Sunday, November 1, 2020

Editor's Corner

 


By Mary E. Adair

November 2020

“The house was very quiet, and the fog—we are in November now—pressed against the windows like an excluded ghost.” ― E.M. Forster, Howards End


The Halloween this year boasts a seldom occurring Blue Moon, that is, it seldom occurs on Halloween. But here in the states, our view of it, except on the Pacific coast perhaps, was limited to none or only the setting. And what can we expect from November that is always ushered in on the doorstep of Halloween?


Perhaps we best look forward to Thanksgiving as it becomes less and less honored as stores begin pushing the Christmas giving a little earlier each year. Still, it is a family holiday and your editor's favorite one of the year.


The only author, however,  who mentioned food this issue (besides our Cooking columnist) is Marilyn Carnell in her column "Sifoddling Along" although not specifically Thanksgiving menus. Mattie Lennon, in "Irish Eyes" features the author Polly Hughes and along with a joke or two gives us the link to a radio play of his own.


Judy Kroll's column "On Trek" expresses her gratefulness on escaping the Oregon fires that had forced evacuation. Thomas F. O'Neill expounds on the differences governing arms and ammunition where he teaches and in America where he was born, in his column, "Introspective." John Blair in "View from My Back Steps" devotes his info to the beautiful Passion Flower.


"Armchair Genealogy" isn't genealogy this issue but a lively explanation why it isn't -- hint: the weather. Rod Cohenour serves up Russian Chicken, a pet recipe of his wife, in his column "Cooking with Rod."


Bruce Clifford has three poems: "This is Not My Country,"The Ride," and "Remember Me." Walt Perryman shares "American," "True Morning Thought," and "Re-run Aprons." Bud Lemire has pictures for three of his four poems, "Chaos 2020," "Your Friend," "This World Today," and "Say Achoo!" John Blair sent "The Cat's Meow" and "Sunflower."


Mike Craner who wears the Webmaster hat and is co-founder of this eZine keeps it humming along for which this person is thankful. The info about the Blue Moon was one of his bits of interest.


Look for us here again in December!


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This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Armchair Genealogy

 


By Melinda Cohenour

An Historic Ice Storm cripples Oklahoma leaving a half million people (assume 2.5 average population per customer account with OGE announcement of 200,000 OKC homes without power) in Oklahoma City alone. My customary Armchair Genealogy column could not be sent as not only our electric service but our email service as well was out. Thus, my posts documenting our personal distress as well as that of our friends and neighbors in the area of this historic and tragic ice storm comprise this month's story.



First inklings: Winter ❄️❄️ Storm Warning Freezing 🥶 Rain 🌧️🌧️🌧️ until Noon today then rain (if temp gets above 32°) all day


Winter ❄️❄️❄️❄️ Storm Warning Continued. Large trees down in areas of town.



City of Bethany
Sheniqia Haynes • 10/29/2020
Tree Debris Removal Plan. In order to allow citizens sufficient time to gather storm limbs on their property, city crews will begin curb side tree limb debris removal on Monday, November 16th, at 6AM. This will be a free service.


Please have limbs cut to no longer than 10 feet in length and place them in a pile parallel and within 6 feet to the curb/ driving surface. Please keep limb piles away from water and gas meters, fences, vehicles and overhead obstructions.



KFOR TV: As of Friday morning, more than 200,000 customers statewide are still without power, including about 116,000 in Oklahoma City. OG&E officials said more customers will have power restored every day. Their current estimated time of restoration is as follows: Woodward - by Sunday night. Enid - by Sunday night.



All other areas - by the end of next week. Officials said they are unable provide estimates for specific addresses at this time. As they continue to restore power, they will provide more updates to restoration estimates.



EMAIL TODAY 10/31/2020 FROM OGE:
We know many of you are still dealing with power outages related to this statewide ice storm. Please know our crews are working day and night to get all customers back up as quickly and safely as possible. Since Monday, we have restored power for more than 230,000 customers. We have over 3,500 restoration personnel in the field (representing 18 states) working to restore power for our customers. This is the largest contingent of assistance in our history.



So far we've found 639 poles, 566 crossarms, 91 transformers and 178 transmission structures that have been damaged or destroyed.


We expect to restore power for customers in Woodward and Enid by Sunday. A majority of the Oklahoma City metro is expected by Tuesday. The remaining service area is expected to be restored between Wednesday, Nov. 4 and Friday, Nov. 6. We will restore power for thousands of customers every day and will update restoration estimates as they become available.



In the meantime, it is important to make sure your home is ready to receive power. If your weather head, service cable or meter socket is damaged you will need to contact a certified electrician to make necessary repairs before service can be restored to your home. Facebook Twitter Instagram © 2020 OGE Energy Corp.


This email was sent by OGE Energy Corp. PO Box 321 Oklahoma City, OK 73101-0321, US

Beautiful but deadly Ice. Photo by Melissa Bradshaw.


With some daughter help we will make it in spite of the damage to our fifteen trees (See pic below: Fallen Limbs photo by Melissa Bradshaw) and next month we expect to be able to resume our regular column "Armchair Genealogy."


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Cooking with Rod

 



By Rod Cohenour

RUSSIAN CHICKEN


This month I want to feature another of my sweet wife's wonderful recipes. Although she got the original recipe when her butcher's wife shared the four ingredient delight (chicken, soup mix, Apricot preserves and Russian dressing), she found our family's taste preferences required a few changes. Thus, the addition of onions, pineapple, and (most appreciated) the drained, sliced water chestnuts made the recipe her own.


Bon appetit~!


  • 1 Cut up chicken (Or equivalent weight chicken breasts or thighs or mixture
  • 2 bottles Russian Dressing (Kraft or Wishbone (one to cook with chicken and one to augment sauce to serve)
  • 1 pkg. Lipton Beefy Onion seasoning Soup mix
  • 2 small jars Apricot preserves or jam (save one for sauce)
  • 1 four (4) oz. can water chestnuts, sliced, drained
  • 1 or 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz) pineapple chunks, drained. Preserve liquid to prepare sauce


Optional:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • Steamed white rice (prepare while chicken bakes and keep warm and fluffy)


INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Arrange chicken pieces in Pyrex baking dish. Top with onion slices, water chestnuts and pineapple.
    2. In a large bowl mix together one bottle of the Russian Dressing, Lipton Onion Soup mix and Apricot preserves. Blend by stirring.
    3. Pour over chicken pieces in baking dish, making sure to cover well.
    4. Bake at 325 ° for 35 minutes. Remove dish to flip chicken pieces. Bake another 15 minutes.
    5. Remove chicken, water chestnuts and pineapple to serving dish. Using a spatula, scrape remaining sauce into a saucepan. Add second bottle of Russian Dressing and second jar of Apricot preserves, whisk while heating. If desired, you can thicken the sauce by whisking in a slurry of 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour seasoned with a dash of ground black pepper. Stir continuously while bringing to a soft boil. When at desired thickness, pour into serving bowl or gravy dish.
    6. Serve over drained rice. Excellent paired with broccoli


Delicious! Can add sliced almonds


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Irish Eyes

 


By Mattie Lennon

A Wake Story and Winter Reading

I was told this story at a wake in Dunlavin many years ago. I don’t remember where I put my keys or if I turned off the immersion but here is that story verbatim:


       “When I was about 7 years old, I accompanied my father to the funeral of a co-worker of his, someone I didn't even know. When we got there, I stood in a corner waiting for the time to pass. A bitter looking man approached me and said, "Enjoy life kid, enjoy it because time flies. Look at me now, I didn't enjoy it." Then he passed his hand over my head and left. My father, before leaving took me with him to pay respects to his friend. When I looked in the coffin, I was horrified to see that the man in the coffin was the same man who had spoken to me! I was so traumatized I couldn't sleep properly. I had terrible nightmares. I was terrified of being alone. I saw many psychologists, endured much turmoil throughout my adolescent years. It got better as I aged, but I would still occasionally wake up screaming in fear. It was many years later when I discovered something remarkable that completely changed my life. That bastard had a twin.”


There's a new conspiracy documentary on Netflix about Covid 19. Two guys from the Wuhan Research Institute, where Trump suspects it was engineered, were due to get on flight MH370 which miraculously disappeared. Seems they were the guys behind the development of the new strain and intending to use it as a weapon, someone caught wind of their plans and purposefully downed the plane. Neither of them got on the flight though. Have a look it's really interesting, it's called two Wongs don't make a flight.


Lockdown and long winter nights ahead. I can’t suggest anything more appropriate than the works of Polly Hughes. I’ll let her explain it herself. (The only thing about her missive is that she is far too kind to me in it.)


      “I always loved Ireland, from stories at my Grandma’s knee to the time I first set foot on dear Erin’s soil. As a child I was one of those dreamers, reprimanded at school for wasting my time writing silly stories and making a nuisance of myself with school newsletters, but of course writers will write and it stayed with me.


      I found myself freelancing, contributing articles for magazines and newspapers on subjects that interested me, as by now I was married with a family. Later after visiting with friends in Ireland, I set up a web magazine for Irish poets and writers, IrishpoetsWorldwide, something that was in those days ahead of its time, and indeed it did have a worldwide following. This is how I met Mattie; he wrote a very popular monthly column for us and was part of the team.


      Of course, life moved on, my family grew and my husband and I travelled, enjoying a kind of retirement, until eventually we settled just across the sea, where on a clear day I can see Ireland from my home. Then came 2020 with Lockdown, and for me this was time to write those novels that had been for so long in my mind, and so Paws for a Tail, a book of short stories to read with your coffee and keep in your heart, and the Trilogy, The Reincarnation Series, dealing with repercussions through time, romance with a twist of horror, set in UK, USA and culminating in Ireland, were published in August.


      Was that the end? As I said writers write, so a website was created but it quickly changed from a project about me to market my books, to a platform of entertainment for everyone who has shown such interest, as suddenly I find myself surrounded by friends. Mattie is helping again as I reach out to my Irish readers, beginning with his feel- good ballad, sung and put to music by John Hoban as part of the November issue, and with something special planned for December.


      Over the past few weeks, I have been contacted by people, who probably thanks to our social media campaign, remember me from IrishpoetsWorldwide, they are wishing to submit poetry. A friend in Canada suggested that I might put together and publish a book of inspirational Irish poetry reflecting us all as we step into the uncertain world of the new normal in 2021. If anyone would be interested in submitting for this, please let me know, it could be a project in the making.


      If you would like to contact me you can reach me through the website pollyLhughes.com


      Don’t miss Mattie’s ‘There is a Brightness’ ballad this month, and if you are interested, all my books are featured with a ‘Look inside’ feature and a link to Amazon. "With Love and Intrigue.”, Polly L Hughes writing romance with a twist of horror pollyLhughes,com


      Polly Hughes's YouTube channel is now up and running . It includes a Ballad There's a Brightness at the But of the Wind, which I wrote about twenty years ago. It didn't mean much at the time but now in the middle of a global pandemic perhaps it maes more sense. It was put to music by John Hoban and he can be heard singing it here. Polly Hughes Celtic Inspirations

* * * * *


      Whether you saw Hawkins House as a Dublin landmark or an eyesore it is about to be demolished. The attached "In the Hut" is a short radio play which I wrote some years ago. It is set in the security hut of Hawkins House. It probably won't mean much to anyone who didn't ever work in road passenger transport.

In The Hut.wav
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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Memorable Encounters with New Foods

Fall is harvest time, so I am reminded of foods and their importance in our lives. My readers may not know that I am a retired Food Scientist and Registered Dietitian. My career choices were heavily influenced by my interest in foods and nutrition. I grew up eating an organic “American” diet. It was organic because that was the way food was produced until the second half of the 20th Century. We ate home grown chickens, eggs, milk, beef, pork, the products of my Mom’s garden augmented by purchased apples, grapes, peaches, melons in season, dried pinto beans, flour, corn meal, spices, sugar and coffee. My Dad’s contribution was game and fish. The result was balanced and healthful diet that had been common for generations and was still followed in the Ozark Mountain culture of my youth.


As I grew older, I began to learn about new foods and expanded my dietary experiences. Some I adopted and some I vowed to never touch again.


I vividly remember my first encounter with pizza. I was 13 years old and visiting a dear friend, Judy R. in Oklahoma. One night we drove to Oklahoma City for dinner. My first slice tasted like heaven on a plate. It was absolutely delicious and so different from anything I had ever eaten before. I still love pizza and am still in touch with Judy. Some things in life are worth continuing.


My brother introduced us to Spaghetti Bolognese (we called it spaghetti with meat sauce, having no idea how to pronounce Bolognese). Bill’s college roommate was an Italian boy from St. Louis who shared his mama’s recipe. It was my “go to” company dish for years.


Later, Joyce, my new sister-in-law introduced me to tacos. Mmm. So good and so much fun to assemble to my taste. They are still a favorite.


While working as a waitress at Ginger Blue (a local resort) I discovered Country Ham with Red Eye Gravy. Not a promising sounding recipe, but a fried ham steak swimming in a sauce made from the drippings and hot coffee is quite good. I haven’t eaten it since but remember it well.


I moved to Minnesota as a young wife and learned about Lutefisk. It is a popular addition to Christmas menus in some restaurants. A Swedish colleague insisted I try it. We went to a nearby high-end restaurant and ordered it. First of all, I should have been suspicious when I learned it was codfish treated with lye, dried and finally reconstituted for cooking. The result was a fishy tasting translucent gel served with boiled potatoes. My friend said it was “almost as good as her grandmother’s”. I marked it off my list of “things to try”.


Another menu item I found unpleasant was raw oysters. I had my first one in the New Orleans French Quarter where they are very popular. I ate one. It reminded me of having a very bad cold. Twenty years later, I decided perhaps I had been hasty and tried another. It confirmed my original conclusion.


On the plus side, New Orleans Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce is a keeper. I tried it at several restaurants and the one at the Bon Ton Café on Magazine was the best by far. (Once the pudding was a way of using up the French bread returned from tables, but the Health Department took a dim view of that, so now it is made from scratch). They willingly share the recipe. The waitress whispered “Honey, the secret is cheap bourbon”.


A vacation to the Wisconsin Door Peninsula was memorable due to our dining at a Fish Boil. It sounds dreadful, but it is a literal description of the outdoor preparation of white fish in a huge black cauldron. The big finish is tossing some kerosine on the fire so the cooking water overflows carrying away the fishy tasting oils. The meal is served on cafeteria trays with boiled potatoes, green beans, cherry pie and a roll. All I can say is I ate it and have no need to repeat the experience. It was dramatic, I’ll admit.


While living in New Jersey, my husband and I went to a fancy French restaurant. (Other than Filet Mignon, it is a mystery to me why the French treasure foods that I regard as offal. Liver and Sweet Breads are heavily featured, for example. I decided to try the Lapin. My mom had prepared fried rabbit, so I thought it would be good. When the whole naked rabbit covered with a thin sauce arrived, my appetite disappeared. I won’t repeat what it reminded me of. I will say their desserts garnished with spun sugar were delicious.


To end on a pleasant note, I discovered ginger ice cream in China Town in San Francisco. I still remember its creamy, tangy taste some 50 years later.


Now I eat an organic diet whenever possible. It is no surprise that it is more expensive because it has become desirable to those who see value in keeping their diet as simple as possible.


Does anyone know where I can get an organic pizza?


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