Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

May your joys be as bright as the morning,
And your sorrows merely be shadows that fade,
In the sunlight of love.
May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrows to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you happy.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness.
Enough wealth to meet your needs.
And one thing more: enough determination to make each day a more wonderful day than the day before.

Grandpa's Stories

While Grandpa was growing up, his family had two dogs - a boy and a girl - they were in love. The boy, being very athletic, jumped the fence whenever he wanted to gallivant around the neighborhood, checking out what his buddies were up to, snooping the local restaurant's garbage cans, and running in the vacant lots.  He was always the adventurer, but he never failed to return to his true love.

One day, he got a bright idea. He decided to teach his true love to jump over the fence. While the family watched from the window, the boy dog barked and ran, jumping over the fence in one long stride. He barked to encourage his love to follow. She ran but stopped right before running into the fence. The boy jumped back into the yard, gave her a kiss, ran around her a couple time, encouraging her with his barks, and took another leap, again barking from the other side of the fence. She tried again, hit the fence, and fell. The boy dog jumped back in, and tried again. This continued maybe ten more times (the family had lost count), and then, to their surprise, she cleared the fence! The two dogs ran around each other barking with glee, and ran off into the sunset, never to be seen again. At least, they were together!


Of course, it has to be:

Corned Beef and Cabbage

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
10 baby red potatoes, quartered
1 onion, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups water
1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer (optional)
1/2 head cabbage, cut into 8 pieces

Place the carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker, pour in the water, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices from the packet, cover, and set the cooker on low.  Cook the brisket for about 8 hours.

Be Blessed,
Aunt Janet

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Baby Ruth Story

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love,
the things you are,
the things you never want to lose.
From the television show The Wonder Years

I have been trying to remember the stories that were told to me by a man I highly respected and loved.  I learned from his knowledge passed on to me through stories.  Many were pleasant, yet, there were those that were painful, only retold to try to teach lessons.  I need to pass on these stories, not just so they would be heard, but so my niece can pass her class.

See, my niece is taking a Family American Diversity class in college, and she needs to gather our family history.  My sister has taken upon the task of learning our family history, after we realized that we did not have some family facts.  She has gone as far as dragging her husband to the cemetery an hour away, and shoveling through a foot of snow to find my grandparents' graves.  Taking into consideration that we have a Brady Bunch family, she's been searching for the marriage certificate of our dad and her mom, without luck so far.  (Maybe they weren't really married???  And I did become my dad's daughter after my mom married him when I was about 2 years old.)

My job is to pass on the stories.  I remember sitting at the table listening to my dad recall stories of his childhood, and stories of being a young man.  I loved hearing these memories.  It was what shaped him into the man he became, the father that loved his children, whether by blood or marriage, and lived his life from the lessons he had learned as he grew to adulthood.  He was a great story teller.

My other nieces and nephews have asked me to share these stories with them, to write them down so that they will not be forgotten, but passed on for generations to come.  So begins the recollection of the story teller, their grandfather, the man most of them never got to meet, and love, just as his children had loved.

Grandpa's Stories

Grandpa was born in 1924 and grew up during the Great Depression.  His family would take in or help other family members through this difficult time.  There was always the question of why his immediate family did not suffer financially like his aunts and uncles.  There was always the question of what Great Grandpa really did for a living, or how come he always had money.

Well, one story that I recall is what I will call the Baby Ruth story.  One day, grandpa and his cousin, and best friend (who we called Uncle Hermie), decided to go for a bike ride.  When they went to get their bikes, the garage door was locked.  Strange - it was never locked.  Grandpa climbed on Uncle Hermie's shoulders and peered in the garage window.  All he could see were boxes and boxes and more boxes.

The window was unlocked, so, with the help of Uncle Hermie, grandpa opened the window and climbed through.  He took down one of the boxes, and carefully opened it.  Inside were smaller boxes of Baby Ruth candy bars.  They had hit the jackpot! 

He handed the box to Uncle Hermie, climbed out the window, and covered up any evidence that would show they were in the garage.  It might have worked, but being the candy lovers that they were, they proceeded to eat the whole box of Baby Ruth's.  Needless to say, their indulgence was their misfortune - they were discovered because they became sick as dogs from all the chocolate.

Later, he had overheard that the Baby Ruth's came from a hijacked semi-truck.  Our cousin verifies this story.  Her mom, my dad's sister, had seen a truck being unloaded into the garage.

This is the first of many stories to come.  Grandpa always taught us to be honest, and to work hard for the things that we wanted.  I think a little of the morals he passed on to us came from eating too many Baby Ruth's, getting sick, and therefore, knowing that if you indulge in things that aren't yours, you will pay the consequences.


Baby Ruth Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Baby Ruth candy bars (2.1 ounces each), chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in candy bars.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen.

Fondly remembering,
Aunt Janet
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