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Sitting At The Kitchen Table

Related thread:
BS: Kitchen Table Reducks (19)


Jerry Rasmussen 24 Oct 09 - 10:13 PM
VirginiaTam 25 Oct 09 - 01:27 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Oct 09 - 02:42 PM
Waddon Pete 25 Oct 09 - 03:26 PM
VirginiaTam 25 Oct 09 - 06:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Oct 09 - 03:04 PM
BusyBee Paul 26 Oct 09 - 04:24 PM
jimmyt 26 Oct 09 - 05:43 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM
VirginiaTam 27 Oct 09 - 03:34 PM
VirginiaTam 27 Oct 09 - 03:38 PM
VirginiaTam 27 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM
VirginiaTam 27 Oct 09 - 05:29 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Oct 09 - 07:42 PM
billybob 28 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM
VirginiaTam 28 Oct 09 - 03:11 PM
VirginiaTam 28 Oct 09 - 03:17 PM
VirginiaTam 28 Oct 09 - 04:03 PM
VirginiaTam 28 Oct 09 - 04:05 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 09 - 04:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Oct 09 - 04:52 PM
VirginiaTam 29 Oct 09 - 11:43 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM
VirginiaTam 29 Oct 09 - 04:06 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM
Waddon Pete 31 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM
MickyMan 31 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM
Alice 31 Oct 09 - 08:49 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Oct 09 - 11:22 PM
billybob 02 Nov 09 - 07:23 AM
billybob 04 Nov 09 - 09:36 AM
VirginiaTam 04 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM
BusyBee Paul 04 Nov 09 - 03:13 PM
Waddon Pete 04 Nov 09 - 03:23 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Nov 09 - 06:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 06 Nov 09 - 08:12 PM
billybob 10 Nov 09 - 07:29 AM
Waddon Pete 14 Nov 09 - 04:30 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Nov 09 - 07:29 PM
maeve 16 Nov 09 - 04:38 PM
billybob 19 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Nov 09 - 12:22 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 24 Nov 09 - 11:45 AM
Waddon Pete 25 Nov 09 - 05:56 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Nov 09 - 10:49 AM
billybob 25 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM
Waddon Pete 28 Nov 09 - 04:32 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Nov 09 - 06:45 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Nov 09 - 11:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 10:13 PM

Sounds good, oldhippie. But I have to control my sugar imput. I can mix sugar free Breyers vanilla ice cream with sugar free A & W or better yet, sugar free IBC rootbeer and get pretty much the same taste.

When I was a teenager I was a car hop at an A % W root beer stand. Interestingly, they had so much trouble with wild boys coming on to the girl car hops that they decided to only hire young men. Nobody ever came on to me. At least not that I noticed.

Rats!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 01:27 PM

I pulled out a children's story I wrote a decade ago. The Trouble with Jeekalurp.

Been revising. Down to 16 pages now. Will try and find the illustrations and get them scanned. Maybe make a few more.

Then look into publication. Maybe.

I didn't know where else to share this info but I was busting to tell someone. Thank you for letting me do it in here.

The peanut butter oatmeal cookies I put on the table are still warm.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:42 PM

I'd love to read it, Tam. The publishing market is different for each genre, so I hae no ideas of how to get your story published, unless you do it through a print-on-demand publisher. Most book publishing companies have an unwritten policy that they only publish books by published authors (and no self-published authors.) That said, if you'd like to share the story I'd encourage you to publish it in whatever way is reasonable for you. Just the sharing is a great reward.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 03:26 PM

Yes, do share the story Tam...I'd like to read it too. It is often difficult to find the way in to the publishing world. A private arrangement advertised in the right publications could be the answer....but I'm no expert.

(The peanut butter oatmeal cookies were awesome!)

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:51 PM

It's a story of how a war almost erupted between two villages due to a number of factors, but starting (so the villagers thought) with the introduction of jeekalurp a sweet frothy dessert, which caused the men of only one village to grow beards. Then the weather changed and livelihoods were threatened and the men of the beardless village believed the four winds were offeneded by the way the jeekalurp was made.   The children of each village save the day, by putting the warring adult men to shame with their ingenuity and care for each other.

I need the fill in more detail about family gladsong and sadsong as performed at Ravdanoom the harvest holy days when the two villages meet on the plains to collect herbs and celebrate.

Well if I can find a place to upload it in total, maybe I will put a link here?

Thank you for the encouragement.   There's Reeses peanut butter chips in them cookies.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 03:04 PM

This is the start of a new chapter... a first, rough draft which will go through considerable editing, but the story is sweet.

Blessings Happen

        Many years ago, my wife Ruth and I were visiting a man from our church who was on the Sick and Shut-in list. He had a variety of serious health problems, including diabetes that had already cost him one leg. The diabetes had taken its toll on his heart, too and he had a pacemaker to keep it beating. Life was hard for him. He had a visiting nurse stop by once a day, but the rest of the time he was limited to his wheelchair. On one of our visits, the conversation wandered onto football. I expected that the man would be a New York Giants fan because where we were living at the time was so close to New York City. That wasn't the case. He loved the Green Bay Packers. I told him that my wife and I were going out to visit our family in Wisconsin and he became very excited and his eyes lit up.
"Will you bring back a Green Bay Packers cap for me? He asked.
"You can count on it! Jim" I answered.
"When will you be back?" he asked.
"In a couple of weeks" I replied. I knew he'd be counting the days.
When we returned from Wisconsin going to see Jim was one of our highest priorities. We didn't want to keep him waiting.
When we arrived at Jim's apartment we rang the doorbell and, a woman answered the door.
"We've come to visit Jim" I said, and I heard a faint voice from the other room.
"He's had a bad fall," she said. He just got home from the hospital."
"What happened," I asked.
"He fell out of his bed and couldn't get back up. He was lying on the floor until I came to visit the next day."   
When Ruth and I walked into the bedroom, Jim was lying on his side with his back facing us.
"Did you remember to bring me my Green Bay Packers cap?" he asked weakly.
"You know I wouldn't forget you, Jim," I answered. I walked around the side of his bed and leaned over. Gently lifting his head off the pillow, I slid the Green Bay Packers cap onto his head and softly laid his head back on the pillow.
"You're looking good, Jim!" I said, and a broad grin spread across his drawn face.
"You didn't forget!" he said. I think not forgetting was even more important than the cap. A couple of weeks later he was gone. I suspect he was wearing his Green Bay Packer cap when he walked up to St. Peter on two strong legs.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 04:24 PM

More great stuff Jerry! Tam, please do post a link here when you get your story settled.

Deirdre


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: jimmyt
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 05:43 PM

Hope there is a fresh pot brewing Jerry. Got folk group rehearsal in 20 minutes. THey have stagnated to almost boredom. My do-wop   er rhythm and blues group is doing great, Jerry. Go about 50 songs ready for a gig thursday night.Another gig Saturday night. Have re grouped, changed piano men and added a terrific horn man just moved back to the area. Plays sax, flute and trumpet. Had our first rehearsal last night and he plays well both reading or faking in every key. We are so excited to have him.   Hope all is well with you and the lovely Ruth. Congrats on the book, Jerry! you are da man. Jayne and I are hanging in there. She is singing lots more with both groups and the crowds LOVE her voice. SHe is finally relaxed enough to just have fun with the music rather than being so self-critical. COme see us!   jimmyt


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, the Fabulous JimmyT has entered the kitchen! How great to see, Jimmy, even if I can't actually "see" you. I'm glad your doo wop group is doing so well.

This morning I dropped by the dump to talk with John. I asked him about his recording studio and he's enthusiastic about having me do some recording for a Songs From The Gate of Beautiful CD. It's even possible that I can get Joe and Frankie from the now sleeping Gospel Messengers to come up and record backup vocals on a few tracks.

Life is good. And in another week or so, I hope to have a first shot done of a website that a friend is doing for me. The Green Bay Packer cap story is the introduction to a chapter I'm writing on the goodness and generosity of people. Everything seems to be coming together these days. Maybe I'll finish another chapter I started titled The Graciousness of Strangers.

And het, the legendary JimmyT and the Thunderbirds are back at the table! It doesn't get any better than that.

Oh yeah,if that wasn't enough, I had a wonderful conversation with Waddon Pete. Oh waddon night!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 03:34 PM

Well, I do have a 6 page sort of short story that is fiction based on fact. Quite humorous, though it doesn't resolve well. I could start posting here now in installments. Maybe you guys could help me with the ending?


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 03:38 PM

oops.. Forgot to mention that I enjoyed Jerry's sharing of Jim and the Green Bay Packers cap, experience. Lovely sad and sweet.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM

The Confessional
Part I
                                                                
In the dressing room at Sears, I heard them. In an acoustically ideal setting with high ceilings, thin walls and louvered doors, I heard the voices in the next stall. All I really wanted to do was find a couple of outfits suitable for teaching job interviews, and get the hell out of there. I hate shopping for clothes. I hate being forced to look into mirrors. Hate having to admit that the future comes too quickly, and that the present hardly exists. My memory of the past makes me unrecognizable every time I look into the wicked device. There is always a stranger looking back at me. But this time was different.   Instead of looking, the time I listened. I listened to everything that was said in the next stall in Central-Virginia, little, old, lady voices.

        "I'm going to have to stop for lunch soon, Melva. Breakfast is on its way out."

        "Didn't you go this morning before we left?" asks a voice almost identical in accent and antiquity.

That must be Melva, I thought as I sat on the bench and untied my Reeboks, little knowing that her question would prompt a more in depth response on the gastrointestinal regularity of her dressing stall mate, and not only that but that their conversation would have such a profound effect on me.

        "No! Breakfast would be gone and I'd be eatin' lunch now if I had.
Hmmmph! My stomach pokes out so, I look like I'm pregnant."

        "Well, maybe you are, Alice." Melva responded rather blandly.

        I didn't mean to listen, tried to ignore them as long as I could. I mean who would willingly listen to a Milk of Magnesia commercial in the making. But that pregnant bit, I mean these women had to be in their late 60's at least. I started really attending then. There was something about the dead-pan of their voices that held me in thrall.

        "Well, I don't know whose it could be."

        I was stunned. There was no joke in their voices. I simply couldn't comprehend southern women of this age behaving this way.   I mean they could have been my mother and my Aunt Dot. I began to suspect that these women were performing this little scenario in order to shock whoever might be listening in.   I flushed red and contemplated moving to a stall farther away, but I was already half undressed and to tell the truth I was fascinated. Unfortunately, their banter was punctuated by construction noises, as Sears ladies department was getting a face lift, so I really had to struggle to hear them.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:29 PM

The Confessional
Part II

"What if one of them workmen walks in while I'm dressing?" remarks Alice, "Likely scare him half to death." "Turn around and run I suppose."

By now I don't know why I'm surprised when Melva comes back with,
        "Less he likes what he sees, then he'll stay."

Why aren't they laughing, I wondered. I wished I could see their faces. I stopped undressing, and would-be writer that I am, I sat down on the bench and began rooting around in my handbag for pen and paper, hoping they would go on.   Melva did not disappoint.

        "Well would you just look... I put on two bras this morning. Wonder why I did that?"

        "Maybe you needed the extra support. I know I sure do."

        "There isn't a foundation garment made that could drag my bosom up off my belly, Alice. They should make breast suspenders for women like us."

        "Bet the Uniroyal Factory over in Scottsville has the materials for just such a bra. Let's design one and send it over to 'em."

        By now I was scribbling notes on the backs of sales receipts, in the margin of last week's church bulletin, even writing on tissues.   I dropped my pen when I heard them describing a black rubber bra that sounded like something from the back pages of Penthouse. The image of a senior citizen's sex catalogue crossed my mind. I did not have time to ponder the image. I was frantic trying to find another pen in my bag, as the one I had dropped rolled under the door. Eyebrow pencil in hand, I returned to scribing.

        "We'll be rich, quipped Melva, This provokes me though. I don't know why I put on two. I guess I was just senseless this morning."
                                        
        "Don't worry 'bout it. I've done dumber things. Last week I tried to start the car with the seat belt buckle. Tried to push it right on in to the ignition. Couldn't see why it wouldn't fit. Took me a bit to figure out I wasn't holdin' the car keys."

Oh my God, I thought. I've done that before. Maybe they aren't that old.    Or maybe I'm older than I think. Please say something to indicate your age. I was panic stricken at the idea that they might only be, as I was, in their mid thirties. Do I sound like that, I wondered?


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 07:42 PM

Your story is off to a delightful start, Tam. Keep posting it. You can post longer sections, too.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM

Anyone like a slice of Christening cake?
I have some left over from Sunday, what a beautiful day we had, the sun shone and it was almost as warm as summer. We shared the day with over fifty friends and family plus fifteen little ones.The village Church is very old and our mumber swelled the congregation ( very small village) who were very welcoming.Baby Prudence was asleep most of the service and did not cry when she awoke to Father Robert pouring Holy water over her head but actually smiled and clapped her hands!I was holding her older sister aged three, who said rather loudly" what is the green man doing to my little sister?" (Father Roberts robes were green and gold!)
It was a lovely service followed by a lunch in the Church Hall.
My daughter and son in law are so pleased to have moved into this village, everyone is so friendly without being nosey, and quite a few neighbours joined us for lunch.
Billy and I had entertained fourteen family on Saturday evening so we had a great family get together weekend, sorry Peter, no Pavlova left!
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 03:11 PM

The Confessional
Part III

"Oh, you were just distracted. What were you thinkin' about, Alice?"

        "Don't remember, but these silly things we do at our age puts me to mind of something. You remember Miss Winnie Jewell?"

        "How could I forget. She was the sourest old Sunday School teacher we ever had."

        "Yes, baptized in vinegar as they say. You like this paisley Melva, or is it too busy?"

        "Depends on what you where it with. What about Miss Winnie?"

        "Oh yes. Well you remember them pill box hats we used to wear to church, with the veils in front?"

        "UhHuh."
        
        "Well, Miss Winnie had that god-awful, cobalt blue thing. 'Member, with the peacock feathers in it?"

        "No, I don't recall that hat."

        "It may have been before you joined the church. Anyway it had a dark, grey veil. One Sunday we were taking Communion. Well, I wasn't 'cause I hadn't accepted yet, only 17 at the time. Miss Winnie, she was old then."

        "I know! She must've invented dirt. Here zip this up in back there."

        " 'Xactly! Well, when they were partakin' of the Body, Miss Winnie just popped that little cracker into her mouth, without liftin' the veil. She was just munchin' along when all of a sudden she fell out of the pew and onto her knees, fairly screaming, 'Praise be unto Gawd. He's holden' mah face, and the room is growin' dahkuh.' Well anyone with the sense of a post could see what happened. But she just kept on with 'the crackuh has a diffe'rnt textuh. Surely Gawd is callin' me foh some good purpose.'   And she rolled her eyes and said to the ceiling, 'but Ah'm unwuthy Lord.' And she swooned away.

        "Alice! She ate her veil?"

        "Yes, and thought she was having a religious experience. Melva, I like that dress. Coral suits you, it's a very good color."

        Tears of mirth were streaming down my face at this point. My sides were aching from holding the laughter in. I knelt on the floor and used the little bench as a writing desk. I must record it, all of it.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 03:17 PM

The Confessional
Part IV

        "Well Melva, you remember what the church was like back then. None of that Holy-rolling, talkin' in tongues business."

        "Yes and Miss Winnie must've worn the tightest girdle of all them WMU ladies."

        "That's why it was so peculiar. When she realized what she'd done she went the most perfect scarlet. With that blue hat on she looked like the Fourth of July."

        "Oh for a picture. Why didn't you tell me this before."

        "Didn't I? Anyway she was a sight. Miz Straightlaces all undone and on the floor, with her hat all cockeyed and crushed under her head. The veil wet with gnaw holes and bits of the body of Christ stuck all over it. Reverend Maynard Bartow on one side of her pattin' her hand and Deacon Rickman on the other, moppin his forehead with that specially monogrammed hankie he always carried in his breast pocket. I thought he was likely to faint too, from the way he was carryin' on."

        "I do remember hearing something 'bout him bein' sweet on her. I don't like the way this dress bunches around the middle."

        "Pretty fabric though Melva, you could wear a sweater or blazer over it."

        "What happened with Winnie and the Deacon? Were they ever 'seein' each other?"

        "Nothin' as far as I know. I never heard nor saw anything suspicious about them. Wonder why they never got together. Him bein' widowed and her never married. I think he could have mellowed her some."

        "Yes he was a nice man. I remember he always had penny candy in his pockets to give to any children who'd memorized a new Bible verse."

        "Maybe that's why. Maybe she didn't want to be mellowed. Or maybe she didn't want to appear foolish, after all they were quite old."

        "That's sounds more like Winnie."

        "Which one?"

        "Oh, the lilac one. I like it much better than that traffic light yellow."

        "Not the blouse, Melva. Which one sounds more like Winnie?"

        "Oh! Well you were holding up the two shirts so I thought you meant....... never mind. I think Winnie was more worried about her standing in the community than about happiness."

        "Why do you think so?"

        "Just think about it Alice. Those Sunday School lessons. Every other one she'd say, 'Children! Keep your hearts and your minds open and clean as an empty book. Let Gawd have the only pen that can write in you, foh he wull put only good things theyuh.'   And all with that milk-curdling scowl."

        "And a voice to crack concrete." You're right. She just enjoyed bein' mean too much.   I remember that Joe Dyerle, runnin' around after church apin' her. "


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 04:03 PM

The Confessional
Part V (final)

Arrrghh! What happened to Winnie Jewell? Alice, you can't leave me hanging like this. I need to know why she became the woman Alice and Melva described. I wasn't permitted to remain in this reverie though, because both women suddenly chimed Joe Dyerle's chant in unison and started chuckling.
        
        "Children should have empty heads so ……..
life can stomp 'um like cana'lopes."

        "He always was a rascally boy."

        "Yes Alice, but the best lookin' one in the entire Intermediate Department. Too bad about him gettin the polio."

Oh please stop, I prayed.    I can't take yet another character. Winnie Jewell is quite enough for the moment.   Besides, I am getting a terrible cramp in my thighs, and my feet are going to sleep.

        "Wonder why she was such a crabapple and why she never married.? Well, I gotta go to the ladies. Think I'll just get this lilac blouse."

        "I'm about ready for lunch. How does Morrison's Cafeteria sound?"
        
God must have been listening to my prayer.   A shudder went through me as I visualized the picture He might be looking down on. Me, half clothed, kneeling, though not penitently, in this little stall, greedily taking down a private conversation.   

        "Good. Today's liver an' onions. You gonna get that coral dress?"

        "What? I've no need for new clothes at my time of life."

        "Then why'd you ask me out shopping, Melva Morene?"

        "Why for the sparkling conversation. You know Hank never was very chatty and since the stroke he doesn't say much of anything these days."

I heard their door click and the padding of their soft-soled shoes. I prayed they wouldn't see my pen on the floor outside the door. Horrified, I watched as the toe of a tan orthopedic shoe nudged my errant Bic back under the door of my stall. I shrank back to the far wall, praying there would not be knock or comment. The tan shoes moved on.

Gasping for breath and stomping the tingles out of my feet and lower legs, I sorted through my notes, added bits of what I remembered but didn't have time to write. Hoping I got enough down to tickle my memory so I could fill in details later.

        I'm not usually nosy.   I just couldn't help myself. I had the most peculiar feeling I was listening to my own future. I shouldn't have sneered at their quaint voices and regionalized personalities because they are what I will be in a little over a score of years. I guess what amazed me is that I truly had to fight the urge to follow them to Morrison's. I wanted to learn more about them and about the 'me' that I was to become.    Winnie Jewell and a parade of her acquaintances teased my imagination. Only Melva and Alice could satisfy my curiosity.

I needed closure.   There was nothing left for me to do but to concoct an explanation for Winnie's personality. It seems I'm not finished writing yet. Maybe, I'll never be. I dressed myself, half heartedly selected one of the outfits for purchase and left that "confessional" wondering what my penance should be.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 04:05 PM

Whew! Thanks for letting me play and for the encouragement.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 04:21 PM

Jaynesendsher best to you and RUth, JErry. Tam, the story is great! Jerry I enjoyed the sweet story about the Packers cap as well. I feel like I am in the presence of master storytellers here! Think I will take my shoes off and kick back for a while!


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 04:52 PM

The story is BRILLIANT, Tam! You must be channeling Flannery O'connor. The story makes me laugh, remembering an incident in a store when I was buying a piece of lingerie for my wife. The woman who waited on me was probably in her 60's (which seemed quite old at the time.) When I expressed interest in a particular item, she held it up in front of her so I could see what it looked like "on." The other saleswomen in the store were of similar vintage or older (maybe even as old as I am now) and they all burst into face-flushing giggles. I imagine they retold the whole experience many times over, with northern accents...

Hey, Jim:

I'm glad you enjoyed the Green Bay Packers story. I'm getting more background on the man, whose name I've long since forgotten. I just called him Jim because the name carries such prestige. As it turns out, his name was Curtis Cowan. My friend Frankie from the Messengers remembered it. I'm going to find out who he was, as I didn't know him at all. His nickname was "Peewee," and he was active in my church, long before my coming. I may want to include a little about his life and how he came to be living alone in a modest apartment.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 11:43 AM

Hi Jerry

Actually that little fiction is based on a lot of random facts squished together.

I really did purposely eavesdrop on a conversation between to elderly ladies in Sear dressing room. They did talk about the workman surprising them in mid dress. My Mom has warn two bra's all day and didn't realise it. She also tried to start the car with seat belt. So have I. My Mom's twin ate her veil during communion and nearly passed out thinking she was having a religious experience. Melva, Alice, Winnie Jewell, Joe Dyerle, Rickman, Bartow and Maynard mixed names of real people, I just put the bits together and embellished.

Joe Dyerle (pronounced die early) would have been my ex spouse's great uncle but he actually did die at 14 or 15 from polio. Odd huh?


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 01:14 PM

Hey, Virginia:

Your post reminded of something I wrote awhile back about memories. Here it is:

About Memories

Memories have a life of their own. Through the years, each of the family's memories become interwoven into a single history. Never mind that they may not be accurate. They are right, which is even more important than being accurate. Memories become family myths and legends, accepted as being true. They make sense out of lives that sometimes don't make any sense. In incorporating family memories into the songs that I've written, I've taken memories without regard to whose memories they are, or when and where the events occurred. They are all a part of a whole.

In writing Uncle Jim for example, the song really isn't about Uncle Jim, as such, even though he and his son Howard are in the first verse. Farm life was farm life, and my memories of spending time on my Uncle Jim's farm merge with memories of times spent at my Uncle Ross's and my Grandfather Holliday's farms (both my memories and those of my Mothers.) The verse:

   "Old Uncle Jim he sits, sits in his chair he sits
    Reading Reader's Digest for the fourteenth time
    Puffing on a bowl of old Prince Albert
    And sipping on some elderberry wine
    And the kids will all be sitting 'round the Motorola
    Listening to their favorite show
    Sitting, swapping dares to be the first upstairs
    And trying not to shiver, 'cause the floors are cold"

has enough memories for the whole family, stretched out over a couple of generations. It was my Father who read Reader's Digest for the fourteenth time. I remember the small smoking cabinet that sat next to his chair. It was my Father's chair and none of us were comfortable sitting there. If we dared to sit in the chair, we'd immediately get up and offer it to my Father if he entered the room. The smoking cabinet doubled as a magazine rack, with slots on the sides. It stood on spindly legs, and was made out of cherry wood, darkened to a deep reddish-brown over the years. If you opened the small door on the front of the cabinet, there was a single compartment, lined with copper where my Father kept his Prince Albert and his pipes. And what about my Uncle Jim? I don't know whether he smoked Prince Albert, or not. I don't even know if he smoked a pipe. But Prince Albert and Reader's Digest were part of a time and place I remember well. The elderberry wine is a memory of my Father, too. My Father made wine in the basement. Our basement had just a dirt floor when I was a kid. It was a mysterious, musty, dark place. In order to get into the furnace room, you had to walk through the darkest of no-man's lands and feel your way over to the cord hanging from the bare light bulb in the center of the furnace room. We had a long row of elderberry bushes along one side of the house, and my Father would harvest them in the fall, crushing their small dark, pungent berries into a paste to ferment for wine. Many years later, long after I'd left home I made elderberry wine. I was smoking a pipe in those days, although Prince Albert was too harsh for my taste. And I must admit, I wasn't reading Readers Digest, even one time. But all of those memories have become a part of who I am.

The Motorola? We had a Motorola when I was a kid. Or at least I remember that our large, floor radio was a Motorola. That's enough for me. Whatever brand it was, it had a large, raised green dome with a map of the earth on it. Gazing at that eerie green light, North and South American would merge into a strange-looking genie. I suppose that makes sense, as the radio took us to amazing places. My sisters and I would lie on the rug in our living room, listening to our favorites mysteries like The Shadow, and The Whistler, or be scared out of our wits by Inner Sanctum.   Or perhaps it would be The Hit Parade, which we listened to faithfully every week to see what the number one song in the nation was. Maybe Mom would make a batch of Divinity, chocolate or wintergreen fudge and a large bowl of popcorn for us to nurse through the night. The kids in Uncle Jim were me, my sisters, Mom and a couple of my Aunts when they were little kids, and my cousins Howard and Robert. In my memory, we all grew up together. The part about swapping dares to be the first upstairs is Mom's memory of her life on the Waterman Farm. Never mind that they didn't have electricity, so she and her sisters couldn't have been sitting listening to that Motorola. It wasn't me, either, because we didn't have an upstairs, unless you counted the attic, which you could only reach by climbing a ladder, propped precariously over the stairway leading down into the basement. I knew about "shivering, 'cause the floors were cold," though. We only had two bedrooms in our house, and me being the youngest, I migrated from an enclosed section of our front porch during the summer, to the living room or dining room in the winter. The porch was on posts, with nothing between the floor and the ground except cold Wisconsin air. But, it was the only room I ever had of my own, growing up and I'd stick it out as far into the winter as I could. I'd stand in the living room next to the door leading out onto the porch and brace myself for the cold blast of air when I'd open the door. I'd hop across that floor like I was running across an iceberg and dive into bed, crunching myself into the smallest possible ball. Then slowly, I'd venture a toe out under the covers, and wait until it was warm there, taking a few minutes to finally get the bed warm enough to stretch out. My Grandmother Holliday heated rocks in the stove to warm my Mother's bed out there on the Waterman Farm. It never occurred to me to ask Mom to heat rocks in our kitchen stove to heat my bed.

The third verse of Uncle Jim is another collection of family memories:

   "After all the work was done, down by the cow pond
    The kids would all go sliding through the old corn fields
    Waiting for the bell to call them home to supper
    And racing old Buster down the hill
    And Jim would just be finishing the evening chores
    He'd be working by the back yard light
    And even though it's late, you know the stock can't wait
    You've got to get 'em bedded down for a Winter's night

Now, Buster was Mom's dog, long since dead. He wasn't a Stephen King monster chasing the kids down the hill, with red eyes glowing like coals. It wasn't Jim finishing the evening chores, either. It was my Uncle Ross. I can still picture the barn on my Uncle Ross's farm. When I was a kid, it was my cousin Robert I who'd come racing back to the house at dark. If we were lucky, my Aunt Ruth would have freshly-made molasses cookies and ice cream waiting for us.

And that's how memories work. It's easy to understand how through time, family memories become as much myths and legends as actual memories.It's the shared memories that make us families.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:06 PM

Wow Jerry

How do you do that? Draw up memories, condense them without making them seem trite or forced.

You tweaked some of mine. We would have candy making weekends when the whole house smelled of divinity, seafoam, fudge, peanut brittle, Martha Washington candy. I miss that.

And my dad's usual pipe tobacco (when he wasn't smoking unfiltered Camels) was Walter Raliegh and he had a lovely cherry wood revolving pipe caddy. We kids used to love sniffing each bowl. He used a different pipe for different tobaccos.

Our basement was refurbished into family room, Bar, TV and furniture one end, play room the other. It had linoleum floor and we kids were always being hollered at for skating on it. Sidewalk skates with key and little metal wheels. The basement was huge (nearly the whole of a ranch style house) so lots of rambunctious activity took place there. Lots of places to hide in the whole house, but the basement was best. My favourite was the shelves inside my dad's bar. I could squish in between the box of photographs and the box of plastic cups, napkins, swizzle sticks and stuff. My brother would set up tickle machines, He would lie on his stomach across one or 2 chairs and we little ones would have crawl through the contraption as fast as we could without getting tickled. Or he would hide under an army blanket and play glob. We would all scurry about, trying to get past him without getting caught. Or he would pretend to be a TV set. He would launch into a reenactment of some show or commercial and whenever anyone said click, he changed channels. It was hilarious, because it would make unlikely sentence combinations, like

Today's guest on the Merv Griffin show is, click, Snap, Crackle and Pop, click and brought to by, click Oh a Kid'll eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the chocolate cookie outside for, click, Let's Make a Deal. We would be rolling.

But my favorite game was when I got to be giant. Whenever I had ear infections and colds etc. I would be put downstairs on the sofa, in a bundle of warm clothes out of the dryer, where all the laundering and ironing etc was going on. Big bro, used to pretend to be tiny little person on the floor and every time I coughed or sneezed, he would go rolling away like a tumbleweed, grab onto the pole in the center of the room and hang on for dear life, while I hooted and guffawed.


The name Buster put me to mind of about a quarter of my wardrobe. I had Buster Brown skirts, shorts and tops. I always called my Buster Brown skirts Olive Oyl skirts, because they had that double stripe trim at the hem.


Smell smell butter sugar caramel
Roasting peanuts for a Saturday candy carousel

Turn turn Daddy's tobacco toy
Fiddle with pipes, make a pipe cleaner boy

Play play the seeking game, hide
Crawl under the chairs for the tickle man ride



WOW!! I did it! Sort of.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM

How do I do that, Virginia? Easy: I try not to think too much. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM

Tonight is Halloween, and we're ready. I've always enjoyed the holiday, as a kid and as an adult. We get over 200 kids on a typical Halloween but we might run less than that this year because it's going to be raining. Probably the best Halloween I've ever had was
four or five years ago when the Shellback Chorus was over here. Colin Kemp, Noreen, Theresa Tooley and Carole Etherington were at our house and they had a great time going to the door with their masks on and giving candy to the kids.

Maybe I'll watch The Body Snatcher with Boris Karloff after the kids stop coming. It's one of my favorite stories. This morning they were showing Dead of Night... the English anthology of supernatural stories. It's another of my favorites.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 05:17 PM

I enjoyed your story, Tam. Ingenious! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Jerry, I guess we'll have a quiet time over here as well. There is mist and rain here too. Now, Quatermass and the Pit...there's a good film for Halloween!

They had some cakes in our local bakery with "Happy Halloween" on them. Struck me as a bit odd! See what you think. I've left a plateful on the table.

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: MickyMan
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM

Yes Jerry,
It's Halloween night here in Eastern CT (Colchester), and although rain was also predicted here we have only gotten a few minutes of mist. The full moon has been peeking through the clouds every once in a while and the trick or treaters are out in pretty good numbers. We get 60-75 here and so it's worth my while to bring down the box of decorations and do the porch up for them. We have some fake gravestones I made many years ago, a plastic motion activated skull that starts clacking its teeth, a couple of hanging tapestries, a wrought iron owl with a candle inside, a chandelier with a skull for a base, and assorted other Halloween stuff. The great thing about Halloween is that all decorations are measured by their effectiveness on the young ones, so all kinds of homemade and storebought stuff fits the bill ... the gaudier the better. I stay away from the blood and gore though, and try to pitch it to the little ones. Hey ...its good to set the mood, and the kids seem to appreciate it. It's actually turned out to be a perfect, balmy Halloween. All the best to everyone!


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Alice
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 08:49 PM

The kids in our neighborhood have all grown up, so I will have to wait for the next crop of babies to be old enough to trick or treat in a few years. I am ready with some treats, but so far no one has come to the door.

I recall a Halloween when I was about ten years old. We were in eastern Montana, about 300 miles from our home in Helena, western Montana, visiting an aunt and uncle in the little town of Roundup.

I was the only child young enough to trick or treat, and was sad that I might miss it, so we came up with a costume of some kind and my dad drove me down the hill to a few houses near my aunt's. I went up to the door and said "trick or treat". The man asked, "Where did you come from?" I said, "Helena". He jumped back in shock and called everyone to the door to see the trick or treater who came all the way from Helena.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:22 PM

We ended up getting 104 kids... a major drop off from recent years when we've had more than 200. The best thing was that early in the evening the rain held off, so most of the really little kids had a chance to go trick or treating. The first kids were a little later this year, around 6:15 or so, and around 8:15 it started raining hard and the streets cleared off.

Anyone want 140 pieces of candy?

And, welcome to the table, Mickey Man.

My first year living in New York City I bought a lot of candy and popcorn balls figuring at least the kids in my apartment complex would come to the door. Not a single kid came, so I went out on the street, armed with popcorn balls and candy. There were kids sitting on the stoop, but they' wouldn't take any of the candy. Probably figured I was some sort of pervert. When I offered the candy to kids on the street they said, "Naw, man... give us money!"

Where have all the flowers gone?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 07:23 AM

Morning all, really lovely and warm here in sunny Frinton!
We had a Halloween party with the grand children, my daughter dressed the two little girls as pumpkins, and they had six little people to tea, green egg sandwiches and jelly with plastic creatures floating around.We were saying that until recently that the shops never had anything for Halloween but now they are full of decorations and dressing up clothes, getting more like America day by day.

Billy and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday evening with an Indian take away and bottle of wine, and watched fireworks from the houses at the back of us. Guy Fawkes day is on the 5th but we seem to have firework week rather than one day!
Billy has his 6 months check up at the hospital on Wednesday so positive thoughts would be gratfully recieved!
Coffee is very hot ... be careful.
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 09:36 AM

Just back from the hospital and the good news is they do not want to see Billy for a year!!
Celebration cakes all round
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 02:48 PM

Woohoot! Excellent news Wendy. Long may it reign.


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 03:13 PM

Great news Wendy.

It's interesting reading all your views on Hallowe'en. We've noticed it getting more popular in the last few years in the UK, where previously we had our bigger celebration 5 days later on Guy Fawkes (Bonfire) Night. I have to say that I personally find Hallowe'en a disturbing event - I was brought up to "celebrate" All Soul's Day on 1st November. I wonder how many people know that Hallowe'en is All Hallow's Eve and what that stands for?.

Just wondering.

Deirdre


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 03:23 PM

Yes Wendy...good news indeed!

I remember when I was young that we didn't use pumpkins to make our lanterns. We used a swede. I can still smell the burnt swede from the candle. One of those evocative smells.

I was interested to see that there were a lot of unused pumpkins left to rot this year....

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 06:30 PM

What great news, Wendy!!!!!!!!!! Pass a few Huzzzahs on to Billy Bob for us.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 08:12 PM

Just when you think... When my book was published last February I put a great deal of energy into promoting it. I created a promotional package that I sent out to several newspapers and area churches, and hand delivered to several book stores in the area. I did get two newpaper reviews, and one bookstore singing. That was it.
Fast forward six month or so. Last week I mailed out 30 promotional packages to area churches. It's too early to know if I'll get any responses, but the day I mailed them out I got a call from one of the churches I sent the package to last February.

You'd hardly call all of this a landswell.

Today, I took the package to three libraries in the area, and stopped by the one bookstore that gave me a book signing last March. All in all, it took about a half an hour. I already have two commitments for a concert/book signing at libraries and the third person seemed very enthusiastic. I feel pretty confident that the Director will call me back very soon with a date. The bookstore? I'm going to do a folk-gospel concert there after the first of the year.
A half an hour and four bookings.

Ya never know.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 07:29 AM

Thanks for your good thoughts all,I have passed them on to Billy :-)

I too was brought up to celebrate All Souls Day Deirdre, or All Saints Day. But October 31st is our wedding anniversary so we have had quite a few parties on that day over the years , also means that Billy does not forget the date!

We went for a really long walk on the beach yesterday, beautiful sunshine and not too cold, came home to hot chocolate and cake.( I will leave some on the table.
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 04:30 PM

I bet it's not beautiful sunshine now, Wendy! There's a gale a-blowing with the rain slamming down. Just the weather to roar out a defiant sea song to the elements or sing Bob Coltman's "Patrick Spenser"!

Have you noticed how some songs sound really special when sung in certain locations (and weathers?) So... I'm tucked up indoors with a glass of wine and a new (to me) Gordon Bok CD and all is right with the world. Let the weather do its worst. Throw another log on the fire Jerry and let's mis-remember the good ol' days!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 07:29 PM

Hey, Peter: Gordon is a good friend, and he just had his 70th birthday party. He's a good man, always having enough time to encourage newcomers.

Last night, my friend Susan Trump and I split an evening at the U'n
I coffee house in Springfield, Mass. Driving up from Derby, we fought our way through stretches of driving rain and fog which last well into the night. It definitely was not a night to go out, but we had a real good turnout and a wonderful evening. I've know Susan for many years since I booked her a couple of times in my concert series. She added harmonies on a couple of songs I did for a gospel album I never released and she's recorded at least four songs I've written. She'd never met Ruth and I'd never met her husband Jack. They just celebrated their 7yh wedding anniversary, so you can tell it's been a long time since we've seen each other. The crowd was warm and receptive and I sold some books and CDs, as did Susan. A great night.

I might have to do this more often.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: maeve
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:38 PM

Jerry said, "Hey, Peter: Gordon is a good friend, and he just had his 70th birthday party. He's a good man, always having enough time to encourage newcomers."

I can vouch for that. Gordon has a way listening underneath the surface, and finding the kernal of gold that can become a thing of beauty. Wicked sense of humor there, too.

Homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream are there on the table. Pass your plates across and I'll serve up a few slices.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM

That apple pie was lovely thank you.
Popped into the kitchen but no one home, so I have put another log on the fire and made some new coffee, the pot was cold!

Another beautiful sunny day here on the Essex coast,but lots of men in yellow jackets with theodolites marking out the pavements and road ready to install a new gas main! The rumour is they are starting the digging before Christmas and it will take six weeks, it is bad enough keeping a business going here in the winter but with the road dug up it is going to be a worry!Also they will have to turn off the gas so I cannot seee clients having aromatherapy in a cold treatment room.

Never mind count my blessings and enjoy the sunshine!
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 12:22 PM

Theodolites! Man, there's a word from the past. I was thinking about the mapping course I took for Geology in college. We used theodolites, but I couldn't remember the word. And there it is on your post, Wendy.

Thanks for refreshing the coffee. I'm going to mix up a batch of oatmeal/raising cookies today or tomorrow. I'll put a few out on the table.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 11:45 AM

You'd better come on in the kitchen, because it's going to be nasty outside. I've been spending some time on a thread I started about the tradition in all music, and what it means, and got caught in the cross-fire of pedants. Time to come back in the kitchen, brew a hot mug of tea and have one of the whole wheat blueberry muffins I baked yesterday. Help yourself. I'm on a whole wheat quest, vowing that anything baked with white flour will never sully my tongue. (Where in the world does the word "sully" come from?) I've been lured onto the rocks by "No Sugar Added" baked goods, conveniently forgetting for awhile that when you put white flour in your body it is almost instantly converted into sugar. No Sugar Added baked goods are much healthier for you if you don't eat them. This is my second shot at whole wheat, stone ground blueberry muffins. The first batch turned out to be perfect for knocking someone unconcious at fifty paces if you have a good pitching arm. These are much better. I'll leave some on the table and after Thanksgiving make a double batch of oatmeal raisin-walnut cookies.

I'm starting to work on our Christmas card and it is an invitation to "sit at the Welcome Table." I always liked that concept of Heaven. It has the biggest kitchen table you've ever seen and you can "eat and never get hungry." Or get diabetes or be overweight. "Sign me up for the Christian Jubilee."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 05:56 AM

Hello Jerry,

"Caught in the cross-fire of pedants".... what a lovely word picture! Yes, it was a shame that happened...still...let's spread the table with goodies, including your blueberry muffins (not the ones you baked especially for the baseball season (!)brew some good coffee and put the world to rights. We might also meditate on the fact that the wind is wuthering round the gables and the leaves are swirling across the street and piling up in drifts by the gate. There was* nothing better than kicking through the dry leaves when we were kids. If they are wet, you looked out for some of the really big ones...the ones that had landed and trapped some water underneath. If you stamped on them you could make quite a splash (which annoyed those wearing white socks as I recall!)

One day...one day....we must get the kitchen tablers together in reality! Now what a day that would be!

Best wishes.

Peter

*still is, if I'm honest!


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 10:49 AM

Hey, Peter. I could have said "The pedants are revolting," but I didn't want to stoop to their level.

Yeah, it would be a great thing if we could all gather around our kitchen table here in Derby, or any other assigned table. Unfortunately, that's about as possible as a Beatles reunion. Now, a serial gathering is always a possibility. We are a convenient, relatively inexpensive trainride from Grand Central Station in New York City, so if anyone is coming over to New York, we are a definite possibility for an in-person session at our kitchen table. On rare occasion we get up into northern New England, so there's always a possibility of getting together around the kitchen table of one of our friends up in that area.

The reality of life is that I only see my family once every couple of years because they are a thousand miles away and they don't travel, so it's up to us to get out to see them. Ruth's side of our family is almost almost all "local" so we get a chance to visit with them all the time. Tomorrow we're driving down to Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City) for Thanksgiving and will be with thirty or forty family members. On Christmas, they'll all be at our house, so there'lll be plenty of opportunity for table talk.

If you or any of the other table folks get over this way, remember that you are always welcome.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: billybob
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM

Jerry, have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. I always feel sad that we are not with Billy's family for thanksgiving in New Jersey at this time of the year. When his mother was alive all the family would gather at her house, last time we were able to visit her for Thanksgiving there were over 40 , sisters , brothers in law and nieces and nephews, lovely treasured memories.
Enjoy the turkey and pumpkin pies and think of us over in England , no holiday here just a normal working Thursday.
Wendy


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:32 PM

So....how was Thanksgiving? As Wendy remarked, it was just an ordinary working day over here.

It was good to see Dan back on Mudcat on your "other thread", Jerry. Let's try and steer him towards our kitchen table. I hear he brews a mean cup of coffee!

Thought I'd share this with you all. In my line of work, when you are throwing words at the page at a fearful rate, you can't always get things right. One correspondent noted that I had used the wrong spelling of stationery. (Stationary and stationery). That led to this revelation:

"No matter how hard you push the envelope, it is still stationery!"

Anyone know any others like this?

I've left some apple crumble on the table. Dig in!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:45 PM

Hey, Pete: We had a wonderful thanksgiving. To be specific, the traffic driving down to Queens was light, so we made it in just less than an hour and forty five minutes. Same on the way back. My son and daughter-in-law came down later and it took them a few minutes short of forever to get there from closer than we are. I'm not much of a big crowd type, and there close to forty people in my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's small house. I really enjoy all the family, and I appreciate having them nearby as my side of our family are more than a thousand miles away and I only get to see them every two years, if that. But, I'm more of a kitchen table type. I enjoy conversations among a small number of people, and that's usually not possible in a large gathering. This Thanksgiving was different. One of my favorite human beings on earth is my brother-in-law Everett and he came early. Everett, Ari (short for Ariezelma) and I had a long discussion about the good things about getting old. Ari almost died a year ago from heart problems and is half the size she used to be, but she is full of life to the point of overflowing all over everyone. Everett has more health problems than he can count on both hands and feet, but both of them are enjoying life thoroughly. We ended up talking about all the things you CAN do when you get old. That's not the usual conversation for old folks. They want to sit around exchanging war stories about all their operations. Later in the day, those conversations raged for about an hour, and I managed to slip away. Everett is my most enthusiastic reader, and he is one of the funiest, most joyful people I've ever met. He calls me every couple of weeks, wanting more to read. He's sold fifteen copies of my book to other residents of the senior center in Brooklyn where he lives, and can hardly wait until I finish my next book. I don't write like that. I have to live it, and then I write it. Living takes time. So, I brought him every scrap of writing I've done in the last couple of months... one page stories, unfinished chapters, outlines and quotes. He said he'd call me on Monday and ask when I was going to send him more stuff.

And that's the way the day went for me. I got into a long, respectful discussion about the Muslim faith with Ari and Everett, and when my son-in-law Pasha arrived, I got him aside and told him that I'd clarified the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and how different the two branches of Islam are and he said, "You've only been in our family a few years and you know more about Islam than any of the rest of the family." Not quite true, because my daughter-in-law who is a Baptist Minister was a Muslim for about ten years. But, I probably know more than anyone else in the family.

I spent some time with my brother-in-law's son-in-law talking about my book, and some of the stories I've been writing for the new one, and it opened up another long, interesting conversation. It was as if I was creating a kitchen table all day, moving from one part of the house to another.

And then there was the food. Ruth made a list of the dishes and there were over 30. There was just about every kind of soul food imaginable and a wide variety of deserts. I was irritatingly good, eating only a small meal and not having any desert. But, I was happy and I didn't have to hide the scale under the bed the following morning.

Most of all, everyone was in joyful spirits and expressed how thankful they were for all the blessings in out lives. They're good people, and I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Kitchen tables are where you find them. Once in awhile they're in kitchens.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Sitting At The Kitchen Table
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 11:13 PM

My friend Nathan Moore just joined Mudcat at my invitation. He's a fine youg musician and songwriter from Oregon who has a band, The Lowtide Drifters. I encouraged him to drop by the kitchen table, so I'm refreshing this thread.

More good stuff, later.

Jerry


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Mudcat time: 3 December 11:44 AM EST

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