Each morning John fries bacon and eggs for breakfast. He fries only one piece of bacon for me as I don’t eat eggs. My grandmother died when I was twelve, and I inherited her fifty egg-producing hens. Those chickens required food and water every morning before school and every afternoon after I got off the bus. I did not like those chickens.
Each evening I gathered the eggs. Often those over-protective chickens refused to budge off their eggs and pecked at my hand as I attempted to retrieve the eggs. Sometimes a snake was nestled in the nest with the eggs. I quickly learned to not slip my hand into the nest without first looking—although my family usually stopped what they were doing to watch as I ran screaming out of the hen house.
The eggs were often soiled with chicken—you know chicken…. Anyway, those eggs required washing – by me. Once cleaned and in a carton, I sold the eggs three dozen for a dollar to neighbors.
I didn’t get rich, and I envied my friends who babysat, sacked groceries, cleaned houses, or in fact, did anything for money rather than tend chickens.
No, I don’t eat eggs.
This year John and I attended a Super Bowl party at the home of friends. Our hosts’ home was large, and there were at least three rooms with television sets tuned to the game. I’m not sure of the actual number because, well, I never actually left the dining room and kitchen area. Fortunately, chairs at one end of the dining room provided seating for those of us self-appointed to guard the food from any one tempted to eat more than their fair share.
In addition to the table, the dining room had three buffet surfaces. Each area was large enough to hold sausage balls, cheese dip, chips, a plate or two of cookies, and several crock pots filled with homemade chicken and noodle soup, chili, or vegetable stew. Sunday evening was the perfect time to host a “covered dish” type of party as most folks spent the afternoon preparing the “dish.” Some of the ladies made a real effort and prepared deviled eggs. One or two ladies even peeled carrots and cut up celery.
Well, I took a box of crackers. No, I didn’t see the game. Yes, I did hear it was the best Super Bowl game ever….
Several times a year, I ride Amtrak’s Southwest Chief round-trip from Kansas to Illinois. Watching the scenery flash by is enjoyable. Well some of it is. Some small town backyards are not so pretty. The train crosses the Mississippi River at Fort Madison, Iowa, and each time I cross it, I have a compulsive need to take six or seven pictures of it. I always forget I have done so many times in the past.
At Christmas time, the folks of Fort Madison decorate along the river with a light display. I like to think Santa sees me waving. Some winters, the river is frozen over and covered with snow. During my spring train rides, it is impossible to count the many shades of green along the banks. On hot summer days, I feel cooler just looking at the water. The leaves on the trees wear brilliant red, yellow, orange, and brown colors on my fall trips. Often, too, I am treated to wonderful views of nature’s wildlife.
I meet interesting people on the train, and the food in the dining car is worth the price. However, viewing the Mighty Mississippi is the highlight of the voyage!
As a young mother I baked cookies almost daily, and my bathroom scales still support that fact. Now when I bake cookies a grandchild usually assists me so after I volunteered to bake cookies for a special event, I looked forward to an opportunity to eat cookie dough without sneaking it by the gran…I mean I looked forward to the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking.
Before I began baking, however, I decided to surprise John and prepare dinner. I browned a roast in a small—a much-too-small–iron skillet. I placed the skillet with the roast in it in the oven and proceeded to measure the dry ingredients for the cookies. Suddenly a piercing whistle sounded throughout the house. I turned and saw smoke billowing out from around the oven door. I was surprised such a small amount of broth on an oven coil caused that big of a mess.
I silenced the three smoke alarms and opened doors and windows. Four hours later the self-cleaning oven finishing cleaning itself, but I was too tired to bake cookies. After all it was 10:00 o’clock at night.
Fortunately, the cookie dough tasted—I mean the baked cookies smelled just as good the next day.
Cameos of Courage, a children’s historical fiction book I co-authored with my friend Collette Reichenberger, is now published and available on Amazon and in some stores. It is the first book in our Cottonwood series. (We hope our second one is out in November.) Cameos of Courage tells four separate stories of four ten-year-old girls as they traveled and made their homes on the prairies of Kansas. The stories feature an abolitionist, a Native American, an Exoduster, and a homesteader. Our intent was to make learning Kansas history fun.
Decisions, decisions, decisions, I didn’t realize there would be so many to make while writing a book. How shall one of the girls cross the river? How shall another girl travel from Mississippi to Kansas? How many words should the book contain? What color for the cover? One of the best decisions Collette and I made, though, was to use Becky Foster as an illustrator. I think you will enjoy her pictures.
I hope you will enjoy the book, too. My usual blog will return next week. Today, though, I have yet another decision to make. “Shall I fix chicken or roast beef for dinner?”