whatmacallit that shows you maps and readers of your blog. I absolutely love it! Several times a day I look to see how many readers, what time of day and where the readers live. Today I had a reader right by my hometown maybe twenty miles away or so. I have readers in Africa, Pakistan, Spain, Australia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The readers fluctuate with frequency. For instance it takes me awhile to write children’s stories, so I may not put a new story up for four to six weeks. The readers will then stop. They show up as a star and if the reader is on line the star blinks.
I have a fairly new blog about ten months old or so, so I have very few followers but the readers are growing in numbers.
I have decided to put in some new things to show me what my readers think of my blog ie, funny, informative, etc. I thought that might be fun because very few people leave comments. The people that comment on the stories are the ones that grew up with me and when I write about those days. I would like to see what complete strangers think.
I know I enjoy writing my stories so much, this little gizmo just lets me know that others are at least reading them.
The picture at the top is one of the colors that the widget comes in and looks like a vitamin pill. That’s why it makes me feel so good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Advantage Of Being Forgetful

Like the title says there are advantages of being forgetful. When you forget to mail birthday cards, “It’s ok, Grandma Lu is forgetful.” The calendar is my best friend, however, this year I am forgetting to check my calendar. This year I even got my youngest grandson’s birthday wrong last month because I couldn’t read the calendar very good. Thank goodness my daughter helped me out and sure enough I did have his birthday on the calendar correctly but had forgotten to flip the page to a different month.
This morning while I was watching the news I found myself laughing and laughing. The commercials are suddenly funny. I just have this feeling I have seen them before. Fran used to tell me that he had seen them a thousand times and I thought, “that’s weird, we watch television together.” When I was laughing this morning I was a little worried. I wondered if I could be losing it or would I be one of those pleasantly confused ladies I used to take care of.
I loved those little old ladies. Those ladies always seemed so happy and cheerful. The confusion put them in their own little world, they would repeat their stories, and would present themselves as the best part of their former personalities.
There is a different perspective I just thought of. This problem could be Fran’s. Fran doesn’t remember anything, I have to remember for both of us and that is very hard work for this old brain. What are the advantages of forgetfulness again?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breakfast When We Were Little

I was sitting here grinning to myself while I was listening to Maggie and Fran play. I thought, “what in the world can I write about anymore?” I sometimes, no, often think that I have written about every subject there is to write about the past and present. The reason I grinned was I suddenly thought about what mom would serve us for breakfast when we were little. As a matter of fact, when Keith was here that is one thing that we did visit about a little, and he and Linda had this for breakfast one morning; Shredded Wheat, not the little ones, not the frosted ones, but the great big ones. The ones that pretty much look like bales of hay and feel like hay when you scrunch it with your hands in order to get it to fit in the cereal bowl. This was a really cheap cereal and was absolutely excellent with whipping cream and lots of sugar on it. (I know, but that’s how we ate then, and it was delicious.)
One of my favorites that mom made was cinnamon toast and cocoa. This was a meal in itself. The cinnamon toast was made of homemade bread which was an inch thick at least. I can smell it and almost taste it now. The cocoa was made of cocoa, whole milk and sugar. Oh it was foamy, I don’t know how she did that but oh it was good. There were some days that were different; she gave us Postum. It was to me pretend coffee. The computer says that they quit making Postum in March of 2008. Shoot, that’s too bad, I was going to buy some to see if it tasted the same as it used to. Oatmeal, of course, was a staple for the grown ups, and for us kids. Mom would dress it up for us with brown sugar and raisons and cream. Are you hearing cream a lot in this post? I do not remember her having bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, etc. I can remember Mother talking about her mother fixing that however. The one thing I know we Never had, was biscuits and gravy. Imagine the culture shock when I moved to the south, Biscuits and gravy on every menu! It is very good, but I still love my cinnamon toast and hot cocoa.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And The Chimney Came Tumbling Down

The little doll house did not have all happy memories. The violent temper tantrums of my husband, his controlling ways and the desperate lack of money and alcoholism were just a few things that I can look back on with no fond memories that’s for sure.
However, I have many happy memories about that house. Memories that make me smile and chuckle and shake my head thinking, “Only a teenager would think of this.”
We lived in this little house for about three or four years. In that time, I made very close friends. We had so much fun. The two closest friends were older than me by a few years and had small children. I was of course, younger and had no children. My friends and I were of the heavy set class, all of us weighing in at way over two hundred pounds.
We often met at my house for coffee because I didn’t have a car some of the time to go places on my own. One day I had a marvelous idea. Most people that know me know that when Lu says she has a marvelous idea, watch out!
Well I had a laundry room attached to this little three room house that had a piano in it and a wringer washing machine. It was a pretty big room, but in one corner there was a humongous chimney. I reasoned that if the chimney was not there, I could have more room and it would look so much nicer. The girls agreed with me. So the next day after my husband went to work (we knew he would never go for it) we gathered up sledge hammers and started banging away at the chimney. All of a sudden there was a loud no I would say deafening noise and a terrifying site. The chimney was falling into the wash room and was going to kill us. All six hundred pounds of us were trying to go through the doorway at the same time. It is funny we didn’t kill each other just trying to escape, let alone the chimney killing us.
After the air cleared, low and behold there was a hole in the roof about eighteen inches square. We were so smart, but had not thought about the top part of the chimney smashing down as well as tearing the roof apart.
The thought of my husband finding this huge hole in the roof was horrifying. I ran next door and explained the situation to my neighbor man who knew the temper thing. He fixed the hole, shingled it and the girls and I cleaned up the mess in the laundry room. I waited that night to see what was going to happen, but nothing did. He was so self absorbed in television that I avoided what could have been a really bad situation. Oh by the way I put scatter rugs in that room and it looked like a million dollars when I got done with it. When the girls would come over after that day, someone would say something about the chimney and we would laugh and laugh, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Wow, am I lucky!”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What You Don't Know Doesn't Hurt You?

I have been telling you about my little house, in the little town called Cleghorn. I also worked part time in a little restaurant. We were desperately poor so what little I could make really helped. I generally did the dishes, cleaned tables, bussed dishes from the dining room and made salads and salad dressings for the dinner crowd.
One day the restaurant called and said that someone could not come in and would I come in and be the fry cook. Well I have never been scared of anything in my life especially when I was eighteen, so I told them ,“sure, I will be right there.”
Oh, I forgot to tell you it was on a Friday night. The little restaurant became a zoo on Friday nights. The little village of two hundred suddenly became the hangout for “old” people all two hundred of them. Old people have this habit of ordering steaks, “Ah let’s see, well done, medium well, medium, medium rare, rare, and if it bellers it is just right.” There were three Picks one for well that was brown, the pink was for medium and the red was for rare. I want to explain when you get the business men and their wives in to pay a good five dollars for their meal you had better get it right. All I can say is that it was a virtual nightmare. I was totally alone in the kitchen, cooking, salads, dishes, etc. Then the worst thing I can imagine happening to someone else let alone me, was that as I was putting a steak on a platter, it fell on the floor. I had only a split second to think. I ran water over it, put it back on the grill both sides for two seconds, slid it on the platter and out it went. No one said a thing about any grit, so it must have been alright. I wonder if I have ever gotten a steak at a restaurant that that could have happened to. Hmm probably.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Good Old Paste Board Box

My friend and I were talking the other day about newlyweds trying to start out where their parents finished up. I guess I was a little surprised to find out that she, too had been poor as a church mouse about the same time I was. I said something about Goodwill furniture and yard sale furniture and she said, “I thought you were poor, I used big paste board boxes!” I laughed and laughed and said, “Well I did too and I covered them with towels so my company couldn’t tell that they were boxes.” Of course, that was baloney, you would have to be blind not to be able to tell, but they definitely looked better.
By the time I was eighteen we were able to afford brand new furniture. It was plastic. We got what they called it then, a davenport that laid down and made a bed therefore being a sofa bed. It had a really bad seam in the middle and was very uncomfortable. The style was country western. It had half a wagon spoke on each side of the sofa. We also got a chair, a coffee table and two end tables. This whole living room full of furniture cost one hundred and forty nine dollars. We had to make payments on it, but we thought we were living in style. We got this furniture at a store called Gambles. It really specialized in hardware supplies more than furniture.
When we got the “new” furniture, one of our paste board boxes was moved into the bedroom for a bedside table. Interesting, I was recycling almost fifty years ago!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Buried The Chicken!

I have mentioned several times that I was a willful child. It was the reason I married at sixteen instead of getting my secondary education that I wanted. The love of my life turned out to be an angry man with a volcano of fury that erupted every once in awhile. The general target was me.
We lived in a little town called Cleghorn. It was just a few miles to Cherokee. We had purchased a little house and fixed it up. It was a little doll house. I think it had three rooms and a bath. He was very clever at building and he made the bar that separated the kitchen from the living room into a built in desk and ironing board. On the kitchen side were bar stools and a small television set.
He repaired farmer’s implements like plows, balers, combines etc. Of course, the farmers all waited to the last minute and hollered because their things were not fixed immediately. When this happened I was in trouble.
This was my schedule, I made sure that the television was turned on before the six o’clock whistle. I made sure that the beer was cold and I also made sure that supper was on the table, no later than six fifteen.
I made friends with the couple next door. They were older than we were ( who wouldn’t be?) but we had a good time together. Her coffee pot was always on. That is where I learned how to drink the bitter stuff. She smoked like a steam engine, gossiped something fierce, and drank coffee from morning til night. Her four kids adored her and so did I.
I learned how to clean house from her. My mother would have just croaked to see how she did it. She used a dust mop and started at one end of the house. She pushed and/or shoveled, toys and clothes and dirt with this big mop to its final destination. Actually it was an efficient way of doing things. It covered a lot of area and got everything to one place for disposal or laundry. The kids knew what was going to happen when they saw mom with the mop so they scampered towards the pile to salvage their toys. Who needs to pay two hundred dollars an hour for a child parenting class when you have a two foot mop?
She was a former hair dresser. At the time I knew her, she had let her license expire so she couldn’t charge to fix lady’s hair but they gave her donations of fifty cents. Mercy!
One lady was an elderly lady that had an attitude. She gossiped something fierce. When my friend or one of her kids did something wrong she would always say “Hell’s Bells, Girl!” That always tickled me. I had never heard anyone talk like that; remember I was only sixteen.
Any way back to the chicken, I got to rambling and this is a pretty good story.
One day I decided to have fried chicken for supper. Most of you know that fried chicken takes about an hour give or take a little. I was very bored so I thought I would visit my friend for a while. I guess I stayed a bit longer than I thought I had. When I ran next door to my house, the house was full of smoke and the chicken was so burned that it had adhered itself to the pan on one side, raw on the top. I knew I was in trouble, so I quick grabbed a shovel, buried the chicken, pan and all. I had opened all the doors and windows, sprayed with air freshener and started a new supper that was done by six fifteen. Easy beans!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Help With My Boo Boo

I would like my readers to help me out. I have made a fatal mistake today. I used a generic brand of spaghetti sauce, dumped it into my fried off hamburger and onions and there lie a disaster. It just laid there and was not "my" spaghetti. I started adding. I added minced garlic, pepper, Italian seasoning, home canned tomatoes, Parmesean cheese, I let them simmer, I tasted, I simmered some more and it still had no character. Does anyone have any ideas, except never buy off brand spaghetti sauce? If you have a Google account please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

My Fearless Warrior

It is often said, that a man protects and provides for his family. My man is no exception. He provides for his family, mainly me, but the protection thing has been lacking or I guess I should say not really needed until just lately.
Armadillos are strange animals that have invaded our neighborhood. Armadillos are generally thought of as being in the south of the United States, like Texas or Oklahoma comes to my mind. As far as I am concerned, they are one of the ugliest animals I have ever seen. They have over 2000 scales just on their head! I would like to meet the person that thought it would be interesting to see how many scales they have on their head. They sound like a gardener’s helper because they eat insects and all kinds of things that get in gardens that eat plants. I want to tell you all about that if in fact you don’t know much about these horrible animals. They very much are like ant eaters, they have extremely long claws and dig big holes in your yard looking for these insects. They dig such big holes they are dangerous to my health, like twisting my ankle while walking in the yard. Our yard is not the only yard in this beautiful neighborhood that is being ravaged by these beasts.
The neighborhood men have set up a vigilante against these believe it or not; mammals! I cannot imagine my mother looking like an armadillo!
Well there was nothing to it that Fran had to get a rifle because the “things” were under the house and had potential of ruining the plumbing and wiring. So after a lengthy background check Fran got his rifle. Then there was target practice when we got home. Surprisingly enough he was an excellent shot. So the big night came, you could hear the armadillo outside by the house, I heard it first, then Maggie, finally Fran. Maggie jumped up on the back of the couch, Fran ran outside with his trusty rifle and the armadillo, of course, ran under the house.
This has been happening three days running with no luck. The rifle has been put away, mainly, Fran says because Maggie scares them away.
Today I read on the computer that if you put out moth balls around and under your house, it will keep the armadillos away. Even Windex will work to keep the horrible things away because the section of brain that “smells” things have bigger percentages of room than ours does. Hmm, moth balls versus a rifle and expensive ammunition. I think the next time before a large purchase I might look up the solution on the computer first.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feelings Of Urgency

The other day I was talking to my brother on Yahoo Messenger. He wanted to see how I was feeling and just general visiting. I told him that Fran and I were freezing potatoes for the freezer. Keith made a remark that made me smile, he said, “You would have been comfortable in the 1880’s that you have been writing about this last few days.
I told him that I would except for the long skirts and blouses. I would have to have shorts and pants to wear and that would not have been approved of!
A few years ago I had this urgent feeling that I had to buy a house and have it paid for before I retired. I did that. On the month of the final payment, my husband left. Oh, was I lucky to have a house that was paid for!
This year I have these urgent feelings that I needed both of the freezers full. Keith asked me if I was paranoid about anything, I said, “ no but if you live in the country and can’t get into town you need food, water, gasoline, lamps and lamps oil, candles, battery operated radio, and extra tanks of propane.” We have a generator and have hooked up our camper to that as well as the house. It could be that I am a human wooly worm this year, I just feel in my bones that this winter is going to be a doozy. A lot of people in Missouri and other places believe that wooly worms predict the severity of winter approaching. If the head and tail are black the winter will be severe. If the worm is more of an orange color, the winter season will be mild. I have no clue if that is substantiated, but the people swear by it. The ice storms that we have are worse than snow at times. The ice falls on branches and the power lines. We are surrounded by timber and have lost power several times in the last year.
My hope is this: a nice mild winter and our food will last a long time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fran's Cabbage Soup

Fran’s daughter e-mailed me the other day and wanted to know if he would send the recipe for his Cabbage soup. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh there are two people in this world that likes that soup.” Needless to say I do not like this particular soup, especially because like the title says it is cabbage soup. It has no meat in it or meat base.
Fran loves this soup and when he makes it, he makes gallons of it. I am not exaggerating, he makes a blue canner of it. I don’t think he will be doing that this year because we have both freezers full to the brim with meat and vegetables that we froze for the winter. We are finishing making hash browns and French fries today and then the freezers will not have an inch of room. Watch and see we won’t get any snow and will be able to get to town anytime we want to. Well I guess that would be a good thing, wouldn’t?

Recipe For Cabbage Soup

Rutabaga chopped up
1 head of cabbage shredded
Carrots 8-10 or 1 package chopped
2 chopped up onions
Celery package chopped
3 big cans of tomatoes chopped up
3 big cans of tomato sauce
Cover vegies with water and juice of the tomatoes and sauce

Needs to cook most of the day. Could put in crock pot. The last hour you put in barley. Put in salt, pepper, garlic salt, jalapeƱos if you like it a little warm, he said 2-3. Lowreys seasoning salt, whatever seasoning you would like. He tastes all the time. I don’t like it like you guys do, I make mine with Hamburger. Everybody likes it different. I put mixed vegetables in mine too. You can just go crazy with creativity. lol

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Telephone Comes To Cherokee

The telephone in this day and age is taken for granted except when the power goes out. I am of the old school and always always have a phone that does not need electricity to be used. My phone is a funny looking gadget, but it sure works.
The article that was written in the centennial Courier started by saying that they need not dwell on the tremendous vistas that were opened with the coming of the telephone. It was one of the most revolutionary turns in the mode of communication. The world truly became a smaller place; time and distance were harnessed as never before; and we can do no more than pause and pay tirbute to a great man___Alexander Graham Bell.
The first telephone exchange to be installed in Cherokee was started on June 7th 1883 when T.T. Kelm of the Iowa-Minnesota Telephone Company came to Cherokee for the purpose of creating interest in the new business.
There were telephone exchanges on and off and stock purchased and sold out on and off until Northwestern Bell Telephone Service came to be in 1925 by actual election of the people. The city of Cherokee was allotted the total of 6 telephones. The messages in the city was approximately 11,000 per day in 1975.
In the year 2009 we have a gazillion cell phones, can talk on our computers and we seldom see public phones anymore because every one but me carries a cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, I have one, just forget to carry one. I get a lot of flack all the time because of this, or I don’t charge it, etc.
The picture of the phone above is a telephone that was rescued from a bonfire. These old phones were not well liked by people because you had to crank them to get the operator, then often you were on a party line and could be overheard by others. The article said these old phones were thrown down wells, burned and a multitude of things happened to these old phones. I have one that looks like the real thing, but is a replica. I love it. The slanted part I can write something on it, the drawer holds pens and other goodies. Like I have said before, I am not always happy with change. I do like my computer though!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seldom Heartbreaking News In the 1880's

Most Productive Month: 1881
“Census___ During the year 1881, there were 88 marriage licenses issued in Cherokee, county.
The month of December seems to be the most productive of matrimonial engagements, fifteen licenses have been granted during the month of the shortest days.
“There are 139 births recorded for the year, and sixty deaths. Those two latter items are known to be sadly incorrect, but physicians are paying more attention to the law than formerly. ”____Jan 5, 1882
Latest Wire On Tax
A Washington telegram of the 20th says: The Ways and Means Committee, on the question of the repeal of the income tax, stand five to four, the majority being AGAINST it.
I hope you enjoy these articles, the contradiction of the news then and now is just amazing to me. The last article is about the prices of what farmers were getting for their crops in 1870.
Market prices for 1870 were always to be found in the Times since Van Der Cock and Van Epps made an attempt to keep the paper posted on the latest increases or declines in prices.
On series of market listings put forth by the noted general store, during this time, showed wheat to be selling at 50 cents per bushel, corn brought forty cents a bushel, potatoes seventy cents, and onions were going strong at $1.25 per bushel.
Muslin could be purchased for twenty cents per yard while nails were selling for seven cents a pound. Dry cord wood could be sold for $4, but the green wood brought only $3.75.
I have now covered for the most part four pages of the seventy eight page edition of the centennial celebration of the Cherokee Times. To me it is amazing what they chose as news. As I was folding these fragile pages this little two liner caught my eye: “Mr. Jones, the editor went to Meridon, which is about seven miles from Cherokee, by horse back.”
Can you imagine how big our newspapers would be if all “news” was reported such as this? So far I haven't seen any heartbreaking news in this paper. Next week I will be looking into the Courier.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Because I Said So"

Those of you who are parents: How many times have you said that to your children because you don’t know the answer or because you don’t want to deal with a whining child?
“Because I said so” is a blog I just love. She, too, has six children like my daughter does. She has crazy things happen in her home. She does seem to see the humor in them as do I. She posts her news almost every day. I should post myself as a follower but she has thousands already. “ I kept thinking, “Yup, that’s me, Yup that’s me!”
Dawn’s website is
Today’s post is about self checkouts at grocery stores and department stores. I would rather wait in line 2 hours rather than go through a self check out line. Nope, won’t do it.
If you don’t want to sign up as a follower that’s fine, but I think you would like her posts and give you a chuckle from time to time that we all need.
Dawn almost always has a picture to go with her post. The other day she titled her post as ‘My Assistant’ meaning her three year old. A picture of her desk covered with post it notes glued on with little scribbles, “reminding” herself to do things, I am sure. I loved it. Check it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Education in 1870

Education is and was always important for the citizens of a city, county, and state, and now especially nationally. In Cherokee County in 1870 there was a total of 23 teachers. The article in the Centennial edition of the Cherokee Times was: 23 Teachers Got Total of $2309
The life of a school teacher has evidently always been one of many virtues other than obtaining compensation from the “root of all evil” namely money.
According to statistics, the 23 public school instructors of Cherokee county, in 1870 received a total of $2,309 for their services. Pay of the eight male teachers averaged $8.25 a week while the ladies netted $6.75 a week. There was not an exact enrollment for the county but probably less than one hundred students county wide.
Total value of the schools in the county at this time amounted to some over $7000. The buildings consisted of one brick structure, 8 frame dwellings and the remainder were the one room log schools.
I am just curious why the male teachers made more money than the females.?!

Dennis The Menace

I thought I would use the majority of this month to cover the centennial of Cherokee, Iowa over fifty years ago. As I was going through this fragile piece of newsprint, I was reading the comics as well. Well there is nothing funnier to me than Dennis The Menace. This particular comic was so appropriate for the economy of 2009.
Dennis and his mother were walking out of the bank. Dennis has a terrible scowl on his face while he is hanging on to his mother’s hand.
He said, “ It is really dumb to give those guys all your money and all they give you is a stupid little book”
Huh? We might laugh, but things were the same in 1956 evidently; at least in Dennis’ eyes.
The comics in that paper almost brought tears to my eyes. I loved the comics in those days. Why? Because they were funny and you could follow them from day to day or week to week. Comics were little miniature stories that were cute. Al Capp was a fantastic cartoonist. I am sure that some of you remember him. The cartoonist, Hank Ketchum for Dennis died in 2001. He made Dennis an imp which most mothers could relate to.
Some of us were poor in those days and could not afford wrapping paper if we could afford to give someone a gift. Comics were used to wrap a gift. They were used so frequently that no one knew whether you could afford paper or not. Once again I am sitting here smiling. Yes they were the good old days. The newspaper was generally read by young and old front to back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Just Can't Go Home!

I grew up in my little home town, and had lots of friends. People would always say hi to me as I would be walking down the street. Older people never knew me because I had grown so much. I could never understand that. My mother tried to explain to me, but I really didn’t care, I was just curious.
I left Cherokee for several years and went back for my father’s funeral. I met some people I graduated with and they didn’t know me. That really made me feel sad.
I had these same thoughts the other day when I was working on the centennial articles. I thought, “I wonder what the hospital looked like or was different than it is now.” That also made me feel sad. I guess I am just a nostalgia nut. I found out by looking up the Cherokee archives that the old hospital is now the parking lot space for the new hospital. “Oh, that is just so sad.” I have to chuckle when I say that because my mom used to chide me for not wanting things to change. Hope you like this picture of Sioux Valley Memorial Hospital.
My mother stayed ten days there after I was born. Then she had to be taken home by ambulance. They had no real ambulance so they used a hearse. Oh no! My, times have changed. The "new" hospital was built two years after I was born.

Centennial Continues Part 3

I have been having a lot of fun with the Cherokee Daily Times published in 1956. It was celebrating the Centennial of Cherokee, Iowa.
That’s the town where I was born. It was the only town I ever knew until I was in my twenties. My father worked at the Times for years, and my mother was born in Cherokee. My ancestors helped found the town of Cherokee.
Some of the articles in this special edition were just cute and/or comical etc.
Cherokee jail had last week more fixed residents to the square mile than any similar area in the county.
“The prisoners now in jail nearly escaped last week. A saw made from a bread knife and a file were the tools used and are now on exhibition at the sheriff’s office. “January 10, 1878.” You often hear jokingly about a woman putting a file in a cake for an inmate to escape. I have never heard of it in a serious connotation. Here is another article concerning a jail. HOW NEED WAS VOICED FOR A JAIL:
Whether a town be small, medium sized or large the law of averages will reflect a few “hoodlums” in every so-called Civilized society.
Cherokeeans in 1871 came to the realization that a jail was needed in the locality to provide a place for the criminals to be locked up, following arrests. Proposals suggested that the structure not exceed $500.
Previous to the building of the jail, law offenders were sent to the Woodbury establishment for their prison terms. Expenses for this were charged to Cherokee county at the rate of $1 per day for each jail occupant from this region. Woodbury County’s county seat is now Sioux City.
Poisonous Literature:
In 1878 it was reported that poisonous literature was probably in part responsible for the outrageous crime in New York, reporting that four boys were shot that year. Other cities like Boston also had deaths of a similar nature. It stated that hardly a day the telegraph did not report of these crimes. The newspaper called this kind of “trash” literature a toadstool literature which poisons the immature intellect. They also said that a crusade should be made against it until it is suppressed. It said that boys read this “stuff” and want to be pirates and robbers and live in caves.
And escape from tyrannical strongholds, vulgarly termed jails and annihilate minions of the law, alias policeman.
As I read this, I thought, “Oh my, I am so glad whoever wrote this could not see the statistics of New York murders now as well as the “trash” that young people read as well as watch on television.
I will hopefully bring you some more fun and/or interesting articles from this edition tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cherokee Centennial, Part Two

In 1879 there was an article in their paper that related Cherokee’s social life. It was headlined “Grand Banquet” In honor of Judge Galbraith at the Washington House. Last night is a story in the issue of the July 10, 1879 issue telling of a major social event complete with the menu.
“ The social nature of our citizens lead them to embrace every plausible occasion for an exhibition of the amenities of society.
The judge was going to go to Montana as an associate judge. The social was to provide an opportunity to let the judge realize how much the citizens respected him and the pleasure they felt at his promotion to such an honorable position.
“Carte Menu:”
Boiled ham al a Glace; Tongue, oyster sauce; relishes Worcestershire Sauce, London Club, French Mustard,
Cucumber pickles, Pice Alili, Chow Chow, Entrees: Macaroni baked with cheese a la Italian; Beef a la mode; Oyster Patties; Chicken Salad; Sardine; Roast Turkey, Jelly sauce, Ham with Champagne sauce. Cake: fruit, pound, Delicate, Watermelon, Jelly Chocolate, Silver, Gold Confectionaries, raisons, walnuts, pecans, almonds oranges and assorted candies. Coffee, Royal flor , jerez jelly, wine jelly, ice cream, and Roman punch.
I doubt very seriously if you would find an article like this anymore. I doubt very seriously if you would find a menu like this any more. I can’t even pronounce some of the names of the food. I chose a photo of a lady from 1856 which I thought would be appropriately dressed for the occasion.
In adjoining columns was one titled, “ Liver-Eating” Johnson Passes. (From the centennial files) January 17,1878. Liver Eating Johnson who is said to have killed more Indians than any other man on the frontier, is reported dead.
He once ate the liver of one of his Indian victims and hence his title. He made the killing of Indians a pastime and was the terror of strolling savages in the upper Missouri River country.”
This is certainly a contradiction of news, don’t you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back To Cherokee Starting With The Centennial in 1956

I was born in Cherokee in 1944. I was going through the Cherokee Daily Times and I think I missed a lot of the good stuff. This paper was the Centennial issue. I will cover a lot of things that have been newsworthy over the years, including my ancestors.
The Centennial Paper was 78 pages long. That amount of pages was extraordinary. The secondary headline was as follows: “Let us show in this Year’s Centennial Commemoration, Our Pride In this Wonderful Community of Ours and it’s Marvelous Development Since the Little Band of Settlers from Milford, Massachusetts First Came into Our Valley in 1856.
The celebration was three days long: June 3-5. There were so many activities scheduled for all three days. A multitude of class reunions, church services, and store fronts decorated with nostalgic memorabilia.
I am going to relate a lot of the articles written in this paper. One of my favorites was titled “Dot Vindo Caput”

John Wickert a hard working inoffensive German,who lives in a small house west of the railroad track, has been of late much annoyed by some wicked boys whose time would be more profitably employed at school.
On Saturday about two o’clock they threw a large stone through a window breaking it all to pieces, or as the German himself forcibly expressed it “make dot vindo all go dead, killed mine glass in liddle bits.” He explained to the city marshal, and if the miscreant repeat their naughtiness they will land in the caboose.
A child sitting near the window narrowly escaped being hurt. This article was written January 17, 1878. '
How different we write articles now. We probably would have said, if anything, Vandalism reported at the railroad housing development. No injuries reported.
I am going to write several stories that were reported like this one. I enjoy reading these and I hope you will too, especially if you lived there or went to school there for a short or long time.
A lot of the centennial activities were held at the Tomahawk Field.
Interestingly enough as I was reading this special edition, the editors mixed the current events with the one hundred year old events. For instance I was reading about a lady that had fallen down her basement stairs, taken to the hospital, had x-rays, but the results had not been given to the press. Oh my, that’s different.
Will talk to you tomorrow, with some more fun news from the old days of Cherokee!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Face, Bat Man's Enemy

My son loves Halloween. Every year since he was little he has dressed up as monsters for the most part. He told me the other day he wished he could dress up every day. He just loves the process as well as the end result.
This year his costume was Two Face, Bat Man’s Enemy. I never heard of him. (Generation Gap) Mike engineered his whole costume and make up. He had a friend’s mother sew two pair of jeans together and two shirts. She broke four needles getting those two pair of jeans sewn together. He wore two different pair of shoes; one work boot and one rubber boot. The worst he did, however was to have half of his head shaved off and half of his beard.
The makeup he used was just awful. He mixed glue and caulking, black and brown makeup and red pencil for sores on his head.
He took a very old sports coat and bleached half of it and the other half was original. He got Fran and I involved by trying to find him a solid colored tie that was black or navy blue. We went to four different places, could not find one. We felt like failures! We finally found one but it would not bleach. The whole idea was to have the tie match the shirts and coat.
Mike won the costume contest last year dressed as the Geico Man, and this year the contest had four first place winners. He won again! His was the only one that was original. You could tell most of them came from a costume shop or from the internet.
Mike will never grow up when it comes to Halloween, good for him!