Monday, September 24, 2012

THE LITTLE GREEN BOX OF MEMORIES

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I have two recipe boxes. The little green one is from 1971, the year Danny and I married. The blue one came quite a few years later and has bigger and newer recipe card collection.

Going through the green one today to find a certain recipe I needed, was like taking a trip back in time.

The first recipe I came across was for ‘Dump Cake’.  This was the cake that Danny's Aunt Net shared with the family one Christmas. It was such a hit that Danny’s mom got the recipe and every Christmas afterwards, there would be a dump cake on the table.

Then there was the recipe for the Rice Pudding that my mama use to make. The way my mama made it though, was in no way like a pudding. The consistency was more like a sticky cake made in an oblong metal pan. Just seeing that recipe brought the memory of my mama mixing it all together in a white red rimmed bowl on our old table. ( I could even see the well worn red checked oil cloth that was always on it.) I would sit there as a child and watch my mama mixing the left over rice together with the eggs, milk and flour along with sugar and spices. The smell of the cinnamon and vanilla would be a sweet perfume floating around our old kitchen that day.

I found the recipe for Peanut Butter Cake and icing that Danny’s 90 plus year old Big Mama still makes. Years ago, when she found out that I loved that cake because my granny use to make the exact same one, she began making me one as a Christmas gift each Christmas. The whole family loved this cake so much, that Big Mama would actually sneak the cake over to my house as if she was delivering stolen goods! God bless her heart.

My Granny was always making cakes, but she never wrote the recipes down, least not to my knowledge. She just kept them all in her head. So when she passed on, so did the recipes. Once, right after I began working at the BBQ, I mentioned to my boss lady that I wish I had gotten the recipe for my Granny’s nut cake before she passed on. Not long afterwards, my boss came to work with some recipes of her mom’s that she had carefully handwritten down for me. I found those recipes today and I am still in awe that she would take the time to do such a nice thing for me.

The recipe for ‘Peanut Butter Squares’ has a note I had written on the bottom of the stained old index card… ‘Amanda made these on Oct. 16, 1991.’ She was 9 years old and had brought the recipe home from school to make for school work. I can still see her working so hard at our kitchen table. She wanted them to be just right…and they were! They were so good and moist and she was one happy little girl!

I found an old yellowed notebook paper neatly folded and pushed in the far back of the box. I opened it up and found the recipe for baked chicken and rice that I had made up many years ago. Down at the bottom of the page, for some reason, I had signed my name and to the left was where Danny had also signed my name. He would sometimes sit at the table as I prepared our suppers and the memory of him saying that he was going to try to write it just like me came to me like sunlight filtering into a window. Seeing his writing again brought tears to my eyes.

I finally found the recipe that I had been searching for and as I placed the recipe box back in it’s place on the counter, it dawned on me that these were not just recipes.

These were the foods that we all enjoyed together as a family. They were the Christmases, the Thanksgivings, the Easters and the Birthdays which we all celebrated for generations with our loved ones…Some long gone now.

No, they are not just recipes…

They are the precious memories of a life lived.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WAY BACK WHEN

I picked up a few limbs that were blown down from the huge oak tree in my front yard overnight when I got up this morning. I tossed them across the road where the city truck will pick them up. We were under a tornado watch last night, but I did not hear it raining, nor the wind blowing at all. Guess I slept pretty good…better than I thought!

Later on today, I went out to Tendercare Pharmacy to get Dan’s meds. On the way back home, I had the radio tuned to the Greensboro station. Just as I was passing Lee’s Chinese Restaurant, Chubby Checker began singing ‘Come on baby, let’s do the twist and I was instantly transported back in time.

When I was a little kid back in the 60’s, our Movie Theater was the building that now houses Lee’s restaurant. Back in the day, they use to play music before the show on Saturdays and you could dance… if you dared! ‘The Twist’ was one of those songs that played and we would get out there in our socks and twist our little 7 and 8 year old booties off! The Twist was the dance back then and we thought we were something!

Isn’t it amazing that the songs of our youth, the songs of the 50’ and 60’s, are still being played and even enjoyed by our own children and grandchildren? I truly believe that there was something special about that era….Oh sure, we had our problems back then. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and the drills we had at school? But those times sure seemed to be  so much lighter and brighter than now….

Or maybe it is just by looking back that we can actually see it clearly for what it was…an age of innocence.

Back in the 50’s/ 60’s people had only one TV, if they were lucky and that one TV only picked up two or three channels! You used an antenna that was attached to a tall metal pole stuck in the ground outside the window where the TV was. Some had it way up on top of the roof and the picture was still grainy and fuzzy. You were constantly going outside to turn that antenna, hoping to pick up a better signal.  Now days we have a TV in every room with hundreds of crystal clear channels on each one and the TV antennas are a thing of the past.

Some folks still had outdoor toilets and a well in the yard for their water back then. Our well went dry out on Horseshoe Bend, so daddy had to haul water in milk cans from the dairy near by. How we got by on those few milk cans of water..how my mama managed to make it all work out, what with all us children, day by day…is beyond me.

The refrigerators were small and the ice box was just that, a tiny box in the top, with just room enough to put two metal ice trays in. Great clunks of ice would form around it and you had to defrost that little freezer by hand.

Danny and I had one of those refrigerators when we married. If I close my eyes, I can still see it. I was sitting here thinking back and wondering what I did with my meat.. If I had no room for it in that little bitty freezer, where did I keep it?  It soon dawned on me that I didn't cook meat at every meal, but usually only once a week. We mostly lived on beans and potatoes or beans and rice! We did have some fried salt fatback every now and then though.

The washers had wringers and the dryers were outdoor clothes lines. Baby diapers were made of cloth and you sure didn’t throw them away. You rinsed the soiled ones out and then you washed them…preferably in Ivory Snow or Dreft.

For my first baby, Dan, Danny’s Big Mama made me about two or three dozen diapers out of mill cloth..She also made the first sheets for our old iron double bed out of that mill cloth.  I can remember hanging up Dan's diapers in the hot summer mornings and by the time I got the last one out, the first one would be dry. In the winter time, you really didn’t need clothes pins, because those cloth diapers usually froze right to the line when the weather was freezing cold. If the wind was blowing, it would sting when they slapped you in the face! But you know what? I can still remember the sweet smell of those baby diapers when I took them off that clothes line and folded  them for my babies, because I would stick my nose to them and breathe deeply…

Oh, they always smelled so good and  fresh.

You know, it seems to me that it’s not what you have, but rather what you make of what you have, that helps you to be happy and content.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WE WILL NEVER FORGET

Years ago, some of us who wrote in AOL JOURNALS were asked to take part in honoring those who were killed during the 911 terrorist attack on The United States of America…

You chose a name and then you found out what you could about their lives and you wrote about them… so that they would not be forgotten.

As long as I can , I will continue to republish this each year.

So that Margaret Seeliger will not be forgotten…….

            margaretseeliger

It was a beautiful morning,with bright, clear blue skies as Margaret Seeliger and her husband Bruce left their Manhattan apartment and stood in line to vote in New York's primary election. It was a sunny day with all the airports reporting 100% visibility. After voting, they would have walked on toward work together as usual, but Bruce had a doctor's appointment.

So this morning, they kissed goodbye at the corner of 76th Street and Third Avenue. Bruce stood watching as Margaret boarded the train that would take her to her job and unknowingly, to her fate. You see, only thirty-four years old, Margaret Seeliger was employed as Head of the Student Health Division of Anon Insurance.

Which happened to be located on the 100th floor at 2 World Trade Center in New York.

Margaret had boundless energy, and lived her life to the fullest. She felt and often stated that "you never know how long you have here on this earth" , so she was always busy. Many of her weekends were spent in Buffalo visiting with her mom, who had fallen victim to Alzheimer's. Margaret was a very important part of her mom's care, attending to even the smallest details for her.


Since her mother was no longer able to do so, Margaret had taken over the role of being "Grandma" to her 11 nieces and nephews. She and her husband Bruce were constantly traveling to soccer games, or school plays in Rochester, California, Philadelphia and Atlanta, Georgia. Looking so much like her own mom, the children had even began calling her "Grandma".


On some weekends, she and Bruce would catch a flight to Atlanta to visit with her sister Beth and her three children. It was on one of those last visits that Margaret asked Beth to hold on to the crib and baby clothes that she had in her basement...secretly confiding that she wanted to start trying to get pregnant that November.


November never came for Margaret.


On that bright and beautiful morning of September 11, 2001, Bin Laden ordered an attack on AMERICA, killing thousands of innocent people as planes crashed into the the Pentagon, an open field and… The World Trade Center Towers.

            911


Where Margaret worked.


I can not imagine the fear and the panic that had to be running rampant through the buildings as people tried to flee to safety, but Margaret Seeliger bravely gave up her space on the last over crowded elevator that would leave the 100th floor of 2 World Trade Center… So that two of her colleagues could make it out.


MARGARET SEELIGER DIED A TRUE HERO.


So, Bin Laden…

MAY YOU FOREVER ROT IN THE HELL THAT WE HAVE SENT YOU TO.

YOU DESTROYED OUR TOWERS, YOU MURDERED OUR PEOPLE, BUT YOU DID NOT DETROY THAT WHICH HAS ALWAYS MADE AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD…


LOVE, COMPASSION, LOYALTY, BRAVERY…

AND OUR BELIEF IN THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD.


God bless you Margaret Seeliger and May Our Almighty God rest your soul….

May His Holy Spirit continue to bring comfort to your family and friends.


YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.


FOR WE WILL NEVER FORGET

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GOD BLESS YOU ALL

            &

GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA