Friday, July 18, 2014

Fishin' In Hawleyville

Sometimes all it takes for an idea for a post is a car trip with an old friend. Yesterday I took Ellen to Shenandoah for a belated birthday lunch. We have been friends since our freshman year in high school.

I have wanted to have lunch at The Sanctuary, an old church turned restaurant, for a long time. Each time I planned an outing there with someone it didn't work out. Finally! The ambiance was as I expected, the food was good and the companionship even better. We had a nice luncheon. (To paraphrase The Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to that man behind the sign!" I was aiming for a shot of all the pretty flowers.)

As I most often do if a trip affords it, I take one route going and a different one coming back. I checked the IDOT website before going to see if there were any detours or road construction delays. It showed only one, which turned into two. I decided to use my knowledge of those blue line highways and head off across country which took us into Shenandoah from the north via Essex. So when we left I decided to go back on Highway 2 through Clarinda. As we were leaving that town headed toward Bedford Ellen said, "We could go through New Market." To which I replied, "Or Hawleyville."

Ellen had never heard of Hawleyville and we did not end up going that way, but I had to tell her about my memory of fishing in Hawleyville with my Grandpa Joe. We had been shopping in Clarinda with my grandparents. On the way home through Hawleyville, which never was too large of a town and now only has a few homes left, Grandpa decided he wanted to stop at the East Nodaway River bridge and go fishing.

Somewhere I do have a more recent picture of the bridge which looks very much the same today as it did in this picture from 1908 which I found on the internet. (Credit to Merrily Tunnicliff) Grandpa must have had a fishing pole with him but he didn't have any bait.

The car was pulled over along the road side and down the bank to the river Grandpa, Dad and Ron went. Mom, Grandma and we girls stayed on the bridge to watch them fish.

The thing I remember most about that day was what Grandpa used for bait - cockle burs! Those little green, spiny, stickery seed heads from one of the most noxious weeds like the one shown here. Who on earth would think of using a cockle bur for fish bait? Grandpa Ridnour! To the amazement of the bridge onlookers, Grandpa began catching fish! I'm pretty sure he caught enough to take home for their supper.

When I consider it today, I believe the fish Grandpa caught that day were most likely bullheads - they are known to bite on just about anything. I can remember eating my share of these catfish relatives. We caught them in our pond as well as the small creek that ran through our pastures.

Or maybe my Grandpa was just a natural born fisherman - a fish whisperer in today's nomenclature. He did love that pastime. This picture was taken on one of their trips to relatives on Grosse Ile, Michigan in the Detroit River. Left to right, Murl and Martha Kendrick (Martha & Grandpa were first cousins), their son-in-law and daughter, Dayton & Cleo Lessner, my grandparents, Delphia and Joe Ridnour. Grandpa looks pretty happy with that day's catch.

It is a very good day when you can enjoy an outing with a good friend and recall a significant childhood memory.

(Hawleyville is north of  Clarinda on Hwy 71 about three miles and then east on J31 about three miles until you cross over the East Nodaway River. As the old saying goes, "Don't blink or you'll miss it.")

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ah-h, Recipes - But So Much More

I believe it was late last summer when a classmate of mine posted on the Facebook page "You know you're from Corning if....." that his cousin had published a cookbook and provided a link to Amazon for those interested in ordering a copy.
I remember being happy for Julie and impressed with her accomplishment. Writing a book is hard work. I also thought that if only my Mom was still alive I would order a copy for her. Mom's favorite pastime was reading cook books and trying new recipes. She was such a good cook but somehow that gene passed me by. I am not a good cook and trying new recipes is not one of my hobbies.

But the news about Julie's book stuck in the back of my mind. A few weeks ago I looked up her cookbook online which you can also do here . I was so intrigued by the history included with the recipes that I decided to get my own copy. As soon as it arrived I read it from cover to cover.

I was even motivated to try some of the recipes. Julie says that the Broccoli Salad is one of her personal favorites. It has always been one of the first salads I go for when someone brings it to a potluck, but I have never before made it for myself. I have now.

Salads are my favorite part of any meal. If you had asked me though if I've ever had Acini De Pepe Salad I would have said, "What? Never heard of it".

Turns out I have had it - and liked it - I just didn't know what it was called and certainly didn't know how to make it. I do now.

Recipes Along the Way by Julie Marie is, as this post title says 'Recipes - But So Much More'. Perhaps knowing her and her family makes the family history more interesting to me, but the history about our state is also intriguing. It includes a copy of The Constitution of the State of Iowa saved by her ancestors back in 1857 as well as copies of old newspapers from around the state. I love the way Julie entwines articles from those papers with what may have been going on in her ancestors' lives at the same time.

I also appreciate how little stories about family members introduce or follow a recipe - for instance the vignette about her Grandpa Goodvin and his taters following the recipe for Fresh-fried Potatoes. Or the comments about her Aunt Marie's 90th birthday party and how she connected with people just ahead of Aunt Marie's Pork and Bean Salad recipe. Pork and beans were a staple of my childhood but I don't believe I had ever heard of Pork and Bean Salad. I had to try it. (See, Julie Marie has me trying out recipes!) Not only did I think it was good, so did my husband and he is not a lover of salads like I am.

History and recipes - not a combination you would normally think of until you think about family history and how recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Perhaps reading Julie's book will inspire you to share some of your own family history and recipes.

My Mom would have loved this cookbook.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Johnny Tremain and the Reason We Celebrate July 4th

Whether I was born with a love of history or it developed as I did, a book from the same year had much to do with it.

In 1943 Esther Forbes' book about the American Revolution was published. The following year this Young Adult book, Johnny Tremain, won the Newbery Medal. The story is about 14-year-old Johnny's life in pre-revolutionary Boston. I was probably close to that age when I read the book. I know it left a lasting impression on me. I always found reading historical novels much more palpable than learning history by rote.

So, on this 238th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, I think about all the boys and young men like Johnny who have fought and died for our country's freedoms. Perhaps it was our visit to this year's Freedom Rock yesterday that made me think of Johnny Tremain... see this year's depiction has a Minuteman on the front along with an injured returning vet and a current soldier. Bubba Sorensen repaints this giant boulder each year to honor our Vets for Memorial Day. You can learn more about Sorensen at as well as on his Facebook page 'The Freedom Rock'.

I find myself as intrigued by this pole and the mementos left by other visitors as I am by the rock. I wish I knew the stories behind some of them.

Sorensen has created "The Freedom Rock Tour" of Iowa in which he plans to paint a smaller version of The Freedom Rock in all 99 counties.  My home county, Adams, got their's last year. He was working on it during 'Retire the Red Raider' weekend which I wrote about here. My brother, Ron, took part in the dedication ceremonies for the Adams County Freedom Rock this past Memorial Day.

The county I now live in, Union, has their rock in place near the old Phillips 66 station which serves as our information center. I believe it will be painted next year.

It will be interesting to see how Sorensen transforms this rock into one unique to Union County as he continues his dedication to honor and remember Iowa's Veterans not only on the 4th of July, but every day.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lost Lake

I have pictures that could go with the title of this blog - like this one:

The lake of my childhood - Lake Binder. My older brother learned to swim here when there was still a humongous (in the eyes of a little sister) diving tower.
It is also the lake of my teen years where couples would go to park and car loads of their 'friends' would go to bushwhack them.
That same older brother told me of taking girls out there and scaring them by shining his spotlight on the remaining gravestones of the old Queen City Cemetery all the while telling ghost stories. He said there was one corner around the lake where a spotlight could be shone just right and it looked for all the world like ghosts shimmering. Timing the ghost story with the ghostly glimmers was certain to result in scads of screams.

Lake Binder isn't lost - the lake is still there.

As is this lake from our North Shore trip in the 90's. I like the moodiness of this picture with the lighthouse in the distance. I don't think of Lake Superior as being a lost lake, but I do think of all the ships lost on the lake - like the famous Edmund Fitzgerald. Gordon Lightfoot's song heard here will be one I'll always relate to this lake.

Hamilton Pool in the Hill Country of Texas isn't a lost lake but we thought ourselves lost before finally getting there. The fact that we had the place to ourselves that day did make it easy to imagine it as the private pool of the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches it once was.

This is the Lost Lake of my post title:

Sarah Addison Allen's sixth novel and probably her best so far. I love all her books. In some ways they are fairy tales for adults. They are magical, mysterious, enchanting, haunting. This book is so beautiful it made me cry. Then I learned that the author wrote it during the time she was fighting breast cancer. She says she is now two years cancer free. Thank goodness. I want her to keep writing books forever so that I may keep reading them. She understands the power of the connections that bind us forever. Put Lost Lake on your summer reading list. You won't be sorry.