Sunday, July 31, 2016


At a recent gathering, I had prepared a fruit platter with my signature fruit dip I have dubbed Dip Suzanne.  Each time I prepare a fruit platter I use the same items:  watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, three kinds of grapes, strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi.  This time I added sliced mango. The strawberries disappeared immediately and then the pineapple and melons were quickly consumed.  I was left with bunches of grapes and the lonely kiwi and mango on the platter!  My brother asked, "Why did you bother putting those on there?  You know they are always left on the plate!" I said, "They're pretty and I like them."  I took the leftover grapes to The Well to share with my friends there.

See the article below from Dr. Oz:

                                                              HOW TO EAT FRUIT

We all think eating fruit means just buying fruit, cutting it up and popping it into our mouths. It's not that easy. It's important to know how and when to eat fruit.

What's the correct way to eat fruit?


Eating fruit like that plays a major role in detoxifying your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.


Let's say you eat two slices of bread, then a slice of fruit. The slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it's prevented from doing so.

In the meantime, the whole meal rots and ferments, and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach, and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.

Eat your fruit on an empty stomach, or before your meal! You've heard people complain: Every time I eat watermelon I burp, when I eat durian my stomach bloats, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc. This will not happen if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. Fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas. Hence, you bloat!

There's no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruit becomes alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruit, you have the Secret of Beauty, Longevity, Health, Energy, Happiness and normal weight.
When you need to drink fruit juice drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT the concentrated juice from the cans. Don't drink juice that has been heated. Don't eat cooked fruit; you don't get the nutrients at all. You get only the taste. Cooking destroys all of the vitamins.

Eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it. You can go on a 3-day fruit-fast to cleanse your body. Eat fruit and drink fruit juice for just 3 days, and you will be surprised when your friends say how radiant you look!

KIWI: Tiny but mighty, and a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and fiber. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange!

AN APPLE a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants and flavonoids which enhances the activity of vitamin C, thereby helping to lower the risk of colon cancer, heart attack and stroke.

STRAWBERRY: Protective Fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits and protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals.

EATING 2 - 4 ORANGES a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent and dissolve kidney stones, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

WATERMELON: Coolest thirst quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. Also a key source of lycopene, the cancer-fighting oxidant. Also found in watermelon: Vitamin C and Potassium.

GUAVA & PAPAYA: Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Papaya is rich in carotene, good for your eyes.

Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer!
Can you believe this? For those who like to drink cold water, this applies to you. It's nice to have a cold drink after a meal, however, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you've just consumed, which slows digestion. Once this "sludge" reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

A serious note about heart attacks:


Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw. You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms. Sixty percent of people who have a heart attack while they're asleep do not wake up. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Be careful, and be aware. The more we know, the better our chance to survive.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


At Rockwell, in the 1980s, my Department had marvelous carry-in dinners. At one, I had invited the Quality Control team to join us. One of the Managers was Fred Davidson and he brought cheesecake which was delicious. He told me it was his mother's recipe. I asked for the recipe and it was definitely New York-style-Jewish cheesecake. Each time I made cheesecake after that I used Fred's mother's recipe. After the contract was completed at Rockwell, I lost track of Fred.

One day, in the 1990s, Scott, our niece Robin's husband, said he would like to make cheesecake and asked to borrow my spring-form pan and my recipe.

When he saw the name on the recipe he said, "That's funny--that's the name of our new Quality Manager at work." I asked, "Do you know where he worked in the 1980s?"

Yes, Fred Davidson, was in Washington Court House. One day, I saw Fred in Kroger and he said, "It's a small world; how did a big-time Manager like you end up in Washington Court House?" I laughed and told him that I'd spent my whole life here. I asked, "How did a big-time Quality guy like you end up here?" He said that he had custody of his daughter and that she wanted to have a horse, so he decided to accept a job in a rural setting.

My sister-in-law Carol, who is Korean, called me to tell me that her girlfriend, Jeannie, who is also Korean, was dating the "nicest guy" from where she worked and that he knew me. Yes, it was Fred Davidson. Fred Davidson, a Jewish guy from New York, was dating a Korean gal in Washington C.H.

I loved the incongruity.

I said, "Tell her his mother makes the best cheesecake!"

                                    FRED DAVIDSON'S MOTHER'S CHEESECAKE

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds

Have butter, cream cheese, and eggs at room temperature.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar together;  blend well.  Press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

Cream cheese thoroughly;  slowly beat in 1 cup sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour into prepared graham cracker crust.  Bake in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until set.

Remove from oven.  Increase heat to extremely hot 500 degrees.

Mix sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Spread on cake.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Cool cake, then chill.

Remove rim from pan.  Sprinkle top of cake with almonds.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Frankly, I am appalled by the lack of civility I frequently encounter.  An American proverb states that "All's fair in love and war", but all is NOT fair at the County Fair.

At the Fayette County Fair, I volunteer my time to be at the Democratic Party booth.  The Republicans have a booth on the opposite side of the building from our Democratic booth and the local TEA Party has a booth in the corridor.

When I pass those booths, I do not speak, gesture, or stop. They are there to promote their agenda as we are there to promote ours.  Obviously they are not going to influence my opinion and I know I am not going to change theirs;  thus I view it as a waste of time to have any interaction.  We, however, are greeted with frequent ad hominem remarks from passers-by..  I chalk it up to the lack of proper child-rearing in our county and ignore their ignorance.

This year as my husband Gerald was in the Democratic booth with a fellow Democrat, a man and woman came to the Democratic booth, and in a very obstreperous manner, made denigrating statements about President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

Fortunately, Gerald and the other Democrat conducted themselves in a civilized manner.  When he could not get a rise from Gerald and the other man, the Republican stated that he had $500 in his wallet he was willing to bet about the outcome of the election. Gerald stood, put out his hand, offering to take the bet.  The woman slapped Gerald's hand and began telling her husband not to be betting.  Naturally, Gerald was shocked by the behavior and just shook his head in disbelief.

Witnessing the confrontation, and being alarmed, a woman at a booth catty-corner to the Democratic booth called the Sheriff;   when the Deputy completed his investigation, he informed Gerald that he could file charges of assault,  Of course Gerald refused to do that.  People from the booth across from ours had taped the encounter with their cell phone.  A woman from another booth had taken pictures.and there were other witnesses to the confrontation.

One friend opined that this behavior has been encouraged because of the behavior of the Presidential nominee of their Party.  I disagree because this unwelcome behavior has been evident for a number of years.  Two years ago, a Republican woman who was reported to be "screaming like a fish-wife" (I hate to vilify fish-wives by this comparison, as I actually do not know any fish-wives, but I am merely quoting!) was greeted with a spirited monologue from our friend Vivian.

I refuse to accuse all Republicans as being uncivilized and I am pleased to report that the woman who called the Sheriff is a Republican and she was outraged by the behavior of those people screaming and shouting in the gangway.  The people who were at the booth across from the Democratic booth are also Republicans and they were alarmed by the behavior they witnessed.

We are the minority party in this county with no elected Democratic office-holders and there are twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats.  Our friend John says that the Republicans want to "objectify" us, as they are obviously not being content with holding all the power in our county, they also want to dictate.


Thursday, July 28, 2016


Riding home from  Chillicothe on Monday evening, Gerald exclaimed, "Wow, look at that sky!"  The clouds were shades of pink, purple, and turquoise with rippling striations.  I told him, "It's a mackerel sky;  they're supposed to resemble fish scales."   I told him that a mackerel sky is supposed to be an indicator of weather change and it's usually rain.

I repeated the couplets my mother used to say:

"mackerel in the sky,
three days dry"

"mackerel sky, mackerel sky,
never long wet, never long dry"

I asked, "Have you heard of buttermilk sky?"  He said that he had (naturally, I began singing Ole Buttermilk Sky;  listen below to the composer Hoagy Carmichael's version).

I told him, "Buttermilk sky is the same as mackerel sky;  it's called that because of the curdled look of the clouds."

He said, "Well, I've seen a mackerel and I've seen buttermilk and they don't look the same."

I guess it's poetic license.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The BBC published a list of books (see below) it considers that we should read. Their survey shows that most people have read only 6.   

I do not necessarily agree with the list as there are some books which have been omitted which I would have chosen and some on the list which I think should not be on the list;  e.g.: although I like Phillip Pullman's books--they have positive role models for girls--and I have given them as presents to girls--they are not "great", but as a friend reminded me, "It's not the GREATEST BOOKS list or that damned Finnegan's Wake would have been on it because it and Ulysses are on EVERY damned list and NOBODY has ever read them!" I was surprised at the inclusion of John Irving, Douglas Adams, Arthur Golden, and Stella Gibbons.  I wondered why The Moonstone by Willkie Collins was not included rather than The Woman In White and why Hamlet was Number 99  while the Complete Works of Shakespeare was already Number 14.  I notice that Fitzgerald was included but not Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, or Dreiser.  Grapes Of Wrath  and Of Mice And Men were chosen, but not East of Eden.  I was glad to see that my all-time favorite Thomas hardy had several selections.

I have read 65 of the list; my husband has read 10 (he reads only sci-fi and car magazines).

In the Time Magazine  List of the 100 Best English-Language Novels From 1923 to the present, I have read 77.

In Modern Library's  list of the 20th Century's 100 Best Books In English: I have read 84.



1 Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord Of The Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22- Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit  - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher In The Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War And Peace- Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind In The Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles Of Narnai - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Morelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs Of A Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie The Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer For Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne Of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord Of The Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense And Sensability - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Timet - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History  - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count Of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude The Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows And Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession- A.S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains Of The Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart Of Darkneww - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet- William Shakespeare
99 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I love Van Morrison's song Tupelo Honey.  My favorite rendition of the song is by Richie Havens and that is the precise reason I bought the first jar of Tupelo honey;  now I buy it each year for my own Tupelo honey Gerald!

We use a great deal of honey throughout the year;  the only place I could find to buy Tupelo honey locally is from a Mennonite store and it is quite expensive.  Of course Gerald checked online but learned it was more economical to buy it locally. 

After I read an article about contaminated honey from Asia being banned in Europe but was flooding the U.S. market, my ever witty brother Les said, "I can just see it--like cocaine smuggling--they'll have honey mules swallowing condoms filled with honey defecating the honey--they can't stop the honey trade!"  He continued by asking, "Will the President need to appoint a Honey Czar;  will we have a War On Honey?"

I doubt that Asians have actual Tupelo honey,  but what would deter them from mis-labeling?  I could check the country of origin, but what would deter their falsifying that?

To be safe, we bought five quarts of clover honey from a local apiary.

Monday, July 25, 2016


When we're together, or on the telephone, a friend always asks, "What are you reading?"  Yesterday, when she asked, I answered, "Commander In Chief."  I didn't get to complete the title before she replied, incredulously, "You mean by Tom Clancy?"  I said, "No, it's by Nigel Hamilton and the full title is FDR's Battle With Churchill, 1943;  I thought I'd celebrate my birthday week devouring that tome!"

She said, "Oh, no, Quote Girl, this means I'll be hearing more Churchill quotes!"

She also calls me "Quote Girl" because I'd told her about a guy at the New York Times who was dubbed "Quote Boy" because he always seemed to have a perfect quote for every story.

Recently, I saw an article about quotes wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill. Even the extraordinary William Manchester misquoted Sir Winston in his otherwise exemplary book The Last Lion when he wrote that Churchill had spoken the words: "The government had to choose between war and shame. They chose shame. They will get war too."

Churchill, along with Twain and Lincoln, is perhaps the recipient of the most mis-quotes.

See my BLOG article (click here) about an instructor who was perturbed with me because I told him that George Santayana had spoken the words, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," when he'd told the class that it was Churchill. It sounds Churchillian, I guess.

My grandmother would say, "The Bible says." to whatever point she wanted to make. Once, when I was around twelve years old she said, "Well the Bible says that God helps those who help themselves." I said, "No, that was Ben Franklin." For that statement she told my mother that she should slap my mouth for correcting my elders. My mother said, "No, I'll go by that suffer the children thing."

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Oh, yes, I have MORE RESTROOM TALES from my past experience:


I am a neurotic hand-washer.  My mother didn't believe that cleanliness was next to godliness; she believed that cleanliness IS godliness! The amount of time one should take to wash his/her hands is the amount of time one needs to sing  one verse of Happy Birthday.  I was in a public restroom today and I thought I was alone. As I was washing my hands, I began singing "Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me..............". As I finished washing my hands, another woman came out of a stall and she said, "Happy Birthday!" I was slightly embarrassed, but I told her that it wasn't my birthday and explained about the hand washing routine. She said that she would have to start doing that; she and I sang "Happy Birthday" as she washed her hands, and we had a good laugh.


One of our relatives has a child whose every fault is excused. Everything that happens to him is always someone else's fault; if he doesn't do well in school, it is the teacher's fault; if he has a problem with interpersonal relationships, it is always the other person's fault; nothing is ever his fault. Never making a child take responsibility for one's actions cannot possibly be a good child rearing technique, but since I am nonparous, I hesitate to criticize and usually just keep mum in these situations.  However, one incident displayed such effrontery to common sense that I had to comment. In our house, we have a half-bath right off the kitchen and when the door is closed one can hear one flushing and water running. When the "faultless child" was six years old, he used the bathroom and came out the door; I had been standing there waiting for him to finish and I knew that there had been no water running after flushing. I gasped and exclaimed, "You didn't wash your hands!" His excuser immediately spoke and said, "He doesn't touch anything!" It was difficult to believe that not washing hands after using a bathroom would be excused! I believe that every other member of my family would have merely told a child to wash his hands, but this child was being excused in such a fatuous way, I was momentarily nonplussed, but as usual, I resorted to humor! I started yelling, "Gerald, Gerald, come here, you MUST learn how to do this!" Of course, my ridiculing of them was not well received.


This may be an apocryphal story, but I enjoy it: before they were married, Arthur Miller took Marilyn Monroe to meet his mother. Mrs. Miller lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Marilyn needed to use the bathroom and when she went in, she didn't want them to hear what she was doing, so she turned on the faucet. After coming out of the bathroom and after a nice visit, she and Arthur left the apartment.  A few days later, Arthur called his mother and asked what she thought of Marilyn. Mrs. Miller said, "She's a nice-enough girl but she pisses like a horse!"


One night after work, I asked my husband to stop at a gas station restroom. When I went in, there was some very interesting graffiti on the wall. One in particular amused me: it was written: "My name is Debbie and if you don't like me, you can kiss my butt" [I cleaned that up!]. Below it someone else had written, "You're probably just a greasy prostitute!" [I cleaned that up too!] The next night I asked my husband to stop again and he told me that was so peculiar, because I would usually go hours instead of using a public restroom. I couldn't tell him that I only wanted to see the graffiti! Debbie had obviously returned and she had written: "You probably perform fellatio on hairy donkey penises!"  [I REALLY cleaned that up!] Below that someone had written: "I can get the donkeys for you!" The third night I eagerly anticipated Debbie's response and I asked my husband to stop and he suggested that I might want to "consult a physician" for my problem. I couldn't tell him that I didn't really have to pee, that I just wanted to see the graffiti, because he would've suggested a psychiatrist rather than a primary physician!

When I went in the bathroom, I was very disappointed: the bathroom wall had been painted. So much for the Debbie/Donkey saga!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


This week, I have used public restrooms daily and  I am embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed reading the assortment of graffiti.  I began regaling my colleagues with my collection of GRAFFITI GEMS recalled from my past:


One of my employees, a young black man, Willie, came to me and said, "I want you to go into the men's restroom with me because I need you to see something." I assumed it was a safety issue and I responded, "Check to see if it's empty and put the sign up that it's closed." When we went into the restroom, he pointed out graffiti which was anti-black, anti-female, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and there were Aryan Nation signatures proudly accepting responsibility. I was as upset as he and I told him that I would have it painted as soon as I could. He said, "You know they'll just do it again!" I told him I would try to think of a deterrent. I was talking about the graffiti to one of my Team Leaders, Dave, and he said, "I hear that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL;  maybe you should paint it black!" I told Dave that I wished that I had thought of that. At that time, the employees worked four 10-hour days and I arranged for the painting to be done on Friday. The walls were painted glossy black up to six feet of the wall and then off-white the remainder of the wall.

On Monday, several men approached me complaining about the restroom being too dark because of the walls being black; I responded that I would add more wattage to the lighting. Someone complained to my boss, and he came to look at the restroom and asked me why I'd done it and I told him about the graffiti and then I said, "BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL". At that moment, Willie approached us and he said, "Thank you, Sue and thank you Mr. Wood for bringing Sue here." I told him that it had been Dave's great idea about the black paint.

It took a long time for the walls to be defaced but someone came up with white markers and knives scratching into the paint. Each time I would just add more black paint. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!


My boss, Mr. Schubert, was walking through the Department with me at the beginning of the shift and he said, "Suzy, I must tell you something, because I know you will hear about it eventually, but I don't want you to be upset." He proceeded to tell me that there was some graffiti about me in the men's restroom.. I laughed and asked, "Did they say I do it well?" He looked astounded and said, "I thought you would be upset." I asked, "Then WHY didn't you just have it painted over?" He said, "I just thought you would want to know." I was angry with him and I answered, "What I WANT is to see it!" He said, "I don't think that's a good idea." I told him that I was going to the restroom and yell that I was going in or he could go over and clear out the restroom. Everyone left the restroom and I went in and walked up to the graffiti, took out my pen and wrote, "Just remember--I DO IT WELL! xxxooo Sue R."

As my friend John Steinhauer said, "You're not doing your job unless you make the bathroom walls!"


I was a Junior Achievement adviser and we held our meetings at a manufacturing facility. Several of the girls in the group were together outside the women's restroom and they were giggling. I asked what was funny and they told me about something written in one of the stalls. I went in and on the wall was written "For an ADEQUATE time, call Bill." and a phone number was written below the graffiti. When I went outside, one of the girls said, "Mrs. Raypole, I think we need to leave right away." When I asked why, she said that she and the other girls thought it would be fun to call Bill. I asked what happened and she said, "I told him I saw his name in the restroom and that I heard he could show a girl an adequate time and this number showed on his caller ID and he said he was coming over here right away and he's really mad!" I told the girls to leave and go home. I waited for the man to arrive. He was very irate and I apologized for the girls' behavior and he said that he was going in the restroom to see it. He went into the restroom and marked over the message.

The following day, I was advised that I needed to find another facility as our meeting place.


My colleague Jim told me that there was a wonderful graffiti drawing of me in the men's restroom. We waited until the shift was over and he and I went in to view the "artwork". The drawing was of me and another female in an amorous depiction. It had my name written under one of the females and Margie's name under the other. I said, "Oh, Margie has to see this!" I was upset because my name was misspelled. I wrote under it, "I don't care what you do, just spell my name right and say I do it well!" The next day, I told Margie about it by saying, "You've ARRIVED--you made the bathroom wall!" She wanted to see the drawing also. She wasn't as amused as I was. She asked, "You actually wrote that?" I said, "Yes, and I'm going to leave it up there for a few days and then I'll have it painted." She said, "Well, you know my Dad works here and I wouldn't want him to see it." I put in a work order to have the wall painted immediately. The next day Margie said, "I told my Dad about the drawing and you know what he said?" I asked, "Was he upset?" She said, "No, he laughed and said that he knew I was doing my job if I made the bathroom wall!"

I told her, "That's what my brothers and my friend John always told me!"

Friday, July 22, 2016


At a recent party, as some of the people were leaving, one of the men said to another man, "Aren't you glad you were able to see me?"

I was taking a drink at that moment and I did a spit-take; I asked the man sitting beside me,  "Do you know that there are things that ONLY men say?"

He asked what I meant and I mentioned what had just been said and I continued, 'Here's another: what can I do you FOR'; no woman would say that."

He asked, "What are some other examples?"

I said, "Only men say 'are you working hard or hardly working' and 'ever since Christ was a Corporal'."

My companion laughed in obvious recognition of the quotes. I said, "But my favorite is when men are in stores and they see a male acquaintance they will ask 'are you going to pay for mine too'?"

He laughed, obviously feeling guilty himself.  He asked, "Anything else?"

"When you say 'Hi.', men will answer, 'Not for a long time.'."

I said that I had never heard any women use those conversational gambits.

I told him that I'd written a BLOG article entitled THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN (see here) and that I'd mentioned that men seem to have a problem with small talk.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


I didn't have any corporal punishment growing up--not a single hit, strike, or spanking--Gerald says that's what's wrong with me! As an abused child herself, my mother did not believe in hitting children. Her method of punishment was to tell us: "You're acting just like..." and she would then insert the name of some horrid person in the family that she thought we had demonstrated similar offensive conduct. When she would refer to my father as one of those people, I would always rankle and say, "And I guess you're perfect." She would always say, "I just want you to be better than that." She believed her method would change us.

That I had no corporal punishment doesn't mean that I didn't have altercations; in fact, I was a feisty little girl who grew up with seven brothers and I was a "spitfire" and had many schoolyard tussles. When I walked into the first class reunion I attended, my classmate Jean Ann said, "There's our little Ruffy Silverstein!"

I've written about my transformation as a teenager in becoming a follower of the teachings of non-violence by Thoreau, Gandhi, Schweitzer, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As an adult, the closest I ever came to striking another person in anger was shortly after my brother died in 1964. I was staying with my sister-in-law, with whom I was close; she had been a part of my life since I was nine years old. My nephew was misbehaving and when my sister-in-law started to discipline him, she spat out, "LITTLE SHIRKEY!" While my brother was alive I had heard her say those kinds of things frequently, but for the sake of family harmony, I had always let it slide.

But that day, with clenched teeth and fists, I screamed at her, "Don't you EVER say that again." She began to excuse herself by saying, "Well, he's acting just like..." I didn't let her finish that sentence but continued with my screaming, "And just how the Hell would you know how my brother acted when he was three years old?"

By this time she was cowering on the sofa and although I'd gotten past my desire to hit her, I could not stop my rant. I asked, "Don't you know that's like a knife in the heart every time you say those things?" I continued, "I heard all my life that I was acting just like some awful person in my family and all it did was piss me off!" She was speechless as she had never seen this kind of behavior from me. I asked her, "And what makes you think you're so perfect? I understand from genetics that children inherit from both sides."

I went outside, went downtown to a pay phone, and made a collect call to my mother and asked her to find somebody to come to get me right away. I didn't even return to the house of my sister-in-law for my personal belongings. I was shivering in the November cold when my cousin's wife came to get me. At home I told my mother what had happened and, of course, she was furious. I told her, "Mother, you do the same thing and I NEVER want you to say it again because no matter what, it is wounding when you criticize my father." After that, my mother never used my father as the scapegoat but continued to use examples of other family members to make her point. Late in her life, I said, "You know that didn't work." She said, "I think you turned out pretty well."

My niece was six years old and her brother was three when my brother died. After the incident, I had limited contact with them over the years, but in 2000, they and their mother were visiting my home and my nephew's son was misbehaving and my niece's voice rang out, "LITTLE SHIRKEY!" I realized that she'd learned that from her mother; I looked at her mother, left the room, and walked outside. My niece followed after me but I waved her away. The next day my niece called me and asked why I was so upset and I told her, "Ask your mother." I would never say a critical word about her mother to her.  I don't know if she talked to her mother about it, but we never discussed it again.

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of my husband's relatives and she was criticizing her daughter and she said, "She just has too much of her father in her." I said, "Tell me, does she have any of your characteristics?" This woman actually answered, "Well, she is good-hearted." I was literally stunned that she would compliment herself and have such a lack self-awareness. At that moment, I sensed that she'd hadn't gotten my sarcasm. I asked, "So, she only has bad traits from her father and none from you?"  I could tell that she then understood my point.

I asked her, "Do you say that kind of thing directly to her about her father?" She admitted that she did. I told her how devastating--no matter the age-- it is to hear criticisms of one's family, especially about a parent. I asked her, "Don't you realize that she already knows her father's faults? She doesn't want others to tell her." I told her that it is also hurtful to my husband when he hears those criticisms about his brother. I told her that he knows all the faults but that doesn't mean he wants to hear about them from someone else.

As a teenager, one of my brothers married a girl from Texas; they should never have married but they had children, were divorced, remarried, and divorced again. When the ex-wife died I sent a card to my niece and in the card I wrote some complimentary things about her mother, because her mother and I were teenage girls together and I did have some good memories. My niece responded: "I know that none of Daddy's family liked Momma, and I didn't like her very much either, but she was still my Momma. I want you to know how much I appreciate the fact that you have never said a bad word about her."

There's never any reason to hurt an innocent person because one's been hurt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


We usually recall the important dates in our personal history and in the history of our country, such as:  November 22, 1963, June 21, 1964,  April 4, 1968, June 5, 1968, May 4, 1970, January 28, 1986, April 19, 1995, August 29, 2005, and September 11, 2001.  We all recall the dates--and where we were--when tragedy struck our country, but I also like to think of happy memories such as the elections of 1960, 1964, 1996, and 2008.

Today, July 20, is the anniversary of the moon landing in 1969.

I fondly recall that I was sitting in the stairway of my parents home with my then boyfriend (and future husband), transfixed by Walter Cronkite's coverage.

We'd had a contest of what would be the first words the astronaut would utter and there was a mixture of amusing and serious statements offered, but none were as good as Gerald's contribution of "Goddard, we are here!" which was his homage to Robert Goddard and General John .J. Pershing.

Neil Armstrong stated that he actually said "That's one small step for a man.....", which changes the meaning of the quote.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Growing up, we never had birthday parties as such, but with eight children in the family, that was always enough for a celebration. We never received birthday presents, but my mother would always fix our favorite meal and special birthday cake. My favorite birthday cake was coconut cake with 7-minute icing with shredded coconut spread on the icing. My job was to put the coconut on the sides of the cake.

Before my tenth birthday, Mother saw a recipe for a "Colorvision Cake" in the Sunday paper and she and I thought it looked heavenly in the picture. Color television was rather new at the time, so obviously it was a play on words of that. She made the Colorvision Cake for my birthday that year.

The cake was indeed a vision to behold. It had three layers of pink and white marbled cake topped with 7-minute icing which she had tinted pink. 7-minute icing was very difficult to make successfully in the summer in a house with no air-conditioning. I had to get up very early that morning because the 7-minute icing had to be made when it was the coolest part of the day.

My Colorvision Cake was the biggest, most beautiful cake I had ever seen. [Over the years of my telling the story, the cake has probably grown considerably, I think] All day long I would pass by the cake, looking longingly at my Colorvision Cake!

Two of my brothers were married, so that meant at least twelve pieces of cake to be cut from my Colorvision Cake! (seven brothers, parents. and two sisters-in-law) Twelve pieces? How big were the slices going to be? Most importantly, how much was going to be left for the Birthday Girl?

We had to wait for everyone to be there and Mother had prepared fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, tomatoes and cucumbers sliced together, and cantaloupe (which we called musk melon then). Hey, I still like that meal.

We were waiting for Brother Bode and his wife Kay to arrive.  Kay had been babysitting for a friend of hers. When Bode drove up in the "Old Gray Ghost", out of the back seat crawled the three kids Kay had been babysitting. Oh, no! Maybe I could go in and hide the cake. No, that wouldn't work because Mother wanted to show off the masterpiece. We finished the meal and Bode had brought ice cream to go with the cake. I was counting--fifteen slices of cake--there was still a slight chance of leftover cake for me.

I kept glaring at those three little kids--those horrid brats--who had invaded my territory!  My brothers will be the first to tell you that I was not a nice little kid;  I knew there would be no leftover cake when I saw Mother cut the cake as Kay scooped the ice cream. Oh, thank you, Bode, butter pecan ice cream, my favorite.  One scoop of ice cream and a tiny slice of Colorvision Cake for me. How fair was that? I remember licking the left-over 7-minute icing from the cake plate. No cake left--damn those interloping kids--they'd even taken drumsticks from the plate of fried chicken.

My mother never made the cake again, but for years afterward,  I would whine about that cake and those unwelcome brats.  Every year Mother would bake a coconut cake with 7-minute icing for my birthday. Mother would always say she'd lost the recipe for the Colorvision Cake.

One year after Mother died, I set out on a quest for the recipe for Colorvision Cake; I remembered that Mother had used red Jell-O gelatin in it; I wrote to the Jell-O company and told them about it. Voila! The Colorvision Cake recipe was sent to me. My brother Les and I made the cake, which turned out to look beautiful, but our attempt at making 7-minute icing was disastrous. I was in air-conditioning, I had chilled the bowl and beaters as my mother's recipe instructed, but the 7-minute icing wasn't fit to adorn my beautiful Colorvision Cake.

What to do? I turned to my "network" -- I told my sister-in-law Jean about the 7-minute icing crisis--she sprang into action and called her cousin Peggy, who immediately whipped up a bunch of 7-minute icing and brought it over; the icing was perfect and although I was afraid to tint it pink, I joyously slathered it over the cake. We had ten people come for dinner that evening and I'm here to tell you that that Colorvision Cake impressed everyone.  It was huge and sumptuous-looking and I was serving the cake on the good china. As I looked around the dining room table, I could see the looks of appreciation from people as they received their cake and then I noticed they were only taking a bite or two.

When I put the first bite in my mouth, it was a shock to the palate and to those salivary glands which had been eagerly awaiting the Colorvision Cake.   We had followed the recipe to the letter, but the Jell-O taste in the cake was not good. I said, "This is really awful!" and looked over at the remaining cake on the silver cake stand, knowing that I would have plenty of leftover Colorvision Cake all to myself.

"Be careful what you wish for." ran through my head.

My brother Duke said, "That's probably why Mom never made it again!"

Monday, July 18, 2016


I'm just going to admit it:  I  love FAIR FOOD!

Yes, give me funnel cakes, elephant ears, Polish Sausage sandwiches, the fare at the Pork Producers, the Cattlemen's Association, and Saint Colman's, but last year I fell in love with POTATO ON A STICK! I ate something similar the previous year, with the potato deep fried like French fries, curled and served on a plate, but the potatoes last year were served on a skewer.

I was fascinated to see the process as the concessionaire drilled a hole through the potato with a Mikita drill, affixed it on a stick and then deep-fried it.  Look at that splendid presentation below:

The girls in the picture, Elizabeth and Brittany, were walking through the building where our booth is located, showing the potato on a stick, trying to create business, and I asked them to bring one back to me.

When Elizabeth returned she said that she had been reported by another vendor for soliciting business which is against the rules of the Fair.

What an assault on their entrepreneurial spirit!

The girls are from North Carolina, moved to Zanesville, where Elizabeth's mother and step-father started the concession business, and they have been working at county fairs.

I hope to see them this year!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


A friend called and asked if I knew the song The River Is Wide;  I said that I did.  She said that she'd heard the same tune in the opening sequence of the Meryl Streep movie The River Wild but it had different lyrics.  She said that she'd also heard a high school rendition as Psalm 42, As The Deer Longs with the same tune.

Now, I was confused because I know Psalm 42, and had never heard it set to music.

With my interest piqued, I had to go to YouTube and then I realized that I do NOT know a song called The River Is Wide.  When she had asked the question, I had thought of the lyric:  The water is wide, I can't cross over......" and mistakenly assumed THAT was the song!

I called my friend immediately and exclaimed, "It's Carrickfergus!"  I told her that I had loved that folk song for years .

She wondered how all those different songs had the same tune.  I told her that the tune was probably in the public domain and anybody could use it, just like many folk songs having the same tune.

Listen to Carrickfergus;  this is my favorite rendition of the song, performed by Joan Baez:

Here are the sad, haunting lyrics:

I wish I was in Carrickfergus
Only for nights in Ballygrand.
I would swim over the deepest ocean
The deepest ocean for my love to find.

But the sea is wide and I can't swim over
Neither have I wings to fly
If I could find me a handsome boatman
To ferry me over to my love and die.

My childhood days bring back sad reflections
Of happy times spent so long ago
My childhood friends and my own relations
Have all passed on now like the melting snow.

I'll spend my days in endless roaming
Soft is the grass and my bed is free
Ah, to be back again in Carrickfergus
On that long road down to the sea.

Now in Killkenny it is reported
On marble stone there is black as ink
With gold and silver I would support her
But I'll be singing no more til I get a drink.

Cause I'm drunk today and I'm seldom sober
A handsome rover from town to town
Ah, but I'm sick now and my days are numbered
Come all you young men and lay me down.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


My sister-in-law Carol is Korean. At a family gathering, Carol said that she didn't understand why all of my mother's houseplants did so well and all of hers died. I said, "That's because Mother has a green thumb and you have a yellow thumb."

When everybody there laughed. Carol asked what was funny.

Humor is oftentimes not easily translatable from one culture to another. Carol asked me to explain why it was funny;   I told her that in the United States if someone were good at raising plants then we said that they had a "green thumb" because the plants stayed green.

Carol looked at her thumb and said, "Oh, I get it now--mine don't grow--they turn yellow and die; I have a yellow thumb--oh, it's funny--now I laugh!"

Friday, July 15, 2016


I am having a problem with mice at one of our rental properties.  My brother asked, "Why don't you just go over there and take care of it, RK?"  I had nearly forgotten that in the 1980s I had earned the nickname "RK" Raypole.

While working at Rockwell, we were having a new Gemcor Automatic Riveter installed in my department.  The hole for the riveter had to be 12 feet deep because of the force of the equipment. The digging could only be done on second shift because everything had to be cleaned on third shift for the first shift's operation. Each morning, nearly everyone in the department would go to peer in the hole to see the progress. One morning, Eddie, one of my operators, came to me and said excitedly, "You're going to have to call an exterminator because there's a rat down in the hole!" Eddie's riveter was right beside the hole.

I looked in the hole and there was indeed a rat.  I said to Eddie, "I'm going to climb down in the hole and you hand me a mandrel."  When I was on the third step of the ladder Eddie handed me a mandrel which weighed about thirty-five pounds.  I tossed the mandrel toward the rat and it missed the rat about two feet.  I said, "Hand me that bottle of MEK!"  (MEK:  methyl ethel  ketone, a cleaner which is poisonous to humans if ingested).

By that time I had quite an audience including the Union Committeeman who yelled at me that it wasn't my job.  I climbed further down the ladder and began squirting the MEK into the rat's face. The rat began squirming and keeled over on its side.  I jumped on the ground, picked up the mandrel, and crushed the rat with the tool.  I yelled up at Eddie, "Do you need this mandrel for today's orders?" He said that he didn't;  I left the mandrel for the excavators to bring out of the hole.

When I climbed out of the hole, I felt quite triumphant and I received a round of applause from those assembled, except for the Committeeman, who told me that I should not have been performing that "work" and that I should have called a Union employee.   I laughed and said that we didn't have in-house exterminators and that I had just saved the Company $150 and resolved a safety issue for Eddie.  The Committeeman said, "What safety issue?"  I said, "That rat was scary;  right, Eddie?"

Eddie said, "I can't believe you did that;  I thought you were a nice lady!"

I asked, "Eddie, what are you having for lunch?"   He said, "A ham sandwich." I asked, "Do you suppose they killed the hog before they cured the ham?" I told him I grew up on a farm and I gave him a demonstration of how to kill chickens and then I told him I didn't mind killing anything except the rabbits because they cried. He gasped, "You mean you killed bunny rabbits?" I said, "Yes, and I enjoyed eating them too."

After that, my nickname was RK (you already figured out it was "Rat Killer", didn't you?)


Thursday, July 14, 2016


A friend said, "I don't know why people are always asking me why I am all dressed up."  I answered, "I get the same kind of comments."

Recently, in answer to the statement that I was "all dressed up",  I said "These are the only clothes I have."  The person answered, "I've never seen you in the same thing twice."  When I said that I'd never worn jeans, shorts, or Capri pants, the person reacted, and asked, "What do you wear when it's casual?"  I said, "I consider what I'm wearing today as casual."  She said, "That's definitely NOT casual!"

My brother calls my "uniform":  skirt, blouse, and blazer, and when "casual", slacks, blouse and blazer.  I said, "I have some tee-shirts I've worn to political events."

I was preparing my calendar for July and I have a large number of events scheduled.

My brother asked, "How are you going to decide what to wear to all those events?  and, more importantly, whatever will Gerald wear?  He'll be worried that Jack, Bob, and John have seen him in the same outfit twice!  Which color of Dockers will he wear?"

Oh, how he likes to razz me!  He reminded me that just the week before I'd said that I couldn't wear the same thing to an event in Wilmington that I'd worn to a local event because some of the same people would be there.

Guilty as charged!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Recently, I have noticed people using the word FAIL as a noun and as an interjection.  Not only do I hear it on radio and television, but also from people in person. 

My witty brother asked, "Is it a NERB or a VOUN?"

Yesterday, a young acquaintance said, "That's a fail." I didn't feel as if I knew her well enough to ask, "WTH?"; besides, we were with a group of other people and I felt it would be declasse of me to inquire about her usage.

I particularly like the accompanying article from Slate, (CLICK HERE to read) because of the title Goodbye, schadenfreude; hello fail, because I, along with a number of my friends, LOVE the word schadenfreude. (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article SCHADENFREUDE)

Also, enjoy the article from The New York Times. CLICK HERE to read it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


In discussing the latest tragedy in Dallas with my husband and brother, I dragged down my well-worn copy of William Butler Yeats poem The Second Coming and read aloud my favorite lines:

"Things fall apart;  the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

My brother is always able to out-wit and one-up me.  He commented, "So, are YOU slouching towards Bethlehem?", proving that he knew the poem as well as I.

My brother asked, "How many people have appropriated Yeats for their titles? Remember No Country For Old Men?"  I said, "That's from Sailing To Byzantium."  As I searched for that poem, I saw at the top of the page that it was from Yeats' collection THE TOWER!

When I pointed out that tidbit, my brother yelped, "Oh, PUH-LEEZE, don't say that's IRONIC because we were talking about Whitman and the tower!"

Listen to the virtual movie version of Yeats reading The Second Coming:  

Please read the link from Paris Review about the usage of Yeats' lines by other writers;  it is titled The Second Coming:  Our Most Thoroughly Pillaged Poem.

Monday, July 11, 2016


In  a discussion with an elderly acquaintance about the tragedy in Dallas, she said, "It's Biblical prophecy;  it's near the end of the world."

I answered, "Nothing has changed; don't you remember another Texas incident;  in 1966 when Charles Whitman killed 14 people at the University of Texas bell tower and then went home and killed his own mother?"

She said she did not recall that incident.  As it is indelibly etched on my brain, I was stunned that she did not remember.

I said, "You do know that the Disciples predicted the end of the world would happen in their own time."  I could tell that she did not believe me, but she did not challenge my assertion.

I continued, "The French have a saying plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose:  the more things change, the more they remain the same."

Later, in telling my brother about the conversation, he said, "Yeah, that guy was an ex-Marine;  wasn't that at Austin?  he was an engineering student;  they didn't allow that bell-tower to be opened for years after that."

I find it interesting what items people recall.  Why do we remember what we remember?

When we went to the internet to check, we learned that Whitman had shot 49 people, killing 14, but that he had murdered not only his mother, but also his wife, but that he had killed his wife and mother prior to his massacre at the bell tower. The bell tower remained closed for 25 years.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


                                                                       MORE PARAPROSDOKIANS

My friend Mona Lisa sent these additional paraprosdokians:

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather;  not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Some people are like Slinkies; not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it, so I asked, "Implants?"

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.

Some people hear voices;  some see invisible people;  others have no imagination whatsoever.

 Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to Hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.

If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way, so I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Two guys walked into a bar;  the third one ducked.

And this one came from my brother Norman:

Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes.  That way, you will be a mile away and won't be caught.

Saturday, July 9, 2016



That's a continuing debate among sugar cookie aficionados.  I suppose one's preference depends on what kind of cookies one's mother made.

I prefer ROLLED sugar cookies, but I am usually too lazy to make them, so I buy them at Atkinson's Bakery. I usually make DROP sugar cookies.

This is my mother's recipe:

2 3/4 cups Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3--4 tablespoons buttermilk

sugar, cinnamon sugar, or sprinkles for decoration

375 degree oven  ungreased cookie sheet

Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.  Set aside

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Blend in flour mixture.  Add enough buttermilk to moisten the dough, but do not make it wet.

Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Moisten top of each ball with buttermilk and slightly flatten each ball.

Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon sugar, or sprinkles.

Bake 8--10 minutes until slightly golden.  Let stand for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Friday, July 8, 2016


In all of the times I have written the CRINGE--FAYETTE COUNTY TALK, I am surprised I have failed to include the ubiquitous "MIZE WELL".

Yes, we ALL say it:  "MIZE WELL" rather than "MIGHT AS WELL" as in "I might as well do that."

That phrase now ranks with "I RECKON" as my favorite "I AM GUILTY ALONG WITH EVERYBODY ELSE" Fayco argot.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


My friend Patty wrote to tell me that she had had a freak accident and that she had fallen backwards from her daughter's car.

Her daughter said that she was about to change gears when she spotted her mother's "little white tennis shoes up in the air".  Her daughter said, "Mom, you didn't make a sound."  She answered, "Why make a sound?  I was already falling.  I didn't yell during childbirth;  why yell when I hit the driveway?"

Picturing her hitting the driveway and her little white tennis shoes, I began to laugh.  Why do we laugh at accidents?  I should be ashamed.

Despite the obvious tragic possibility of what might have happened, naturally, I had to be a smart aleck and ask if her shoes looked like Margaret Hamilton's.


Her story reminded me of the Smothers Brothers song I Fell Into A Vat Of Chocolate.  Tommy ends the song by saying that he yelled "FIRE!" when he fell into the vat of chocolate because nobody would have come if he'd yelled "CHOCOLATE!".  

Listen here:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Gerald's niece Robin's husband Scott looked so much like Gerald that people always assumed that Scott was his nephew.

Gerald and Scott flew to Phoenix, Arizona, to pick up a car from Scott's parents and they drove back to Ohio with it. As Gerald hates to fly, this was a true labor of love.

When Gerald returned, I asked how the trip had been and he said it was fine EXCEPT that Scott had the radio tuned to country and western stations the entire trip. I said, "That's strange--Scott can't STAND country and western music; he likes jazz and rock 'n' roll!"

That same day I spoke to Robin and I asked how Scott had enjoyed the trip and she said, "Aunt Sue, it's the funniest thing; Scott said they had to listen to country and western music all the way home, but I told him that Uncle Gerald hated country music."

Robin and I both agreed that if it had been us two women taking the trip, one would've asked the other if she minded changing the station.

To paraphrase the Bill and Ted movie: "GERALD AND SCOTT'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE!"

Scott Dellman.
July 6,1958--March 25,2004
Our beloved Scott was taken much too soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


I made RED, WHITE, AND BLUE WHOOPIE PIES for The Bread of Life Independence Day meal. 

Although it is difficult for me, a self-proclaimed "scratch cook",  to admit that I have used cake mixes, when I saw the Duncan Hines "Summer Velvets" cake mix, I knew I could adapt it to make red, white, and blue Whoopie Pies.

They are called "sandwich cookies" by Duncan Hines, but I have re-branded mine as "Whoopie Pies".

Since 2012, "Whoopie Pies" have become a "signature dish" of mine (see my 2012 BLOG article RED VELVET COOKIES below).

It was the first time I had to admit using a cake mix.

                                                            RED VELVET COOKIES (from 2012)

OK, I'll admit that I am a cooking SNOB. Yesterday my sister-in-law reminded me that I had once said, quite haughtily, "I've never used a cake mix."

Two weeks ago, at a lovely luncheon after a funeral, on the dessert table was a plate of sumptuous-looking cookies. After sampling one, I returned for a second cookie. Not only were they delicious, but the cookies also demonstrated PIE (acronym in my family for "PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING"). 

When I inquired who had made them, I was directed to Stacy Mabra and she told me they were very easy to make. I asked for the recipe and we exchanged e-mail addresses and she sent the recipe the same evening.

Imagine my quandary when the first item on the recipe was DUNCAN HINES CAKE MIX.

I made the cookies this week and took them to a gathering, and three people asked for the recipe. I said, somewhat sheepishly, that the recipe was on the box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix.  My sister-in-law hooted, and did not hesitate to mention my having previously stated that I'd never used a cake mix.

                                                                RED VELVET COOKIES

1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup softened butter

Mix together and roll into balls (about the size of your thumb and forefinger making a circle). Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Let cool completely.

Spread filling on cookie and top with another cookie.


1/4 cup softened butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together and spread on cooled cookies.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.


Monday, July 4, 2016


In a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote how we should celebrate Independence Day: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm, which I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the Gloom, I see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I see that the End is more than worth the Means and that Posterity will triumph in that Day's Transaction, even altho we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."

Sunday, July 3, 2016


The Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863.  Although the battle did not end the war, it was the turning point of the war and the most significant victory for the Union.  See the link from The History Channel and view the video from YouTube.  


Saturday, July 2, 2016


Yankee Doodle, the original title of the painting by Archibald McNeal Willard, has long been known as The Spirit Of '76.

In 1836, Willard was born and reared in Bedford, Ohio, which is near Cleveland, Ohio.  His family moved to Wellington, Ohio, in 1855.  In 1875, Willard moved to Cleveland, where he set up a studio.  Willard had very little formal training in art, and was mostly self-taught.  Willard fought in the Civil War, having joined the 86th Ohio Infantry in 1863. 

He painted The Spirit Of '76 in Wellington, Ohio in 1875, and he used his father, Baptist minister Samuel Willard, as the central figure.  The painting was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and it was purchased by General Devereaux from Marblehead, Massachusetts.  Although the painting was roundly panned by critics, it became extraordinarily popular because of all the prints and calendars using the image.  Willard painted several variations of the painting.  The original painting is on display in Marblehead, Massachusetts, at Abbot Hall.   

Willard also painted three murals which are still available to view at the Fayette County Court House in Washington Court House, Ohio.  The murals are labeled:  The Spirit Of Electricity, The Spirit Of Telegraphy, and The Spirit Of The Mail.  

Friday, July 1, 2016


I went to a friend's office and he had displayed a charming poster board Christmas card created by his granddaughter. I glanced at it and said, "Oh, it's a collage or like a memory board."

Then, while reading it, I exclaimed, "It's a REBUS!"  He said that he'd never heard that word before and asked how it was spelled.  His secretary had never heard of a rebus either.

See the delightful use of candy bar wrappers she used to express her sentiments.

REBUS:  a puzzle or riddle in which words are represented by pictures, symbols, and individual letters;  e.g.: "apex" might be represented by a picture of an ape, followed by the letter x.

I said that we used to make rebuses when I was a kid.

Later, dining with my "Wild Lunch Bunch", I asked if any of them remembered rebuses.  There were eight people present, with 3 older, 1 my age, and the remainder younger.  Even when I described rebuses, none there remembered them.

When I arrived home, I asked my husband and brother but they had no memory of rebuses.  No other family members remembered them.

Later, I was with a grand niece, and I asked her if she had heard of rebuses and she had not.  When I described them, she said, "Let's make one;  it sounds like fun."  We looked online and found numerous sites to download rebuses.

I particularly like this one because I have "Thanksgiving dinner" on my birthday, as well as on Thanksgiving Day.

I told her, "Way back in the day, when I was a teenager, and people actually wrote letters, my best friend used to send rebuses she'd created.

I called my friend and, thank goodness, she remembered them.  I breathed a sigh because I had begun to think that I was the only person OLD enough to remember them.

When I told her about the interest in rebuses by the youngsters, she began singing Peter Allen's Everything Old Is New Again.  Listen here: