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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving eve

Came this afternoon to my daughter’s home in Columbia, SC.  We came up today so that I could be here in time to cook the Turkey for tomorrow.  I have most of my family brainwashed to believe that no-one does a turkey better than I.  It gets me invited to famlily in such I way that I don’t have to buy all the food, I just have to prepared the turkey and dressing. I love it.  Unfortunately some of my children think they can do it better than I, but fortunately it is not universal.

I used to do the turkey and then when the dinner was over and most of the turkey  eaten, I would boil (actually simmer) the carcass overnight and make a stew of the left over meat etc., which we would eat for a few days after Thanksgiving.  When one has six kids on an academic salary it is important that nothing go to waste.

The last few years, as the kids left for their own homes, I haven’t done this.  A big soup like that was likely to go to waste (or waist, as the case may be.)

Monday, we purchased (and I prepared) a medium sized turkey (about fourteen pounds) for a local group that feeds a number of folks once or twice a month.  This week, they were expecting several hundred “guests” because it is Thanksgiving week so they needed more stuff.  Our church provided ten or eleven turkeys as did several other local churches.  The organizers didn’t want dressing, and asked to have the turkey boned out, sliced and warm for the feed.   I prepared the turkey Monday night, then Tuesday morning boned it sliced it and heated it for Tuesday dinner.  After it had been prepared and delivered, I came home and looked at the carcass.  It still had a lot of meat tucked in it as well as giblets and the broth the giblets were cooked in, so Tuesday evening, for the first time in years, I cooked the carcass, and all the other stuff that hadn’t been delivered and made a soup, with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms and a few other sundry veggies that were handy, spiced it and let the soup simmer all night long.  In the morning I was a little astonished at the quantity and quality of the soup.  It was really yummy, but there was about a gallon and a half  (or close to two gallons) so  before we could come up here we had to get the stuff in big jars and refrigerated it.  By now it is jellied (cooking bones does that) bottled and refrigerated, and by the time we get home, I am going to figure out what I can do with it all.  I now remember why we haven’t made left over turkey soup for a few years.  If I can find some neighbors who are not tired or eating through their own leftovers, I may have a lawn party (or something).   

My daughter doesn’t have internet access at home, so I won’t be able to post this till Friday or Saturday, but it is, I suppose, better than not posting at all (My practice for a couple of weeks)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fifty three and counting

Today was Janet and my fifty third wedding anniversary.  You’d think that after that many it would be just another anniversary, but it isn’t.  We both have cardiac and thoracic problems and a lot of physical problems that give us pain, and to be realistic, once you pass, or even reach fifty everything else in a bonus. 

I did reflect upon our beginning.  We were married on a Thursday morning of our Senior year in college.  I was selling shoes and driving a school bus; she was working in the college library repairing old books, and we were both taking a full load of classes.  Our honeymoon consisted of both of us taking Friday off. (It was easier to get time off from the shoe store than from the school bus, but I managed it.  I did have to go back  to the shoe store for Saturday sales. 

We had rented what I have heard called a shotgun apartment.  Living room in front, kitchen next and behind the kitchen a miniscule bedroom.

The living room was pale green and the kitchen was, if I remember correctly, purple.  Sitting in the living room and looking into the kitchen was a bilious experience, and one of our first tasks was to paint one of the rooms (the kitchen, I believe.)  We were in rehearsal for a play called RUR, for Rossoms Universal Robots.  It was the only time we ever played the male and female leads in a play.  We even had a love scene which I considered appropriate.  Like any new people who, no matter how well they know each other, we had to work out boundaries  and how our home would function.   One evening about a week after we were wed, I cam home from work to find Janet ironing a pair of my slacks..  It was clear that pressing men’s pants was a new process for  her so I offered to show her how men’s pants were pressed, down the length of the ironing board, to get an even crease.

Would anyone like to guess how many pairs of my pants she pressed in the ensuing fifty three years.   You guessed it!!!

We often laughed about being married on the thirteen day of the week, and have both been heard to refer to it as the year Friday the thirteenth came on Thursday.

Marriage is not always an easy process, but I am so blessed.  I know for a fact that I have always progressed to become a better person year by year because the angel I married has showed me how to do it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Here we are

Well, we made it to Gatlinburg and have been here since Monday Evening.  It is not High Leaf season, the leaves  have about fifty percent fallen, but it is still beautiful.  Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge/Sevierville has been one of our favorite places for years.  We haven’t taken advantage of many of the evening activities because we just don’t have the energy to keep going all day, but we are having a good time shopping through the may craft and antique stores and trying not to overeat in the many really fine restaurants in the area.

Today (Thursday) we went to a Matinee performance of the Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas Spectacular.  It was vary entertaining.  A lot of folks with good voices, and some dancing talent bringing back memories of past Christmases  and songs that we knew (as well as a bunch that we didn’t know wrapped up in a finale that was the kind of live nativity scene set to music that was truly moving. (I will confess that the final number of Joy to the World reinforced my inner feeling that the glissando should be outlawed in most singing of popular or religious or patriotic music). 

As the show progressed I couldn’t help thinking that life is, in many ways, a lot better for singers dancers and actors and musicians than it was when I was younger.  Heaven only knows how many cruise ships are plying the seas, but every one of them has a band, and acting, dancing and or other performing group, resort areas like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Branson Missouri, Hilton Head, Orlando, and even some of the smaill towns in Nevada , etc., are replete with similar performance activities.  As I was coming up most of the performance opportunities existed in summer theatres, and the performance cities, except for places like Disney Land and the California/Florida areas were in business mostly in the summer. It was a joy to see dancing and singing worthy of any ordinary bunch of Broadway Gypsies in Tennessee during the approach of winter.

It was a little sad looking around both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and seeing how many places had gone out of business.  Driving home this evening I was struck by the lack of cars on the road and people on the street and it was obvious that the economic situation in the land was affecting the tourist industry a lot.

Anyway, we are having a good time and are grateful that we have enough energy to, at least, get pleasure from some of the things we love to do.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Contrast, I hope !!!

We are now in Columbia SC where, on Nov.  3.  driving down near Cedar Creek, the foliage is really outstandingly beautiful.  It makes me think that, almost a month ago to the day, we were in the Berkshires along the Massachusetts/New York border it was just the same.  The weather was almost identical to what it is here.

Now, in the area in Mass. where we were enjoying the beautiful foliage,, they have had over twenty inches of snow.  Thousands of people are out of power and the atmosphere is totally changed.  Of course, for the place where we stayed, if they have power, things are not totally unpleasant.  Our lodge was almost at the base of a major ski area called Jiminy Peak, and generally their rates almost double when the ski area is in use (and with over twenty inches of snow, if power is on, the ski area is in use).

My personal experience with early snow hints that the skiing situation could be temporary.  If the temperature rises, which is quite possible, that twenty plus inches of snow could turn into fifteen inches of slush which makes skiing a lot less fun.

Monday we leave for Gatlinburg, Tennessee where, according to the spam on my computer, it is “high leaf” and everything is beautiful.  I just hope that, in two weeks or a month the northeast pattern doesn’t move to the South.  Usually if we lose power around here it is a result of Hurricanes but Gatlinburg is up in the hills where snow could come and come early.  Hopefully, if it does, I will be back home.  (of course, in the forty plus years I have lived in Georgia, I have seen snow in November –once--)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I love holidays.  I look forward to almost all of them, even those from which I get no more direct effect than knowing that most of my extended family gets a day off work.  (I get off work all the time since 1997, unless I choose to do some sculpting or yard work etc.)

I have a somewhat unusual reaction to Halloween and to Easter.  The holidays themselves are celebrated by our families in a most traditional way, but the day after each of these holidays is a day of great temptation.

I try to watch my weight.  In the last year or so I have lost over seventy pounds. (I still weigh two hundred pounds but I have gone from a forty six inch waist to a thirty eight inch waist which has resulted in most of my wardrobe finding its way to Goodwill.)

The real problem with the holidays mentioned above is that some evil genius organized things so that on the day after the holiday (or even in the four or five days after these holidays) all the chocolate in the world goes on sale at prices that seem next to nothing.  This results in a sort of love/hate relationship that I have to these holidays.

To give an example, on the day after Halloween, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some necessaries. (mouth wash, denture adhesive, and foot medicine for my neuropathy, all very necessary to me and many folks may age.) At the entrance of Wally World thousands of pounds of candy were placed so that no entrance could be made to any department without walking past it.  I was strong however.  I (sort of) ignored it all and got to the pharmacy department unscathed, but on my way to the checkout I weakened and I ended up with a Wal-Mart plastic bag with ten or fifteen pounds of Reese’s peanut butter cups, Dove chocolate pumpkins, regular, peanut, and peanut butter M & M’s, Snickers bars, Milky Way bars. Three Musketeer bars, Hershey bars (all kinds) etc. for a total cost of about five bucks.  If Ghirardelli, or Lindt chocolate had been on sale at those prices the gross weight of my packages would have doubled.

Now I have all this chocolate, plus the leftover cookies from trick or treat sitting around my house and I have got to figure out  a way to keep from stuffing it all in my mouth in one or two days.  Today I limited my self by working like a slave in my yard, doing things I have procrastinated for months.  Tomorrow I am leaving to spend a long weekend with my daughter in Columbia South Carolina, and from there go to a time share in Tennessee for five days.  If I am lucky, gremlins will have stolen into my house and eaten all the chocolate.

My son Stuart will be house sitting while we are gone, and if I come home and he has gained twenty pounds, I will have a guilty conscience  for the rest of the year.

Of course Thanksgiving (another excuse for gluttony) will be coming up soon but at least Thanksgiving isn’t at discount rated.

I don’t know if our time share has wi-fi, so I may not get to the computer for the next ten days, but it isn’t as if I have kept my resolution to post at least once weekly anyway.