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Irish Heritage

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Irish Heritage

This past weekend we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. I sure hope it was a good day for you. I wore green, did you?

A fair percentage of my heritage is Irish, and I incorporate that heritage into my storytelling. As with many of us, I was not raised specifically in the heritage of my ancestors, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t come from history. It is up to me to learn about those who came before me. I am a storyteller; that is my profession, and as such, I am intrigued by the stories that were told in the countries of my ancestors. I’ve learned a lot of Celtic stories and I include them in my performances. I do not try to speak with the accents of the native lands and I am sure I would not give them justice. I speak with my own tongue, the one that belongs to me. However, passing on the ancient stories of my ancestral lands is important to me. It helps me to know myself and understand the traits I have.

I have a dream to one day go to Ireland. Oh my, I want to see that land with my own eyes. For now, I have the stories; I read them, remember them and carry them in the pocket of my mind… and I desire to share them.

What stories do you have in your mind's pocket? Share them with someone.

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Daylight Saving Time (cue yawn)

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Daylight Saving Time (cue yawn)

I didn't write a blog this week, I ran out of time...lost an hour...well, didn't really lose it, it was redirected.

I'm tired...seems like supper is too early...clock in the dining room is still an hour behind.

Daylight saving time...they say it was for the farmers, but the cows don't care what time it is...neither do the pigs...grass in the field doesn't either...I know this because I grew up on a farm...

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Ernestine L. Walden's Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

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Ernestine L. Walden's Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

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I have spent the past week craving peanut butter cookies; I am not sure why. I did my very best to ignore the desire, but alas, I gave in today. I went to my cookbooks and pulled out one of my favorites. It was one of those fundraiser cookbooks that have recipes from lots of people. I am sure you’ve seen them before or have even participated in being a contributor to one. The recipes in those books are usually contributors’ favorites, tried and true. This one was put out by the New York Farm Bureau in 1983 and given to me by my husband’s Aunt Maureen in that same year.

Over the years many of the pages have become stained, proof that I use this cookbook quite a bit. I turned to one of the most heavily stained pages, the one with the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Ernestine L. Walden submitted it. I don’t know her at all. I began wondering about who she might be. I called Aunt Maureen and asked her if she, by chance, knew Ernestine. She didn’t. We chatted for a while, and I hung up the phone. Just a few minutes later Aunt Maureen called me again, she had done some research on Earnestine and gave me some details.

Ernestine L. Walden was born Jan 20, 1924, to Ernest and Mary Swartz Kenyon, I am guessing she was named after her father. She died January 21, 2017, one day after her 93rd birthday. She married in 1941, and her first husband died in 1971, she remarried a year later to William J. Walden, and he died in 1996.

Her obituary stated, “Mrs. Walden was a proud homemaker who raised five children. She was a member of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Franklinville and the Farm Bureau, and she delivered Meals on Wheels”. She sounds to me like she was a lively woman — someone you’d want to get to know.

I enjoyed learning a little bit of her story. I wonder how many people out there have adopted her cookie recipe and have made them part of their stories. I know it is part of mine. So, here you go! Here is Ernestine’s Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Give it a try, tell me what you think. Will it become part of your family story?

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We Remember

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We Remember

At the beginning of November this year I was performing in Tucson Arizona. While I was there Margy, my host, took me to the Day of the Dead celebration. It was an amazing experience for me. People were dressed in costumes and decorated their faces with white, black, and red makeup to look like skeletons. Others brought pictures or mementos of loved ones who have passed on. It is a celebration of remembrance for those who are no longer living on this earth. November is nearly over but when I woke up this morning this celebration was on my mind. It is my understanding that the whole idea is that so long as you speak the name of those who have passed they are never really gone.

Here at the end of the year, we celebrate the holidays. I realized this morning that this is my time of remembrance and it very likely is a time of remembrance for you too. My family celebrated our family holiday together in the middle of November; it lasts for about 3 days. As we all prepared our traditional meal, my sister and I taught our children how to make some of the regular dishes enjoyed on the table. Throughout the weekend we often said, “Do you remember how Daddy…” or “Mom used to …”. We always look at the tiny ones and take note of how much they look like someone who came before them. We remember.

I look around my home and smile as I admire furniture that once belonged to my Grandmother. There are quilts my mother made from clothing once worn by family members. My father’s hat hangs on a hook in my living room, a lamp once owned by my aunt illuminates the pages of my book, I make homemade rolls from a recipe that was created by my husband’s grandmother, we call them Grandma’s Rolls. I often hold a pen or pencil in the unique way my father did to write. My sister’s house is much the same, and she makes homemade noodles from a recipe that belonged to her mother-in-law. We remember.

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There are remembrances and a story of those who have passed everywhere. My husband and I were traveling, and at a rest station, there was a memorial with individual names of police from the area who died in the line of duty. Consider all of the war memorials that carry the individual names of those who have passed, monuments stand strong and tall to remember, auditoriums and parks are often named for those who have gone on…I could continue, but I think you get the idea. We remember.

I tell stories on stage, and at nearly every performance someone comes up to me and tells me about a chord of remembrance that was plucked. We remember.

What fond memory do you have? What story do you tell as you remember loved ones who have passed? Leave me a note, tell me about it. We remember.

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No White Shoes after Labor Day

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No White Shoes after Labor Day

When I was a little girl I had two pairs of “church shoes”. They were both patent leather; one pair was white and one pair was black. The rule was you wore white shoes from Easter to Labor Day, and after Labor Day until Easter you wore black. It is funny how I relive that memory every Labor Day. Year after year on Labor Day I announce, “Put your white shoes away”, to no one in particular.

As time goes on so do fashion trends and the rules of many years ago. I now have several pairs of shoes that I can wear to church. They are in lots of different colors and certainly not patent leather. I wonder, what stories would you be able to tell about the rules in your house when you were little? Do you still hold true to those rules or are they just a memory?

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