FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Growing up in a town of 1,000 people was just the right fit for me. We lived almost in the center of town…2 blocks from uptown, 3 blocks from the school and 2 blocks from the park. As most small towns do, we always had a full day celebration on the 4th of July. It would begin with a festive parade, complete with fire engines, police cars, floats, tractors and horses. The kids would stand at the edge of the road, bag in hand, ready to get a months supply of free candy that was thrown out to the crowd from the passing entries. The parade started at the grade/ high school, went down main street, turned at the hotel and went straight down to the park. It was always exciting because we only had to walk 1/2 a block to reach the parade route. We would cross the street with our blankets and lawn chairs sit in my Aunt Doris and Uncles Shellys yard. This was the meeting spot for the extended family to assemble. For many years we would have a fish fry and potluck in that same back yard. They would un-thaw the fish that the men and ladies had caught that previous summer when we all went on vacation together in Wisconsin. After the parade, while the adults were cooking the food, the kids would go to the park for the awards ceremony so see who’s float was the winner, and then to play some kids games.
Today I began going through some photos that we kept in a trunk after my parents passed away. It was too painful to look at them for the past 5 years, and I will admit I have shed a few tears in the last few hours. I found these photos of floats my mom created when I was a baby, and that continued throughout our grade school years. I just look at these and I shake my head in total awe of my mothers creativity and spirit. These were made with a wagon, chicken wire and countless tissues. This one is probably the best one that I could find. The date on the photo is 1960, which means I was 2 years old as a passenger in the float.
In this one, my sister Tammy was a baby, and my other sister Kelly was the one appointed to push her the short 4 block through the kiddie parade starting line, to the park. I would have been about 12 at this time, so I am sure that I was following close behind in some sort of get up. One year the town replaced the old water tower with a new one, and Kelly and I went as the old and the new water towers. She was in the “old” one, which was brick and straight up and down in shape. Mine was silver in color, and had the familiar shape of most water towers now..looking like a golf tee with a golf ball sitting on the top. I am hoping to find that picture somewhere. I know we were older, and I can even remember trying to walk inside my water tower, trying not to fall over.
This is the one that shows this wonderful, amazing woman who I called “mom”….As I said before, I am in awe of the things she did as we were growing up. Most things went unnoticed by her children, until after she was gone. She made every holiday special, but the July 4th and Christmas were always the best. Now I am in a new town, double the size…but the parade goes right by my house. My kids sat for years, as we did, with their bags, ready to catch the bounty of candy. I wasn’t as creative as mom, and we didn’t enter many kiddie parades, so perhaps I cheated my kids in a way. I have no excuse, other than the shoes I had to fill were much too large ♥
FOOD FOR THE BODY
PATIO POTATO SALAD
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 7 medium red potatoes, cubed and cooked
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- Lettuce leaves and paprika, optional
- In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, mustard, salt and celery seed. Stir in the milk, vinegar and egg until smooth. Add butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Cool. Stir in onion and mayonnaise. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If desired, serve in a lettuce-lined bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 8-10 servings.