Zenith…

It was the early 70’s, Hubs and I had stumbled our way through 3 plus years of wedded bliss and had one offspring to show for our efforts. The last 2 houses we rented had been sold while we lived in them, giving us little time to skedaddle. Someone suggested with a small down payment we could buy a house and not have to move all the time. We did just that, buying a big 2-story fixer-upper, much of the aesthetic work could be done with elbow grease and a few gallons of paint. (Hubs elbow grease included taking down 2 humongous trees in the front yard with a hand sawby himself)! We had nothing, he had no tools, we did what we could but a thousand dollars would have done wonders for the place.

Shannon in our foyer on 23rd street, Sioux City, 1972…

The best way to eek our way forward was for me to go to work. Hubs had given up a job he loved at Channel 4 because the pay and hours weren’t the best and had recently started working at Zenith Corporation. He came home one night and said Zenith was hiring, no experience needed. Before I could apply though we had to figure out who was going to take care of our adorable toddler while I was slaving away for $1.60 and hour. (Good times). Found a retired lady named Gussy we picked up every morning to watch Shannon at our house. If my mom had a few days off she’d come to our house or take Shannon to Rock Valley which really helped.

Shannon’s 18 foot long bedroom, 1973…

If you wanted to study the downfall of American manufacturing, Zenith was a pretty good example. Around 1970 over 3 million color TV’s were sold in the US and every one of them was made here. Not only Zenith but Sylvania, Motorola, Admiral, Philco, Sunbeam, RCA, Quasar, Magnavox and Wizard. The huge plant I worked at in 1972 would close in 1978. By 1991 when TV sales were up to 21 million, only one US company was still producing them-a Zenith plant in Missouri which closed the next year. American companies complained for years that Japan was flooding the market with lower priced TV’s. When a Japanese TV was made and sold in Japan, the price was around $500. Japan sent that same TV to the states and sold it for less than $300 here. We couldn’t compete but it wasn’t really our fault.

A Zenith color TV. (We had an RCA 13”) in 1969…

When I started working at Zenith it was one of the largest manufacturers of color TV’s and had nearly 3,000 employees in Sioux City, Iowa. Approximately 2,900 were women. The plant was not air-conditioned (the offices were though). That’s a lot of hormones sweating to the oldies. There were massive assembly lines, sometimes upwards towards 70-100 people, each assigned their own tidy job in producing your new color TV. One of their best ad jingles was; “The quality goes in before the name goes on.”

The line I was assigned to produced boards going into color TV’s, chock full of diodes, transistors and resistors. Each person was responsible for inserting these tiny parts meticulously with pliers the size of a tweezer. We sat on backless barstools but at least we didn’t have to stand on concrete for 8 hours. After several of these parts were tucked on this board, someone further down the line swedged the bottom of the board. (Cutting off the ends so they wouldn’t fall back out). Then the board slid over a wave soldering pot which was a waist high rectangle contraption in the aisle of 2 lines with melted molten solder keeping everything in place so there were no rejected parts with quality issues. Anyone working near the wave solder pot noticed a 15 degree increase in heat and humidity, plus it smelled hot and metally. On one boiling hot summer day a gal called another girl a ‘bitch’ (it was the heat, made all of us rather irritable). A physical fight broke out causing one lady to come precariously close to taking a dip in the wave pot (between 800 & 850 degrees). Hubs was walking down the main aisle when he spotted the fight and caught the one about to be dipped and hauled them both to the HR department. I think they were separated from each other by several thousand feet after that little tiff.

The Zenith plant in Sioux City…

Hubs was one of several industrial engineers setting up production lines, but I was lost when he tried to explain it. After the line was ready to make parts is where most of his daily work came in. He was responsible for running time studies on every worker on each line, then making adjustments in how fast those parts came down the line and how much time you had to slap those parts in the right holes. After all the time studies were done our line was offered an incentive. If we worked faster (as a group) the magic number was 130% which was quite a boost in our pay. We never failed to make our incentive.

The line I worked on was part of Hubs’ responsibilities but he didn’t want to be accused of being partial because of me so he traded my line with another engineer whose spouse also worked at Zenith, so he didn’t have to time study his wife either. Politics in the workforce.

One day Hubs was in the office (did I mention they were deliciously cool during the summer?) and got a phone call from a new male foreman, (most of the foremen were women who actually ran the lines better than their male counterparts. The women foremen took no shit from the gals on the line) screaming he had a problem and needed help immediately. John runs to the floor (yeah he worked up a sweat, it was a scorcher in the plant that day) expecting to find a machine down but there stood 3 scowling women and one cowering foreman. “What’s the problem,” Hubs asks? “Well the 2 on the right are sick of the fan blowing hot air on them and want it off. The gal on the left is sweating buckets and wants it on high.” “Not my problem,” says Hubs, “that’s why the line has you-the foreman. Figure it out,” and walks back upstairs.

Both of us working at Zenith, living the good life, 1973…

Twenty minutes he gets another call from the same frantic new boss. “You gotta help me, I don’t know what to do but it’s real bad down here.” Hubs meanders his way back to the problem production line. “It’s too hot in here, I can’t work like this,” the overheated one screams. “Well you’re not putting that fan back on. It gives me a headache and you can just learn to work in the heat,” one of the fan naysayers screams back. Hubs bites his cheek to keep a straight face. The overly warm, buxom lady has ditched her shirt and bra in protest to her hot surroundings and is valiantly trying to insert her parts (none belonging to her anatomy). He gives the terrified foreman a seething look and orders the foreman and 3 ladies up to the HR department (after she yanks and tugs her sweaty bra and shirt back on. (You can’t make this stuff up).

From TV’s to toys…

A couple years later Hubs got a job offer from a toy company on the other side of the state. What fun to make toys all day. There he (we) would learn how batshit nuts a company can be when owned privately by a band of crazy brothers…

You don’t know Jack…

I am a lover of books. Reading remains a favorite pastime. (Every time I pick up a book, I’m grateful I’ve suffered a hearing loss instead of losing my sight. Thanks God). When I need an escape I turn to books. I have enough reality in my life. I’m not too particular about genres but I’ve never bought a biography or autobiography. I refer you to the ‘enough reality in my life’ sentence. I don’t need to read about someone else’s life in a book, I’m on Facebook. It’s all on Facebook.

Hahaha…

For the better part of my adult life, space wasn’t an issue and I always found appropriate lodging for the books I couldn’t part with. However, I was first to jump on the Barnes & Noble’s ‘Nook’ bandwagon, suddenly freeing up acres of living space because everything would be neatly stored in my Nook. Oh please.

Still have the stacking bookcase, but not many of the books…

There’s just no intimacy in swiping pages on this little device. Where’s the romance without holding a real book in my hands, quickly flipping a few pages ahead to see if I can read to the end of the chapter before I start supper? What if there was a great spicy paragraph that lures me into coming back 3 times before moving on? How dull to just vit-vit-vit with a finger swipe until you find the appropriate place? If I’m driving and have to stop for any length of time, am I gonna read 14 words per page on my iPhone? Absolutely not. I rarely leave home without a book stashed in my purse in case I’m hung up for long time. Nope, the Nook was a big waste of money for this reader. Haven’t used it in years.

Cops, killers and Amish folks, trying to make it work…

Hubs on the other hand has embraced reading everything on his iPad with gusto. I’ve purchased (real) books in a series he enjoys (Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder who’s a police chief in a small Ohio town. She was raised Amish but gave up that structured, tight knit group and is living in sin with an FBI hottie). Crazy, but he will not read the (real) book but then pay for it on his iPad. (Doofus. My cross to bear).

Sure I’m reading but get a load of those saddle shoes, 1967…

Getting ready to move to significantly smaller confines in 2015 did present problems. Realized how little room there would be (we downsized 1,000 square feet) so I loaded up box after box with hardcover and paperback books to donate. I kept the Outlander series, Harry Potter books, Stephen King’s, The Stand and a third of my antique cookbook collection.

Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch, one of my favorite reads…

I’m a loyal series reader. Once an author introduces a character I enjoy, I tend to stick with their going’s on in fictional life until they die (the author or character). Many times it’s not the main character I’ve grown attached to but a sidekick (for instance in the Joe Pickett series by CJ Box, it’s Joe’s sometimes shady falconer friend Nate Romanowski who’s captured my attention).

Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear, both good guys (Robert Taylor and Lou Diamond Phillips)…

One of the first series I latched onto (as a stay at home mom of three in the 80’s) was written by Lawrence Sanders about a police captain, Edward X. Delaney in New York City. The problem with getting attached to an ongoing series is waiting for the author to get his shit together and write as fast as you want to read, plus the expense of hardcover books. Doesn’t happen that way. It’s easier when someone suggests a series that’s been written over several years already (and still going strong) so I can read at my own pace.

Vacation with kids/Hubs in the pool and me catching some rays and a serial killer, 1984…

The mainstay of my fictional friends are series about cops, private investigators or lawyers: Cork O’Connor, Lucas Davenport, Virgil Flowers, Kate Burkholder, Jack Daniels, John Corey, Joe Pickett, Eve Duncan, Cassie Dewell, Ben Kincaid, Stephanie Plum, Jack Brigance, Myron Bolitar, Walt Longmire and Harry Bosch. Most are focused, upstanding, hardworking, decent folk who are compelled to do the right thing but have no problem bending the rules at times. The majority are married/with children or in a monogamous relationship. Right now I’m reading something entirely different than my usual fare. Twelve books revolving around Ross Poldark and his clan, scratching by in Cornwall, starting around 1775. I watched the 5 season series on PBS but you know what they say about books versus TV/movie version. No comparison except the way I picture Ross and Demelza from TV.

Demelza & Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner & Eleanor Tomlinson)…

The exception to my favorite book character’s list is a loner. He doesn’t own a car, driver’s license, credit card, or a home address. He’s not real big on dialogue either. But he has an acute sense of right and wrong and stands up for the little guy/underdog/damsel in distress (with his fists and brains). He rides a bus to a town because the name appealed to him on a map. He just wants to stop at a diner for coffee and a piece of peach pie. But trouble always finds him. He’s not particularly good looking, weighs 240, is 6’ 5,” in his early 30’s and his hands are the size of hams. His name is Jack Reacher, (written by Lee Child) he’s retired from the Army with no place to call home. But that’s the way he likes it, uh-huh-un-huh. There’s just something very appealing about him.

Soon to be ‘new and improved,’ Jack Reacher on Amazon Prime (Alan Ritchson)

Here’s your fair warning about Jack. Some night when your bored spitless, flipping through 168 channels on TV, you’re gonna come across a Reacher movie. Keep on hitting that channel changer for the love of everything holy. Cruise right on by. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

This minuscule attempt at portraying Jack Reacher is such a stretch there is no imagination in the world that buys into this itty-bitty farce. It’s a big story told by a teensy-weensy man (but with a huge ego which is not Reacher-ish either). A minute, wealthy sub-human bought the rights for the movie rights of Jack Reacher and his ultra large opinion of his acting ability pushed him over the top. Mattered not one whit that this tiny actor’s frame measures a mere 5’ 6” (perhaps he just read Reacher’s height numbers backwards) and his hands are the size of my 5 year old great granddaughter’s. Aww, he’s just a widdle cutie-but definitely not Jack Reacher.

Great granddaughter Jovi’s hands. The same size as the little mite who plays Reacher in the movies…

I have renewed hope. A series on Amazon Prime featuring Reacher is starting in a couple weeks. I don’t recognize the actor who’s playing Jack but by the promo he at least resembles his size and features of the guy I love….

Small Town Shenanigans…

I watch Chicago PD. I know stuff. Like where Sergeant Hank Voight hides the bodies. I’ve picked up the lingo (from detecting) and a few of his habits-good and bad. (He’s ruthless but a softie). He demands loyalty from his team and would die before giving up a source. So no matter how hard you try, I will not give up my source. I’m not actually saying it’s a ‘him’ but I’m not gonna type him/her all the time. Think of this particular ‘person’ as my C.I. Confidential Informant-someone with a checkered past/present, runs around with ne’er do wells and often gets monetary or snacky compensation when giving tips for ongoing criminal activity to his handler. That would be me. The handler. I am she.

Hank Voight from Chicago PD. Taught me all I know…

It has come to my attention (from a wealth of information gathered through honest detective work) that my source has a treasure trove of event tidbits that happened long ago in my hometown which I knew nothing about. (Guess I wasn’t as savvy as I thought). My C.I. was willing to ‘spill the beans’ if he remains anonymous and I don’t use real names. (He’s such a sissy)! I admitted to stealing a car and painting the side of a quonset building years ago. Statute of limitations or whatever.

The look of innocence after defacing a building. Own it Neese…

I offer these facts. Most of these pranks/misdemeanors/shenanigans occurred between the years of 1963-68. Those were dark days in Rock Valley’s pristine history and I lived to write about them! Well most I just learned recently, but still. Some names, dates and locations have been changed to protect the innocent.

A carload of misunderstood youths from Rock Valley meandered to the town they loved to hate the most-Sioux Center. Bored, with an over abundance of testosterone they spotted a spiffy set of hubcaps which would look considerably better on one of their friend’s cars in RV. They were in the midst of their flamboyant caper when things took a turn for the worse as they were spotted by the feds. (Oh alright, it was a local cop) The RV car sped away with the hubcaps but w/o the kid, leaving the sole survivor to take one for the team. But he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Threw himself in the middle of a large woodpile while the cops searched intently, using spotlights all over the neighborhood. After a couple hours they gave up, leaving the dipstick to face a 15 mile walk back home. But luck was with the putz, his friends picked him up and they all shared a good laugh. Decided their friend with the ‘57 Chevy would benefit from their theft bounty and swapped out his plain jane hubcaps.

They look young and sweet but a few here would succumb to a short life of crime during their teens….

A weekend tradition like no other was cruising Main Street in Rock Valley on Sunday nights after church services. (Most of our dozen denominations had 2-a-days. Mine included, sigh). But the popular mile plus loop was not just privy to the locals. Cars loaded with hormonal teens from neighboring towns who were all looking for trouble, love or something to prove. One young man and friends showed up from Sioux Center, (driving a car with naked wheels) spotted a ‘57 Chevy sporting his former snazzy tire accessories. Suddenly he was filled with fighting angst. This was war!

The local boys (misguided youths) convinced the Sioux Center hothead they’d come by the hubcaps through a legal transaction from a kid living in Hawarden. But was he interested in sprucing up his lame car? The hubcaps were for sale if he wanted to cough up some cash. Sioux Center dolt did just that. Bought back his own merchandise.

Not pointing the finger at anyone, but there could be trouble lurking…

Late one night a young man (with new driving privileges) felt the uncontrollable urge to zip through Rock Valley’s Main Street at the highest rate of speed ever achieved. (This was when our small burg was still a one-stoplight town). And he wanted to do it with flair. He decided to start this attempt at a world record about a mile south of town (the cemetery) at the peak of a pretty big hill. Posted where Highway 18 skirts Rock Valley and the start of Main Street were 2 young men-one gazing east, the other west-just in case an oncoming semi was spotted as our thrill seeker neared the intersection. Rock Valley’s own daredevil whizzed through that intersection cruising over a hundred, never took notice of our one traffic light and finally took his foot off the gas a mile north of town. Unnamed sources claim he topped out at 120. Down Main Street, right through town. How did these guys make it to adulthood? And who in the world wanted to bear their offspring?

Near a big curve where Highway 18 runs into Highway 75 is a railroad bridge over the highway. Four wayward teens decided that the concrete railroad bridge needed a splash of color. Armed with a couple cans of black spray paint they lumbered to the middle of the bridge late one night. Nominated the one they thought capable of spray painting ‘RV ‘66’ upside down (hopefully the year they would finally grow up). Gave the chosen one the cans, grabbed his feet and hung him over the side (there had to be a serious measure of trust amongst friend’s here wouldn’t you think?) The letters and numbers were precise and pristine for several years. And they didn’t drop him on his head (which probably wouldn’t have hurt his IQ at all).

Oh, yeah I see trouble brewing with this group…

How did I live in a farming community nearly 2 decades and never heard the term ‘field car?’ (I was a townie and only envied farm kids when the weather was bad and they got to miss school but the ‘townies’ had to go so the day could be counted). Well it seems that many farmers kept field cars for errands around the farm. They certainly didn’t want their good vehicles traipsing through rough fields getting scratched up. Usually it was Mrs. Farmer toting noon meals and cold drinks if the workers didn’t want to stop long. There was a night when one of these farms was lacking serious parental supervision (out of town). The bored boys got a hold of some beer and had no worries about getting picked up because they were out in the sticks. One of them (quite possibly inebriated) decided to take the field car out for a spin but missed the deep ditched driveway coming back and rolled the car over. Twice. Someone else with a few wits left drove the tractor to pull out the badly dented car, parked it inconspicuously where it wouldn’t be spotted for a couple days. Then they discreetly got rid of the evidence (empty beer cans up the wazoo) by tossing them over a fence (which just happened to frame Mrs. Farmer’s garden). Everyone got thrown under the bus for that one.

One of the trouble prone youths was trying to go straight. He had a knack for the extracurricular activity of speech and was headed for the state finals. To hone his humorous speech skills he practiced in a room at the school library (with a friend so he could be corrected when he flubbed a line). This conference room had a hatch in the floor which led to catacombs under the new and old school buildings. After rehearsing for 10 minutes and making sure the librarian was occupied elsewhere, they slipped underground to waste time, wreck havoc and accomplish nothing. An older janitor named Mr. Rice spotted the 2 cellar dwellers and gave chase, but the boys were sure footed and fast so they headed for one of the 2 main light switches. Killing all the lights they found their way out easily, then watched and waited subtlety for Mr. Rice to reappear from the tomb.

Second time for this class, now a bit older, definitely cruising for trouble…

Heading west of Rock Valley someone driving their father’s ‘59 Ford on a snowy night missed the big curve heading north and ran the car into a massive snow bank. Rethinking his first instinct to call his dad, nope, no way, big problems with that scenario, he walked to the first farm, knocked on the door but no one was home. Noticed the tractor parked in the yard with the keys dangling from the ignition. He started the tractor, found a chain, pulled out the car, parked the tractor back in the same spot and drove home. Did not leave a thank you note.

The morning counterparts to my afternoon class. Not quite as innocent as someone was already unfriended…

Two carloads of hell raisers with too much time on their hands heard a farmer near Hudson was growing blue ribbon watermelons in between his rows of corn to ward off would be thieves (as if). The hooligans cruised the streets until dark then slunk quietly to the road near the prize winning watermelons, all revved up and drooling for fresh fruit! There were watermelons everywhere but they were not expecting gunfire. The guys thought the farmer was using blanks until the 12 gauge blast disintegrated a cornstalk too close for comfort, so they blew that free fruit stand.

The Angels!! Half of my class who never did anything wrong…

This saga continues. There’s a great (but lengthy) tale about a cop’s car heist. Loose lips and all. Makes me wonder why I thought I was such a hell raiser. Dang I was a good kid in comparison. Now I’ve got to live up to my end of the bargain. Snacky’s comin up…

This Magic Moment…

Most folks over 60 could spout a dozen things that make you feel old, a fair amount of them physical. For me it’s my achy legs and hands, plus age spots, grey hair, swollen joints and wearing glasses for near & far. Everything sags and droops. (Talk about needing a booster) But this is about some of the things that make me feel old I never imagined.

These are the birthday’s I like to remember. Joshua’s 5th, 1980…

1. My kids birthdays bother me (I know they’re reason to celebrate, but still). Twenty plus years ago I was shocked to realize my kids were all in their 20’s. How could they be that old already? I had my first child 2 days after I turned twenty, thus right after my birthday Shannon celebrates hers minus 20. While I’m ok getting older, still not comfortable my kids are aging faster than the speed of light.

This car had thousands of miles on it by our third kid…

2. One of my favorite hobbies/obsessions/pastimes over five decades has been antiquing. Whether it took 3 weeks or 2 years to find the perfect oak dresser was fine with me. The hunt and price dickering are the fun parts. I don’t antique much anymore. We don’t need anything nor have the room, although I still enjoy looking. But nothing will put me in my (aging) place faster than spotting a Fisher-Price pull along toy that I bought for my toddlers in an antique store. Are you kidding me? I swear I bought it for one of the kids a few weeks ago, now suddenly it’s a vintage toy.

Their first stereo system…

3. Who would have thought newspapers and magazines might soon be extinct? I have subscribed to a daily newspaper my entire adult life. I love the smell, the grimy ink marks on my hands and literal feel of holding the newspaper. I noticed its decline maybe 20 years ago when the daily papers went from publishing twice a day to once. Now our local paper offers hard copies delivered 2 days a week, the other 5 must be read on my iPad (not my choice). And there’s never much variation. M-W-F-S’s iPad paper offers 12 pages, never 14 or 16. (Isn’t there ever one day that has more news than that same day of the week during the last 3 years?) Tuesday/Thursday are 20 pages. Every single time. And get this, it’s now printed in Cleveland which is 200 miles from me, but 350 from the Muskegon Chronicle which they also print. Doesn’t seem cost efficient. (And from way out in left field, how come half the obituaries these days are younger than me)?

Season finale tonight. Who’s not coming back?

Three. Over the years, I have regularly subscribed to Good Housekeeping (which never helped with my housekeeping) Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, Country Living, Family Circle, TV Guide, and People Magazine (I stopped reading People when I didn’t recognize/know/or care about any of the ‘stars’ they were touting). Ironically I still get TV Guide although I don’t watch much television. I do enjoy reading about new series/canceled shows/and keeping up with Taylor Sheridan’s busy life with Yellowstone/1883/Mayor of Kingstown, plus his future endeavor of the life & times on 6666 Texas ranch. He could have chosen a better name-it gives me the heebie-jeebies although there is an extra 6 in that equation. And I almost stopped watching Mayor of Kingstown after they killed Kyle Chandler in the first half hour (cheap shot). He’s the reason I started watching it in the first place. No offense Mike, (Jeremy Renner, main character) cause I don’t want to lose my life by dissing him-even in jest.

Let’s hope it’s not Rip or Beth…

4. The music I started listening to in the mid-60’s gives me comfort, good feels, relieves stress and sometimes makes me cry by taking me back to a moment when that song was a big part of my life. (I do listen to popular hip hop tunes on my playlist, but none are as heartwarming or gut wrenching as my oldies but goodies).

Mac Davis-RIP…

Four. Never thought the artists I loved/admired/grew up on/sang along/had a crush on-were gonna die. This does not include the likes of Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix who were pretty close to my age when they died, but I was busy young mom and didn’t take the time to mourn them properly or realize what a void they left in their wake.

Jim Morrison from The Doors…

For. I’ve blogged about a couple singers we lost recently who were important in my life of songs like Kenny Rogers (You Decorated my Life) and Eddie Van Halen (Jump). Does anyone remember Mac Davis? He had a variety show in the 70’s, wore turquoise and silver jewelry, had curly brown hair and killer smile (Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me). He died in the last couple years as did, Helen Reddy (I am Woman), BJ Thomas (Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head), 2 Supremes (Baby Love), 2 Monkees (Last Train to Clarksville), & (Lean on Me) Bill Withers. I never imagined they would be gone. Before me.

John, Ringo, Paul & George. Only 2 remain…

Fore. What got me started on my loss of singers happened in October and I’ve not yet reconciled his absence. Partly from guilt because I was an inattentive fan and didn’t fully appreciate his amazing voice or range (similar to Roy Orbison). He was born David Blatt (he changed his name to join the group-cause it was pertinent). I read his last 20 years were not easy. The group split in 1973, each member with a solo career except for Blatt who continued to sing under the band’s original name. He filed for bankruptcy in 2006 from massive gambling debts and the band’s name was sold for $100,000. The rest of the group (besides David) would reunite under their original name.

Jay & the Americans. Jay is seated on the left…

Foregone. Some of their biggest hits were, Come a Little Bit Closer (you’re my kind of man), Only in America and This Magic Moment. His name became Jay Black, the second lead singer named Jay, his band, Jay and the Americans. Head over to iTunes, Amazon music or YouTube and listen to 2 of my favorites, soon you will be ‘Crying’ over ‘Cara Mia, Why…’

The Windfall…

More appropriately, pennie’s perhaps…
It was nestled amongst the Christmas cards when Hubs brought in the mail. Didn’t think too much about it, thought something was on sale.

Wasn’t addressed to ‘our neighbor,’or worse yet, ‘occupant.’ I saw my name typed neatly, to me it had been sent.

Return address didn’t ring a bell, the envelope was business size. Had Hubs signed me up for a contest? My notice of the grand prize?

Then remembered a long phone call, that I myself had made. Inquiring about the loan on my Jeep, “how much to get this paid?”

“I’d like to be more specific,” she said, “but the total’s not written in stone. The sum I can give you is good for today, but then adds to the rest of your loan.”

“For every day that passes, the total I just stated, 32 cents must be added for interest, before your loan is negated.”

Jotting numbers on a notepad, as her words flew in my ear, since math is not my strong suit, and it’s hard for me to hear.

I started with the payoff, determined extra days, I’d have to UP that total to get the interest paid.

Decided on a dozen days, mail’s not the best ‘round here. I didn’t want another note which said, your loan is still not clear.

I’d mailed my final payment, had I sent the right amount? Found a note inside with a check attached, which proved I still can’t count.

The Jeep’s all mine and I’m thrilled with this check, hoping to be financially prudent. But I lack the math skills when doing our bills, I was such a piss poor student.

I am tickled pink with this bonus, how should I spend this dough? Just add it to our savings and with interest watch it grow?

It might be nice to surprise the Hubs, we don’t spend money that way. Though I searched high and low, finding no gifts to show for my shopping effort that day.

Was this being fiscally frugal, spending money whatever my whim? Would my shopping spree ever bother me, if I spent my windfall on him?

The practical side of my brain interfered with what this money could do. Books or vacations, gifts or donations, before my money was through.

With raging inflation gas prices have soared, so filling my tank would be shrewd. With my buck-sixty-seven, parked at pump 11, I bought a half gallon of crude.

When it finally hit what a sap I have been, I found it hysterically funny. What made me think this was some kind of a gift, it had always been my own money…

I’m rolling in dough….

Myth-conceptions…

I don’t normally have ‘aha’ moments, so when I finally realize my long time assumptions are completely out of whack, I’m blown away. Nope, did not see that one coming. Here’s a few I’ve been saddled with, some for most of my life.

I’m shocked!!!

1. I love quesadillas. Shannon taught me how to make them years ago when Tracey was Jackson’s basketball coach. He’d invite the team over for supper and Shannon would take the kid’s individual orders. I make them at home, nothing fancy because I’m not a very adventurous cook. Tortilla shell, buttered side down, covered within an inch of the edge with shredded cheese, seasoned chicken, green onion, yellow/orange pepper, tomatoes, (I add jalapeños on the Hubs’) more cheese and another tortilla, buttered side up. Once the bottom is sufficiently brown is where the problems stem.

After 20 years I should have learned how to flip these suckers but I can’t without making a mess. I’m careful not to get ingredients too close to the edge of the tortilla and bought a spatula as wide as my ass, yet I’ve never flipped one without losing 25% of the stuff I want to keep inside, plus thoroughly messing up my stove. I should buy one of those bolt on lidded frypans like the waffle irons at hotel breakfast buffets. But I’d only use it once a month and my kitchen cupboards are full. Besides I’m Dutch and kinda tight.

A messy flip of my quesadilla…

2. My bladder’s capacity and holding power has not changed since I was 35. Ha, I wish. Nuff said.

3. I’ve never been a good sleeper. Gospel truth. But since I hit 50 (menopause) I can count on one hand (with fingers leftover) the number of nights I’ve slept really well. Yet once a week I’m so full of Jiminy Cricket optimism I’m shocked after I tossed and turned all night. Again. This day occurs after I’ve stripped the bed and put on crisp, clean, ice cold sheets. “I’m gonna sleep so good tonight!” Twenty years have passed without one night of sound sleep, yet I remain hopeful the one day a week when the sheets are fresh I’m gonna have a great night’s sleep. Bunch of hooey.

Although I’ve never slept very well, I sure could eat a lot in bed…

4. My timing mechanism may be off. I’ve always been a list maker. It’s how I get chores and errands done. I’ve never changed the time limits on these tasks since I was in my 30’s. Say I’m making a big bowl of potato salad. I know how long it takes to cut up the veggies (I add a lot of them, don’t judge), cook the spuds and boil the eggs. What I haven’t changed is how long this actually takes me now. I assume it takes me as long as it did in 1980. Hahaha. I used to spend a good share of an afternoon, now it takes me 2 days. Cook the eggs and cut the veggies one day, the next day cook potatoes and mix up the dressing. Two days. Two.

I agree, it sure doesn’t look like much work does it?

5. After my parents joined a church during the early 1950’s, (I was 2) both congregations where they belonged had fellowship twice on Sunday, so I literally grew up going to church every Sunday night. It wasn’t a big deal because most of my friends were (begrudgingly) taking up pew space too. Truth be told, I liked RCYF (Reformed Church Youth Fellowship) which was held before and during part of our night service. When our youth meeting ended, the church service upstairs was on the cusp. The sermon was just about to start. We’d form a line and trudge (sorry God) up the steps. We passed one of the entrance doors but not many of my peers dared venture through it. Everyone of our parent’s heads were turned, each waiting for their kid to file in. I was rebellious but savvy enough to know what hell on earth I would be entering if I snuck out before the service was over. It just wasn’t done, especially if you had any plans for the coming week or month, because you’d be certainly be grounded.

No teens dared slip out this door after RCYF before the service was done…

The night church thing became a serious issue when The Beatles entered my life. The foursome openly declared they desperately wanted to ‘hold my hand.’ Our appointed rendezvous during Ed Sullivan on February 9th, 1964 was a bust because my head was bowed during the (not very sincerely) long prayer for their first live performance in America. My folks would not let me skip church that night. My life was never the same. I’m still bitter.

They were singing to me, but I was not around…

6. Not quite done with the whole Sunday night church thing. Besides missing The Beatles debut, word near the water cooler at school on Monday morning’s revolved around another Sunday night show I was missing every week. One of the best on TV. A western called Bonanza. A show I couldn’t watch until we eloped in 1969, so the series had been on for a decade.

A couple of week’s ago I asked Hubs to look for the old Bonanza series so I could finally catch up on some of TV’s best during the 1960’s. What a riot! I’ve only watched the first 5 episodes and Hubs warns me every time I start giggling. “Show some respect. You can’t laugh at the Cartwright’s.” Really? It seems like everyone hated those four guys, with the possible exception of Hoss. I thought they were this wifeless, motherless sad sack bunch just trying to get by in a cruel world. But they owned most of the world and everyone else resented them, at least in the beginning. The music is hysterical when something ominous is about to happen. But I’ve promised to watch the first couple seasons with the assurance that the series does get much better.

These guys captivated millions, but not Neese, who was in church…

That’s it for my latest list of myth-conceptions. Stay tuned for ‘The Myths-teries’ about some of the odd things that make me feel old…

December 13, 1926…

I go through this routinely during the last month of the year. Not moping, but reflective. December’s always been different and unique. Mom’s, Shannon’s and my birthday are in December. I remember birthdays in Iowa where we had a snow day from school during a blizzard and birthdays where I wore shorts because it was 60 degrees, sunny and downright fabulous.

A December birthday to remember, I’m wearing shorts, 1963…

My mom, Florence (Wanningen) Gerritson passed away in 2004. Her twin brother Floyd passed away less than a year before her. Floyd at the very end of 2003, mom in the fall of 2004. Although their deaths occurred in different years, both were 77. I’m not surprised how close together their deaths were. They had an unusual bond even though for much of their adult lives lived a couple thousand miles apart.

Floyd and Florence, motherless but loved, 1927…

When I mull their childhood I find it incredibly sad, but it wasn’t that unusual for the year of their birth in 1926 (which makes it even sadder). Their mother, Jacoba (Coba) Berghuis married my grandpa two years prior on December 6, 1924 at the tender age of 18 (same age as me when we eloped). Coba graduated from high school in May of 1924. By October (that same year) she had her teaching certificate and began teaching in Sioux Center, Iowa. My grandpa, Gerrit (his nickname was Lakey) Wanningen was born in 1896 and 28 when they got hitched.

My grandma’s teaching degree in 1924…

By their second anniversary Coba was ready to give birth. Mom never told me if my grandma, Lakey or even the doctor knew she was having twins beforehand or if it was a big surprise to everyone. Prenatal care was seriously lacking by today’s standards.

My grandpa’s family, Jennie, Guert, Gerrit (Lakey) and Jantje around 1915…

The celebration of the twin’s birth was short lived because Coba, 20 died of complications when the babies were 13 days old. After all these years this still makes me feel so bad for mom and Floyd. Never having a chance to know their mom, but had to rely on stories from relatives and friends about their mom. I know once Lakey lost Coba his attitude about life, marriage and parenthood took a huge toll on him. For the twin’s first few years he was not an active presence in their lives.

My beautiful grandma Coba’s high school graduation picture, 1924…

Both sets of grandparents were supportive and played a big part in raising the twins. Coba had 6 siblings and 2 of the twin’s aunts supplied a lot of love and nurturing. Alida was the oldest, married and had children not much older than the twins, so Florence and Floyd spent a lot of time on their farm. The other aunt was Lena who was a couple years older than Coba and still living at home. But the majority of time the twins lived with Lakey’s parents, Guert and Jantje, both close to 60.

Coba’s high school basketball team! She’s on the far right…

The Wanningen’s had recently lost their only daughter and newborn grandson. Both mom’s maternal and paternal families had suffered tragedies. Still, for the roaring 20’s these three deaths were not that uncommon. Death during childbirth or complications shortly after was part of life back then. I was told Grandpa Lakey’s sister, Jennie died from cancer the day she gave birth to a stillborn son. He was placed in her arms in the casket and they were buried together.

Mom, Jantje, Guert and Floyd about 1935. (They were a tall bunch)…

Mom came to terms with the loss of her young mother a long time ago. She doted on all four grandparents, especially her two grandma’s and felt she was lucky to have them in her life. She lost Jantje in 1950 right before I was born and Effie Berghuis in 1958, the same year we lost my 12 year old brother Larry.

Me, Larry and Spitzy, 1955…

About 2 months before mom passed away was the last time I was home to visit. She’d been in a long term care facility for a few months and decided not to start treatments after her 3rd occurrence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She and dad celebrated their 62nd anniversary a month before she died. She called me October 18th and told me she loved me. Dad was with her the next day around noon when she passed, a couple months shy of her 78th birthday. Mom would be celebrating her 95th birthday on the 13th. It seems impossible that she’s been gone 17 years already…

Tubs…

I don’t remember much about the house I was born in. We lived there until I was 4-1/2. The house was small for our family of five, (I was the 5th element) but the yard was substantial. Dad built an amazing play house, complete with a door, windows and chimney! (had it been added on to the house, my parents might have opted to stay there longer).

My brother Larry by our playhouse in 1952…

Our new house (one of the oldest in town) needed major renovations which dad started on immediately with the kitchen and bath. Both rooms were small and void of most modern conveniences. Dad installed a double sink, homemade painted cupboards on the short west wall, a gas stove and a fridge. Now mom had the means to cook supper, which she did every night but Saturday. The bathroom sported a new toilet, small vanity/sink, a bathtub and no window. On the downside, the bathroom was off the kitchen (a no-no). Our narrow kitchen had three doorways, one to the bathroom, outside plus our dining room, which was huge and beautiful but rarely used. The oak floor was stunning and mom’s new mission in life was to keep it blindingly shiny and as slippery as possible.

Right before I got my hair cut, 1955…

Mom had my hair cut short before I started kindergarten which made life easier for both of us. Without long hair (it was like a horsetail) I was able to take my own bath. I loved taking baths! First thing I’d start running the water, but not too hot until after I got in and was used to it. Next I’d run to the kitchen cupboard under the sink and grab the bottle of dishwashing detergent called Joy. It smelled great and made oodles of bubbles, but I didn’t squirt it in yet. I got in the tub first, wet my hair and poured a glop of Prell shampoo (it smelled good too) in my hands to wash my hair before the water got icky. After my hair was squeaky clean, I’d add a good squirt of Joy, turn off the cold faucet, scoot to the back of the tub and let the water get as hot as I could stand it.

I think that’s a ‘spit curl’ by my ear. Yikes, 1957…

I did this daily ritual until I left home. By then dad had remodeled the bathroom a second time, doubling its size heading north, adding a window and a very l o n g countertop, small sink and an unlit mirror, which made putting on makeup next to impossible when I was a teen. I begged him to add a shower but neither he nor mom were excited about this prospect. Mom got her hair ‘done’ at the beauty shop every week. How was she supposed to stand with a shower pouring over her head and not ruin her hairdo? Come to think of it, the ceiling was quite low when dad added on. At 5’12” (mom never liked saying she was 6 feet tall, although she never slouched and stood ramrod straight) she might have been a head taller than the shower head). Dad thought a shower was extravagant and a foolish idea. (I was seriously losing my power of persuasion with those 2. They were immune to my willful and needful ways).

Now how was I supposed to apply makeup when the tiny light was way up there?

So my opportunities to shower were few and far between. I think my bestie Char had a shower after they moved from 15th Street to 16th. When I stayed overnight I’d just go home the next morning and take a bath, but I remember six or eight of us teenage girls arriving at Char’s one day and before we left, we each needed a shower. All of us brought a bottle of hair dye so we could change our hair color. I don’t remember if everyone’s mom was ticked about this latest daredevil stunt, but mine was livid. We were such rebels!

Definitely added something to lighten my locks for a couple months…

Hubs was a participant in 2 sweaty sports in school, football and wrestling, so he ended up showering in school after practice and games. The school supplied a locking basket which held clean undies and socks but the RVHS didn’t supply towels. Johnny’s towel was tossed back in the basket daily and never got a chance to dry completely. The few times the towel dried thoroughly during holidays or the weekend, it was so stiff it could walk beside him on the way to get cleaned up again.

On the left Earl De Bey and John ready for his wrestling match before showering…

Hubs’ parents built a new house in 1958 but their one bathroom also lacked a shower. (Slow to change parents like mine). I wonder when adding a shower to the bathroom in building new homes became the norm?

Jim and Mag’s new ranch built in 1958 (no shower, just a tub)…

We’ve been married 5 plus decades. I just added up the number of houses we’ve lived in over the years. Dang we moved a lot at first. Some places were just a few months but a couple were more than 2 years. Basically we moved about every year. The last 40 years we’ve lived in 4 homes, one of them for 21 years. The first dozen years and equal number of homes only had 3 showers. All were rentals but one. The last 4 homes had showers but John added them to 2 of our bathrooms.

Mommy & Shannon in a shower less rental, 1972…

We lived the longest in North Muskegon and had great bathrooms. One half bath downstairs, 2 full upstairs, one with a tub and shower and the master had a jacuzzi and a walk in shower. The tub was nice but huge and took 20 minutes to fill and used every drop from the hot water heater. It was just too time consuming. I don’t think I could get out of that tub anymore.

Adam 1, Joshua 5-1/2 still tubbing it…

We debated our bathroom remodel for six months after we moved here 6 years ago. We wanted a nice walk-in shower and neither of us were excited about a bathtub, so we didn’t put one in. Probably gonna hurt our resale but at this point we don’t much care. I’ve had my fill of tubs…

Progress…

I’m a fence jockey where ‘progress’ is concerned. I support the miraculous advancements in the world of medicine which has ensured me of a better life. Had I been born a couple hundred years ago, it’s doubtful I would have lived to celebrate my 29th birthday. My last pregnancy (at the ripe old age of 28) was complicated with a breech baby and for a couple hours around lunchtime on September 12, 1979, things got pretty dicey in the delivery room. I didn’t think either of us would see September 13th, and that was with the help of 2 doctors, several nurses, a ghastly pale husband who thought he might be raising our 8 and 4 year old by himself from that day forward. (Should have had a C-section but my doc didn’t think it was necessary. A miscue on his part, which could have turned out much worse). But it all turned out just fine with a healthy baby boy.

4 yr old Joshua, 8 yr old Shannon and me a couple weeks before having a breech baby, 1979…

If I take that a step further back, Hubs probably would have died before he ever had a chance to have sex (horse fell on his foot/leg resulting in multiple breaks and gangrene at age 15. He’s gonna huff & puff, insisting he had sex by 15-hahaha). If that nasty accident didn’t do him in, a ruptured appendix after we’d been married three years probably would have. I’d been left a widow raising our toddler Shannon by myself. Guess there wouldn’t have been a Joshua or Adam from that union. But God had other plans for this young married couple with 3 kids to raise.

Although the birth part was difficult, Adam turned out just fine, 1979…

I’m the first one to cheer for modern medicine like root canals, nitrous oxide, novocaine, pain medication, capped teeth, braces, a tonsillectomy, tubal ligations, vaccines, appendix/gall bladder surgery which allows you to go home the same or next day with the smallest of incisions, joint replacements, organ transplants, stents, bypass, chemotherapy. These advancements have saved millions of lives.

Hubs about the time he wrestled a horse-and lost…

Although it seems like I was born during the Stone Age I assure you I was not. Where I get goofed up is when I look back at my childhood. My family suffered a tragic loss in 1958 when my 12 year old brother was killed while he was riding his bike to our grandparent’s house. I was 7, making parts of being a kid painful, but there’s actually not much I’d change about growing up in my little home town.

Our family a year before Larry was killed. Dad 40, Larry 11, Mona 14, Neese 6, Mom 31 in 1957…

My best friend through school was a sweetie named Char who lived a few blocks away. She was one-of-four girls in her family, all quite close in age. I would say 90% of the households in Rock Valley had a landline phone, but only one. (Our house didn’t fit that large percentage though because we had 2). My dad worked for the Iowa State Highway Commission and was frequently called into work during the middle of the night usually for a miserable blizzard. We all slept upstairs and our staircase was steep, narrow and harrowing to maneuver when you were wide awake, let alone half asleep. In the interest of mom and dad’s unbroken limbs and good health, they added a rotary dial phone which sat on a small table in between their twin beds. Once I hit the phone yakking age, this was an awesome advantage because our main phone was in the kitchen. My conversations were uninterrupted as I laid on mom or dad’s bed. When they thought I was up to no good, they’d quietly lift the receiver downstairs to listen to my conversations.

Junior high bestie Char…

Though most families had a phone, there were no answering machines or call waiting. With Char’s family of 4 popular girl’s, many days when I called, I’d get a busy signal. The phone’s busy signal was just part of our life. When I got frustrated, unable to get through, the easiest thing to do was hop on my bike and ride to her house and speak person to person.

The best place in the world to talk on the phone when I was a teen…

By the time we were in junior high there were lots of extracurricular activities which kept us busy and entertained, band, cheerleading and attending every sports function our public school offered. As great as all the games were, the most fun we had was on the Pep Bus. You signed up at school, paid (50 cents or maybe it was only a quarter) and at the designated time, piled on a bus with 40 other kids from 7th grade through high school.

I don’t think schools have used/promoted pep busses for a long time which makes me sad. That kind of camaraderie is hard to duplicate, especially since most have a cellphone. Listen, I’m not against cellphones. I’m profoundly deaf and texting is the main way I communicate. I just feel teens and 20-something’s are losing a lot of personal friendships if they use their phones for most social interactions.

Diane, Faye, Neese and Kay…

Whenever I think about this I’m reminded of something I witnessed a decade ago. I was on a 4-lane divided Highway, in the left lane, passing a school bus. It was late afternoon. As I pulled alongside the bus I noticed every single teen’s head was resting on his or her chest. No, they weren’t sleeping, but texting/listening to music/playing games. No one I saw was smiling, but deep into their own little world, probably texting the kid 3 rows ahead. This image still bothers me when I think about pep bus rides with my peers. How we teased, laughed, gossiped, sang, told silly jokes on a simple bus trip to a town 30 miles away. I hope kids still experience the goofy joy of a pep bus/field trip ride and the special friendships formed that were ignited on the bus full of exuberant teens…

Let’s talk turkey-quietly…

Full disclosure for those new to my blog, I didn’t know how to cook when Hubs and I eloped in 1969. We’d dated long enough, but John wasn’t interested in my cooking prowess-yet. Until we had to start eating at home for real. After a leisurely honeymoon of 2 days, a 100 miles away, he discovered the first night that supper with a non-cooking spouse meant a small can of red sockeye salmon, flaked to perfection (devoid of slimy skin & spiny bones), a loaf of Hillbilly bread, iceberg lettuce and a stick of real butter at room temperature. I should’ve aced it just for using butter, right?

Just before we moved to eastern Iowa in 1974…

Over the next 3 years we grazed our way through Hamburger Helper, tuna casserole, chicken on the grill, more tuna casserole and 39 cents a pound hamburger. The hamburger patties contained so much fat they fell through the grill and started the house siding on fire. Hubs lost the hair on his arms, eyelashes and eyebrows. Good times. Eventually I did learn to whip up a decent meal.

Shannon 4-1/2, newborn Joshua a few months after the turkey debacle, 1975…

It was the fall of 1974 and we had just moved across the state. We’re both from the northwest Iowa and moved about 350 miles east, fairly close to the mighty Mississippi River. We had just celebrated anniversary # 5, Shannon was 3-1/2 and we just learned I was pregnant (spacing our children was a top priority). This would be our first Thanksgiving not celebrating with the rest of our family. We were going home for Christmas but decided it was too expensive to drive that far two months in a row. Money was in short supply, transportation was dicey, while the bills just kept stacking up.

New Vienna, Ia. Summer of ‘75. The year of the weird picture fungus…

I would be roasting our first ‘turkey’ (the slang definition for this word pretty much describes how the meal turned out). Mistake number one was the size of the bird. Enormous. Hubs thought he was doing me a favor buying a big one. No Butterball site to peruse for guidance. No Google to help me out. Mom explained (in a hurry, who could afford those long distance rates unless you talked very late at night) how to make stuffing but I didn’t research how LONG A BIRD THAT SIZE NEEDED TO BE IN THE OVEN. So when the turkey was a beautiful golden brown, the potatoes were mashed, corn was cooked, gravy was lumpy, brown & serve rolls were on the table right next to my fresh cranberry sauce, we discovered the bird was a couple hours away from being fit for human consumption, along with my second favorite accompaniment-the stuffing.

My go-to turkey…

From that day forward however, a turkey dinner with all the fixings has remained my favorite meal, once I learned to roast it right. I’ve tried countless brands of turkey from every grocery chain, but over the years I’ve come to prefer Butterball. With exorbitant inflation and shortages on the grocery shelves I thought I might be roasting a chicken this year, but the Hubs came through and found a Butterball for 98 cents a pound.

Hubs new-old means of transportation, a 1962 Studebaker Champ…

I’ve been out of the house twice in the last 13 days because of my out-of-whack-back. We made an appointment (a week in advance) to go to the Secretary of State for new plates, pay sales tax for Hubs’ 1962 Studebaker Champ, tags for my Jeep and renewals on both our driver’s license (my picture shows me without glasses and brown hair-I stopped dyeing my hair 3 years ago) so we were hesitant to reschedule. Although it took almost an hour to get everything accomplished, I stood because I can’t sit in a straight chair, but the appointment went without a hitch (except in my get-a-long).

Stopped dyeing my hair in 2018, guess my driver’s license should reflect that…

I had not been grocery shopping in 2 weeks! (How Meijer remains open for business without my business is a mystery). It felt good to wear shoes (can’t bend over, Hubs had to tie them) and put my phone in my hip-clip to record my steps. Since I’ve barely moved my phone’s been sitting idle, waiting for me to heal. Usually I criss-cross the store several times to boost my step total but not on this shopping day. My list was long and I didn’t want to risk more of those electric shock back spasms.

Jovi & Ariana….

Our granddaughter Ariana and great-granddaughter, Jovi come over for supper once a week. I plan our favorite suppers, mostly comfort food. I’ve got a hankerin for chicken pot pie. No puff pastry or single top crust allowed, it’s old school here, all homemade with a double crust. A couple times a year I buy several packages of split chicken breasts with skin and rib bones, (which adds flavor to the broth for gravy, stuffing or soups) and simmer 6 at a time. Let them cool, remove the skin and bones, dice, package, plus freeze the broth. (I’ve canned broth before. It’s a lot of work and you have to remove every iota of delicious chicken fat or you might pop a lid or break a jar while it’s in the pressure cooker). It’s much easier to freeze it but you lose on the longer shelf life you get with canning.

Chicken pot pies waiting for the top crust a few months ago…

So split breasts were running $2.09 a pound, yikes, which means 15 pounds would cost about 30 bucks. I use 4 heaping cups of diced chicken for pot pie, (the recipe makes 3) the rest is frozen for cream chicken buns, soup, chicken salad or more pot pies. I think the last time I bought packs of split breasts they were about a buck a pound. Hmm, what else could I make this week?

‘Duh-Neese’ finally saw the light…

A couple minutes later I experienced an food epiphany-smack dab in the middle of Meijer’s with a hundred bucks of groceries in my cart. I had zipped right passed the frozen turkeys (since Hubs already bought one) when it dawned on me. Meijer brand birds were 33 cents a pound. HOLD THE PHONE! My head was trying to accept a message but the rest of me was in denial. Would if? Absolutely not. No.

Chicken pot pie filling. When I make this tomorrow it will have some dark turkey meat added…

Since I learned to cook 50 years ago, I have never made an unstuffed turkey or one without all the trimmings. Is it even possible to cook a turkey and use it for another purpose? On purpose? Could this warrant a technical foul against my favorite fowl? Might even be a flagrant (or fragrant) foul. No, not something I can wrap my head around. Still. I turned around and headed back to the frozen birds. I gingerly picked up 2 turkeys (the limit), each 15 pounds, which cost me 10 bucks. (No one needs to know they would be cooked under extenuating circumstances, but I looked guilty as sin) Pretty sure I would net 4 quarts of diced meat from each bird. Buck and a quarter per package. Mighty economical. And who doesn’t love the flavor of turkey pot pie, cream buns or salad? Plus all that turkey broth!

Turkey broth…

Hubs brought the groceries inside with raised eyebrows (they grew back) as he was lugging 30 pounds of dead weight turkeys. I explained my devious plan to use the birds for various, nefarious deeds, other than stuffing them. “Great idea! I never like it when you use all white chicken meat for pot pie or cream chicken buns. Dark meat has more flavor.” He put one in the fridge to thaw and the other in the freezer. I cooked and diced one yesterday and will make the crusts, cook the veggie/gravy/filling on Monday. Pumpkin bars sound good for dessert.

4 quarts of diced turkey. Definitely darker than all white meat chicken…

My cooking world has been rocked, so I’m probably gonna need help working my through this. Any long time cooks know a support group based on using fowl for other than what God (and the pilgrims) intended?…