Thank You, Veterans!...
Hallelujah! Elections are over. The people have spoken! My faith in American free elections has been restored.
While there was some scattered violence at the polls our nation got through Election Day without organized anti-anyone political demonstrations. No rioting. No smashed windows. No overturned squad cars. Isn't it refreshing?
Now, if the transfer of power can be completed just as smoothly when the time comes in January we as a nation can hopefully follow the path back to greatness that Donald Trump has promised to work for!
Strongly oppose use of the term "Winter Break" instead of "Christmas Vacation," but the fine weather this past weekend was certainly a winter break, even though we haven't really had winter yet. Almost, but not quite, enough to make me believe in Global Warming.
Now it's turned colder, and apparently like it or not, winter will come. Our hunters have always hoped for at least a sprinkling of snow for Deer Season, and that starts at the end of next week, on Saturday, Nov. 19. Can you believe it???
WE GET OUR TVs BACK
A few days ago one of our local politicians was talking about the fact that elections were days away, and after that there will be a return to normal TV programming. He said, "We'll get our TVs and radios back. We can stop watching politicians and listening to lies. What a nasty campaign. Now candidates can stop accusing each other of kicking cats, slapping babies and kissing their mothers!"
Veteran's Day is Friday, Nov. 11. It started as Armistice Day, designated to mark the day and the hour when the Armistice was signed that ended the horrors of World War I, "the war to end all wars."
That war turned out not to be the end, and perhaps there never will be an end to wars until the final Judgment Day.
So we must go on, sending young men and women off to die to protect the rest of us from tyranny and evil.
They may not call them wars anymore, but when people are sent off to fight and die, that seems like war to me, whatever name you choose to call it.
It is only fair and just that we pay homage to those who have done the fighting for us, as well as to the many veterans who were not called on to fight, but gave up a few years of their lives being trained so they were able to do so if and when they were needed.
My own grade school years came not very long after World War II ended. Memories were still poignant. Many of our families had suffered the loss of a loved one. There was a patriotic parade on Memorial Day, and on Veterans Day, precisely at 11 a.m. on each Nov. 11, classes stopped, everyone faced east, and heads were bowed in prayer.
We prayed for our fallen soldiers and for those who survived to come home. We thanked God they had been successful and had kept our world free. I'm told that the scene was the same in all the schools and all the work places in Marinette County and probably the entire United States. Those who had lived through World Wars I and II and the Korean Conflict aftermath appreciated the sacrifices made on our behalf.
It's so easy to forget that those wars were not fought and won by Americans alone, though we like to believe we were the deciding factor.
Canadians, English, French, Australians - in fact troops from all over the world - were engaged in both World Wars and in Korea. In Canada and many other nations Nov. 11 is observed as Remembrance Day.
Any American who has never heard of the poppies of Flanders Fields is indeed deprived of heritage. How many of us know those poignant words were penned by a Canadian, not an American. He was a doctor, Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade. The poem was written on May 3, 1915, as the doctor grieved over the suffering he had seen and the young men he had failed to save in the hell that was the 17-day battle at Ypres in World War 1.
What is now recognized as perhaps the greatest war poem ever written was almost lost to the world. The anguished doctor wrote it in a brief break of perhaps 20 minutes, sitting on the back of an ambulance, watching the wild poppies that had sprung up in a nearby cemetery blow gently in the wind. An almost unbearable contrast to the bloody horrors they were going through.
Dr. Major McCrae apparently was not particularly impressed with his poem. After showing it to a few of his companions he crumpled up the paper and threw it away. But one of the men retrieved it, sent it to some English newspapers, and the rest is history. It was published in "Punch" on December 8, 1915.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, saw dawn, felt sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. - Dr. John McCrae
We so often criticize our young people, and often fail to realize how deeply some of them are affected by history and the emotions it can evoke.
A dear young man who visited France with his class about 15 years ago managed to climb a bit up the outside of the Eiffel Tower, irreverently drank some forbidden French wine and in general goofed off as kids will do.
But when he got home he said one thing that impressed him most, left him speechless, almost made him cry, were stops at Flanders Fields, to see the poppies, and at Normandy, where white crosses marking the final resting places of American soldiers march into the distance, row upon row.
After graduation from high school he enlisted in the military and served 12 years, some of that time in war zones.
Did that experience in France influence his decision? Perhaps. Perhaps he felt the need to carry on where those fallen soldiers left off. Perhaps his love for his country was fueled by the red of those poppies and the white of the crosses against the blue of that foreign sky.
He's home now, but still willing to go back and fight if and when he is needed.
His love for our country is as strong as ever. He's hopeful that now Americans will stop careening down the path of lost freedoms, lured to servitude by promises of government largesse.
He's hopeful that we as a nation will wake up and stop that headlong plunge before we throw away everything he and his military predecessors in the last 250 years fought and died for.
ON THE SOAP BOX
We need to keep fighting our own greed - our tendency to let Uncle Sam take care of us, to ask for laws that limit our neighbors' freedoms while forgetting at the same time we are limiting our own.
The danger that we will destroy our freedoms from within remains every bit as grave as the danger that some enemy will destroy them from without, perhaps even graver.
We must resolve to keep up our vigilance, continue the fight for freedom at home and away, to never, ever let peace at any price be an option!
Many restaurants offer veterans free meals on Veterans Day, and other businesses offer other perks. That's a great thing to do.
Brown county's New Zoo is honoring all veteran and active-duty military members and their immediate families free admission on Nov. 11.
As usual on Veterans Day, American Legion posts are hosting patriotic programs at schools around the county. Find out when and where the program in your area will be held and share in it.
Find a veteran and thank him or her for their service. If that veteran lives alone, perhaps you could invite him or her over for dinner.
SAD EDMUND FITZGERALD ANNIVERSARY
Military people are not the only ones who take their lives in their hands sometimes to carry out their job duties. This week marks the 41st anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald which took 29 Great Lakes seamen with her to the bottom of Lake Superior when she sank on a cold, windy Nov. 10 in 1975.
Can any of us who grew up with Great Lakes shipping ever forget the sinking of that mighty ship and the Gordon Lightfoot song that immortalized it?
There is said to be a Chippewa legend that Lake Superior never gives up her dead, and it is pretty much the truth. No bodies have been recovered from wreck, which still sits 530 feet deep in cold lake Superior waters. Waves of 35 feet were reported, whipped up by gale force winds
Know from personal experience how wild those "winds of November" can be, even on Lake Michigan. One bitter November day in Algoma, possibly that same November day that the Fitzgerald sank, watched waves so wild that they put out the light in the lighthouse at the end of the pier.
Even on moderately mild November days walking on that pier was generally not a good idea. Waves whipped over it regularly.
There's always been a tradition for housewives to do Spring Cleaning, and I guess that made sense, especially in the days before exhaust fans, when wood stoves for cooking and heating got everything kind of smokey by the first fine days of Spring and homes really needed airing out.
Today most of use cleaner fuels for cooking, even if we do enjoy our fireplaces and wood stoves. We also generally have exhaust fans.
Fall seems to me the ideal time to do Spring cleaning. Heated air is drier, so when we scrub carpets and launder upholstered furniture everything dries faster.
If weather is warm enough, which it has been, we can wash windows inside and out and have them not get spotted immediately by bird and bug droppings.
And once the Fall Cleaning is done we can get a head start on decorating for Christmas with a clean household canvas.
Sounds like a plan. Where's the mop?
SEEKING A RECIPE
About two years ago, ran a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars that included pudding. The other day a reader asked for a copy of that recipe. Remember running the recipe, remember eating the cookie bars, but have been unable to find that recipe anywhere. Can anyone help?
Deer season in our family and many in TIMESland means a gathering of the clan. Would need a lot of good food even that special holiday week did not include Thanksgiving, which it does. Others who do not get guests for Deer Season are often required to prepare dishes to take along to Deer Camp. Early rising and days in the chilly woods make some hungry, hungry hunters!
CHIPOTLE MANGO SAUCE
2 chipotle, jalapeno or habanero peppers
healthy pinch of garlic
healthy pinch of cayenne powder
1 c. warm salsa
1/2 c. honey
dash of salt and pepper
1 tsp. butter
Peel the mangoes and in a food processor turn them into mush. Mince the peppers finely, either in a food processor using pulse or dice very finely with a knife. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium to low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes to bring out the combined flavor. Serve hot or chill, your call. Great on chicken wings, drummies, and pork chops, even ham.
BACONY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
This is the best time of year for Brussels Sprouts. those still in the garden turn a bit sweeter when they get their first nip of frost, and right now they are delicious indeed. Fact is, those tender little cabbages are delicious anyway, especially when you dip them in lemon butter or dress them up as in this recipe. This is perfect for Thanksgiving, because it is very special and can be made ahead up to the final baking, which is perfect to do while you make the gravy and take care of other last minute details.
1 cup onion, small diced
4 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1/8-inch)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (1/4 if dried)
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a 12" sauté pan over medium high heat, render the bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon to a heat proof bowl. You need to keep most of the bacon grease in the pan. Add the onions to the pan and cook for four minutes or until wilted and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and add them to the bowl with the bacon. to the drippings that remain in the pan add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and then half the Brussels sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or a little pinch of dried. Cook the sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes on one side or until they begin to brown. Add half the chicken stock, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Flip the sprouts and continue to cook for another minute. Remove from the pan into the bowl with the bacon and onions. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and cook the remaining sprouts in the same way, adding the remaining 1/8 cup of stock after they've browned, and seasoning them with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Return the previously cooked sprouts, onions, garlic and bacon to the pan and toss all together. Put everything into a 10X16 baking dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Serve immediately. Makes four to six servings. You can also make this a day or even more ahead up to the point where you sprinkle on the cheese, and then bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted before serving.
LATTE CHEESECAKE BARS
Couldn't find the chocolate chip bars, but did find these that had been sort of forgotten about. These take 20 minutes to assemble, 20 to 25 minutes to bake, and Boy! are they good! Especially if you like the flavor of mocha. Makes 36 bars.
2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (must be real chocolate)
Mix 2 tablespoons whipping cream and coffee granules in small bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes so the coffee dissolves. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients and press onto the bottom of a 13"X9" baking pan. To make filling, beat cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy and smooth. Add the coffee and cream mixture, eggs and vanilla and beat again, scraping bowl often, until they are all combined and the mixture is smooth. Pour over the crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is nearly set. Cool for an hour on a wire rack. When the hour is up, make the topping by heating the 1/3 cup whipping cream in a 1-quart saucepan until it nearly boils. Then remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they melt and the mixture is smooth. Spread over the cheesecake. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets, about one hour. Cut into triangles by cutting square bars, then cutting them in half diagonally.
The Country Cousin
Thought of the week: Thank You, Thank You, God! America has spoken, and there has been no outraged reaction by angry mobs. You have given us another chance to practice being free. You have guided us a president who does not believe in murdering unborn babies, who does not tell us we will be obliged to give up cherished morals, ideals and beliefs. Now, please help us and our newly elected president do what it takes to serve You best. Amen
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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