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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

    We’re running a bit behind this morning (Tuesday), but I’m confident that you’ll receive your paper in the morning in a timely manner—we’ve not missed yet. Many times it’s taken all-nighters to make that deadline, but it’s been done.
    Hot topics of the week have been politics and the weather. Our temperatures have cooled down drastically—Monday morning’s low was low 60s. My van registered 63 on the way in, first time to be in the 60s since early May. It felt so comfortable when I was out watering plants—they really needed it since I’d neglected them all last week.
    Had it not been for the few showers we got, don’t think they’d have survived. I still have a couple of pretty ferns, some hibiscus, several Gerber Daisies, and a few more. Finally bought my yearly Mand-ivilla Saturday, which I hope to over-winter, and I’m planning to grow a jalapeno, a bell pepper and a salad tomato for winter consumption. Might just grow a squash and zucchini for flowers.
    Now to the other subject of the week. In the political realm the lines seem to be drawn. Of course I have my favorite in each race, but all the candidates are good people—that’s unusual. We are a fortunate county this election year. The only suggestion I have is to to please get out and vote next Tuesday, so the winners will know that they are clearly the choice of the entire population of the county.
    Now to my week. It was a very busy one. After eating way too much lunch at Rounders Pizza on Thursday, I went home to cook. I had bought almost everything I needed to make the food and was about to cook in a brand new kitchen. Only problem was that nothing had been returned to the cabinets—it was still in hampers all over the house.         You do have to have pots and pans to cook in. Took me about eight hours to do two hours work—needless to say I got very little sleep for two nights. I was really pleased with my stove (a Whirlpool from Sartains), though—it cooks great.
    First item on the list was  creamed corn. Now when one person does corn from scratch it’s hard work. I shucked, silked, cut off and cooked four dozen ears. Started Wednesday right after work, took time off for prayer meeting, then was back at it until midnight. I finished on Thursday about eight p.m. Then it was on to lemon pies. Had lemons, but where was a juicer. Have at least three old antiques and one great modern one—a birthday gift from Jim a couple of years ago.
    The egg hunt began and after a couple of hours I finally located the antiques. They still work fine. Had the lemons soaking in hot water, so once the thing was found getting my juice was easy. Then it was on to meringue. Had cream of tartar, sugar, egg whites at room temp, but forgot I needed corn starch. Another search finally produced an opened box.
    Didn’t even try to find vanilla wafers, graham crackers or brown sugar—had bought new boxes, so crust was a breeze. Finally got those pies completed. Baked crust for chocolate pies, which I would cook at Jimmie’s on Friday night.         Then it was on to cakes. First I did my easy cake—Mandarin Orange. I remembered all the ingredients for this while I was at Larson’s—that made it easy. Then I cooked a carmel without the icing recipe. That was a gamble, since the amounts have to be exact for this to turn out correct.
    Made it fine. I was going to make a pecan frosting, but no pecans were found, so it turned into a fudge/walnut cake. Making the fudge icing, I just dumped everything left on the counter into a pan, heated it and poured in the toasted walnuts—turned out great. Used a little heavy cream, some some dark chocolate chips, a dab of butter, and the rest of the powered sugar. Couldn’t produce this icing again, but the one time product sure was good.
  We were in good shape Friday, so Jimmie and I fed Mom and then went shopping for flowers to decorated with. Found beautiful pot plants in
Wal-Mart at really bargain prices. Loaded the van and then she needed some items from Kroger’s and there we found Mom’s red roses, also very reasonably priced. We forgot to get greenery, but the dogs provided that. One of the beautiful tropical pots got demolished, but the greenery was not harmed. It worked really well with the crimson roses, as it had a thin crimson border around the deep green foliage. Think the plant will survive—roots were still intact.
    Friday night’s cooking chores were a breeze, except for another hunt for corn starch. I was about to cut corn starch out of the recipes. She knew she had two boxes in her pantry—it had not been demolished. I looked, she looked, then I looked again and finally found it.
    Meringue on my lemon pies had not looked up to par, but the meringue for the chocolate ones looked like the little bake shop variety. Meringue on the lemon did not weep at all—it usually does. The beautiful mile-high on chocolate behaved right on one of them and the other was still weeping when it was polished off—no rhyme or reason to my cooking.
  All this was in preparation for Mom’s 97th Birthday Party Saturday.  It was a good one. She had all six children, the four living in-law children, her four granddaughters (boys couldn’t make it), and one great-grand. Also present were her only two living nephews, their spouses and one of their grands, one of dad’s nieces and her grand, and several others. Mom says each time we’re all together, “It’s great, I have all my children under one roof again.”
  We lost a first cousin, Jo Norman Doler of Bruce, from injuries sustained in an auto accident in the spring tornadoes. She, her daughter (who has since died from injuries in this accident), a grand and another passenger. were traveling from Tupelo to Bruce. The car was picked up and slammed into a tree. First time I had heard the details of this accident. Her brother, Earl Norman of Memphis, was relating the story. Those were violent storms, that took many lives and destroyed much property.
    Mother’s family was never very large, except for us. Her younger sister, Katherine, had one son, whom many of you know, Cliff Olson (Topper to us), a long-time Army recruiter in the Charleston area; an older sister, Louise, has the one son, Earl, left, having lost youngest son, David in a vehicular accident at age 45, and oldest son, Bill, died of natural causes a few years ago. All six of Mom’s children are still alive and pretty active. Mom had only one brother, Frank Hubbard, and he had no children.
    Siblings, nieces and cousins were sure I had plenty of material for the column this week, but unfortunately I did not take notes and who could remember those stories.
    On Sunday we gathered to eat left-overs and joining us were friends, Jimmy and Sylvia Brown and Ham and Connie Hawkins. Arriving late (had come from church) I stated that I’d was in the yard trying to figure out the vehicles—wondering what family had gotten there on the wrong day. Connie, who is a redhead, says, “You know your other sister—we do look more alike that you and Jimmie do.”
    Told her she was right and I was sorry that she had to take after the ugly sister—probably gave Jimmie the big head. Connie is cute as a bug—our only resemblance is our hair color. Enjoyed the visit with these four—heard lots of military service stories from Ham, Brown, and Brother Rance. Again, I did not write them down—must be getting old, can’t even remember the funny stuff.
    Guess I can brag now, since Jim is receiving this honor today (Tuesday). When he told me a week or so ago, just in case I could attend, he says now don’t tell it’s suppose to be a secret.
    Jim has been named a Regents Professor, the highest honor a professor can attain. The investiture ceremony is being held today and I wish I were there, but with Mom’s birthday party and the election it just was not possible. David said go and Jimmie said go, it was me that kept me here—when I have a job to do I have to do it. Congratulations to Jim, though—you know how proud I am of you and how proud Dad would have been.

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