New Year’s Day – 2013

Ethel has taken time off, and so This column, with some changes, is a repeat. She’ll be back next week.

New Years Day is when most of us look back o’er the years, to recall where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with on past New Years. There are the days of marriages, divorces, births, moves to another city, job, home, school, or deaths. We all have them, and this time of year is when we think of them.

But digging deeper, are those private anniversaries of former days and places that everyone of us has, but they are days and events which we note silently and by ourselves only, and let them pass unmarked by feasting or friends.

Yes, you and I both note many an outwardly unmarked day, but inwardly we recall what took place on that day in some former year, and re-live the memory, because, sweet or bitter, it is ours and had its share in making our lives what they now are.

There is ‘something’ within us that loves to double-back upon our lives and stand again on the place we once stood. To meet ourselves face-to-face, so to speak. There are certain places, which, when I pass by, I stare at with odd thoughts. Almost as if I’m inwardly asking, “Who was that Ethel who once stood or lived there?”

Years ago, and I remember the date well, a man and I met briefly and sadly on a certain Salt Lake corner and both knew it was a parting from an ‘impossible’ situation, and that, should we ever meet again, it would never be the same. Or that we even would be the ‘same’ people. All by myself I note that day . . and wonder if he does, too.

There’s an old home on Poplar Street in Murray, the Cahoon home, that I look at, curiously trying to reconstruct a past that I never knew. Gram, then a young 17 year old Rachel Crozier, was visiting there with relatives, where a man, seventeen years her senior, and named Arch Bradford had been invited to sing and play his guitar for the group.

And that turn-of-the-century meeting, was the catalyst as to why I am now Ethel Bradford, live on property that has always belonged to no one but native Indians and Bradfords, and why my sons, grandkids, and two greats, all bear that name that came over on the Mayflower.

Yes, any spot of ground each of us has stood upon is special to us. No matter how many office buildings and condos, are built at 700 East and 4500 South, I will always see a tow-headed girl-child playing on the northwest corner in the open fields, turning somersaults and cart-wheels, climbing trees, and at the same time, watching traffic heedlessly speeding right through what once was Mama’s living room that she kept so clean, calm and lovely.

No one, no matter how close or loved, can look upon ‘our’ spots and ‘our’ dates with the same tenderness we do. Or could we do the same for them, for there’s not a one of us who does not have those nostalgic moments that make life stand still while a tear, smile, regret or tragedy drifts through our hearts and minds.

See, today I ramble, but this is the day, unbeknownst to anyone else, and unshared by wife/husband/lover/friend/parent or child that I re-live. They are personal, secret, blessed or bitter, but they are happenings that have molded our lives into what we now are.

But I shake myself from such rememberings, loved or not, for today is today, and I plan to make 2013 a year full of days I can celebrate and rejoice over forever. We all can do it, too, you know, if we just dust off the past, keep it in its place and take time to realize each day as we meet it at dawn, is unblemished, and with our God-given power we can keep it that way, too.

The next 364 days are ours to make exactly as we wish. So far they are absolutely untouched, so let’s meet each day and keep them well. I wish you, not just a Happy New Year, but that God, with You, will keep it that way. It’s in our power, you know.


Say What?

Is today the last day of the earth?  Don’t think so…

1. Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.

2. I went to a bookstore and asked , “Where’s the Self-Help section?” and was answered, “If I told you, it would defeat the purpose.”

3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

4. If a snail doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

5. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?

6. The reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the ‘bad’ girls live.

7. Where do Forest Rangers go to ‘get away from it all?’

8. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

9. If someone with multiple-personalities threatens to kill  himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

10. If man evolved from Monkeys, why do we still have Monkeys?

11.Do Infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

12. Why are hemorrhoids called “hemorrhoids’ instead of ‘Asteroids’?

13. Can an atheist get insurance against Acts of God??

14. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

15. If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

16. Why do they put Braille on Drive-through ATM’s?

17. Why do we ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

18. Who do  you call when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

19. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?  Are they afraid some on might clean them?

20. Isn’t it unnerving  that doctors call what they do “Practice”?

21. Is it possible to be totally partial?

22. How much deeper would oceans be, if Sponges didn’t grow in them?

23. Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

24. Do Roman doctors refer to IV’s as 4’s?

25. Why do we put Suits in a Garment Bag, and put Garments in a Suitcase?

26. If  ‘Con’ is the opposite of ‘Pro’, then, (be prepared to laugh) what is the opposite of Progress?

27. Why is it called a Hamburger when it’s made out of Beef?

28. Why is ‘Quite a few’, the same as ‘Quite a lot’?

28. Why do Feet smell and Noses run?

29. Why do you Recite at a Play but you Play at a recital?

30. Why are Boxing Rings square?

31. Why are they called Apartments, when they’re all stuck together?

32. Why doesn’t Tarzan have a Beard?

33. What happens if you get Scared to Death, two times?

34. What is the speed of Dark?

35. Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

36. If an Orange is orange, why isn’t a lime called Green, and a lemon, a Yellow?

37.Why do you need a Driver’s License to buy liquor when you can’t Drink and Drive?

And, if you happened to see and survive

December 21, 2012, let’s all settle down to 2013

and make of it the most wonderful year, ever.    

That’s my plan. Wanna join me?????

The Real Child of Christmas

Remember The Child who dwells within us all

         I seldom heard the once familiar greeting of “Merry Christmas”, this season, but just the same, our mail boxes were  filled and newspapers stuffed, with pounds of brightly colored flyers telling us to buy, buy, buy. And the very same came by our email, and TV, and I wondered when and how the joy and excitement of Christmas became so forgotten and buried. 
           When was the last time you called out, “Merry Christmas”?  Yeah, me, too, it  just isn’t done any longer.  The Season is  no longer ‘merry’ and I’m not talking about those who are economically deprived, for that’s an entirely different ball of wax. I mean  the ones who have jobs, family and homes and yet consider the entire month nothing but one great Big Sale, with Christmas even seldom mentioned.  Just buy, buy, buy.
          Disillusioned I’ve lived through all kinds of Christmases,  I bet you have too, and it took me a long time to realize that I am my own problem.  The entire Season, as we work it out in our homes, is like a Play, a Drama, and the script, with minor changes, remains the same generation after generation. It only seems to change, for the catch, I find, is that while the Play is the same, we, every few years, are given a different role to perform  in that Play.
          We liked the ‘child’ role best of all, and every story, TV show, book, magazine etc. does its best to bring again the rapture, joy, surprise that we felt when a child, and it just can’t be done. 
          Today’s kids are just as enchanted as we once were, and there’s no way that we, in an adult role, can possibly feel the same magic we did when we had the child’s part. We find that the adult roles aren’t as much fun or exciting as that first role.  That they’re stressful, a lot of work, and  admit it or not, wish for the sheer magic we felt as when we had the child’s part.
           My wise philosopher friend B.P. says that Christmas is like one’s life. They both are  long stories, with our roles ever-changing, and an adult, with grandchildren would be foolish to envy and try to still play the role of the child.  Or vise versa. Nevertheless, the magic and wonder we once felt remains in some secret corner of our heart.  The heart of that child we once were.
           However, if we are just half-way aware, and watchful, we begin to learn. Slowly and even reluctantly we learn so much we didn’t know was there, much less seek to know.  The lessons come unasked for, and, along the way, as the Story progresses we find that the ever-changing roles, if filled lovingly, brings us rewards we could never have dreamed would be ours.
           As children we were enchanted, and greedy receivers every step of the way. Listening, writing notes to Santa, ready to believe every move, every word, every scene, and no child should miss any part of that glorious First Act of the Play, for it was good, and what we needed at that time.
            But we aren’t children forever, and slowly, and sometimes with difficulty, we learn that there is a giving side to life.  Silently, and oft times reluctantly, we accept the new roles, and our children never guess that many a time we put aside our wants, even needs, so that we can give them what they ask ‘Santa’ to bring them. We were there once, and, remembering our joy, we encourage them  to experience the magic we once did. 
            And as my wise friend says, as time flows by, they too will learn with surprise, as we did,  that a much greater joy and feeling of contentment  comes to us, as we create and dedicate the entire month in remembrance of  “The Child”. 
            Ultimately we  find that it is the same Show, Play or Drama, call it what you might, and finally awaken to know that every word spoken or deed filled, are all for The Child. But for The Child who was born on this Day, in a lowly Manger, yet became  the Foundation of the entire Christian world. 
           We knew The Day was for the ‘child’ within each of us, but it can take our entire lifetime to awaken and  know it  always was and ever will be for The Child who had but One Everlasting, unchanging  Role to show us.  Love each other and your days will be blessed. 
          May we all have such a Day, and quietly, but prayerfully live again the day for The Child who dwells within us all.

Gram’s Feather Rolls

A Recipe not to be tossed aside lightly.

        I know, I know, I know.  Just mention the word Rolls and then find the word Yeast in the directions and we’re all ready to turn the page and leave the details to someone else.

        Don’t do that.  This is one where the Prep time can be counted in minutes and the cooking time, well, 15 to 20 minutes, but that takes no work from you, and besides that, ‘Your family will rise up and call you Blessed.’

        I know.  I published this recipe years and years ago, and I still have people tell me they use it and have passed it along to their daughters and daughters-in-law.   Me, too.

Grandma Bradford’s
Feather Rolls

2 and 1/2 cups milk     1 Tsp. salt
5 cups flour            2 Tbsp sugar
1 (one) package yeast   1/2 cup shortening

        Melt shortening, it can be done in the micro, but I said ‘melt’ it, not sizzling.  Just melted, that’s all.  Put the yeast in warm (not hot) milk, and set to one side.

        Mix ALL the ingredients well and put aside on your counter top for 1-and-1/2 to 2 hours.  Beat it down with a spoon,  and right then and there, put 1 (one) Tbsp in each muffin tin, using paper liners if you wish.

        Let the filled muffin tins stand on your counter for 20 minutes and then bake 15 to 20 minutes in an oven set at 425 degrees.

        Be prepared for bows and compliments, but don’t send your thanks to me.   I thanked Gram, and she told me the same thing I’m telling you.  To not thank her, but to someone else who came before her.  Egad.

        See, I just don’t know the root source of these goodies, but the recipe is so old it called for Yeast Cakes, not the dry yeast we use today, and there were no such things as  the ‘paper’ muffin-tin liners, that we so routinely use today.  But none if that matters, it all just works and that’s what’s important.  The shortening was probably Crisco, but it says melt, not sizzle.

        And as long as I’m in this domestic mood, and it’s the season for good eating, here is a simple, but marvelous recipe for Southern Pecan Pie.

        There are those who hate to give out tried and true recipes, but that’s not me.  Here goes:

        Take one cup of white corn syrup, one cup of dark brown sugar, one-third cup of just-melted butter, one heaping cup of shelled pecans, three whole, beaten (not whipped) eggs, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt.

        Mix all together, add the nuts, put in the pie shell and bake at 375 to 400 degrees until done.  There, and as far as I can figure out, Gram got this, of all places, from Ann Landers’ column which ran ‘forever’ in newspapers.

        Good luck.  Good eating. And be prepared to simply shrug your shoulders and say,  “Oh, it’s nothing.  Just put a few things together and anyone could do it.”  Yeah, but YOU did it.  Love ya.   Ethel

Flip on your printer and put both these recipes in your files.  You won’t be sorry.

Good, Fast, and Cheap

We can have any two, but not all three

        A man who does remodeling jobs came to look over an idea of mine and he measured, made notes, a phone call or two, and then nodded, yes, he could and would love to do it for me. 
        Naturally, I then asked for the cost and the time needed, and he said that it all depends upon what kind of job I want.  Well, I thought that was taken for granted, of course I wanted good material, used well, finished reasonably soon, and as inexpensive as possible.

Now, ‘inexpensive’ means the same as ‘cheap’.
And while I don’t like the  word, ‘Cheap’,  we know what it means, and
 I’m going to use it over and over.

        He went on, “Every customer, and no matter how big or small the job,  wants those same three things. Everyone wants their job to be  GOOD,  FAST and also as CHEAP (see how that word fits in?) as possible, but  you can’t have all three.
        Seemed simple to me, and looked puzzled, so he went on,  “You can have any two of them, but not all three.

     “If you choose GOOD and FAST, it will not be CHEAP.
     “If you want it GOOD and CHEAP, it will not be FAST, and,
     “If you want it FAST and CHEAP, it won’t be as GOOD as it could be.”

        I was baffled, but after he explained I grudgingly had to agree with him, but had never considered them in his manner.  Just the same, since then, I’ve often used them in my mind.  They get to you.
        This is how it goes.  The man you hire seldom does all the work himself, but hires other men, such as Plumbers, Electricians, and such, to do the work where they are experts.  And if you want the best workmen to do your job, and do it Cheaply, you have to catch them when their type of work is out of season, or they happen to have no other assignments. 
        At any time they’re idle, they often will work at a lower pay rate. But the catch is, you have to ‘grab’ them when they ‘happen’ to be free, and so there is no promise of time, and right there goes the FAST part of it all.
        “That’s how it goes, Ethel.  I can get GOOD material anytime, but GOOD  workman do not come cheap, and so your job won’t be FAST.
        “And,” he says, “I can give you FAST and GOOD, too for I  can always get Good materials, and Good (experts) can be called from other jobs, but I will have to pay them what they are earning, or more, on those other job, to get them to come.  And so there goes CHEAP.” 
     .  And, relentlessly, he went on, “You want it Cheap and Fast, again I can do it rather easily, but I will probably have to get cheap (unskilled)  workman, and so I can’t promise the  job will be as well done, or (GOOD) as if done by the best craftsmen,  and might have to take medium grade material to meet your cost requirements.”
         Anyone with jobs to be done must choose, and finally I laughed, and tried to find some flaw, but, like it or not, there is no flaw.  The Good, but Cheap won’t be Fast, and might take six months to a year (depending on the size of the job)  to get done.  The Good and Fast, you can get, but the job won’t be Cheap,  and the Fast and Cheap won’t be as Good. 
         I do want first class material, and want it installed by people who know their craft and not just learning, and dang it,  I also want it done within a week or two, but  the best workmen have jobs scheduled ahead, and I think of my poor pocketbook.  Oh me.
         The more I think about it, the funnier it gets.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small household job, or a soaring sky scraper, huge dam, ocean liner,  airplanes, it matters not, for when you get down to the core of it all, it’s the same. The three choices are there. 
         Public buildings are usually GOOD,  and the other two, FAST and CHEAP, get lost along the way. After all, it’s your taxes that pay the bill and the only way we can complain is how we vote, and by then we’ve usually forgotten the Fast and Cheap and only hope for the Good. Anyway, we pay the price and hope for the best.