The Three-War Brownie Recipe

As I baked nine batches of boxed brownies today, I couldn’t help but think of Grandma Jewell and a very special brownie recipe she shared with me once a long time ago.

Gram was an excellent baker – yeast rolls, the best from scratch German Chocolate Cake you could ever taste, Pecan Rolls, oozing in melted butter and sugar and cinnamon, and many other masterpieces. When my first husband was in Germany (he was a Vietnam-era veteran, assigned to Germany at the time of the 1972 Olympics. Tough duty), she told me I needed to send him some brownies. She had a recipe she shared with me that made an 8 x 8 pan of the most decadent brownies I’ve ever experienced.

One of the flavors of purchased brownie mix I used had “real chocolate” to add. It was a little foil packet containing maybe two tablespoons of Hershey’s Syrup, the gold standard for chocolate syrup. As I pulled it open and squeezed the goodness into the bowl, I thought back to opening the can of Hershey’s with a can-opener (the kind we used to have to use for beer, before pop-tops), and pouring the whole can into the bowl with the flour, eggs, butter, salt, and stirring until the beautiful nearly black batter settled. It smelled so good! I believe I can still smell it today.

I remember she cautioned me to pack it in a coffee can (they were metal back then), and wrap securely. It would take quite awhile for packages to go APO or FPO back in the early 1970s. It finally arrived, and I pictured servicemen from three wars, WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam Era enjoying Grandma’s delicious brownies. It’s a beautiful, warm memory.

If we have to find these memories on a bad day, we can make a bad day good. We have a choice; cave in, or do your best to get through the bad ones. I think of how Gram Jewell did exactly that. In her strong faith, and prayer life, she carried many of us through bad times. I’d like to remember that again for my future. You never know when you’re going to need it.

I hope you had a great day today. We’ll be at the Post for the PTSD lecture and Talk Saves Lives training. Maybe we’ll see each other there. Take care, and we’ll see each other tomorrow right here.

Divesting

There are a few different meanings for divesting. Today’a meaning is simply ridding oneself of something they no longer want/need, etc. Today, I am meeting with my replacement for the Website and social media for the VFW Post 2503. My friend, William Hackenberg has I/T talents and skills that blow me out of the water. It’s time to have a younger, more up to date skilled person. And, I need the time to go back to my interests, my quilting, and especially, my writing. It’s time. And we’re darned lucky to have him to take over.

The past eight years have been a roller coaster and real learning experience, but we hung in there. I’ve enjoyed interacting with all the members, friends, and visitors to the Post. I don’t plan to go anywhere, I’ll still do community outreach with the groups we’ve established relationships with, and will be visible. The big difference will be having more time to spend the way I want to, and having no guilt about being behind in postings, calendar updates, etc. It’ll take a few weeks to be fully divested, but I can feel the relief already.

With the eight losses of close friends in the past two years, I am looking very closely at how I spend my time, and what the results are. We should all do that every once in awhile. Taking stock and deciding how to spend your time is part of de-cluttering for sure. Our schedules need that just as much as our closets.

I am happiest creating things, and sometimes those things are with fabric, sometimes with words. I hope to add drawing to the mix, and painting. It never ends, I have a curiosity about many things, and hope to investigate all of them. So far, so good!

The whole point of spending your life wisely is to leave the world a little better for you being here. Leave every person you meet and love better off than when you met them. We all try to do that. I feel if we all concentrate on that very hard, we’ll be able to achieve some level of those goals. Let’s all try it in our circles of friendship, business, and partnerships. It certainly cannot hurt.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sad making this move. I liked knowing a little more about what was going on and helping communicate those things to the public, the members, and guests. My dad always said what’s in this header today. I’m giving something up that has taken eight years to build. Some of it feels like “my baby.” And at the same time, with a new, young, more talented I/T guy coming along, it’s time to step aside. It’s what we older folks are supposed to do. Many don’t. So, that’s what I’m doing later today.

What can you divest of that will give you more time to spend how you wish? Sometimes we don’t realize how much time we waste, until we don’t have a chance to change. Don’t let that happen. No one is on their deathbed and states, “I wish I would have spent more time working.” Don’t be that guy or gal. Free yourself up to enjoy something else. It’ll make a difference in your life!

Thank you for reading today. We’re still looking for about 50 more subscribers, to reach 1,000. We have about 956. There is room for everyone! Have a beautiful afternoon and evening. See you tomorrow!

Reflections

It was a beautiful wedding yesterday. My cousin and his wife could finally have the wedding for their son and his beautiful bride. COVID did not win. They married last August, with a small group, and renewed their vows to a packed house of their peers. Young people all just beginning their lives in the post-COVID world. The priest commented; “This is the largest crowd in this Church in the last year.” Wow. That comment made it all hit home for me.

Upon entering the Church, I noticed everyone wore masks. Once they were seated, masks were removed. At the sign-in table, I saw a photo that took me way back. It was a photo of Rod’s parent’s on their wedding day. In my parent’s living room. A beautiful black and white photo, it captured my aunt and uncle perfectly. They have both passed on, and I was reminded of their kindness, both as a couple, and as individuals. The memories are good. They were people who raised a fine man of a son, and doted on their grandchildren. It was a wonderful day for families.

As I sat, I was aware how much has changed in the last year. We have survived. Well, most of us have. I felt comfortable surrounded by a generation of people who were all college graduates, holding down good jobs, and beginning their adulthood. Some carried babies with them, and it was a beautiful sight. The girls were all dressed in tasteful mid-thigh dresses, looking beautiful. The boys wore everything from jackets and unmatched slacks to shirts and dress pants. It was so nice to see people dressed in their Sunday best! When have I seen a group of people dressed up? I couldn’t remember. The pandemic has taken a lot from us. Things we didn’t even realize we were missing, at least until we experience them again.

I didn’t go to the reception. Instead, I imagined all of those young people, dancing, drinking beverages, and having a grand time. People came from out of town, gathering to wish their friends well. I love the images I had from that. I thought of how proud my aunt and uncle, Andrew’s grandparents, would be. It was a wonderful daydream. COVID cannot steal our memories, or our creativity. It cannot steal love from determined young people. It cannot steal dreams. It cannot take faith from your soul. So there, COVID. You can go now.

Congratulations to the happy couple and their families. It’s a lot to undertake, and we appreciate you shared your happiness with us. It gives us hope and resolve. We will still have young men and women falling in love and merging their lives, both equally important.

The human spirit is amazing. Nothing can keep us down. While life has certainly changed, we will come back, stronger than ever. I hope you have a beautiful day today. We are having a rainy day, and the grass will take off now. We have a fundraiser this afternoon and are looking forward to it. Another day of helping make the world better. Our kind of day. Take care, becareful out there, and Be Kind. See you again tomorrow.

Fab Friday!

This is a late start today. My gosh, Goldie has a lot of pent up energy. She wanted to play. She finally stopped and now she went off elsewhere to take a nap. I almost need one! She is a sweet girl, and I hope someday I’ll get some strength back to be able to walk her. Maybe by then she’ll walk better. Until then, the Babe is also the dog walker.

By the photos shared today, I suppose it seems I’m feeling a little mushy. Mushy is ok. I know people who are angry all the time. I think they’re just scared because they can’t control everything around them, and it causes anxiety. Anxiety is often what fear creates, and most don’t want to admit they are afraid. They’d rather act angry. Anger can be appropriate, it can be valid, it can be justified. What you don’t want is have it rule you. You lose so much then.

Later, I’ll be organizing the photos I have of Roxie. They’re a look back not only at her, but also of Gavin. They grew up together. They both could be a couple of stinkers at times, but when they were together, wow! They were good together, and she loved to just look at him. She trusted him. He loved her. It was sweet.

I have a little rewriting to do on the children’s book project, and will do that before the end of today. I want it fresh for a meeting I have tomorrow. Not sure how long it takes to get an LLC established, but once my attorney gives me notice, we’ll have cause for celebration!

I want to keep an open mind in 2021. Not that I didn’t before; it’s been a few years since I’ve thought, “Oh, I can’t do THAT!” I’ve listened to both my smart daughter, my sons and their encouragement, and of course, the Babe, who have all said, “Go do it!” Learn how, you’ve got time. By having an open mind, we can have new opportunities. Keep yourself open. I’ve found if I can’t come up with an immediate why I shouldn’t, I need to at least try.

The trouble is, when you want to do a lot of things, all of them different, it’s hard to pick what you’ll do right now. In the fall, I removed all the shiny new art supplies I bought. They went to storage in the crafting room, I can’t have them in my sight right now. I took a month off from writing about Katie Fitzgibbons, and my children’s book caught my attention. It’s “almost done.” Well, the words are “almost done.” I think inspiration got my attention and told me this project will finish soon. The wheels are in motion. 

Who knows what other opportunities will reveal themselves this year? 2021 will be good. The nation will heal. We have too many good people to not heal. The politicians all need to take a cold, hard look at themselves. And each other. Term limits will help. New ideas will never come to light by old, stinking thinking. And age has not a thing to do with it. Let’s all do away with stereotypes for groups we encounter this year. No, Republicans are not all old men. Democrats aren’t the only ones with heart and souls. We all have those things. You can be chronologically old yet have young ideas and heart. We all have to get over ourselves. Yes, all of us. We live in a world where we all affect each other eventually.

Thanks for joining me today. I appreciate it and plan to see you tomorrow. Let’s all be kind, be safe out there, too. Pray for our great nation. Let us remember we are supposed to be leaders, not followers. Have a beautiful afternoon.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com