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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Issue Date: November 8, 2018

Thank You Veterans, for letting us keep America!

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, every able bodied American should stand at attention, face east, and spend two minutes remembering what the Veterans have done for us and for the rest of the world.

Some fought and died. Some lived to come home and tell about it, though most who saw the worst of the fighting never talked a lot about it.

Some who entered the military trained for battle but never got sent "over there." They often worried about how they would react when and if they were called on to be heroes. They didn't know they already were!

Just by being there, by being ready to fight if called on, they were protecting the lives and values of all of us.

For this, they deserve our unending gratitude. They also deserve a continued national commitment to protect and preserve the values they were ready to die for!

VETERANS DAY

Officially, Veterans' Day this year falls on Monday, Nov. 12, since Sunday, Nov. 11 - well, falls on a Sunday.

Originally Veterans' Day was Armistice Day, so chosen because the Armistice that ended four hard years of fighting in the European Theater in the "Great War" went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It wasn't called World War I at that time. No one expected there would be a World War II. The Great War was supposed to be the war that would end all wars and usher in a long era of peace. It took another six months to get all the signing done, but the war was officially over! No wonder there was a lot of celebrating!

In 1926, Congress resolved to officially call November 11th Armistice Day, and designated it as a day set aside to honor all persons who have served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces.

It wasn't until 1938 that Armistice Day was officially named a national holiday. Not long after that, war broke out in Europe, and World War II began. America entered that war after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Soon after the end of World War II, a veteran of that war named Raymond Weeks organized "National Veterans Day" with a parade and festivities to honor all veterans. He chose to hold this on Armistice Day, and called for annual observances of a day to honor all veterans, not just the end of World War I.

In 1954, Congress officially passed and President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veteran's Day. Due to his part in the creation of this national holiday, Raymond Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan in November 1982.

In 1968, Congress tried changing the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October, but the significance of November 11 was such that the new date never really was accepted. In 1978, Congress restored the traditional date.

Now national ceremonies commemorating Veterans Day occur each year at the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. These unknown veterans are symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars. To honor them, an Army honor guard keeps day and night vigil. At 11 a.m. on November 11, a color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. Then the presidential wreath is laid upon the tomb. Finally, the bugler plays taps.

Veterans' Day is observed in Canada and all parts of the British Commonwealth as Remembrance Day. Sometimes we forget that their veterans fought right beside ours in those wars.

As former President Dwight David Eisenhower (who was himself the top General in the United States Army before he became President: "...it is well for us to pause, to acknowledge our debt to those who paid so large a share of freedom's price. As we stand here in grateful remembrance of the veterans' contributions we renew our conviction of individual responsibility to live in ways that support the eternal truths upon which our Nation is founded, and from which flows all its strength and all its greatness."

ON THE SOAP BOX NOT THAT GREAT???

People lately have gotten away with making some really horrendous insults against American integrity. They've been trying to ruin our reputation on a national scale, and nobody called them to account!

"America was never that great!"

People are free to say what they want,because this is a free country. They are free to think what they want, even if it means they're more than a little bit demented.

But to have almost no one get mad at them for what they said is incomprehensible!

When is the last time the United States of America kept control in a country that fought on the losing side in a war that we won? We helped get them back on their feet and then we walked away, sort of. Didn't even collect damages! Hollywood even made a movie about it, "The Mouse That Roared." Pretty funny, too.

HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Read recently about an elderly Jewish man, a resident of Jerusalem, who had come every single day for 60 years to weep and pray at what we westerners call "The Wailing Wall," and what modern Israelites know as The West Wall or simply "The Wall." In the oldest part of the city, it is considered a particularly holy spot, since it is the only remnant of what had been the second temple of Jerusalem before it was destroyed by the Romans about 70 years after the birth of Christ.

Well, an American reporter was sent to interview this man, with a focus on the dedication that brought him to pray there for half an hour every day for 60 years.

They met at the appointed time, chatted a bit, and he went to pray. When his half hour was up the reporter asked what he had prayed for.

"Same as always," he sighed. "World peace. Brotherly love. Understanding between all races and all creeds. Enough food for everyone."

"Do you feel you're accomplishing anything?" she asked.

He did not.

"And how does that make you feel?" she asked.

"Like I'm talking to a brick wall!"

Like that old Israelite, most of us pray for peace, love and understanding, but with full knowledge that if that prayer is not granted, we need help from those willing to do battle to protect the lifestyles, freedoms and beliefs that we hold dear.

We are fortunate in this nation that whenever that need has arisen, enough heroes have come forward to get the job done for us. Thank you, Veterans!

And to the old Israelite? Thanks for praying! Keep it up. You just never know!

FALL CAR CLEANING

Hopefully we'll get one or two fairly nice days before winter really sets in. Meaning, before all this rain turns to snow. Won't likely be bathing suit weather, or even get out the hose and wash the car weather, but it could be nice enough to wash the window inside and out,

Clean out all the sundry debris collected through the summer, organize contents of glove box, trunk and storage compartments, and give absolutely everything a good vacuuming. My friend who is a fantastic house keeper (and consequently a fantastic car keeper) actually details corners and creases with Q-tips to make everything shine!

There are lots of specialty products designed for cleaning the interior of your automobile, including upholstery and dashboard cleaners. Or for cheap, a little laundry soap on a cloth will do most car interior cleaning jobs. For detail work, use a clean, 1-inch paintbrush or even an artist's brush to get rid of the crumbs and dust that get into tight places.

If necessary, and if warm enough, use a shop vac and a scrub brush to scrub the floor pads. If they're removable, that's easy. If not, work at it if you can. That's where carpet cleaner and a good shop vac are handy.

That said, once the inside is as clean as you're likely to get it, stock up with things you'll need in the next few months, like an ice scraper, umbrella, blanket, warm gloves, perhaps one of those portable battery chargers in case your battery goes dead. Put a lightweight emergency road kit in the trunk, along with a bucket or bag of salt/sand that most of us can get at the town shed. If you get stuck on ice next winter you'll be glad to have it.

As a final touch, organize the glove box to be sure your current car registration and proof of insurance are easy to get at, and make sure everything is current. Getting organized is actually one of the nice things about cleaning day.

On the outside of the vehicle, clean the lights and shine up the license plates. There are products to restore the like-new finish to headlights that might be worth the effort if your lights are getting dim. Maybe ask your dealer"or your son, brother-in- law or anyone else in the family that's a do it yourself car person.

COOKIN' TIME

Found a few new recipes we can make and enjoy now, and then enjoy again later, for example at Christmas.

TATER TOT BRUNCH

Make this the night before if you wish, and zap it to reheat, or mix it up the night before, put in the fridge overnight and bake it in the morning while you dress for work or treat yourself to an extra cup of coffee.

1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 cups milk

2 eggs

2 pounds tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and spread evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread cheese over sausage. In large bowl, beat together milk and eggs. Add some salt and pepper if you want to, but remember that sausage and cheese are both salty. Pour over cheese. (May be refrigerated overnight at this point.) Top with tater tots. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

SICILIAN ROASTED CHICKEN

Pop some potatoes or sweet potatoes into the oven to bake while the chicken roasts. Stir up a cake mix cake while you're at it and let your oven do all the work. Add a tossed salad and you're done for the evening. For my part, though, I'd save the pan drippings for a future batch of gravy, or to add to chicken soup. Just freeze until you have enough.

Cooking spray

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Arrange chicken pieces in the baking pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano over both sides. Roast in the preheated oven until chicken is browned and the juices run clear, about 45 minutes to an hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees.

BEETS

To make roasted beets out of raw ones, cut the leaves off, leaving about an inch of stem. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until fork tender. Let cool completely in the foil and then peel. Use a heavy duty paper towel and the peels should just slip off. Then cut the beets into slices, or shred and add butter, salt and pepper. Or use in whatever cooked beet recipe you want. Some recipes call for beet puree, and if yours does, just whip them up in the food processor or blender.

To make very sweet candied beets, slice very thinly and cook in a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar until the slices get tender and somewhat translucent. The syrup should be barely simmering, not boiling at all. Let them cool in the syrup and then drain and coat with sugar. If using red and yellow beets, simmer in different kettles so the colors don't bleed.

HARVARD BEETS

The recipe calls for canned beets, but if you have fresh beets, use them. (See directions above.) Just use 1/3 cup water instead of beet juice in the sauce when making the Harvard Beets. Slice the beets if you prefer, but they're really, really good shredded on coarse side of shredder. Shredded beets are also wonderful fried very lightly just until hot in simply butter, salt and pepper, with no extra water added.

1 can sliced or shredded beets, drained, reserve 1/3 cup liquid

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup vinegar (cider is good, white is okay)

In small saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in reserve beet liquid, vinegar and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add beets and heat through. Serve right away, or they're fine to make ahead and reheat at serving time.

These are great to have around for Deer Season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They freeze well, so make them now and enjoy them later - if you keep them around that long! No pumpkin pie spice? Mix up you own, or just mix 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg with the pinch of salt and add to the mixture instead.

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

2 1/2 cups white chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

2/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 pinch sea salt

In a large bowl, put cream cheese and confectioners' sugar and beat until creamy. Melt the half cup of white chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat or in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir often to keep the chocolate from burning. Add to the bowl with cream cheese, then add pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the gingersnap cookie crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt, and again beat until everything is combined. Cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours. Shape mixture into balls (about 1 teaspoon per ball) by rolling a spoonful in the palm of your hand. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm again. (Longer is okay, but if they'll wait longer, cover tightly so they don't dry out.) Melt remaining 2 cups white chocolate in small, deep bowl. (Deeper is easier for dipping the truffles). Dip the pumpkin balls into the chocolate and place on parchment paper. Garnish with reserved gingersnap/graham crumbs before the chocolate sets up. Let chocolate set, refrigerate and enjoy when you're ready.

The Country Cousin

Thought for the week:
Each Veterans Day should be a time when Americans stop and remember the brave men and women who have risked their lives for us and the rest of humanity. Let us not dishonor them by throwing away the precious freedoms and values that they fought for. In accord with the old tradition, we should all stop whatever we're doing at 11 a.m., bow our heads for a moment of prayer in which we thank God for all the veterans who fought in all the wars "over there" so that we, and eventually the whole world, could be safe and and continue enjoying the freedoms our forefathers won for us.

Before our moments of silence end, we should ask God to give this nation as a whole the wisdom and courage not to throw away the moral values and freedoms that the heroic veterans protected and preserved for us.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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