Sunday, April 30, 2017


My friend Mona Lisa sent the following:

1. LAW OF MECHANICAL REPAIR - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.
2. LAW OF GRAVITY - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
3. LAW OF PROBABILITY - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
4. LAW OF RANDOM NUMBERS - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
5. LAW OF THE ALIBI- If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.
6. LAW OF VARIATION - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
7. LAW OF THE BATH - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
8. LAW OF CLOSE ENCOUNTERS - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone with whom you don't want to be seen.
9. LAW OF THE RESULT - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.
10. LAW OF COFFEE - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
11. LAW OF PHYSICAL SURFACES - The chance of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor, is directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.
12. LAW OF COMMERCIAL MARKETING STRATEGY - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
13. LAW OF DOCTORS - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


I suffer from allergies and, of course, now, with all the glorious blooming, I am especially susceptible with the accompanying runny nose and watery eyes.   

Yesterday, I was scheduled to have a lengthy procedure at the dentist's office but I didn't want to take any medication because it makes me drowsy and I didn't want to fall asleep in the dental chair.  

If people do not know my condition, they might think that I am actually crying.  In the dental chair, as I was swiping away the tears which were streaming down my cheeks, the dental assistant placed a hand on my shoulder, and she asked, very solicitously, "Are you O.K., Mrs. Raypole?"  I laughed and asked, "Do people usually cry at this procedure?"  I then explained about the allergies and she commiserated, saying she also was suffering but that she takes Claritin.

When the dentist came in, he quipped, "I just thought you were allergic to me!"

I told them about another "weeping" incident. See the Sue's News article first published in 2010:

                                        ANOTHER MORAL DILEMMA

Recently, I was in charge of organizing an event.  I arrived early to meet with the coordinator.  Because of my allergies, I did not want to take any medication as it makes me drowsy and not safe to drive.  I am especially vulnerable to runny nose and excessive watering of the eyes.  AS the event was in an outdoor park, I expected I would be a victim of the environment.

When the coordinator and I had finished the set-up,  we sat down and began to chat. After some "getting to know you" chit-chat, she asked if I had children and I said that I didn't; [something I never do is to initiate a conversation with people by asking about children because I know from personal experience that some people do not want the subject mentioned after the loss of a child] of course, since she had broached the subject, I felt comfortable asking if she had children and she replied that she did, but that she had lost a son and then she suddenly reached out and embraced me.   She whispered how kind I was.  Unfortunately, I had left my purse --with the needed Kleenex--in my car, but there I was, with tears flowing down my face.

Oh, no! My eyes were watering and she thought that I was crying because of her tragedy.

What to do--what to say--what a dilemma. Of course, the answer was not to do or say anything; just continue with the embrace.   Several days after the event, I received a thank you card with a note from her;  she wrote that I was the kindest, most compassionate person she'd ever met.

I believe that I am kind and I believe that I am compassionate, but I also know that I am not the "KINDEST" nor the "MOST COMPASSIONATE".   Feeling rather self-satisfied,  I showed the note to my brother, and he said, "If she only knew that you are really about as compassionate as an old brown shoe!" He is always so "colorful" with his zingers.  I winced.

He asked, "So, you didn't like my metaphor?"

"It was NOT a metaphor.", I said haughtily.

"Oh, I suppose it was a simile?", he asked.

I answered, "No, it is personification: giving human characteristics to inanimate objects."

He said, "It's just a good thing she didn't see the SMARTY-PANTS side of you or she wouldn't think you were kind or compassionate!"

Friday, April 28, 2017


In another conversation about the Armenian genocide, a friend and I were discussing the Young Turks and I mentioned that Cenk Uygur uses the term The Young Turks as the title of his newscast.  Our friend said, "Young Turks is certainly NOT a compliment."  I answered that I agreed and that I had even
e-mailed Uygur and suggested that he must not know the true meaning and the historical significance of the name.  He did not answer me but I know he was born in Turkey and I hope that he did  learn the historical reference.  In further reading, I learned that the term to young people refers to young radicals who fight the status quo. I am disappointed that the United States had never recognized the genocide.

Uygur started The Young Turks news show in 2002 and it has become the largest online news network (TYT) show with a global audience of 170 million views per month and 6 billion in total video views. His TYT Network is considered one of the most viewed online news network. Uygur began it as a talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio.  That show then became the first daily video show on YouTube in 2005.  Prior to that Uygur was the host of the same-titled show on Current TV.  I first saw him when he was the host on MSNBC Live. 

An amusing anecdote about The Young Turks and young people not being aware of the historical reference. In the 1980s one of my nephews, knowing that I was a Rod Stewart fan, asked if I liked Stewart's new song Young Turks. I answered that I didn't understand it as it had no relevance to the slaughter of the Armenians.  My nephew said, "What's that mean?"  I asked, "What do YOU think that Young Turks means?"  He said he didn't know anything about it and shrugged and said, "Oh, I just like the beat!"  Hear Stewart sing the song from YouTube:

Thursday, April 27, 2017


David McCullough's new book The American Spirit:  Who We Are and What We Stand For, is a compilation of McCullough's speeches given between 1989-2016.    He stated that he decided to collect the speeches after the contentious presidential contest of 2016.  

McCullough has won two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, and he had the rare honor to speak before a Joint Session Of Congress.

I have heard McCullough speak numerous times on television and once I was able to hear him speak and meet him personally and have him autograph my collection of his books.  

Below is an article I wrote about meeting McCullough.  

                   MEETING DAVID MCCULLOGH (from 2010)

David McCullough, the historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for his biographies of Truman and John Adams, was scheduled to lecture at Wittenberg University. This was before he had finished the Adams biography. I loaded up my bag full of his books:  Truman, The Great Bridge, The Path Between The Seas, Mornings On Horseback, and Johnstown Flood, hoping to have them autographed. 

The lecture was wonderful and Mr. McCullough is an engaging speaker. During the lecture he told us that he was working on a biography of John Adams. He said that perhaps that very evening that there might be someone in the audience who would grow up to be President of the United States and then he paused dramatically and said, "And I hope that SHE does a better job than most of the men have!" I jumped up and began to applaud. I quickly noticed that I was the only one standing and applauding because my husband was tugging on my jacket.

After the speech Mr. McCullough graciously said that he would be glad to autograph books. I rushed to be at the head of the line. The organizers of the event had obviously not considered that McCullough should have a table and chair to perform the task. I said to my husband, "Sweetheart, why don't you see if you can find a table." Mr. McCullough chuckled and said, "Yes, SWEETHEART, why don't you find me a table if you can." My husband scurried around and located a table and McCullough sat down and I began dragging out all of my books for him to sign. McCullough said, "I bet you were my standing ovation of one, weren't you?" As my husband and I were among the few older people present, Mr. McCullough asked if I were a professor at Wittenberg and I answered, "No, I'm a student--I got a late start." He so kindly said, "Well, not VERY late!" He asked if history were my major and my husband and I automatically "saluted" at the mention of "major" and Mr. McCullough noticed the saluting and asked what that meant and I told him of my "family thing" of saluting at all military words. My husband gives a proper Navy-veteran-type salute while mine is a lame Girl Scout-type salute. Mr. McCullough obviously noticed the differences in our saluting as he laughed, looked at my husband, and said, "Generally speaking, I'd say that you were in the military" and Mr. McCullough SALUTED along with me and my husband at his saying "generally"!

It is such a pleasure to meet and speak with a person one admires, and it is especially pleasurable when the person one has admired from afar is so charming in person!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


At dinner, with some friends, one asked about my weekend plans and I said that I hoped I could find somewhere to see the new Christian Bale movie The Promise which depicts the genocide of the Armenians in 1915.  I gave a brief description of that horrific history.

She asked, in obvious exasperation, "How do you remember all his stuff?"  I answered, "It's a blessing and a curse!"

Another friend there piped up and said, "She's a good cook too!"

She sent me the following advertisement with the question, "Is this on your birthday list?"

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


After reading yesterday's article  All This Free Stuff, my friend Mona Lisa called to say, "Hey, you should tell about your friends who volunteer at the Food Pantry."  I said, "I already wrote about that."

Below is a Sue's News article from 2014:

                                                 JUDGE NOT

In a conversation with a person who is a "volunteer" at the local Food Pantry, the woman stated that there were people coming there driving "brand-new cars" to which I answered, "Isn't the Food Pantry downstairs at the church? Do you mean that you follow people upstairs to see what kind of cars they drive?"

Of course she was miffed that I had confronted and exposed her pettiness and obvious untruthfulness.  She said, "Well, you don't see them!"  I told her that she did not actually know the situations of people and that their cars might be the only asset they have and that perhaps friends and relatives with good cars might be kind enough to take them as they probably could not afford public transportation.

I added that I had taken my nephew (who has no vehicle) to the Food Pantry to get groceries and I was driving my brand-new car; I also said that his aunt and uncle also took him to the Food Pantry in their late-model vehicles. We do this because he cannot afford the cost of transportation. Would she be judging him for getting into a "nice" vehicle?

I think it's an Urban Myth about people in fancy cars at the Food Pantry; the last time I was there, I saw a large amount of people waiting for public transportation and a number of people getting into old cars. I saw no Cadillacs or Mercedes which have insignias I recognize. In fact, I gave rides to two guys who were acquaintances of my nephew and all three told me that they had to wait a long time for transportation.

I cannot imagine the degree of humiliation they feel at needing the assistance of the Food Pantry.

Monday, April 24, 2017


I seldom post any political or controversial articles in Sue's News as I usually reserve it for what I consider mostly humorous incidents.  However, today, I shall post what I consider to be political AND amusing!

I was in line at the grocery and two men behind me were engaged in conversation and one began lambasting, "all these people who don't have to pay taxes and get away with getting all this free stuff."

Yes, folks, I just had to join in THAT conversation.  I said, "Oh, I know EXACTLY how you feel."  There I was, as I describe myself, "a Liberal in Conservative clothing";  naturally, by my mein, they assumed that I was agreeing with them! 

I said, "It's bad enough that the current White House resident doesn't pay any taxes, but then you have our local State Senator;  he and his family receive subsidies NOT to farm."
  I could tell the two men were taken aback;  their mouths were literally agape.  Yes, I took advantage of that shock and continued with my rant:   "I hope you're furious as I am!  GE, the oil subsidies, bank bailouts, OMG!  it's WELFARE FOR THE WELL-OFF!"

By then both had recovered;  one accused me of being a "communist";  I laughed and said, "Oh, how sad that you resort to ad hominem remarks but truly Socialist would be more accurate."   

Sadly, I had finished my transaction;  as I picked up my bags, I breezily said, "As John McLaughlin used to say, "BUH, BYE!"

In relating the story to my brother just now, he asked, "Did you really think they would know who McLaughlin was?"  I said, "But it was so perfect for me to use the words of a right-winger!"

Oh, how I wish I had been wearing a tee-shirt with this message:

Sunday, April 23, 2017


YES!  Set the GPS for a day-trip to celebrate the OHIO ICE CREAM TRAIL!   Oh, WHERE to begin?  Beginning  at VELVET ICE CREAM COMPANY in Utica with an empty tummy and just 3 hours and 6 minutes travel time later, completing the yummy journey at YOUNG'S JERSEY DAIRY in Yellow Springs!  







Saturday, April 22, 2017


As we see the possible elimination of the Environmental Protective Agency, it will be more important than ever to encourage Earth Day activities.

The idea for Earth Day is attributed to Gaylord Nelson, a former U. S. Senator from Wisconsin, after he witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill at Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement active at the time, Nelson realized that if he could infuse that same kind of energy and commitment and with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.  Nelson announced to the national media the idea for a "national teach-in" to make people aware about dangers to the environment.  He then persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded U.S. House Of Representatives member, to serve as co-chair and they recruited Denis Hayes to be the National Coordinator.  Hayes built a staff of 85 to promote events across the nation.

As a result, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. 

In 1995, President Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States, for a lifetime of service and his role as Founder of earth day.

Reuse, recycle, and celebrate Earth Day 2017!  Gerald will be taking 6 TIRES to the Fayette County Fairgrounds as a part of the FAYETTE SWCD (Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District) "scrap tire amnesty" program.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Whenever I hear the word "indomitable", I always recall someone whom I believe epitomizes the near cliche phrase "indomitable spirit". 

Years ago I volunteered with the Reading Recovery Program. My assignment was to help first and second graders with reading problems. I was to spend 1/2 hour with each child. It was easy to see that nearly all of the ones I met received little help or encouragement from home. We would send handmade reading packets home with the children and the parents were supposed to initial that they had listened while the child read. The packets were seldom returned.

One of the children I assisted was a burn victim with scars on her entire face, and every other visible part of her body. Of course, I shouldn't, or wouldn't, ask her about the scars. Her teacher told me that the child's mother had fallen asleep while smoking; the mother escaped with no injuries but the child suffered those devastating wounds. The grandmother gained custody of the child.

She was behind in her reading ability because she had missed so much school due to the consequences of of the burns and numerous operations.  She was very eager to learn and she wouldn't let me turn the pages in the books; the tips of her fingers were missing, but she would lick her finger to be able to turn pages in books. I was truly impressed and inspired by her tenacity.

However, I had not seen her since she was seven years old, but I often wondered what happened to her.  Throughout the years, whenever I would feel sorry for myself, I would always recall her turning those pages with those little stubs and I would say to myself to remember her indomitable spirit. 

Recently, I saw her in the a local store where she was working.  Of course, I suspected it was she when I saw the scars, but felt certain that it was indeed she, when I saw her fingertips as she was busily wrapping a piece of glassware in newspaper; I saw her name tag and I asked, "Weren't you in Mrs. Milstead's class?" I doubted that she would remember me, but she smiled and said, "Yes, Mrs. Raypole, I remember you helped with the reading program." After chatting awhile, she shared that she was going to meet her fiance's parents for the first time that weekend.   She wanted me to be sure to tell Mrs. Milstead that she now had a baby boy. I immediately sent an e-mail to Mrs. Milstead.

I saw her again today and she told me that Mrs. Milstead had stopped in to see her.

How does a person survive and have such a positive outlook? I don't need any self-help books; I can just consult with her.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


When I was fifteen years old, an execrable lie was told about my family.  At that time I didn't know what a "defining moment" was, but today, I know that outside of my mother's womb, this was the most transformative event in my life. How I reacted to the malevolent lie caused me to be the person I am today. 

The heinous lie haunted me and my family for years and caused me much turmoil as a teenager because of the great impact it caused to my personal life.   Because of the pernicious lie, I was subtly ostracized at school--I was never asked for a date--I was never invited to parties--and by the time I understood the cause of the quiet, cruel, shunning, I realized that it had been going on for awhile and I had never been able to comprehend why I had been treated "differently"; not only did the iniquitous lie hurt me and my brothers, but also, the malicious lie was later flung in the faces of some of my nieces and nephews as the lie continued down the generations. Whenever I heard of the children being hurt, I would tell my husband I was glad we never had children who would be able to be hurt.

On that day that the lie was flung in my face, I reacted by physically and brutally, attacking the girl who said it to me. We were in the gym at Bloomingburg School and I pushed her to the floor and I jumped on top of her body and I had my feet holding her legs down and my elbows were on her shoulders holding her torso down with my body and I was pounding her face with my fists; ironically, she was much taller and heavier than I was, but all she could do was pound on my back and pull my hair. I don't know how long I beat her, but Mr. Rudolph pulled me from her prostrate body and pushed me down on the bleacher seats. Mr. Rudolph helped her up from the floor and she left the gym and went home. She did not return to school for a week.

I had to remain at school the remainder of the day, because I rode the bus. There were just two more classes left in the day. I went to my next class, still wearing my gym clothes (which was a definite no-no, but nobody said a word). Not one teacher and not one student spoke a word to me the remainder of the day.   My friend Cammy was not at school that day. The word spread quickly and between classes one of my brothers came to me; he didn't hug or try to comfort me, but he could tell I was close to crying and he said, "Shirkeys don't cry." That figurative ramrod up our backs that Mother instilled in all of us stiffened my resolve. On the bus ride home, no one on the school bus said a word.

The truly amazing thing is--I was never taken to the office--no discipline was ever enacted--nobody ever uttered a word to my face about it in the next two years of school. I can imagine what would happen to a kid today.

My mind was roiling and I thought that I could NEVER go back to school again.  When I tearfully related the event to my mother, she was enraged and she called the mother of the girl and the mother threatened to call the sheriff because of my assaulting her daughter and my mother told her to do it, but nothing ever happened.  However, the woman did tell my mother the genesis of the lie. 

I told my mother that I would never go back to school again. She told me. "Oh, yes you will, and you'll look them straight in the eye and defy them to say anything." It was the Shirkeys against the whole damned world.

As I reflected, I knew that, at the moment when I was pounding my fists into the girl's face, that I could kill another person, enjoy it, and have no remorse. I was already a devotee of Thoreau and Gandhi and believer in Dr. King's message and had followed the Montgomery bus boycott with admiration. I knew that I had to change, because I didn't want to be THAT violent person.   I did change the course of my life.  I often think that if I had followed the path of violence what could have happened to me.

Somebody called Cammy to tell her what had happened at school and she called me; she was my rock, and I will always be grateful to her for her love, compassion, and understanding and the fact that I was still her friend despite the lie.

I also reflected on what had happened that day which caused the other girl to fling the insult in my face. She was showing a "diamond" ring that her boyfriend had given to her and I made fun of it. It was because of my own arrogance and willingness to easily hurt another's feelings that caused her to react by repeating the lie but if I had not done that, I would probably have never heard the lie and would have wondered my whole life WHY I was treated the way I was in high school.  I am glad that I DID hear the lie. Ignorance ISN'T bliss.

I DID go to school the next day and Cammy was there. As usual we went to her grandmother's house for lunch and we discussed my revelation about myself that I had it within myself to kill another person.

Other than with Cammy and my husband, I have never spoken about this to anyone outside my family.

Yesterday I was told a lie about the daughter of one of my friends and it spun me back in time. Because I know the person who told the lie dislikes my friend, I could tell the joy it was giving the person to relate the tale and that doubled my rage.  I am proud of myself that I reacted to the lie by saying that I didn't believe it.   I investigated the story and found that although the story had a basis, my friend's daughter was not involved in any way except she lived on the same street where an incident had happened.   I called the person who had told me the lie and she blithely said it was just "BUZZ";  I was enraged and said, "No, it's LIES!"  She asked if I'd ever played the game "buzz" when I was a kid; it's where a group of people tell a story and how it ends up being totally different the last time it's told. I answered by saying, "No, we called that SLANDER!" I asked her to please not repeat the lie and also to call the person who had told her the lie to make sure he knew he was spreading LIES! I reiterated by saying, "This is no GAME--it's LIES!"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


In yesterday's article I mentioned being required to recite When The Frost Is On The Punkin' in school.   I don't think there is much memorization in schools today.  Poems by James Whitcomb Riley were popular to recite in my mother's generation and obviously, also in my generation. 

Into her eighties, my mother could still recite The Duel ("The Gingham Dog And The Calico Cat") by Eugene Field and Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley. When I quizzed her about the "t" on the end of Orphant,  she told me that you better pronounce it that way with her teachers.

When my mother was in school she was very bright and she was allowed to skip a grade and then she was in the same class as her older sister Verna.  My grandmother approved of this because my aunt needed "help".  In one class they were required to learn a Riley poem titled Let Something Good Be Said.   It took a great deal of coaching by my mother and grandmother, but my aunt practiced the poem and was eventually able to recite it completely.

In the poem of four stanzas, each verse ends with something similar to: "Let something good be said".  At school, as my aunt proceeded with her recitation, at the end of the first verse she said, "Let sumpin' good be said." [Hey, we're from Fayette County; pronouncing "ings" is just a nuisance]  The teacher quickly corrected her and said, "Verna, that's SOMETHING--say someTHING--not sumpin'." My aunt continued with the next verse and ended with, "If sumpin' good be said".  The teacher exclaimed, "No, No, Verna, it's SOMETHING--now say someTHING!" The next two stanzas were the same with Verna saying "sumpin'" with the teacher correcting her each time. My poor aunt---the teacher made her say the word-- "someTHING"--100 times in front of the class.

My mother had the last word when she asked the teacher why they could say punkin'  instead of "pumpkin" in the Riley poem When The Frost Is On The Punkin'.  Correcting a teacher was not acceptable in those days and Mother suffered the consequences by having to memorize--and recite--another Riley poem!

When correcting in our family, it is quite common to hear someone say, "Say someTHING, Verna!"


--James Whitcomb Riley

When o'er the fair fame of friend or foe
The shadow of disgrace shall fall; instead
Of words of blame, or proof of theirs and so
Let something good be said.

Forget not that no fellow-being yet
May fall so low but love may lift his head:
Even the cheek of shame with tears is wet
If something good be said.

No generous heart may vainly turn aside
In ways of sympathy; no soul so dead
But may awaken strong and glorified
If something good be said.

And so I charge ye, by the thorny crown
And by the cross on which the Savior bled,
And by your own souls' hope of fair renown
Let something good be said.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


When I went to school we were required to memorize poetry and speeches, and then to recite the selections before the class.  Those excruciatingly unforgettable memories are still indelibly etched on my brain, but I can still perform a very "chewing the scenery" rendering of Lady Macbeth's "Is this a dagger I see before me?" speech.

My friend Vivian Harris Thomas and I were discussing how we had disliked that Mrs. Vance made us recite the entire poem When The Frost Is On The Punkin' but despite that, Vivian and I have been known to do impromptu recitations of that and other speeches.

Several years ago, we were participating in a political meeting on April 18.  Prior to the meeting, I looked at Vivian and asked, "Are you ready?"  Rolling her eyes, she gave me a look of disgust, immediately sensing my plan.

At the end of the meeting, the Chairperson asked, "Are there any further remarks?" I stood and said, "Vivian Thomas and I would like to do a relative recitation."  She quipped, "She likes alliteration."  We recited the words of The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere.  Vivian's performance was far superior to mine as she recalled more verses than I, of a poem we learned more than fifty years ago.

Please read the words to Longfellow's poem and listen to the professional's declamation below. I believe the recitation by Vivian and me was more forceful.  I wish I had a recording of our performance.

Monday, April 17, 2017


People work very hard to get rid of dandelions, but personally, they bring me nothing but warm feelings of happiness.  I have great memories of my mother and the beautiful yellow bouquets we picked for her which she placed in in empty jelly jars full of water in the kitchen window so she could look at them while she washed dishes.

My mother once said that if dandelions weren't weeds, they would be prized for their beauty. My mother would also put our bouquets of dandelions in water and she would also wear the "dandelion bracelets" we would make. [See instructions]  I wonder if kids still do that today. I called the bracelets her "Van Cleef and Arpels" because that was a popular giveaway item name on television shows when I was a kid.  Mother would hold the dandelion under our chins to see the reflection.

Every part of the dandelion is useful--the root, the leaf and the blossom--as well as the seeds. This week I'm going to pick the largest blossoms that I can find and deep fry them. My mother always picked a "mess" of greens, but being a non-drinker, there was no dandelion wine, but she used the root for tea and "potions". The sap from the stems was also good to use on bee stings or other insect bites.

I refuse to allow "weed treatment" of the lawn until after the dandelions have bloomed.  


Is there anything more evocative of summer than a dandelion chain? Dandelion chains, like summer itself, are beautiful, quick to wilt and childlike. Make a few for yourself or teach a child.

1.  Pick dandelions with long, thick stems, one at a time.

2.  Attach the dandelions to one another by tying the stem in a knot around the previous dandelion stem close to the flower. Double knots work best.

3.  Tie the two ends of the chain together when you have reached the desired length.

4.  Or make a short slit halfway down the stem of one dandelion.

5.  Insert the stem end of a second dandelion into the slit and push it down through the first dandelion as far as it will go.

6.  Make a slit halfway down the second dandelion and insert a third dandelion.

7.  Continue until your chain is a little longer than you want it to be. Tie the last stem to the first dandelion near the flower.

8.  Make necklaces, crowns and bracelets.

9.  Expect the flowers to wilt quickly.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after His death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in Him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

The biblical account of Jesus' death on the cross, or crucifixion, His burial and His resurrection, or raising from the dead, can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


There was some corn left over from last night's meal and Les asked, "Remember corn fritters?"  I answered, "Yeah, but I never made them;  Mother always made them."  He asked, "What goes in them?"  I replied, "Corn, eggs, cracker crumbs, kinda like making salmon patties, I think."  He said, "Let's look on the internet."  We couldn't find a recipe which we felt matched our memories exactly;  we chose ingredients from several different recipes.  The resulting corn fritters were tasty, but not LIKE--or as good as--we remember our mother's.

LEFTOVERS?  We never had leftovers!  We had another adventure the next day!  The day after Sunday dinner roast, we had HASH (which I liked better than the Sunday roast).  One time we had a bumper crop of carrots and Mother fixed cooked carrots as a side dish.  Yep, we didn't eat all of them;  the next day it was CARROT COOKIES.  To this day, we'll say, "You better eat that broccoli (or cauliflower, or ANYTHING else!) or it'll be cookies tomorrow!"

My pernickety brothers wanted to eat ONLY the legs from the fried chicken.  Mother would tear apart the wings and swear that one of the parts was "baby chicken legs"!  Every time I see hot wings, I say, "I like the baby chicken legs!"

Some of our other culinary delights include:

GAZINTA SOUP:  everything leftover in the refrigerator GOES INTO (GAZINTA) the soup!

SLUMGULLION:  none of us can agree on the exact ingredients in this one, but I believe Mother's version was a concoction of rice, tomatoes, and corn, with chili seasoning. The dictionary definition is "a cheap, unsubstantial stew".   All of the online recipes for slumgullion call for macaroni, tomatoes, and ground beef.  Les said, dismissively, "Hell, that sounds like goulash!"

TURKEY CARCASS SOUP:   I continue to make this delicious soup with the leftover carcass, but the term itself seems to freak out people.

Friday, April 14, 2017


On Tuesday I wrote about "finical" and finicky";  it reminded me of an article I published in 2014.  See below


Gerald is not a persnickety eater but there are two items he doesn't like: peas and hominy.
When Mother was alive and making her home with us, she did the majority of the cooking and Gerald is very good about eating leftovers and we have always used leftover items.

One day Mother served hominy as a side dish. Gerald said that he didn't like hominy and didn't take any to eat. I like hominy but could not eat the entire contents of the bowl.

The next day, at dinner time, there was a casserole topped with buttered bread crumbs which looked very appetizing. Gerald asked, "What's that?" and Mother answered, "Home fry casserole." Gerald took a spoonful on his plate and when he tasted it, he said, "Now, Gladys, you know you can't disguise that hominy!"

As most of my brothers were finicky eaters, Mother would fib to them and tell them that a dish was something different than it was just to get the boys to eat it. My favorite fib: she would tear the chicken wings apart and tell the boys that one part was "baby drumsticks".

In my family, it's a given that if something isn't eaten one day, it will probably return the following day in another guise.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


On Tuesday, a woman from my group asked, "What's Shrove Tuesday?" I said, "That's Pancake Day!" One of my fellow volunteers, (who happens to be a Roman Catholic), said, "Well, that's pretty disrespectful." I asked, "Why, what do you think Shrove Tuesday is?" She said, "That's when they wash the feet before Easter." I said, "Oh, it is not!" She looked shocked that I would disagree with her.   I said, "Over at the Episcopalian Church, they had a Pancake Supper for Shrove Tuesday." Rather peevishly, she said, "Well, that's the Episcopalians!"

I didn't want to be my usual sassy self and offer to bet with her that I was right, but what the hey, I continued, "In New Orleans they call it Fat Tuesday, because it's the day before Ash Wednesday, and they pig out before Lent and the traditional meal is pancakes."

She said, huffily, "Next, you'll be telling me you know what Maundy Thursday is."

I said, "Of course I know about Maundy Thursday and also about SPY WEDNESDAY." She said, "You're making that one up." I said, "I certainly am not; Spy Wednesday is called that because that's the day that Judas was given the 30 pieces; you should read your Scripture." I don't think she'll be speaking to me anytime soon.

When I came home I told Les about it and he said, "I can just see the report in the newspaper: elderly woman assaulted in debate over Scripture!"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


My  lunch group was discussing differing food choices and I said that I was lucky because my husband was not a "finical eater";  one of the women immediately challenged me, saying, 
"That's NOT a word."  I said, "Of course it is;  it's like finicky."  She answered, "Then why didn't you just say finicky?"  I laughed and admitted, "I just read it last night in an O. Henry story and wanted to use it in conversation."

It was delightful to share favorite O. Henry stories with group members.

See below an article I published in 2012:

                               THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF

Today, at Kroger, an announcement came over the PA system, "Mrs. Smith, your grandchild is at the Self Check Out Line." (The name was NOT Mrs. Smith, but I wouldn't want to give her real name and publicly embarrass a grandmother for misplacing her grandchild!)

Shortly, I heard a child screaming and I asked the woman next to me, who appeared to be in my age group, "Did you read O. Henry's The Ransom Of Red Chief when you were in school?" She said that she had not, but she had read The Gift Of The Magi. I gave her a brief synopsis of the story: two crooks came up with a plan to kidnap the child of the town's wealthiest man. They ended up having to pay the father to take back the kid because he was so bad and the kid was known as Red Chief.

The child's screaming escalated and the woman asked, "Wonder how much she'd pay?"

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Mona Lisa sent the following list to me, telling me that she is guilty of 10.  I realize that I am also guilty of several.

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Monday, April 10, 2017


In Hebrew, Pesach means "to pass over".  Passover will be celebrated this year from April 10 to April 18.  Passover is the Festival of Freedom which commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their transition from slavery to freedom. 

The main ritual of Passover is the seder, a festive meal that involves the retelling of the exodus through stories and songs and the consumption of ritual foods: matzah, unleavened bread (represents the fact that the Israelites had to leave quickly and couldn't wait for the bread to rise), maror, bitter herbs (represents the bitterness of slavery), harroset, mixture of apples, nuts, raisins, and spices (represents the mortar the Hebrew slaves used in building for the Egyptians), karpas, celery, parsley, or other green vegetables (represents spring), and a roasted egg (represents mourning).  The Haggadah outlines the stories and rituals of Pesach.

The appropriate greeting for Passover is Chag Sameach which means "Happy Holiday".

Sunday, April 9, 2017


When my "Wild Lunch Bunch" eat at The Commission On Aging, I take a Coke with me to drink as only milk and lemonade are served.   One of the group began to lecture me--which she has done several other times-- about the dangers of Coca Cola.  

Feeling ornery, I said, "I'll drink water if you do." because I know she dislikes drinking water as much as I do.

The following is especially for her:

                                             WATER VERSUS COKE


1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
(Likely applies to half the world population.)

2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.

3. Even mild dehydration will slow down one's metabolism by 3%.

4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for nearly 100% of the dieters studied according to a study conducted by the University of Washington.

5. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.


1. In many states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be dissolved in two days.

3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" set for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

7. To bake a moist ham: empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

8. To remove grease from clothes: empty a can of Coke into the load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.


1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. It will dissolve a nail in about four days.

2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate): the commercial trucks must use a hazardous material placards usually reserved for highly corrosive materials.

3. The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean engines of the trucks for about 20 years.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Watching the news with me tonight, my brother said, sardonically, "Wag the dog."

Wag The Dog, a 1997 movie produced and directed by Barry Levinson, with screenplay by David Mamet and Hilary Henkin, starred Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman.  

In the film, the President of the United States distracts the electorate away from a scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer to construct a fake war.

Did I mention that it is a black comedy?

I think I'll order it from Netflix to watch again.

Friday, April 7, 2017


I was in Kroger and had a jicama among my purchases.  The clerk, a young man, said, "You're gonna have to tell me what this is." as it had no identifying sticker.  I said, "It's a jicama."  He began looking at a chart.  I noticed he was looking in the "H" column.  I said, "Oh, it's spelled J-I-C-A-M-A".  He said he'd never heard of it and asked how it was used.  I told him I was going to use it on a vegetable tray I planned to make.

When he found it on the chart, he mentioned that they were expensive.  I said, "Gosh, I could have told you it was a turnip;  they are a lot cheaper."  He said, "Aww, you wouldn't do that, would you?"  

Each year, Mother would peruse the Burpee seed catalog and she would choose an unusual vegetable to try.  Over the years we had an assortment of squashes (turban, patty pan, acorn, zucchini, and spaghetti squash), rutabaga, salsify, kohlrabi, and leeks. She had no luck growing cauliflower and broccoli.

One year she chose jicama but they were not a favorite and she never ordered them again.  

Of course, at that time we didn't know the proper pronunciation and said "Juh-cam-uh" as any Fayette County HICK would.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017


I have written before about the prevalent lack of civility in our daily lives, but the lack of good manners continues to astound me. Below are just recent examples.

A friend received an invitation to a baby shower although she has never met either the expectant mother or father. The father-to-be is the nephew of a friend of hers.  If that presumptuousness to invite an unknown person weren't bad enough, the mother-to-be is registered at Target for gifts but included seven pages of her gift registry and the seventh page was a list of items for her instead of the baby! Some of those items were a camisole and robe.

I received an invitation to a baby shower and I did not recognize the name of the person who was hosting nor the name of the honoree.   However, the location for the event was listed at  the Community Room at The Village, a local housing complex.  As I know several people who live at The Village, I called each one of them but not one of them had any knowledge of the person hosting the shower nor the honoree.  I declined the invitation.

A young woman I know intended to be married in June of this year. However, she became pregnant in April of last year and they wanted to be married before the birth of the baby. She had no health care coverage and when she learned that the child's father's insurance would not cover the delivery of the baby because it would be considered a pre-existing condition, they decided to postpone the wedding until after the birth of the baby. Instead of saving money to pay for the baby's delivery, they decided for her to collect government assistance and to be married after the birth of the baby. They decided to save money for the wedding.  Relatives of hers were stunned that I said that I would not be going to a wedding shower, or to the wedding, because I thought that it was disgraceful to be saving money for a wedding rather than having taxpayers foot the bill for the birth of their baby.

Recently, I sent a very nice present for a wedding shower of  a member of my husband's family and I never received a thank-you card. One of the relatives asked what I was giving as a wedding present and I laughed and said, "Hell, I haven't received a thank-you card for the shower gift yet."

The relative said, "Young people don't do those things any more!"

My answer: "Then tell the young people they don't get another gift from this old person!"

I sent a reply to that wedding invitation--using proper etiquette--declining the invitation and giving the couple best wishes.

Miss Manners wrote: "A wedding invitation is not an invoice."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


                 BREAKING NEWS: 

On "National Crayon Day", Crayola announced it is "retiring" one of the colors from the Crayola 24-Count box: DANDELION.  The  120-Count box showing the retirement includes a contest to name the new replacement color.   

The color "Dandelion" was not added until 1990, which seems rather young for its retirement.  Binney & Smith began boxing crayons in 1885 and over the years Crayola has retired 50 other crayons, most notably "flesh".   Boxes of Crayola crayons have always been in increments of 8:  8, 16, 24, 48, etc.  

Watch the cute , animated video commemorating the "farewell tour" of  "Dan D" as he enjoys the adventures of his "golden years":  

I have written several times about my childhood love of Crayola crayons and have a large collection of Crayola products, including numerous boxes of crayons, Christmas ornaments, and other memorabilia.  I am not upset about losing "dandelion", but would vehemently protest if "magenta" were removed!  

My brother, looking over my shoulder, said, "Awww, Dandelion has gone to seed!"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


My mother always called these spring flowers "jonquils" but according to the American Daffodil Society, generally the term "jonquil" denotes "N. jonquilla", with small yellow flowers, while "daffodil"refers to large flowered varieties in numerous colors, and "narcissus" to small flowered and early blooming types.  Mother always referred to the bed of white "paper whites" in the front yard as "narcissus";  I call all of them daffodils.

Below is my article from last year ( I only get to "throw" the word "jocund" into conversations once a year!)   

                                           JOCUND COMPANY

My daffodils are blooming.  I am a happy girl.

As Wordsworth wrote in his poem Daffodils:

"A poet could not be but gay
In such a jocund company"


"And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils."

(picture of four varieties of daffodils from our yard)



Monday, April 3, 2017


Watching David Cay Johnson explain how he had received the 2005 income tax returns from Mr. and Mrs. Trump, he said that he'd received them "over the transom".  A young friend who was visiting asked, "What does that mean?"  I explained that it meant unsolicited, sent in secret, or sent without the receiver's knowledge.

He asked, "But what is a transom?"  I took him to our living room and pointed out a decorative one above our living room door.  I showed him ones in our dining room which were painted over because they are unused.  I explained that, "in the old days", they were used for air ventilation between rooms.  I said, "When I was growing up we had transoms and they were left open in the winter to allow the heat to circulate and in the summer, let the air from the fans to circulate."  He asked, "Couldn't you just use the air conditioner or just turn up the furnace?"  I laughed and said, "We were lucky to have a stove and fans!"

It has been years since I have heard the word "transom" or the phrase "over the transom".

My brother asked, "Shouldn't it be THROUGH the transom?"

Sunday, April 2, 2017


In the meat department I saw packages of chicken feet.  I found it very amusing that they were labeled "chicken paws";  I wondered if wise marketing mavens believed that would make them more appetizing to general consumers. 

One of my sisters-in-law is Korean and she uses chicken feet, as well as tripe and other parts usually considered offal.  

My grandmother cooked every part of the chicken and I can still recall seeing chicken feet sticking at the top of a pot of her broth.  She said, "We eat everything except the CLUCK!"  My mother never used them.

Yes, I have eaten chicken PAWS although I have never purchased them.    

Although composed of tendons, bone, and cartilage, chicken feet are rich in protein, calcium, and collage, as well as minerals such as magnesium and zinc.  

The "paws" are $1.98 per pound;  mixed fryer parts are 98 cents per pound.  I use mixed fryer parts to make broth;  because dark and white meat and skin are contained in the package, the parts make a rich broth.  

I said to my brother, "Perhaps chicken paws appeal to a niche market."  He answered, "You actually used chicken paws and niche in the same sentence; now THAT is funny!"

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Today I am remembering my mother.  I have written numerous times about my mother and quote her extensively.  Obviously, she was the major influence in my life. 

Yesterday, I mentioned to my brother, "I need to go to the cemetery tomorrow." He said, "Take the hyacinths;  the Bionic Nose would appreciate them."

I first published the following article "The Bionic Nose" in 2013:

                                                     THE BIONIC NOSE

Before The Bionic Woman was on television, we called my mother "The Human Bloodhound" because she could detect smells which nobody else could, and the scents were usually of an unpleasant nature. After seeing Lindsay Wagner, Mother was then known as "The Bionic Nose". 

Mother also had the world's best memory. Oftentimes, she would say that aromas or odors were reminiscent of ones from her childhood. After I read Remembrance Of Things Past, I told her that she was as good as Proust at remembering every detail! I would mutter, "Where's the madeleines, Mama?", whenever she would start going into excruciating detail!