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Country Cousin

Fathers...

Hi Folks!

It was Easter just yesterday. Mother’s Day was a few minutes ago, and now Father’s Day is just around the corner...Sunday, June 16, in fact. June Dairy Month is half over. Frost is hardly out of the ground and they’re cutting the first crop of hay. Summer takes forever to get here, and then it simply flies by!

FATHER’S DAY

Fathers have been around for a long, long time. In America Father’s Day didn’t get to be a recognized celebration until 1972, but in the ruins of Babylon evidence has been found that they were celebrating Father’s Day or something like it 4,000 years ago. Archaeologists reportedly discovered a clay tablet which a young boy named Elmesu had carved into a card wishing his father long life and good health.

America, however, was the first nation of the modern world to officially designate a “Father’s Day.” Ironically, that came about because a young lady, Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash. She listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 and decided if there was to be a Mother’s Day, there also should be a Father’s Day. Her own mother had died in childbirth when Sonora was 16. She was the oldest of six children, including the newborn infant, and the family had been lovingly raised by their father. Sonora felt he and all other fathers deserved recognition for the loving care they gave their families.

She was right. Thank you, Sonora. Her efforts to establish a national Father’s Day covered a span of 62 years. She began campaigning for Father’s Day in 1910, and her dream finally came to reality on a national level in 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon finally signed the proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June to be Father’s Day in America from that time forward.

LOVE TO DADS

The role of being a Dad seems to have changed a lot since my growing up years, yet the love that role entails never changes at all.

In today’s world, Moms and Dads seem to share more of the chores, and roles sometimes change places. That’s especially true in the changing families, where there are divorces, single parents, sharing of custody, things we knew nothing about when I was a child.

In the early years of the 20th century, before World War II took Moms out of the home and into the work place, there was no confusion over roles. Almost totally, Dad went to work (or went outside to work the fields and milk the cows). Mom’s main role was generally in the home, even if she did have an outside job. There was plenty of work to divide, and moms and dads both did their share.

In Grandma and Grandpa’s day, Moms had to do the laundry without today’s convenient washers and dryers and hot and cold running water. Clothes had to be ironed. Wood stoves had to be stoked, baking had to be done and food had to be put by for winter.

Most dads put in long, long hours at one or more jobs to keep their families fed, and then many of them had to haul water, chop wood, feed and groom the horses or pull maintenance on their cars, and do all the things necessary to keep a family going.

Dads generally were in charge of discipline.

Never did feel it was fair for Moms to say, “Wait til your father gets home,” and then greet him with a litany of complaints for the day, often laced with a demand that the naughtiest be “given a whipping.” Always felt if Mother wanted someone whipped she should do it herself, and our own Mom did just that. Not often, though. Wasn’t necessary.

Our Dad never did have to mete out justice, but we were all afraid to find out just what would happen if that ever came to pass.

We knew he loved Mom without question, and that he would back her in whatever she decreed, so we never challenged her authority. We preferred the known to the unknown, and Dad’s temper was the unknown. He could shout pretty loud, and that was enough!

That said, Dad was always ready to hold us on his lap, take us for rides in the car when he didn’t have to, buy us ice cream cones, teach us to bait a hook, and try to take over for Mom when she was sick in bed. He loved to tell stories about the trouble he and his brothers and sisters got into when he was a child, and he loved telling jokes, especially when the joke was on him. He loved making us laugh.

He wasn’t very good at housewifely things, but he tried. And he never lost his temper at times like that.

As we grew, we often saw his eyes glow with pride and were particularly pleased if that pride was over something we had done. It wasn’t fear of punishment that kept us on the straight and narrow. It was knowing how disappointed Dad would be if we disgraced him and the family name.

Dad’s idea of relaxing on a weekend often involved going home to one or another of the grandparents and helping with chores of the season. He did somehow make that kind of work seem like fun.

Although we didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, we knew how hard he worked for us, and knew he deserved children who would make that work worthwhile. We tried to deserve him.

You have been gone many years now, Dad. But the values you and Mom built for us life on, in ourselves and in our children and grandchildren.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. We know you worked hard during life. And we know that now, in Heaven, you can truly Rest In Peace.

Thank you, Dad, for being you!

GIFTS FOR DAD

Moms are pretty easy to buy for. Dads typically are not, which is why, for so many years, so many Dads accumulated a really strange collection of ties.

Ties are pretty much out these days.

T-Shirts with witty sayings hopefully are still in, and maybe bedroom slippers are too, but probably not so much.

That said, hopefully Mom and kiddies can put some thought into what Dad likes to do, and what he might really enjoy having.

Dads who like to fish and hunt generally are pretty easy to buy for.

Ditto for those who are really dedicated to their favorite team - like the Packers or the Brewers.

But eventually even enough of that is enough.

Dads who like to garden might love a new plant, or a quirky new tool.

Dads who like to cook might like a spice collection, or perhaps one of those new cheese making kits that sell for about $25. (Unless it’s a gag gift, stay away from the barbecue apron and chef’s hat. How many men would really wear either of those?)

Even Dads who don’t cook generally like to eat and drink. How about a package of fine steaks, a bottle of good wine, or an assortment of interesting beers or liquors?

Whatever selection, select it with care, package it with love, and Dad will probably be thrilled. Or at least pretend to be.

ON THE ROAD WITH FIDO

It’s summer vacation time, and for families with a new pet, that means traveling with that pet for the first time.

A pet care expert says the first is always the worst. She advises planning a short trip as sort of a trial run to get Fido and family used to the idea of traveling together.

If puppy will be traveling in a cage, have a few sessions in the cage at home so he’ll have time to adjust without the excitement of being on the road.

The expert cautions pet owners not to be sure everyone they meet will find their companion as adorable as they do. Do not allow puppy to approach strangers unless they look particularly welcoming. Especially do not allow any jumping.

Before you make travel arrangements be sure the hotel, motel or resort will allow animal companions. Do not assume.

If you’re planning to visit friends or relatives, be sure your furry friend will be welcome.

Bring at least a dozen more chew treats or playthings than you think you need, per day. As with children, keeping pets busy during travel is the key to success. Know what toys or chewies entertain them best and don’t upset their digestion.

Motion sickness can happen even to the most cast-iron-stomached, especially during long car or boat rides. Bring along some anti-nausea pills just in case. And bring along some cleaning supplies. Also just in case.

Check into the new high-tech safety tools, like a water safety monitor to sound an alarm if Fido takes an unexpected swim, or a GPS device to track your pet if he decides to head home without you.

COOKIN’ TIME

Lots of recipes today, because most dads love to eat. Traditionally, Dad’s Day includes some outdoor grilling, whether it’s Dad’s specialty, or treats prepared by Mom or someone else. If Dad also likes to catch or eat fish, the Cheesy Fish Packets would be good main course stars. Serve up with baked potatoes and sour cream on the side, and a nice rhubarb pie for dessert. Or perhaps the rhubarb cheese pie, in honor of June Dairy Month.

CHEESY FISH ‘N’ VEGGIE PACKETS

6 squares aluminum foil (8 inch)

6 firm white fish fillets, 1/2 inch thick (1-1/2 pound)

2 tablespoons Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

Lemon pepper to taste

3 cups mixed broccoli florets and sliced carrots, blanched

6 tablespoons Cheese Dip or Salsa Con Queso

Place one fish fillet on each square of foil, about 2 inches from one of the sides. Drizzle with a teaspoon of the dressing. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon thyme and top with 1/2 cup of the vegetables. Fold the opposite sides of the foil over the fillets, making a “drug store” fold by turning over the foil twice along the seam. Fold up the open ends of each foil packet to seal, again making at least two turns. Place on grill over medium heat and grill about 15 minutes on first side, then turn and grill 15 minutes on the other side. Or place on baking sheet and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from grill or oven and let stand 5 minutes before opening. Place one packet on each serving plate; slit top with a knife. Spoon 1 tablespoon cheese spread over each fish fillet.

DAD’S STEAKBURGERS

If Dad’s specialty is burgers, he should love these. With all the accompanying vegetables, they’re meal on a bun. All you need add is maybe some chips and a light dessert, like Jell-O or ice cream. The faint at heart (probably kids) can of course skip the vegetables that make the steakburgers so good, but the rest of the family can live it up. For more burger taste, and less barbecue, instead of the barbecue sauce with the vegetables, use a half cup of A1 and a quarter cup of melted butter. Or, fry bacon, probably eight slices, drain off most of the grease and then in the same pan stir around the vegetables and A1 sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and crumble the bacon into the mixture before putting it either into a foil packet to finish cooking on the grill or onto the burgers if you’ve cooked it completely in the pan. No need for extra ketchup or mustard with this, but if anybody really wants to add them, just let them go ahead and spoil their own sandwich. Leave yours alone. (Incidentally, is it catsup or ketchup???)

1 each green and red pepper, cut into strips

1 onion, sliced, separated into rings

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup barbecue sauce, (maybe Kraft Thick ‘n’ Spicy

Original), or ketchup

1/4 cup A-1 Original Steak Sauce

Salt and pepper to taste, or lemon pepper

2 pounds ground sirloin

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

8 sandwich cheese slices

8 sesame seed hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls

Heat grill grill to medium heat. Place vegetables and chunks of butter in center of large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Mix barbecue sauce or ketchup and steak sauce; drizzle 1/2 cup over vegetables. Fold to make packet. Grill 15 min. Meanwhile, mix meat, lemon pepper, garlic salt and two tablespoons of the remaining A-1 Sauce mixture. Shape into eight half-inch thick patties. Turn veggie packet over, and then put the burgers on the grill. Turn burgers and brush with the remaining A-1 Sauce mixture after five minutes, and then grill three to five minutes more. Remove veggie packet from grill. Watch out for steam when you open it. Top burgers with cheese slices and grill one minute or until it melts. Fill buns with vegetables (so some of the juice soaks in) and then top with the cheeseburgers, or let everybody build their own, so they can pick and choose between the onions, mushrooms and peppers.

JALAPENO POPPER MONKEY BREAD

Dad will love this with steak or just about anything else you can cook that is not served on a bun. Makes a great snack on its own, too, especially if you serve it warm with butter.

2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

3/4 cup canned sliced jalapeo chilies, drained

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray. Unroll each can of dough into one large rectangle. Press perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle into 8 rows by 3 rows, to make 24 pieces per rectangle (48 pieces of dough total). Place a chile slice on center of each dough piece; top with about half a teaspoon of cream cheese. Pull corners up, and pinch to seal, then roll into a ball. Holding seam side down, brush top and sides with butter. Roll in cornmeal, and place seam side down in pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Drizzle remaining butter on top. Bake 23 to 27 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.

RHUBARB CHEESE PIE

This is a great way to celebrate June Dairy month!

3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into half inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 tablespoon flour

1 graham cracker crust, 10 inch size

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream (12 ounces), divided

2 eggs

2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon vanilla, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, butter and flour in a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts. Pour into the bottom of the prepared pie crust. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese, half cup sour cream and half cup sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and one tablespoon of the vanilla, and beat until blended. Pour over the rhubarb layer. Bake 30 minutes or until puffed and golden. Combine the remaining sour cream, sugar and the teaspoon of vanilla. Spread mixture over the hot pie. Set on a wire rack to cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve chilled.

Thought for the Week: To have a life that’s happier and more fulfilling, look on the bright side. Seek good in life, seek good in people. Bada Bing may not exactly be a philosopher, but he had this right: “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” Heavenly Father, help us get past the blindness that sometimes clouds our hearts so we can enjoy the sunshine of our lives. Thank You for all the good things You have provided for us. Amen.

(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 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

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