Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving for the immigrant Americans

Our American Thanksgiving Day is Thursday. It's probably much like Harvest Festivals in other parts of the world except we celebrate with many foods native to this country. The traditional dishes are turkey, squash, pumpkin (especially in pie), corn and cranberries along with potatoes and bread stuffing.

The holiday is based on the tale about the original European settlers suffering hardship and being provided with a big dinner by the Native American Indians in 1621. Why the Indians would have been so kind to the Puritan immigrants is a mystery. They celebrate Thanksgiving incorporating some native dishes like wild rice.

                       (Photo borrowed from Wikipedia)
As it turns out, we won't be getting together until Saturday this year. For the first time in many years, I'll have all four of my kids here, plus four grandkids and three great-grands. That's a total of sixteen people in my not-all-that-big unit.
       ( Thanksgiving 2010 in my small dining room. I'm not sure                 how many dogs we'll have this year.)

Another tradition that has been added over the years is the President officially pardoning a live turkey in a ceremony at the White House. A turkey farm in Badger, Minnesota has been rearing a separate "presidential flock" to provide the official turkey to go to Washington. The final three candidates are all toms that have been groomed to be "calm and unflappable" and able to sit still. The winner will be presented to President Obama and pardoned from being Thanksgiving dinner. The plan is that it will then live out its life in a zoo or sanctuary.
                            (Borrowed from google)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The day JFK was assassinated (11/22/63)

On that fall day of the assassination, it was overcast and windy in Worthington, Minnesota. My oldest child was four and a half. The youngest was four months old. We lived in a trailer court on the edge of town in a two-bedroom mobile home. At 40' by 10', it was really crowded with our family of six, a dog and a cat. I was 23 years old.

The Mickey Mouse Club came on TV every afternoon at 4:00. When I turned on the TV for the kids to watch, there was only "snow". The TV antenna was positioned on a pole standing inside a cement block and braced by the trailer hitch at the front end of the trailer. The wind had spun it around it so it wasn’t picking up a signal from the TV station in Sioux Falls fifty miles away. Since this happened often, I ran outside to turn it so it would pick up the signal. I ran back inside to see if the picture was coming in. It was, but it wasn’t the Mickey Mouse Club. It was Walter Cronkite saying the president would be “lying in state".  I was confused and stunned as the terrible details were slowly revealed over the next hours and into the night. As the reports were repeated over and over, the reality slowly sank in. 

I had the TV on constantly for the next several days watching the continuous coverage in black and white. In the confines of the small mobile home, I was never far from the TV set so I was watching when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald live in front of millions of people.

I remember being very sad and feeling disconnected from the events so far away, and yet transpiring right in front of me on TV.
           This was taken in the mobile home the following year. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bimbo wipes out Sara Lee

Today. we went out to the "used bread" store on Silver Lake Road to stock up on our favorite English Muffin Toasting Bread. The stuff is perfect for breakfast toast, French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches and BLT's. Since we use it almost exclusively, we like to keep plenty on hand. The price at the local grocery stores is close to $4.00--the price at the outlet store is half that much.
                     (They're small loaves so they don't last long.)
When we got to the Sara Lee Bakery Outlet, there was a handwritten sign on the door that the tiny store will be closing on December 14th. We picked up six loaves of the wonderful stuff and asked the lady at the cash register it they were just moving to a new location. She said that a Mexican Corporation called Bimbo Baking had bought out Sara Lee and they were closing all the outlet stores. (Bimbo also bought out Hostess when they went bankrupt and the famous Twinkies were off the market for a while.)

This is the store where we buy big bags of outdated bread to feed the wildlife in the wooded lot. But more than that, it's the store where charities buy bread to make sandwiches for homeless people. It's the store where many elderly and folks on food stamps go to extend their food budget. I can well imagine that there are customers of that store who have had to rely on it for a large part of their diet.

I don't know who will step in and make up for the loss of the last remaining bakery outlets in the Twin Cities. It will be a hardship on a lot of people--and even worse, this comes at the same time that Food Stamp benefits are being reduced. It seems like the poor just can't catch a break!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


This is something I wrote after I retired eight years ago but never thought to use. I guess it's worth posting.

I was once talking with the director of my department at work, a woman whom I greatly admired.  She used the word blossom to describe the pleasure of seeing people grow in their jobs.  This made me stop and think about the word, “blossom” and how beautifully it describes the process of reaching our full potential.
Life takes us all on different journeys and at different speeds.  As a result, we all blossom at various times.  Some of us shine in high school.  Some may be the Belle of the Ball in college, or Super-mom for a time or even excel in their careers.  Yet, there are those of us who are conventional our entire lives until we reach our later years.  That’s when we blossom!  We begin to become creative.  We branch out and form new bonds with others.  We broaden our horizons and embrace our place in the universe.  We contribute our time, energy and intelligence to causes that mean something to us.  This is a joyous time of life, when we know and accept ourselves just as we are.  Moreover, we love and accept others just as they are.
This is a stage of life worth waiting for. This is the stage when we no longer mourn the things we are not and finally celebrate the wonderful things that we are...when we finally open up and blossom.