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

Issue Date: February 27, 2020

Shirley Prudhomme

Happy Leap Day!

Lent is here, and that means Easter is only six weeks away. We're having another cold snap right now, but temperatures are supposed to get somewhat pleasant again by the end of the week. Maybe Spring will get here in time for the Easter Bunny, and hopefully before that we'll have a nice, long gradual thaw to minimize spring flooding.

In case you haven't noticed, the snow banks greatly reduced in size during this past week. It is becoming possible to see around corners and when coming out of driveways on country roads.



EXTRA DAY

This is Leap Year, the one year in every four when February has 29 days instead of 28 to prevent the calendar from getting out of sync with the universe over the years.

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St. Brigid struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men " and not just the other way around " every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In some places, leap day has been known as "Bachelors' Day" for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day.

In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictated that any man who refused a woman's proposal on February 29 had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves, which would allow the woman to wear the gloves and hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were even laws governing this tradition.

In some societies, getting married during a Leap year is considered bad luck.

People born on Leap Day -February 29 - are all invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. Guess they only celebrate birthdays once every four years, so to any readers who have Feb. 29 birthdays,since it doesn't come around that often, have an extremely happy one!



COMING UP

In addition to Leap Day, coming up on Saturday, Feb. 29 is the annual Lake Noquebay Fish-O-Rama, sponsored by the wonderful volunteers of the Lake Noquebay Anglers partnership. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be cash prizes for the longest fish in various categories, plus paddle wheel, meat and bucket raffles, food and refreshments in a heated tent.

Admission is free but tickets are needed to enter fish for prizes. Purchase tickets and enjoy the fun at event event headquarters located at W6296 Circle Drive, a quarter mile west of Lake Noquebay County Park. All proceeds are used to improve Lake Noquebay fishing quality.



LENTEN TRADITIONS

Ash Wednesday has come and gone and we're in the first week of Lent, the 40 days of Penance most Christian churches prescribe in preparation for Easter. Lent is an old English word meaning lengthen, and Lent is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer.

Most folks believe Lent lasts 40 days because Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days before heading into Jerusalem and his eventual Crucifixion. During that time Scripture tells us He resisted several attempts by the Devil to lure him into taking an easier route.

Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, 40 is a significant number for both Christians and Jews. In Genesis, the flood which destroyed the earth was brought about by 40 days and nights of rain. The Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the land promised to them by God. Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Then, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry.

Incidentally, we count the 40 days without including Sundays.



UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION DAY

There are some important anniversaries coming up, anniversaries that no one seems to remember any more. Wednesday, March 4 is United States Constitution Day. On March 4, 1789 the United States Constitution was declared in effect, and the first meeting of Congress under the new Constitution was held. On March 3, 1931 The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, was officially adopted as the national anthem of the United States.



WHEELCHAIR BOUND

Suffered a broken leg thanks to the air bags exploding when my vehicle struck a deer a few weeks ago. Have been hobbling around since in one of those boots that seem to have replaced the walking casts that we used to wear. The experience of having to use cane, walker or wheelchair to get around has given me a new respect for those who are forced to live with walking disabilities!

For example, you really need to have three or four hands to do it correctly. Can't carry a cup of coffee, do chores and work a cane or walker with just one set of hands.

Then, spent most of a recent day visiting a friend at a Green Bay hospital and used one of their courtesy wheelchairs to get around. Found that to be easy on the foot and ankle, but extremely tiring for arms and shoulders.

Am fervently grateful not to have to do that all the time.

However, that incident reminded me of a day years ago when my friend and I had taken my mother to Art Fair in Green Bay.

Mom had a bit of trouble getting around, so we had her sit while the friend and I went to get a courtesy wheelchair from a department store that was a few blocks away.

Coming back, we decided to give our feet a break and take turns riding.

It was my turn in the chair, and the friend was pushing along at a pretty good clip when she struck a curb and tipped me out of the chair.

I was able to quickly stand on my feet and avert a face-first disaster. A group of teenagers on the corner who had watched the whole thing began laughing and chanting, "It's a miracle"she can walk!"

So I took a bow, resumed my place in the chair and we went on our way. That ride was fun. When you're forced to be in that chair, it really isn't.



ON THE SOAP BOX

Readers Butch and Eileen Tork who live in TIMESland most of the year, were kind enough to send a copy of a small publication, "The Heartland Herald," from their winter home in Florida.

One of the items in that little paper, entitled "Constitution Corner," reminded us that among the 28 principles that changed the world when the United States of America was created, was that the proper role of government is to protect Equal Rights, not provide Equal Things. That precept was explained by W. Cleon Skousen in "The 5,000 Year Leap."

The author notes that the Founders of our nation recognized the basic principle that people cannot delegate to their government the power or do anything except that which they have the lawful right to do for themselves.

For example, every person is entitled to protect his own life and property, and therefore it is perfectly legitimate to delegate to their government the task of setting up a police force to protect the lives and property of all the people.

The American Founders recognized that the moment the government is authorized to start leveling others'; material possessions to have an equal distribution of goods the government has the power to to deprive anyone and everyone of the rights to enjoy their lives, liberties and personal property.

The Founders realized that not everyone has equal energy, ability and ambition, and for that reason some will prosper more than others, but to maximize prosperity for everybody, everybody must have the opportunity to benefit from the fruits of their own labors.

Again, as the article states: "The real key to American prosperity has been using the government to protect equal rights, not equal things."

That idea was quite new to the world when the United States' Founding Fathers set up this nation's new government, and it led to the greatest advancements this world had seen in thousands of years.

Let's not stop that progress now by eliminating the incentives for work and initiatives by trying to force those who do work to provide all the good things in life for those who do not!



GROWIN' THINGS

Reminder for those who love gardening: Wausaukee Library will be hosting its second annual Seed Swap on Friday, Feb. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m., with two Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions. At 4 p.m. Master Gardener Tim Limburg will have a program on growing and maintaining asparagus. Anyone with seeds to swap is invited to bring them, but it's not required. Attend the entire program or just part of it. Call the library for more information at 715-856-5995.



COOKIN TIME

BAKED SALMON FILLETS

This great (and easy) fish dish can also be made with local fresh water fish, and is a good way to enjoy going meatless on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent. Not much of a penance, is it? Maybe we should give up fish for Lent instead of meat! Now a real sacrifice for some of the dedicated fishermen would be giving up fishing, but that's a whole 'nother story.

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 tablespoons light olive oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

2 (6 ounce) fillets salmon

In a medium glass baking dish that's just big enough to hold the fillets in a single layer, prepare marinade by mixing garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon fillets in the dish, and cover with the marinade and then seal dish with plastic wrap. Marinate in the fridge about an hour, turning occasionally. (Longer is okay, even over night.) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Turn the fish fillets a final time and get rid of the plastic wrap. Seal the dish tightly with foil instead, unless it has its own oven-proof cover. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until easily flaked with a fork.



CHERRY PIE BARS

Ran this recipe last week, but missed the number of eggs. Had a call from a very nice reader who pointed this out. So here it is,reprinted with the eggs included. For the best results, have all ingredients, including the eggs, and especially the butter, at room temperature before you start. This can be made with other canned pie filling flavors besides cherry, and is especially good with blueberry, but then stir a tablespoon or two of lemon juice into the pie filling instead of the almond extract. Do include the vanilla. If you use apple pie filling, add cinnamon and possibly nutmeg until it's as spicy as you like, and drizzle a tablespoon of melted butter all over before you pop it into the oven. Admittedly, this is a very rich recipe,but it's worth every calorie!

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

1/2 teaspoon almond extract, divided

2 large or 3 medium eggs

3 cups flour

2 (21-ounce) cans of cherry pie filling

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk (or half and half)

Dash or two of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 15X10X1-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, salt 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour gradually. Spread about 3 cups of this batter in the prepared pan. Carefully stir the remaining teaspoon vanilla and quarter teaspoon almond extract into the cherry pie filling and spread that over the batter in the pan. Drop remaining batter by teaspoons all over the top of the filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. When the bars are cool mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl to desired consistency and drizzle over the top.



HUMMINGBIRD DUMP CAKE

Wonderful for this time of year, when our tastebuds tingle for the flavors of summer, but the cold winds are still blowing outdoors. If you've given up sweets for weekdays in Lent, better share this cake, or freeze the leftovers. (Don't freeze the fresh banana slices. Add them at serving time, or even do without.) You can make this cake quite low fat by using neufatchel cheese instead of cream cheese.

1 can crushed pineapple, 20 ounces, undrained

2 bananas, divided

1 package spice cake mix (2-layer size)

2/3 cup pecan halves, chopped

1 cup milk

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13X9" baking dish with buttery flavored cooking spay. Remove 2 tablespoons pineapple juice from the can of pineapple and reserve to mix with the cream cheese later. Pour the pineapple and remaining juice into the baking dish. Save half a banana for future use and chop the remaining banana and a half and scatter the pieces over the pineapple. Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pineapple and banana pieces. Scatter the nuts evenly over this, then drizzle the whole thing with milk. Put into pre-heated oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned. When the cake has cooled, beat cream cheese with the reserved pineapple juice with an electric mixer until it gets nice and creamy. Cut cake into 12 pieces, and cut the banana half into 12 slices. Top each cake slice with a slice of banana, and then a dab of the whipped cheese/pineapple juice mixture. (I like to double the cream cheese frosting and just frost the whole cake, and then add more banana slices on top when serving it, but the original recipe calls for cutting that half banana into 12 thin slices.)

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week: Lent is the time of year when we should be cleaning our souls and decorating them for the coming of Easter. As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, "Unless there is Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday." Giving up meat or candy or beer alone is not enough. We need to do some charity and praying too. Amanda Jobs said it well: "It is not just about giving up our favorite food but it's about going further and giving up things like hatred and unforgiveness." We need to clean our hearts and prepare ourselves for purity. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert and even He had to pray for help. Let us pray for help in making this a wonderfully renewing Lenten season so we come to Easter with bright and glowing souls.

(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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