Friday, November 20, 2015

Bringing in the Cheese

November 20, 2015

So many memories of other Thanksgivings come flooding back to me at this time of year. I touched on a few of them in my last blog post. This week, as I was walking around the house one day, humming various hymns of Thanksgiving, I smiled and gave a chuckle over one beloved family story that came to mind. Most of the songs my sister and I learned as a pre-schoolers were those we sang in church or we heard at home on my parents' record player. Many were hymns sung by popular singers of the day, such as Kate Smith, Tennessee Ernie Ford, or Perry Como. Anyway, as I recall the story, my sister was overheard in church as she sang out, "bringing in the cheese", which would have made more sense to a little girl in the 1950's than would "bringing in the sheaves". I guess my parents had a good laugh between themselves over it and it became a family tradition for one of us to bring it up every Thanksgiving in song. :-)

There have been other memorable Thanksgivings.  Most of them were good, but the worst one was on a Thanksgiving morning. It was hunting season. We lived on a dirt road. There was a field across the road and on the other side of the field was the railroad and a lane that ran along side it. My sister and I, who were probably 13 and 9 years old, respectively,  happened to see a deer running across the field toward our house and following behind it was a pickup truck barrelling across the bumpy field. We ran to another window to get a better view as the truck crossed the road in pursuit of the deer and drove into our field right next to our house. The truck caught up with the deer and was driving along side of the frightened animal. A hunter, who was in the open box at the back of the pickup, lifted his rifle and fired a shot at the deer. Thankfully, he fired in the opposite direction from our house and our window.  We both screamed and ran to tell our father what we had seen as the deer and the pickup truck of hunters continued past our house and deeper into our field.  My sister and I were both aghast and quite frightened. We cried and cried. We asked our father to do something; but as I think about it, I don't think he was very keen on approaching the mid-morning poachers with their rifles on their shoulders. If he did anything, it would have been a phone call to the game warden. Our father was a man of few words when it came to things of a serious nature, especially things that were not for children's ears, so I never learned the outcome of the pickup truck hunting party. It was a good thing that our Thanksgiving dinner was at my Aunt and Uncle's house in Geneseo. The change of scenery helped us all put the morning's incident behind us.

Since then, most Thanksgiving days have been less traumatic. If the dinner was at our house, my father would saw a giant Hubbard squash apart and the two halves would just fit in the big oven to be baked the day before. On Thanksgiving morning my mother would roast a huge turkey with homemade stuffing that she put in the oven at 4 a m. It needed to feed a hungry crowd of up to 25! Now, when there is going to be a big crowd, or to ensure leftovers for everyone, we might roast two smaller turkeys. They cook faster and are not so heavy and unwieldy! The Hartwicks like to baste the bird with butter to ensure crispy skin that some of us fight over!  ;-)

Once, when I was single, I invited my mother to come stay with me for a week so I could make her a Thanksgiving dinner. I invited a friend over, too. The extras were all prepared and were kept warm on the stove. When it was time to take the bird out of the oven, after checking it a few times for doneness, the oven door would not open! I ran over to the neighbors' house and the man of the house came to my rescue by removing the oven door!

I have more stories, but will save those for another year. What are some of your stories? I would love to know! Please share with me, if you wish.  :-)

In the meanwhile, allow my husband and me to extend the warmest of wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thankful . . .

This is a special time of year for me. Growing up on a cash crop farm, this was was the best part of the year.  All the crops would be in the barns and my father would work shorter hours. He would be home for supper and stay home. I liked it when Daddy was home in the evening.
In summer, his hours were long, and often he wouldn't come home for supper, so my mother would pack the big wooden picnic hamper with sandwiches, salads, fresh sliced garden tomatoes, sliced peaches, cake or cookies, and a big metal Igloo of KoolAid. I thought it was fun to ride in the backseat of the car with my older sister and all the food while we headed out to find the field he was in. When we found him, my mother would pull over to the side of the dirt road and park in the shade while I anxiously waited for him to make his way up the row to meet us. If you want to see what the setting was like, watch the movie, "The Natural". Several of the scenes for the movie were shot just across the road from where we would have our summer suppers under the trees. You can see the trees that we sat under for our meal at the end of the movie when the main character, Roy Hobbs, (played by Robert Redford), has returned to his homestead and is playing catch with his son in the sunlit field. Those trees are still there and sometimes when my husband and I are out in my old neighborhood, we go down that road and park under the trees just so I can relish the memory.

Our summer crops, sweet corn and peas, went directly from the field to the canning factory. During the winter, the stored crops would be bagged by my father, uncles, and hired men, and sold to wholesalers, local farmers, and people from town who liked to buy directly from the grower. We sold seed oats and wheat, eating and seed potatoes, dry beans, hay, and straw in the winter.

I am thankful for the memories from my childhood and for the new ones I am making every day. As I write this, I am enjoying a Sunday afternoon with my husband. We are having snacks and watching the Buffalo Bills game on TV. A new favorite memory in the making. :-)

Thankfully, I can report that my surgeon is very pleased with my progress. He changed the order for my bandages and now I have much more freedom. I think my nurse visits might end next week. I am adding foods and activities back into my diet and routine. 

I am feeling stronger and finally made something new in my studio. It is the banner pictured above. I made it to fit our living room fireplace mantle. It describes how I feel about this time of year and about my life. Thankful. For those who are interested in its construction, I used DCWV's paper-backed burlap for the large and small flags and some DCWV 12x12 Wild Saffron papers from my stash for the background, the die cut oak leaf shapes and the letters that I traced from a stencil set.

This week I will be my reentry week into my sewing room. I have a very special quilt to make. I pulled some batiks from my stash and then made a pilgrimage to the quilt shop to round out my choices. Along with this project, there are many UFOs that I pulled out this weekend from my closet. I am hoping within a few weeks that I will have some things moved over from the UFO pile to the finished pile! Since I still need to take it easy, sewing should be a good fit! So, with that being said, I will sign off for now.

Thank you for stopping by. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.