Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where I Believe I Belong

Looking at the marina is not as calming as looking out to sea;
I still miss my marsh, but this beats being inland for me.
There is always the circle of life for me to observe
In the sea and the sky and the fish feeding the birds.
I am not always frightened as I was in the woods
Where the shadows seemed to hold much that wasn't good.
Is it in my Cajun blood that I see water as life giving;
Or were my early ancestors actually American Indian?

I'm looking out now as the pelicans float on the waves
A while ago I saw a blue egret, so regal and so grave.
The fresh trout that we ate last night was a treat;
How easy it is on the water to find something to eat.
It is so peaceful too, with no guns and no noise;
It seems more soothing to the savage beasts in boys
Than hunting and trapping and chanting warrior songs
Yes, on the water is where I believe I belong.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Smile for a While

Thanksgiving was a time to beam over the families we begot.
My grandchildren think it's weird that I laugh a lot;
But I can't help celebrating the blessings that I've got.
Cousins arguing over who is my favorite grandchild,
Knowing full well, when asked, I will simply smile.
And them hold them both tightly for a little while.

The food, the friends, the family are all part of our bounty;
I'm so glad that when they invite parents, they always include me.
This way I can witness for myself what great families they now be.
It's true that it's chaotic and we don't say a group prayer;
With the love and laughter in the home, The Spirit must be there.
These are the most special values in The Family Life we all share.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pond Scum and Then Some

Isn't it funny how favorite foods evoke memories? I wonder how many wars are actually about what we eat and what scents waft across the breezeways than about the religious rules that so few really seem to know about their own faiths.

This Thanksgiving, I've been asked to make a cornbread dressing by my daughter-in-law's mother's recipe, as my daughter-in-law's dad has just had some surgery and his wife will be unable to provide this favored delicacy. My daughter has requested that I stuff celery with a cream cheese, olive, and pecan stuffing.

Our family tree is more like a tangled vine, so the kids are always looking for ways to celebrate peace between their long-divorced parental units, especially at holiday time. My children think I believe that they've requested their dad's favorite oyster dressing for them, when I'm pretty sure nobody but their dad actually eats it, mainly because it looks just like pond scum. I guess food is as good a way as any to show good faith, so how could I say no?

The father of my children came from Slavic people, a German mother and a father from Louisiana oyster fishing folks. I guess this marriage of the German who grew up on potatoes and the Louisianan who grew up with oysters plucked directly from the bayou led to this concoction that I was lucky enough to learn before my mother-in-law's early death from cancer.

Not that I think any of you would want to make this, but here's the old family recipe:

Pond Scum and Then Some, aka, Oyster and Potato Dressing

½ cup canola oil
1 bunch celery, diced
1 bunch Italian parsley, minced
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
4 cups (approximately 3 large) diced onions
2 cups (approximately 2 large) diced green peppers
½ gallon fresh oysters (preferable unwashed) drained – Reserve liquid
5 pounds red potatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 large eggs, beaten (optional)

In large, heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, sauté vegetables in canola oil until soft. Boil potatoes in oyster liquid. Drain well and roughly mash. Cut oysters into one-inch pieces. Add to sautéed vegetables. Heat until oysters curl. Add potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees for thirty minutes, or until heated through. If a firmer stuffing is desired, stir eggs into stuffing before baking.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Things

My daughter's family arrives today
Because Thanksgiving is on its way.
Fruitcake is baked and stuffing's are begun;
We surely can't do with only one.
For one loves the oyster potato dressing,
And one thinks cornbread is a blessing.
The spiced cranberry sauce needs only a dish
And for some the orange-cran relish is delish.
There's pumpkin pie yet to bake,
And two green bean casseroles, for heaven's sake.
A pan of brownies has been requested
I'm already feeling rather "in-digested."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Extraordinary Interviews

A most wonderful thing happens when one listens to people of positive passion; they seem to draw others of equal passion to themselves. I have been fortunate to meet many extraordinary individuals simply by being around other extraordinary folks.

While Richard went up to the offices at the World War II Museum, I took the opportunity to bring one of our oldest boat builders, who was a coxswain on Higgins boats during the war, some of me and Mamie's homemade jams. A very attractive woman was interviewing him at length about the details of his service. I'm always fascinated to hear Captain Don speak about his adventures, so I simply stood and listened.

Upon Richard's arrival on the scene, Captain Don and he began to catch up on their long-standing relationship, so I was free to ask the woman where she was from and broach other usual small-talk topics. I really hit the jackpot. Come to find out this woman was not only an officer and engineer in our United States Navy, she was in the first class of women to graduate from the naval academy.

She shared with me that she had grown up in a military family and had enjoyed the adventures that their constant moves afforded her. When it came time to decide on a college, she figured that she should go ahead and start her military service since this is what she wanted to do with her life. She and her fellow Annapolis graduate husband now have three children serving our country in the military and she continues her life of service teaching underprivileged children the joys of science and math. What a woman!

To top it all off, Sharon Hanley Disher is a published author, having written a book, First Class, about her Annapolis adventures. I can't wait to read it and share it with my granddaughter who is getting ready to go to college to become an engineer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Alright to Be Ordinary

A friend who was public relations director for a major medical institution once said to me that the problem with his job was the danger that the people he wrote about would begin to believe what he said in press releases. My father used to say that even the pope put his pants on one leg at a time, just like my dear old dad. (Not that I've ever seen any proof that the pope wears pants under those robes, but still...)

It could have been upsetting to ascertain that I was meant to be ordinary
Until it occurred that I was meant to befriend those who were not thus meant to be.
Those who are really great keep on doing what they're meant to and not
Worrying about the cost or counting how many friends they have got.
I am in awe that there are some who care not what others may think;
They simply do what they feel led to do, and feelings aren't given a blink.
I, who am led by my feelings and by what others about me surmise,
Find the ability to be true to oneself quite the ultimate prize.

I feel so honored to be in such personal value-driven company,
And I feel inspired and sanctified by their applied morality.
The challenge in this world of humans, no matter their greatness,
Is to hold them to modeling the values which each of them profess.
This is the challenge of serving those who are our leaders:
To keep them from joining the ranks of those who seek to deceive us.
I am often like the child who called, "The emperor has no clothes."
I would rather be out of favor than their pretenses to them not disclose.