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Country Cousin

Issue Date: April 18, 2019

In your Easter parka...



We've had a few beautiful springy days this week. The mountains of snow left from winter and last week's thunder snow storm are rapidly shrinking. Have even been treated to some glimpses of green lawns in the southern parts of TIMESland.

Can it be that Spring is finally here, or is Mother Nature just playing another mean trick on us?

Grandma always said peas had to be plated on Good Friday, and guess what? There is actually some thawed bare ground were peas could be planted!



EASTER MUSIC

In honor of this spring's awful weather, started composing some new Easter songs:

"I'm dreaming of a white Easter, not like the ones we used to know, where the tree tops glisten, and children listen to hear that bunny in the snow".

Or perhaps "Here comes Peter Cottontail, skiing down the bunny trail"Frozen jelly beans for Tommy, Snowball eggs for sister Sue; there's an orchid for your Mommy, and an Easter parka too"

Guess with the weather improving those songs won't be needed after all.



EGG HUNTS

Hope the nice weather continues into Saturday, though there are predictions for rain - which we do NOT need. Lots of Easter Egg hunts are planned for TIMESland communities on Saturday, April 20. That Easter Bunny really likes to get around. Check the ads, bulletin boards and calendars of events for times of the Easter events nearest you, and pray for sunshine.



WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD

A non-Easter event coming up is a program at the Coleman-Pound Public Library at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 on the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

No other Great Lakes shipwreck is better known than the Edmund Fitzgerald, which disappeared into a stormy Lake Superior on November 10, 1975, when winds peaked at nearly 100 miles per hour and waves reached the height of three-story buildings.



In the April 23 program at Coleman Rochelle Pennington will talk about the history and mystery surrounding that shipwreck, delving into the various theories and opposing views of dive detectives who are still trying to solve the mystery and determine what led to the demise of the 29-man crew. Audience members will be led from the launch of the ship to its final radio broadcasts, and from the Fitz's discovery on Superior's bottom to the raising of artifacts from its watery grave. This event is free and open to the public. Get more information by calling Mariel at the Stephenson Public Library, 715-732-7570.



ON THE SOAP BOX

CROWN OF THORNS


How devastating to watch the near destruction of the venerable Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, knowing its beauty, its long history and the treasury of irreplaceable art works and historic relics that it contained!



And how ironic that the fire that very nearly destroyed the precious Crown of Thorns broke out on Monday of Holy Week!



Is there a message here?

Is God trying to get our attention, to give us one last chance to change our ways and return to obedience of His laws? To once again place importance on moral values rather than material values?



For those who are not aware, the Crown of Thorns has been preserved for two millennia, and its whereabouts have been known for nearly 1,000 of those years. It is believed to be the actual "crown" that the scornful Jews placed on Jesus' head while he carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem on the way to Golgotha and his crucifixion. Imagine the pain of having sharp thorns pushed into your face and scalp and being prevented from moving or adjusting it for at least four hours of agony while sweat and blood dripped down your face and into your eyes!!!



And that was before Jesus' suffering on the cross began, but while He knew, being who He was, exactly how that would feel. Surely He must have been tempted to say "deliver me from this"Let those ungrateful wretches pay for their own sins!" That He had the power to do this, and that he resisted, for love of us, is perhaps even more remarkable that His death and resurrection. Since He had taken on the body of a human, He was capable of feeling all the pain that any of us would feel. It is almost inconceivable that He was willing to do that for us.



The Crown of Thorns is a physical reminder of that suffering, which makes it possibly more valuable than anything else on Earth today.



Have read comments by naysayers who disbelieve the authenticity of the crown. Doubts are somewhat reasonable, considering that 2,000 years have passed, but consider that its history has been tracked at least since 1238. That means the crown was kept hidden or lost to public view for about 1,200 years, including the years when Christians were bitterly prosecuted. Could someone have made a cheap imitation??? Certainly possible, but tradition handed along with that crown is that it is real, and that it was the crown that pierced the head of Our Lord.



Is it so hard to believe that the early Christians - the Apostles and the early believers - would have carefully hidden and cared for the "crown" that marked Jesus' suffering and death and then his Resurrection as Savior of the World?



Tradition followed that crown through the first 1,200 years, and now its location has been known for 800 years.



History shows that parts of the thorns were distributed around Europe in the centuries after it was brought to Paris from Byzantium by Louis IX, who had received it in 1238 as a gift from the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II.



Construction of Notre Dame, Church of Our Lady, began in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, and was completed in 1345. It is considered a jewel of medieval Gothic architecture. In addition to that venerable Crown of Thorns it housed countless other holy relics and works of art, including the tunic of Saint Louis, which dated back to the 13th century.



The Crown of Thorns was saved from the fire on Monday, April 15 thanks to the bravery of Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade. Father Fournier rushed into the fire to rescue the the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns relics from the blazing building on Monday night.



It was feared that both religious artifacts would be lost as flames engulfed the medieval building, but Father Fournier made sure they were taken to safety.  Father Fournier is the same brave French priest who helped the wounded in the Bataclan terror attack on Paris in 2015 when 89 people were murdered, and who survived an ambush in Afghanistan.



Most of the other priceless relics kept at Notre Dame were saved from the inferno rage by firefighters who formed a human chain to get them out of the fire ravaged building.



There are now pledges to rebuild fire-damged towers of the venerable cathedral and preserve it and the art works for future generations.



Perhaps we should try to rebuild the sin damaged parts of our society, to restore the walls of faith, and save that for future generations as well.



If we can do that, perhaps there will be future generations.

If we cannot, surely God's patience with us will one day run out, as it did in the time of Noah!



BIBLICAL HISTORY

From the Old Testament: Isaiah 53:5: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."



From the New Testament, Luke 23:26-43: "As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, "Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'  Then ""they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"'  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"



Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals"one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is God's Messiah, the Chosen One."   The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the King of the Jews.



LAST MINUTE GIFT

For an adorable last-minute remembrance for adults who won't be getting an Easter basket, make an itsy bitsy terrarium. Get some clear plastic eggs, fill one half with moss, and on it place an Easter trinket or a tiny plant and then add the other half of the egg. Scatter the filled eggs around the house, or perhaps place one at each plate for Easter brunch.



Incidentally, I found some chocolate candy that looks exactly like the polished semi-precious gemstones (agates and the like) that I love to collect. Am still trying to decide how to best use these to fool the older folks but no tempt the younger kids to munch on real polished rocks.



COOKIN' TIME

Easter is a time for renewal, and in addition to religious observances, it is a time for family festivities and loving traditions. Many of those traditions include food and special drinks to go with it.



SOUPER CRAB BISQUE

Lots of us still observe a meatless Good Friday tradition. When it comes to meatless soups, this Souper Crab Bisque has has everything going for it. Super easy, relatively inexpensive, and very, very good. Add grilled cheese sandwiches and a fruity dessert and then try to pretend that going without meat once in a while is penance!

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/4 cups imitation crabmeat

salt to taste

ground black pepper to taste

pinch curry powder

Stir the soups and milk together until smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder to taste. Heat "til steaming, but don't let it boil. Add the sliced or chunked imitation crab meat and heat very briefly, but again do not let it boil.



EASTER BRUNCH PUNCH

Kids will know it's a holiday when you let them have this bubbly drink for breakfast. If you want an adult version, add some champagne, or later in the day, add Triple Sec.

12 ounces orange juice

4 ounces carrot juice

8 ounces clear soda (like 7-Up or Sprite)

fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine first three ingredients in a pitcher. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh mint.



PINEAPPLE STUFFING

Perfect with your Easter Ham. Make it the day before, and then just cover with foil and reheat it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes when you're ready to eat. Just half a dozen easy ingredients!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice

12 slices white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. An electric mixer works best for this. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next. Add pineapple with juice and bread pieces and stir until all the bread pieces are evenly coated with the egg mixture. Pour stuffing into a large baking dish, about 9—13 inches Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake 50 minutes to an hour. Wait about 10 minutes before serving. Or better still, if you've made it on Saturday, let it cool a bit and then refrigerate until you're ready for the warm-up baking for 15 to 20 minutes on the big day.



BUNNY LUV CARROT CAKE

My aunt used to make this. When she said the carrots needed to rest I asked why they got so tired. She just laughed and went on with baking the cake that was everybody's favorite.

6 cups grated carrots

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup raisins

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Measure the cup of vegetable oil. Take two tablespoons from it and stir into the carrot mixture. Set aside to rest for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins. Save the rest of the oil for when you make the rest of the cake. When the 60 minutes are nearly up, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.



Thought for the week: May you have a blessed and happy Easter, filled love of God and of family and friends, and the sure knowledge of forgiveness! May your personal Easter Basket be overfilled with joy!

(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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