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Opinions

Hypopetria questions

Walkin'

Pearl and I treated ourselves to a walk in the woods after a fresh snow last week. The day was sunny but temperatures were only slightly above zero so we were the first and only visitors in the park. As the wind gradually picked up, puffs of snow plopped from the trees, and Pearl gave merry chase as they plunked to the ground.

Cooking for one

Food for Thought

When things progressed to the state where I found myself cooking for one most of the time, I had to learn, all over again, some pretty basic strategies. First of all, I had to remind myself that I don’t like eating the same thing for dinner three or four days in a row. Then I had to relearn some basics about freezing leftovers for later.
One; freezing doesn’t improve anything, so don’t expect it to taste better than it did the first time around. It’ll most likely taste worse.

Popcorn recollections

Walkin'

The other night I made popcorn and discovered that we were out of microwave packets. I had to make the salty treat the old fashioned way, in a pan shaken over the stove.
Ah, memories.

Cold winter memories

Food for Thought

Last month’s unusually cold weather reminded me of a winter in the early 1940s when I was in first or second grade. We lived only about five or six blocks from school and we always walked there and back, twice a day, as we went home for lunch. Our school system didn’t have a hot lunch program then, though a few kids brought sack lunches, especially in the winter time. At our house, the noon meal was the main meal of the day and Mother wanted to make sure we got a good, hot meal, so we always ate at home.

Pugsley, one killer bike

bikin'

I’ve been riding my new Pugsley bicycle during this recent cold wave.
Maybe you’ve seen the distinctive bike: it’s the one with the super fat, four-inch tires. Made by Surly, it’s the all-terrain, monster truck assassin assault vehicle of the pedal set. I got mine at my favorite local shop, Sugar Bottom Bikes.

How true! How true!

Food for Thought

Every so often, some ad agency genius comes up with an idea that rings the bell of authenticity for me. Rings it loud and true and clear as a... well, a bell. I’ve no idea what product or service the ad was promoting, I was too caught up in the truth of the premise, and my brain started racing to all the incidents in my life that prove the axiom.

New is not always better

Walkin'

As I enter the New Year it occurs to me that I like “new” less and less.
Mostly, I’m talking about complicated, new-technology things like computers, cell phones and televisions.

The cure for writer’s block is to write

Food for Thought

“Writer’s block,” he groaned. “I just can’t finish that article. The words won’t come.”
I say baloney. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just a myth invented by some writer who didn’t bother to organize his thoughts before he picked up his pen.
“Poor man,” they sympathized. And he was granted another week, month, year to finish what had started out as a good idea that then got lost while he stumbled around trying to figure out where the good idea had been heading, and how he was going to get some isolated flashes organized into cohesive form.

Home for the holidays

Walkin'

No Fleck family gathering is complete without a game of cards. Back in the day the adults played Spades, Hearts, Canasta, Rummy, Tripoli and the old standard, Pinochle. Children were gradually brought into the pastime. If someone had to go to the restroom it was a great honor to be deemed old enough to play a hand. By the time I was 10, I could hold my own in all the games mentioned and more.
This holiday I made it home and we played “The Six Card Game.”

Ghosts of Christmases past

Food for Thought

A little over a year ago, I was fortunate to be able to attend a reenactment of a traditional Amana Christmas at the Heritage Museum in Amana. Since my dad had grown up in a home with a German mother and a Norwegian father, his notions of how Christmas was to be celebrated were quite different from my mother’s childhood experiences– a combination of English, Irish and Spanish, some of whom had been here before the Revolution and absorbed traditions from other cultures as well.

Christmas past

Preparing for a holiday meal began in earnest a day or more before the big event. We baked bread, rolled piecrusts, soaked beans, molded Jell-O, browned sausage, prepped vegetables, hauled down dishes from the top shelf, polished silverware... Note that I used the word “we” as everyone helped. One job only Dad could do, however, was make the trip to the liquor store for the rare bottle of wine, Mogen David Concord Grape, that graced the party.

Dear Santa, I want…

Food for Thought

There were a few old standard Christmas songs when I was a little girl, long before such ditties as “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman” came along. We were stuck in a Clement Moore vision of Santa, where Mama wore a kerchief on her head at night and Dad wore a nightcap. I refer to these as Christmas songs rather than Christmas carols (those more directly depicting the joy and wonder of the birth of Jesus) that we learned and sang in church and Sunday school.