Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In the Pink

Granddaughter Neroli models her new hat, scarf, and mittens,
made by her Aunt Wendy.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cowgirl in the Rain

Emma Grace, cowgirl in the rain.

Follow the River

Follow the River - watercolor

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Karaoke Sisters

The Karaoke Sisters sing "Hit Me With Your best Shot" followed
by "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer".

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Happy Birthday Wendy!  29 again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cooking: Watch out, Grandpa is in the kitchen

With 24 years of working two 24 hour shifts a week as a professional fire fighter behind me, I'm able to reflect on some of the most creative meals.  I've decided to record recipes I thought were worthy of reproduction and will share a few of them.  Later I will publish a conversion table comparing my measurements with the standard cooking measurements.  Until then, use your imagination.

Grampa Terry’s Salmon Casserole

2 - 7.5oz cans of wild Alaska pink salmon that you found in the grocery markdown basket two years ago.

1 – 10 3/4 ounce can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.

1 - eight ounce bag of wide egg noodles.

A two inch wide chunk of velveta cheese cut into small squares.

1 - 14 ounce can of Green Giant sweet peas.

Fill your favorite sauce pan about half full of water and add two glips of olive oil (don’t need much).  Bring the water to a boil and dump in the bag of egg noodles.  Cook the noodles until they are chewey but not done.  Pour the noodles into a colander and allow them to drain.
Dump the drained noodles into a casserole dish and push in the chunks of cheese ( make sure they are covered by the warm noodles).  With a glopping spoon (a tibble will work) glop half of the can of cream of mushroom soup on top of the noodles.  Add a slosh of water to the soup left in the can and stir it around a little and then add a couple of tibbles of the soup glops to the soup can and stir and then pour it all back onto the noodles.  Empty the two cans of salmon in a dish and smoosh it all into one pasty bunch.  Glop the smooshed salmon evenly over the souped up noodles.  Drain the peas and dump them on top of the noodles, soup and salmon.  Now without tearing the noodles to pieces sort of mix everything together.  Now top the whole works with French fried onions or crushed potato chips.  Pop it in the microwave and heat it on high power for ten minutes or two times for six minutes at a time.

Vintage Christmas Greeting

Vintage Christmas Greeting Santa Card.

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers - watercolor

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Holiday Season Short Story

A Prairie Christmas
A steady wind blew from the west.  It always came from the west.  A piercing winter wind born on the north central prairie of Montana.  It gathered and carried the driest snow depositing white crusted drifts with random abandon.  The wind formed peaked and curled drifts on the little town’s streets.  It pushed steadily against the buildings finally escaping around the sides with increased velocity; rearranging the white dunes; barricading the streets and leaving white, miniature mountain ranges in winter yards.

Miss Jenkins announced to our fourth grade class that after Christmas vacation, when we came back to class it would not only be a new year, 1958, but she would have a new name.  She told us her new name would be Mrs. Letson.  She seemed very pleased and her face reddened a bit when she made the announcement.  The fourth grade girls, who made up exactly half of the eighteen fourth graders in Miss Jenkins class seemed to think the announcement was cause for excitement.  Jerry, James and I and the rest of the fourth grade boys, except for Billy Peterson, gave the announcement little heed.  Billy never played with the boys much.  At recess, when the popular boys chose sides for basketball or dodge ball, Billy was always the last choice.  He just didn’t have the interest in fourth grade boy’s roughness and physical games.  He was a very good screamer, though.  The fourth grade girls spent as much time screaming as they did talking and Billy could keep up with the best of them.  Billy always chose the company of the girls over the boys and neither gender seemed to mind.

She made her announcement during the last hour of school before Christmas vacation.  It was just a bad time to capture the attention of the cupcake eating, kool aid swilling, Christmas party boys who just opened their exchanged Christmas gifts.  Jerry got a red plastic miniature car, James got a plastic sheriff’s badge, and I got a bottle of lilac hair tonic.  The only thing I could figure was that a girl had drawn my name for the exchange.  I told James and Jerry that it was probably that creepy Lorna Iverson, or maybe Billy Peterson. 
It was Friday, December 20th, and when the bell rang at three twenty, an exodus of sugar laden children streamed out onto the playground and quickly dispersed.   We were free for two whole weeks.

Christmas vacation was a time for snow forts and snow caves for we three friends.  On the west edge of my neighborhood the town ended and farmland began.  Town and field were separated by South Iowa Street.  The two city workers, Pinky Broers and Hank Storm had erected the snow fence in the stubble field on the west side of the street.  They put the fence up the first Monday after Thanksgiving and it had already collected a snow drift about a hundred yards long and six feet high.  Christmas vacation always brought with it the promise of more snow and more wind; that meant bigger and better drifts.

Saturday, the first day of vacation and we were determined to build a snow fort at the long drift on Iowa Street.  We dressed in our warmest parkas, stocking caps, our flannel lined jeans, and our black rubber buckle-up overshoes.  Last year, when we were kids, our mothers would have bundled us in snow suits, a forty five minute process involving harsh words and nearly mortal combat.  We had finally outgrown mittens and that string that our mothers ran through the sleeves of our snow suits connecting the pair of mittens insuring we would never lose them.  Now we wore mittens knitted by our mothers to match knitted stocking caps we wore.

We met on the corner of South Michigan Street and trudged through the snow to the drift on the edge of Iowa Street.  The sun was bright in the eleven a.m. morning sky.  The snow collected the sunlight and the crystals shown like millions of diamonds.  We squinted from the brightness and shaded our eyes with our mittened hands.  We each brought a shovel.  Shovels were and important part of the snow cave building ritual.  They were mostly a symbol of the nature of our endeavor.  When we started our caves and block forts we always stood the shovels upright in the snow and used our hands to do the work.  Fathers usually never missed their shovels until the spring when the drifts were melting and spring gardening was in the air.  Then, when time allowed each would walk over to the stubble field and retrieve his shovel.

We walked the length of the block and found a good route to the top of the drift.  It was time to celebrate with a good, first day of the season, game of ‘king of the hill’.  Since James was the tallest and heaviest of the three of us, it was Jerry and I that were sent sprawling down the drift; rolling and tumbling with delight to the bottom.  It occurred to James that the rolling and tumbling in the snow was the best part of ‘King of the Hill’.  He dove head first over the edge of the drift and tumbled and rolled to the bottom.  We reveled in our new found sport and spent the better part of an hour rolling down the hill and walking back to the top.

We stood on the top of the drift and surveyed our surroundings.  We were moving north on the top of the drift to the highest part; to the part where no one had yet set foot.  That would be the location of our excavation. 
We jumped off the edge of the eastern slope of our mountain and became human toboggans sliding to the bottom.  At about two feet above grade we started pulling the snow out behind us forming the mouth of our snow cave.  We dug and dug forming a center room about six feet in diameter and about three feet high.  We each dug our own little room slightly elevated from the main room floor with rough dimension of three by four by four.  We tired of the excavation.  Now we talked about laying in supplies to keep us in our new fort.  That meant that we had to go home.  The time now was two in the afternoon.  We knew if we went home we would not be back until the next morning.  We were all getting cold.  Jerry invited James and I over to his house for hot chocolate and the remainder of the afternoon listening to Gunsmoke and Amos and Andy on the radio.

Christmas came and went.  Our vacation ended, but Jerry, James and I had built a magnificent fort.  Later in January on the first Saturday after school started again.  Jerry, James and I collected discarded Christmas trees from the alley dividing South Michigan and Iowa Streets.  We used the trees to make a fine roof on our snow fort.

It was hard to remember that Miss Jenkins was now Mrs. Letson.  She wasn’t the same after school started again.  Jerry and James and I couldn’t pin down exactly what the change was.  She seemed to get tears in her eyes for no reason.  She seemed to have gotten rounder too.

One day in January I came to school with my hair dripping with oil and wreaking of June lilac.  Lorna noticed the change in my appearance and proudly owned up to giving me the lilac hair tonic.  She stood a head taller than me and could look down at the top of my head surveying her handiwork.  We both smiled.  Maybe she wasn’t as creepy as I thought.

©Terry Sutherland



Our First Tree

Our first Christmas Tree in our little apartment - December 1971

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cold and Flu Season

It's cold and flu season and granddaughter
Neroli is fighting a cold.  Drink lots of liquids,
and get lots of rest.  (And watch the "Grinch" on
your HD widescreen.)


In desperation mom and dad finally ask the expert to
untangle the Christmas lights.

Winter is Here

A wintery landscape.