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

Living...

Hi Folks!

Amazing how quickly Spring and Summer go once they finally get here. Mother’s Day and Memorial Day have come and gone. Graduations have already been held or will be in a week or so. Father’s Day is just two weeks off. Gardens should be going in this week. Blink your eyes and it will be the Fourth of July.

A famed east coast travel writer once said of Wisconsin’s northwoods in general, and Marinette County in particular, with summer so short and sweet, folks start celebrating on Memorial Day and don’t stop until Deer Season. Check the Calendars of Events on community websites and Marinette County’s own tourist site, therealnorth.com. You’ll see that he was absolutely right, but he doesn’t know the half of it, because he’s not even thinking of all the graduations, church picnics, family reunions, weddings, class reunions and such that we generally schedule in summer, when the weather is fine, at least most of the time.

LIVING, LOVING, LOSING

Last week my sisters, brothers and I bid goodbye to our mother. We girls were lucky enough to be at her bedside. The boys were far away, in Arizona. Not a chance they could get home in time.

Our parish priest was kind enough to administer last rites at the nursing home, which seemed to comfort her. We girls prayed with her too.

Mom always loved to travel, and she was ready to go, but the truth be told, she was a bit frightened of the trip. All of us have secret guilt...not necessarily for large sins, but about small things...opportunities for kindness that we let pass by...a thoughtless word that shattered the confidence of a timid soul...

It surprised us that Mom, who always so meticulous about her behavior, would worry about what lay beyond the curtain she was about to pass through. Surely nothing she had ever done could have been bad enough to bar her from Heaven.

She knew Jesus died for her sins and ours. She knew God promises forgiveness if we repent. She had to know she was destined for Heaven, but maybe she was worried there would be detours along the way.

Whatever the problem, she was in pain, and she seemed frightened, afraid to let go.

Until we started encouraging her, saying our goodbyes, and telling her we would see her again in Heaven, where Daddy was waiting for her, and her parents, and her favorite relatives and friends, so many of whom have already gone to the place she would be going. It would be a grand reunion, we told her.

And she relaxed. She slept peacefully away.

But before she lapsed into that final sleep she asked, almost incoherently, “Will they remember me?”

At the time, we thought she meant those she was leaving behind. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe she was worried that the people she loved so much would not recognize her when she met them again. After all, when they went she was young and beautiful. When she went she was still beautiful, but old.

Whichever you meant, Mom, we’re sure it will be all right. We will remember you. Your children and grandchildren will remember you. Your values will be passed along through the generations, as will the stories of the human foibles we all commit - stories that made us laugh at the time, and will make us laugh again as we remember them and pass them along to our grandchildren.

COMFORT

Hard as it was for us to say goodbye, cannot imagine what it must be like for those who have no belief in God, no belief in life in a world to come, those who are convinced that we simply lapse into nothing. Where is the comfort for them?

Harder still it must be for those who do believe in eternal life, but led evil lives anyway, maybe thinking they could get away with it, thinking they could repent in time and be forgiven. And then, would there be an awful last minute, a realization that it’s too late? What a frightening thought!

ON THE SOAP BOX

ARE WE LOSING OURSELVES?


Cannot recall, in all my decades of life, a time when there were so many horrendous issues for Americans to contend with all at one time.

In the past, threats came mostly from forces outside our nation. We may have disagreed with national leaders on ways to achieve our national goals, but we generally shared the goals - preserve freedom, promote prosperity, work toward peace, protect the weak, and remain a good nation of God fearing people.

Today, it seems to be the goals that separate us, not the means of getting there.

There seems to be a goal of getting around the Constitution rather than abiding by it, of putting the might of the IRS behind efforts to squelch political opposition, a willingness to sacrifice the lives of American Embassy personnel to further a myth that a mob was angered enough by an independent video to attack what in effect was a bit of American soil in a foreign land.

Sic the IRS on non-profit organizations with the words “patriot” or “Constitution” in their names. Use illegal means to secretly obtain telephone records of people who have spoken with reputable national news reporters. Refuse a cry for help from an embattled embassy, and then lie about it. All that seems to be okay with the current administration.

For an American president or political party to openly flaunt a disregard for the Constitution, national protection, freedom of the press, and the right of like-minded people to join forces to work toward mutual goals is unthinkable. For us to tolerate it is doubly unthinkable!

Those sorts of things happened elsewhere, in Third World countries, not here in America.

For a president to repeatedly claim ignorance of things that were going on in the top levels of his administration is itself ignorance in the first degree, if true, and an impeachable lie to Congress if not true.

Have been hearing people say this is not Watergate. They are absolutely correct. This is far, far worse than Watergate ever dreamed of being, and Richard Nixon resigned!

The deeper Congress digs, the more putrid the odors become! What else will they discover? How much more stench can we stand?

Will this be the generation that let the American dream die, and then stood quietly by while the enemies of freedom buried it?

DO SOMETHING!

Wake up, Americans! We must let our voices be heard. Never mind threats of IRS investigations and telephone taps. We must defend our freedoms before we lose them forever!

“We cannot abandon our Constitutional liberties in the pursuit of physical safety, for if we do that we will have already lost the war and will inflict far more harm on this nation than any terrorist ever could,” Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble urged recently in thanking a constituent for contacting him. “I am thankful you made your voice heard, and I hope that you continue to do so. Our nation and its government are stronger when citizens are willing to engage with one another on the important issues.”

OFF THE SOAP BOX

GROWIN’ THINGS


No matter how much stench there is in the nation’s capital, gardens, lawns and weeds keep growing, and to some folks keeping the weeds out of a garden is more important than keeping oppressors out of government.

That said, there is much to be said for having a beautiful lawn and a lovely garden. And spending time on that garden and lawn does wonders for human health and happiness.

According to NAPSA, a national news clipping service, recent research by United Minds reveals some fascinating facts about Americans’ relationship with green spaces.

For example, the Global Green Space Report, produced by the Husqvarna Group, found:

74 percent of people would like their children to spend more time in gardens and yards;

Two-thirds of respondents believe that visiting and interacting with green contributes to their quality of life;

When asked what impresses them about other people’s gardens, the top three things were:

1. Flowers,52 percent

2. Fruit trees,52 percent

3. A well-trimmed lawn, 46 percent.

To get the grass greener on your side of the fence, consider these suggestions:

Water, water, every day-at least at first. From when the lawn is first planted until the shoots start to show, keep the top half inch of soil moist.

Stay sharp. Make sure the blades on your lawn mower are sharp so as not to injure the blades of grass.

Mow less. Don’t remove more than a third of the top growth in a single cutting.

Mow more easily. To help homeowners make the most of their mowing, the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products has come up with two new machines, one of them a walk-behind mower with four wheel drive!

Further facts are at www.husqvarna.com, www.facebook. com/HusqvarnaUSA and Twitter. Learn more about green spaces and people’s feeling toward green spaces at http:// greenspacereport.com/.

ENVY

They say if you give your lawn the care it craves your neighbors may become green with envy.

COOKIN’ TIME

Rhubarb is ready, asparagus is popping up, and strawberries won’t be far behind. Eat and enjoy!

TUSCAN TURKEY BREAST

With the price of beef as it is, and pork rapidly shooting the moon as well, we need to find other meats to enjoy on the grill. Try this turkey breast and you’ll probably try it again...many times.

1 bone-in turkey breast (4 to 5 pounds)

Marinade:

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup zesty Italian dressing

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 whole cloves

Under Skin:

4 ounces Romano cheese, cubed

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

4 lemon slices

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon pepper (about)

Marinade: Mix together the garlic, basil, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture onto the turkey. Place one clove into each end of the turkey, as well as one in the center. Blend brown sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and salad dressing in a large, shallow dish or a very large zipper type plastic bag. Put the turkey inside, and turn to coat it with the mixture. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably over night. Light the coals about two hours before eating time, and lightly oil the grate. Take out the turkey breast, and with fingers, loosen the skin from the breast. Combine the cheese, basil, lemon slices and garlic. Dispose of the left over marinade. Slipping hands between the skin and breast meat, spread the cheese, basil, lemon and garlic mixture, patting it around as evenly as possible. Place the turkey on the grill. Prepare grill for indirect heat, with a drip pan under the turkey. Grill for an hour to an hour and a half, with the lid closed, or to an internal temperature of 170 degrees and the juices run clear. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so the juices settle.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

You can make this cake with frozen strawberries and frozen rhubarb if necessary. Just thaw the berries and thaw and drain the frozen rhubarb first.

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow or French

vanilla cake mix

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees, 325 if you’re using a dark or nonstick pan. In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange strawberries on brown sugar; sprinkle evenly with rhubarb. Press strawberries and rhubarb gently into brown sugar. In large bowl, beat the cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over strawberries and rhubarb. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool no more than five to 10 minutes, then run a knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down on pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 1 minute so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream or ice cream. Store covered in refrigerator

STRAWBERRY AMARETTO CAKE

1 cup slivered almonds

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup Amaretto liqueur

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

AMARETTO CREAM

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pinch salt

1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur

2 cups thinly sliced fresh strawberries

6 large fresh strawberries, cut in half

1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pans). Grease and lightly flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Place almonds in food processor or blender. Cover; process until almonds are finely ground. In large bowl, beat almonds and remaining cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pans. Bake and cool as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch rounds. In chilled large bowl, beat Amaretto cream ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on serving plate. Spread with 1/2 cup Amaretto cream; arrange sliced strawberries evenly on top. Top with second cake layer, rounded side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining Amaretto cream. Just before serving, garnish with strawberry halves. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Thought for the Week: Fine advice for graduates: “The test of success is not what you do when you’re on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” - General George S. Patton, Jr.

COUNTRY COUSIN


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