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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

This Monday, Do Not Labor...

Labor Day, the final holiday of Summer 2016 is coming up on Monday, Sept. 5. Seems like the Native Americans who measured their lives in summers rather than years had it right. We live, really live, in summertime. The rest of the year is spent either clinging to what's left of summer, or waiting for the next summer to arrive. Summers are what life is all about.

SCHOOL DAZE

On the other hands, kids going off to school are starting a new year, whether they're going to college, kindergarten, or somewhere in between.

Most of them won't admit it, but they secretly look forward to starting a new year, meeting new friends, learning new things. Life for them sort of starts each year when the school bells ring.

Some of their Moms are also quietly doing their happy dance. Their lives become their own again once the kids go off to school. Nine months of Monday through Friday freedom, give or take a few days. Cause for celebration? You bet!

On a more serious note, youngsters hopefully will learn a lot at school, but some of the most precious lessons are learned not in the classroom, but from a positive attitude toward life. And they will learn more if they realize that education is not a goal in itself, but a method for collecting the tools they will need to reach goals they have set for themselves.

As Henry David Thoreau advised,"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

On a similar note, Napoleon Hill advised, "Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements."

The beauty part is, our school days may be over, but it's never too late to go in the direction of our dreams, to work toward a life we love, and to live so we can love ourselves.

LABOR DAY

On Labor Day we're supposed to honor the working men and women of our land. Since this means most of us, we should all enjoy what we like best. For some of us this might mean sleeping in.

For others it might mean sleeping in a tent and getting up with the sun to stalk the wily trout in the waning days of fishing season. For still others, it means gathering family and friends for lots of good food and good conversation.

The beauty part is, whatever brings us joy is exactly what we should be doing. Labor Day does not mean we should be laboring - unless you're giving birth to a child. That did happen once in our family, making the day very special for all of us. Happy birthday, Jake!

APPROPRIATE

Mark VanDerzee recently completed his first term as chair of the Lake Noquebay Rehabilitation District, and at the annual meeting on Saturday, Aug. 27 he was returned to office for another term.

As chair of the District, he is in charge of the weed harvesting program on the lake. This is ironically appropriate, given his family background.

VanDerzee is grandson of the late George Hockney, a former Marinette County Board Supervisor from Middle Inlet who was active when the Lake District was formed, and great-grandson of Charles Hockney, who is credited with inventing the first-ever weed harvester.

Now weed harvesters ply Lake Noquebay and many other lakes every day in summer whenever weather permits, to cut and remove the weeds, keeping boat channels and swimming areas open, and removing some of the phosphorous and other nutrients that degrade water quality in the lake.

GET RID OF THE RESIDUE

The end of summer is a fine time to learn this trick, but need to pass it along anyway. Bird droppings that have dried on the windshield can be more than a bit hard to clean off. When wipers and windshield washers won't do the trick, attack with seltzer, otherwise known as club soda. The soda has to be fresh and still bubbly. Pour some into a spray bottle and spritz it on the soiled windshield areas. Let sit for a minute, and then wipe off with a paper towel. The carbonation dissolves the dried blobs so you can wipe them off easily. Works on bug splats too. Use what's left in the bottle to polish the chrome or clean the headlights.

ON THE SOAP BOX

HONOR OUR FLAG


According to a national news report, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm after he refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem before the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26.

Some commentators view his comments about police and his refusal to respect our flag as an insult to all Americans, and to law enforcement officers everywhere.

Some defended his right to stand up for - or in this case refuse to stand up for - what he believes in.

Fox News commentator Tamara Holder said standing for our national anthem doesn't make you a good American, and that is true.

But refusing to stand up for it also does not make you a good American. It just makes you a visible protester when you are a prominent sports personality.

Maybe Kaepernick should give up his multi-million dollar football salary and prove his sincerity by running for public office.

Don't know if Kaepernick is black, white or purple, and really don't care. Am sick of people blaming the system, their color, their parents or phases of the moon for their personal failures.

Are blacks really the down trodden minority they would have us believe?

We have many black people in high places in this country, including a black president from the Democratic Party. The Republican Party was very seriously considering an extremely fine black man for their candidate this year.

Maybe the minorities protesting should be the yellow or brown races. None of them has ever been elected president, and nobody is staging marches and protests on their behalf.

Not that color matters. It shouldn't, any more than Hillary Clinton should be considered presidential material just because she happens to be a woman.

What matters are principles, work ethic, and being willing to fight for truth, justice and the American way.

The American way, incidentally, should mean you are willing to not just talk independence, but be independent; willing to work for what you need, and work for what you believe in, not just stage some sort of public demonstration.

Kaepernick appears to be disenchanted with both sides of the current political spectrum. He was quoted as saying after the ball game: "You have Hillary (Clinton), who has called black teens or black kids super predators. You have Donald Trump, who is openly racist. We have a presidential candidate (Clinton) who has deleted e-mails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn't make sense to me. If that was any other person, you'd be in prison. So what is this country really standing for?"

Trump may or may not be racist, but Kaepernick's comments about Hillary were right on. There's no question that much of what she has done, what she has even admitted doing, is illegal, immoral and borders on treason. Yet she is seriously being considered for President. Why???

Kaepernick may be right to ask his questions, but if he's against everything and everyone, what does he stand for? He doesn't tell us that.

If we give up on our country and dishonor our flag, everything is lost. Even when both candidates are less than ideal, a third choice is not a viable option. So we need to elect the person least likely to cause irreparable harm.

And that candidate would be definitely be Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton has already shown us what she is capable of. We absolutely cannot risk four years with her at the helm!

Trump might in fact do wonderful things for this country. He has shown that he knows how to run businesses, how to keep the peace within multi-national corporations, and how to achieve what he sets out to do.

He already has more money than any reasonable person could spend in a lifetime or two. If his remaining goal in life is to go down in history as a great president, it's in the best interests of all of us to set aside our jealousies and help him do it. If he manages to make our country great again, we'll all be along for the ride!

STILL ON THE SOAP BOX

HISTORY LESSONS


Our kids are either back in school or soon will be. For most of them, history will be a required subject, but sadly, much of that history will be laundered to make it politically correct, and will not be presented as it actually happened.

Will any teacher have the integrity to pass along the information that Patrick Henry, a patriot and founding father of our country said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Will they tell their students that that every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777?

Or that John Jay, the very first Supreme Court Justice, decreed: "Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers."

Will any of them attempt to explain how everything we have done, everything we have believed in for 240 years in this country suddenly became wrong and unconstitutional?

INTERNATIONAL EATING

American tastes have matured since I was a girl. Never tasted pizza until I was a teen. In TIMESland there were no Chinese restaurants.

The wonderful grocery store on Lauerman's basement level offered specialty items like French fried grasshoppers and chocolate covered ants. Honest. They were there. Never met anyone who had actually tasted them though. Was told that during the starving days of World War II people in some countries actually ate those things because they had nothing better and had to stay alive. Turned out they were good, and they became delicacies. Yeah. Right!

We were always ordered to clean our plates so the children in China wouldn't starve. Considering the widespread obesity problem today, maybe we should have sent our excess food to China in the first place instead of putting it on our plates.

COOKIN' TIME

Speaking of tastes maturing, we crave exotic seasonings, flavors from other cultures. Mexican. Italian. Oriental. Mideast. Enjoying those new foods has given us a far more varied diet than we once had. Today's recipes sort of focus on the different flavors available today that were unheard of around here a generation or two ago.

RAMEN NOODLE TACO SALAD

Talk about blending nationalities! Put oriental Ramen Noodles with Mexican seasonings, north European cole slaw, and good old Native American black beans and corn, and you get this wonderful international salad - perfect for a Labor Day get together. Keep it in mind for Thanksgiving too. Always did believe that Thanksgiving should have been scheduled earlier in the Fall...like sometime around Labor Day.

1/2 cup Classic Ranch Dressing (like Kraft)

1/2 cup Taco sauce (restaurant style, like Taco Bell)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodle soup mix

1 package (14 ounces) coleslaw blend (cabbage slaw mix)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup rinsed canned black beans

1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Mix dressing, hot sauce and lime juice until blended. Break Ramen Noodles into large bowl. Discard seasoning packets or reserve for another use. Add remaining ingredients and dressing mixture to noodles; mix lightly. Serve right away, or chill until serving time.

RAMEN NOODLE SALAD

Another version of this great salad, this one with an Asian flavor. Recipe calls for cole slaw mix, but I prefer freshly chopped mixture of cabbage and a bit of carrot shredded or somewhat coarsely chopped in the food processor.

8 ounces coleslaw mix

1 package ramen noodles, raw & crushed (The Oriental Flavor is perfect, but others work.)

1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds

1⁄2 cup oil

1⁄4 cup cider vinegar

1⁄4 cup sugar or six packets of Splenda)

Mix together the cabbage, crushed noodles and sunflower kernels. In a small bowl, mix the Ramen Noodle seasoning packet, oil, vinegar and sugar. Mix all together and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

ASIAN RAMEN NOODLE SALAD

Preferably use the oriental flavored ramen noodles for this, but if not, other flavors work too. Just don't use Siracha flavor.

3 ounce package ramen noodles, crushed

2 tablespoons butter, melted (or Sesame Oil)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pine nuts

3 cups shredded bok choy (or mixture of Napa cabbage, regular cabbage and carrots, all finely shredded)

5 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup diced, cooked chicken breast meat

1 (5 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained

12 pods snow peas

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the noodles, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts with melted butter until evenly coated. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until evenly toasted. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large bowl toss together the noodle mixture, bok choy or cabbage etc., green onions, chicken, water chestnuts, and snow peas. Prepare the dressing by blending the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and lemon juice. Pour over salad, and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until chilled. Overnight is okay.

TOO EASY TIRAMISU

You don't need to add the coffee liqueur to this, and shouldn't if you'll be serving youngsters, but it does add to the flavor when only adults will be eating it. Cake mix makes it easy.

1 box vanilla cake mix

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 large egg whites

8 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups brewed strong coffee

1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur (perhaps Kahlua), optional

2 tablespoons instant cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15X10X1-inch jelly roll pan with foil or cooking parchment paper, letting some hang out at each end. Coat with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl combine cake mix, buttermilk and egg whites. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium for two minutes. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Use foil or parchment to lift cake from the pan. Let it cool. In a deep bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat about two minutes, or until smooth and fluffy. Cut cake in half crosswise and fit one of the halves into an 11x7-inch baking dish, trimming as needed. Set aside the crusty edges. Mix coffee and liqueur. Pour one cup over the cake layer and let it soak in. Spread on half the cream cheese mixture, sift on one tablespoon of the cocoa powder. Top with the second cake layer, again trimming to fit. Set aside the crusty edges. Pour remaining cup of the coffee mixture over this and again let it soak in. Spread on remaining cream cheese mixture and sprinkle on remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

You should have a quarter cup of coffee mixture left over if you used the liqueur. Pour into a cup, add hot coffee, more liqueur and some cream if you wish. Relax while you sip and snack on the cake edges. You deserve a break today!

Thought for the week: Please, God, inspire our educators to teach facts and truth, not propaganda! And inspire parents to become upset enough to complain to their school boards and other powers that be if their children are taught politically laundered versions of history instead of the actual facts of how and why this nation was founded.

Country Cousin

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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