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— October will soon be half over and we are hurtling toward that favorite holiday of children, Halloween. Grandson Matthew is already planning his Spiderman costume. Giant spiders and webs have appeared in some windows and scary white ghosts dangle from eaves and trees in the neighborhood. Plump pumpkins and grinning jack-o-lanterns rest on doorsteps throughout the area. I’ve put out a couple of Halloween candles and a ceramic jack-o-lantern I crafted adorns our front window.

Sorting through a stack of clippings in the south bedroom recently I found some old newspapers from 1986. In my column Nov. 5 I noted that “jolly, overgrown vegetable”, the pumpkin, reigns over both Halloween and Thanksgiving. Based on the discovery of seeds and pieces of rind left by Indian tribes that inhabited the southwestern United States, it’s believed that the pumpkin, a relative of cucumbers and melons, has supplied human nourishment for more than 7,000 years. Like corn, it was one of the foods shared by American Indians with European newcomers. The Algonquin tribes gifted Henry Hudson with “pompions” in 1609. Testifying to the vegetable’s role in survival, one unidentified columnist wrote in 1630, “We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon. If it were not for pumpkins we should be undone.”

If harvested when completely orange and before the first frost pumpkins will keep for months in a cool, dry location. The colonists, following the Indians’ instructions, cut away the rind, chopped and dried the meat and then ground it for use throughout the year. Or the pulp was stewed and added to bread and a pudding could be made by filling a scoopedout pumpkin with milk and spices, then baking the shell and ingredientsuntil all the liquid was absorbed.

I spent a few afternoons last week doing volunteer work at the library as our librarian was out for several days after surgery. I worked Tuesday morning at the newspaper office, then went home and made a tuna pasta salad for lunch before heading to the library. My varied duties included shelving books, checking the mailbox and book drop, sweeping the decks, picking up litter and vacuuming carpets. I did a bit of grocery shopping Wednesday morning and bought a couple of smoked sausages.

Friday was our ad manager’s birthday and after a few hours work at the office we honored her with a little party. We enjoyed delicious apricot poke cake topped with apricot preserves and crunchy almonds and scoops of chocolate chip ice cream after watching Sherry dig into her gift bags. That evening Jim and I visited the grandkids, taking them a new book to read. A.J., the oldest, and his friend Travis went with us to the ballgame where we watched our Lions defeat the Huntsville Eagles.

Welcome sunshine appeared on Saturday and Jim returned to Maysville to continue his job there. I made brief visits to a couple of friends but spent most of the day picking up walnuts. I fried okra, cooked yellow squash and chicken nuggets and sliced tomatoes when Jim came home. We drove to Southwest City and on to Pineville Sunday morning and shortly after our return attended granddaughter Alyssa’s sixth birthday party. The kids treated us to a tasty meal of grilled chicken, baked beans, pasta salad, chips, birthday cake and ice cream and our “birthday princess” enjoyed opening gifts and playing with her friends. I picked up walnuts that evening until darkness closed in.

News, Pages 4 on 10/14/2009

Print Headline: Susan Says . . .

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