Wednesday, December 25, 2019

After...and Forever

Family has come and gone, presents have been opened, food has been eaten, and Christmas 2019 only has a few more hours to last...But some things are eternally true!

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (ICB)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Granny's Pantry # 55: Persimmon Season

The most delectable of the fruits of fall...the persimmon. 
Utter delight to stand under a heavy laden persimmon tree after the first frost and suck that yummy orange fruit away from the seeds!  
If you get one that is wrinkled and soft and a bit mushy...yes!
If you get one that is almost but not quite fully get fuzzy teeth and a fuzzy tongue...but still good.
If you get one that is not me, you don't want to do that!
In a box of old recipes from High Rock, I found what I am pretty sure is in Granny Cole's handwriting....her Persimmon Pudding recipe! 
Pretty sure this stuff is going to be in Heaven!
Also found this Aunt Ruthie picture. 
Another memory from Granny's Pantry.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  

(John 15:5) 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Granny's Pantry # 54: Planning a Party

The letter [a treasure] is dated May 28, 1952 and was written by Aunt Ruthie in Salisbury to Granny Cole at High Rock.
Dear Mama,
         How are the party plans coming. I have talked with Mrs. Chase [the lady from whom she rented a room as a teacher] & attended several teas & collected some ideas. I suppose really though you should follow Miss Bessie's suggestions. That "green" lime punch is used a lot.
Instead of concentrating on cake & ice cream, I think it would be nice to have little "hor d'oeuvres". One lady had chicken salad in little tiny pastry cups, another had it in sandwiches--like this with a little sprig of parsley on top [and she inserted  hand drawn diagrams for the chicken salad and for open face olive sandwiches].  

One favorite is thin slices of party rye bread spread with creamed cheese flavored with onions [and she inserted another diagram]. 
We could use nuts & mints. I will try to buy some good mints as I don't believe we could make them.
          I haven't had time yet to get any ideas for the shower but will.
          I am really very busy finishing up my school work. I'm going to stay here until Saturday and then go over to Lorene's so don't look for me until Sunday. I need some time to show around some.

[Then she inserted the following recipe]

Cheese Cookie
7/8 cup butter
1/2 lb grated cheese
pinch of salt  dash of red pepper
2 cups of flour
Mix above ingredients into a soft dough.
Roll or cut into biscuits--place dates stuffed with pecans in center of each biscuit (fold over)
Bake on a cookie sheet in a very slow oven--when done roll in granulated sugar     

          I think I could make these. They are delicious. I will bring some dates & pecans just in case we could use this.
          Lots of times they serve cheese straws but these are so much better--Mrs. Chase makes them a lot--They could be made the morning before.

[And on the back page, she listed the "Menue" and sketched diagrams of the lay out for each]
Just FYI, Aunt Ruthie's cheese cookies became a favorite memory at High Rock.
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work."
John 4:34

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Lessons from Animals: Worthy Companions

When I was a child, I remember a wonderful book about an imaginary bird town named Wington and the birds who lived there. The stories used the lives of those birds to teach Christian principles of the life of the believer. The book, originally published in 1948, but still available today, is entitled Bird Life in Wington by John Calvin Reid.  

We can learn a lot from our feathered and furred friends.
I was reminded of that book when I thought about these visitors to our hay field yesterday.    
I'd first seen them floating on the pond like a veritable armada. As we drove around, checking on the hay field, we saw that they had left the pond and congregated on land. As we drove slowly closer and by the group, I was sad to see one of them was disabled by a club foot, perhaps from an encounter with a hungry turtle on the pond.

There were at least 21 of these Canada Geese, and they moved out of what they perceived to be harm's way as we passed in the truck. One or two appeared to have the job of guard, and they stretched down their wings in a defensive stance. There was no panic, and no mass flight. Rather they just stayed together and moved further into the field as a group.  

I looked up what a group of such geese is called...and the dictionary said it was a gaggle (if they were on land). I wasn't sure what "gaggle" really meant, so again I looked it up and, in addition to a group of at least three geese on land, it also means, "a disorderly or noisy group of people."
And now for the lesson learned from those geese visitors--Do I want to be part of the disorderly, noisy mass or do I want to be a worthy companion to my fellow believers and non-believers with whom I spend my time?

What I personally choose to do in front of those around me can impact my companions for better or for worse.
Likewise, I can also  be influenced by those I choose to have around me for the good or for the bad. 
Both are my choice.
Proverbs 13:20 says:
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Granny's Pantry #53: Good-Bye to an Old Friend

For all of my life--a considerable length of time--a majestic oak has stood in the middle of the elliptical drive beside of Granny's house at High Rock.
I'm not sure what type of oak it is, but I suspect White Oak. The life span of this oak can be 200-300 years. So this tree may have been mature already when the High Rock house was built in the late 1800's.   
It likely watched the walls of the house go up and oversaw the coming and goings and life changes at High Rock from Granddaddy Cole's generation (b. 1895) and into the summer of 2019.
On July 6th about 3 in the afternoon, we visited the High Rock farm for a few minutes. It had been a while, and we just wanted to be there for a little while. As we drove up and parked in front of and beside the old oak, we could see a distinctive crack down the trunk and a bit of a lean to one side. One of our party had an uncanny feeling of distinct danger, and warned us to move the vehicle and take care.  
Another of us was not as  careful, and stood just under the tree to take pictures of the peacocks walking underneath.
We wandered around the yard and through the house, so full of poignant memories. About 4 pm, we drove away down the cedar lined drive and turned toward home.
Sometime in the two hour space between when we drove away and 6 pm, when the grounds were checked again, the old tree gave up and tumbled to the ground. There was no storm, no wind...she just was done. She took with her the car shed and wheat house, ancient structures that will also be missed.
remains of wheat house
remains of car shed

[Update on car shed and wheat house--11/9/19]  

It's still smoking...]

No one was there to see her end...or to hear the thundering crash it made as it fell except the peacocks
and faithful Thea.
We may never know when the old tree fell, whether as we drove down away down the driveway or just before it was found lying on the ground two hours later.
What we do believe is that we experienced a miracle, and God was merciful in letting the tree do no damage to any of us who visited that Saturday afternoon. We are grateful.
Good-bye, old friend.            

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life
(Psalm 138:7a)

Friday, April 26, 2019

You Can Leave Any Time You Like but You Can't Check In*

*(Read to the end to find out why)

Imagine it's the 1930's or maybe the 40's.You want to get out of the city, somewhere off the beaten path, somewhere with beautiful views, somewhere romantic. You check the train schedules for stops in rural Virginia. One place name intrigues you, Natural Bridge Station. 

This small but thriving spot located high above the James River has a busy train depot...and The Alhambra hotel, taking up the second, third and fourth floors of a stone building in the heart of the little village. 

This  hideaway has everything you are looking for in your time away. Arrange for your train ticket, make your hotel reservations, pack your valise and anticipate the peace and quiet.

the anticipation...
a few steps back in time
take a tour of your surroundings ...
so many rooms, so many choices
settle in a room that suits your style and budget
find something intriguing to read
maybe play a little tune, maybe "Moonlight Serenade"
turn on your fan to keep cool
hang up your clothes in the clothes press 
maybe take a long soak in the tub
in the bathroom down the hall
need a snack before dinner?
enjoy a cool breeze coming off of the river
store your valuables in the chest during your stay
sit for a chat with other guests
enjoy a leisurely evening meal
slight headache? maybe there is a potion in the medicine cabinet
another soak?
oh, like this room better?  no problem
what's up here?
on a very tight budget? you might like the fourth floor accommodations 
Haven't made up your mind yet?
You had better make your reservations quickly, because by the mid 1970's, Natural Bridge Station and The Alhambra will only be a shell of what they once were...and you can no longer make The Alhambra your home away from home...even for a night.

"For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, 
Because our days on earth are as a shadow."  (Job 8:9)

Thank you to the lovely transplant couple in NBS
who made these pictures possible.
My best.