Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hinds County News, Mississippi on the Plains column, for October 2016 by Gloria Christiansen

Hinds County News October 2016

So here I am, and another month has passed, Summer is gone and it is Fall.   Here in Nebraska there has already been a frost in the panhandle.
North Park
Holdrege Nebraska

North Park
Holdrege Nebraska

Let me tell you a bit about my road trip to Louisiana for grandson Garrett’s wedding.

My Buddies
Peggy Ann, Jacqueline, Me and Lindsey
Xenia, Garrett
And Adam

   I do not travel the interstates at all, so I am mostly traveling on two lane roads.   Been making the same trip up and down highway 183 for many years, in fact 50ish years.  There are not many towns of any size on my route, mostly small farming communities…over the years those little towns have changed from bustling main streets, with local cafes, grocery stores, feed stores, furniture stores, a Ben Franklin 5&10, Western Auto store, several full service filling stations, and every town had a school.  Oh! And an adorable little motel with a bright neon sign flashing “vacancy” or “No Vacancy”.
It is not that way anymore, sometimes it is a challenge to even find gas, when you do it is often an unmanned place, next to what used to be a Co-Op.  If you happen up on a little convenience store that has a gas pump, it is not uncommon that you have to pay inside, because the pump is of an age that it cannot accommodate a credit card.
Many Main streets in rural mid-west are empty shells, once lovely homes abandoned, schools and play grounds vacant.  
 Even the smallest of villages may not have the amenities they once did, but most still have a nice water tower, frequently painted whimsically, but always proudly embellished with the town’s name, and very often the towns have a well-cared for city park.   In very recent years Dollar General stores have begun to pop up.                                          
  But what I find most fascinating about the small towns in the rural mid-west is this, there may not be a school, grocery or hardware store but, there is almost always a functioning bank.  For some reason I find comfort in that…. maybe the rural Mid-west is not dying, maybe it is just beginning a new cycle. We old people do not have to like it…we had our “good old days” these changing times are the “good old days” for this generation.
Before I head out on “The Junk Jaunt”, Let me relay an invitation to you all, from the sweet folks at Old Lebanon Church.
There are many abandon country churches in the rural areas of our country….But not Old Lebanon Presbyterian Church off Highway 18, Raymond Mississippi, years ago the congregation moved the few miles into Learned, Mississippi.   But Old Lebanon was not left to out there in the country unloved and forgotten, every fifth Sunday the congregation meets in that old church, even though it lacks modern comforts, no kitchen, or reliable heat and no air conditioning, I don’t think it even has electricity.  The windows do function and as I recall there is an outside privy.
October, 30, 2016 is Homecoming and dinner on the grounds, at old Lebanon. After the service, under the trees in front of the church, is where the cover dish dinner will commence. So take a covered dish, and a lawn chair, and enjoy the afternoon visiting with neighbors, friends and strangers,  and be sure and stroll through the old cemetery.  Everyone is invited. 
 I have been to 5th Sunday at old Lebanon many times, when it was raining, sweltering hot and when it was cool bordering on cold.  Grand! Grand! Memories! I wish I could be there for this homecoming.

  By the way Old Lebanon Presbyterian church is on the National list of historic places.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Red Necks and Cajuns

Mississippi Rednecks

Louisiana Cajuns 

Hinds County News September 2016

Recently, I was in South Louisiana, White Castle, at Nottaway Plantation, for my grandson Garrett’s wedding. It was beautiful!  And the food!  I do not think there is any better food anywhere, than south Louisiana. We had a grand time!

 One week later, on that very area, a storm with no name, dropped 20 plus inches of rain, more rain than came with Katrina, causing history making floods.  My heartbreaks for those folks.
But, they are not without help and support, almost immediately some of our Mississippi boys loaded up their pickups and headed to south Louisiana. These guys have been called “Rednecks”.    Those Rednecks took boats, tools and all supplies they could carry.  And they were ready to work…hands on… boots on the ground work.  Ready to do what they could to help out those Louisiana Cajuns in their time of need.

I may not be politically correct, using such terms as Redneck and Cajun, but those who are Rednecks and Cajuns seem to be proud to be what they are…. Boys raised on the river and in the woods!
Mississippi is jam packed with Red Necks, some are riding tractors, some driving trucks, some roping cows, working at the hardware store etc.  But what may shock folks not from the South…. they can also be found behind desks in corporate offices!

 God Bless those Mississippi men, black and white, who were raised in the woods and on the river! Those guys know what to do in a crisis!   Thank you for all you do!

I shall tell you about the trip and wedding next time, my heart is not in it today.
Love to all

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cream Can Dinner

My first Cream Can Dinner

 I have been to many shrimp boils, Crawfish Boils and weiner roasts
Now then I have been to my first cream Can Dinner!

This dinner took place at the home of a friend of a friend....A grand time was had by all!
  Naponee, Nebraska, population 106

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hinds County News May 2016

Hinds County News May 2016

The last day of March I began my first journey back Mississippi, since selling my home, a year and a half ago, my wonderful home of thirty years, to come back to Nebraska, where I was born and raised, to be near family in my old age.  It was hard leaving Mississippi when I left the first time…it wasn’t any easier leaving this time. I will be back!!!

I began the trip at first light, I leisurely motored along back roads, all the way…nearly a 1000 miles.  What a lovely drive it was, the morning I left Holdrege there were only miniscule hints that Spring might be coming soon to Nebraska.  I took highway 183 South through Kansas and Oklahoma, then Highway 70 across southern Oklahoma and Arkansas, that is where spring took on color, Wisteria climbing in trees that had not yet leafed out turning them purple…. The dogwood trees tucked in to the edges of the woods were in full flower. Oh!! My favorite the azaleas they were spectacular!

By the time I cross over the Mississippi River at Greenville, into the Mississippi delta, it was full blown Spring.  The trees were all leafed out, well that is not entirely true, there is always one exception…. the pecan trees.  Bless’m they are the first to drop their leaves in the Fall and last to acquire them in the Spring.

I was in hopes that by the time I returned to Holdrege it would be Spring, was not to be… the trees did not yet have their leaves, but thrilled to see the ornamental cherries, and pears were in full flower….as were the dandelions, my yard was a carpet of yellow, rather happy looking…I love the color yellow.

 Recently I was among a group discussing the dandelion, one meek little voice spoke up to say, “leave them for the bees” I must say that was not the prevailing attitude of the gathered.

Folks up here look down their noses at dandelions, my lawn in Mississippi if it was green I mowed it and called it lawn!  Now the poison ivy, that was crawling in the grass and up the pecan trees, I, on occasion, tried to kill it…but on after while I gave up that notion…. telling myself it was okay because, some summers it was so hot and dry that the leaves would just turn brown and plummet to the ground without ever turning color, those years’ poison ivy gave us our prettiest fall color.   I got to say in the fall, poison ivy is spectacular…brilliant reds and oranges!

Back to the dandelion saga, my yard was the only one on the block covered by the happy yellow flowers and they did not go unnoticed.  I do not know that I ever intentionally set out to kill a dandelion…Oh whacked them with the weed eater…that does not kill them, if anything whacking invigorates them. 

With sadness in my heart, I set out to deliberately kill the dandelions…went to the hardware store and bought a sack of happy yellow flower eradicator… that was a week ago, so far they do not seem to be at all daunted by my efforts, they are still looking up and smiling at me. I must confess, I am somewhat relieved.
Hey I got to go
Love to all

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ponderings from my front porch....On the Avenue Holdrege Nebraska

First   published in the                                                                      

Hinds County News
July 2016

I had always assumed my John did not like talking on the phone.   If the house phone rang more than twice he would announce, “Telephone is ringing”.  And he would continue making that announcement until someone answered the phone or it quit ringing.  John refused to answer the phone even if he was sitting right next to it. He claimed, “it is never for me.” And of course he was almost always right.  But now that I am thinking about it if someone was able to get to the phone before the ringing stopped…he would always ask, “who was it?” …. “what did they want?” Hmmmmm quite odd….
My dad was not a phone talker…I have known very few men who were social phone talkers…. business yes.   But personal no… for John his phone conversations were limited almost exclusively to arranging hunting or fishing outings and those were short and to the point.
So anyway…as I was drinking my coffee, from the porch I noticed most everybody driving up and down the Avenue were on their cell phones.   Even the men!   
I said all of that to say this:  On the porch this morning I had an epiphany!
 About men and telephones…. They love their cell phones just like women do!   What they did not like about house phones was being tethered to a wire plugged into the wall or a phone that only functioned inside a certain perimeter. And after John bought his first cell phone he became quite a chatter.
Done with that thought

What I planned to talk about this morning is paint and painting.   I recently acquired a darling little building one of those already built, it is a Derksen! 
Little Building
"LB" for short

As I have told you my house is small.  I needed more room so I ordered a 10x12                                                                                                                                                                                               shed … I really don’t know how I will be using Little Building for certain, so far, in the evenings the pups and I just enjoy sitting out there and watch the goings and comings on the Avenue.
Emma on the left Shelby on the right
So back to the painting, I set out to prepare to paint “Little building”, The outside was already painted a bright shining white, so was only dealing with the inside.  I was determined to do it right, go according to manufacturer’s instructions. I have to tell you they have very specific directions, no grease or dirt, if dirt or grease are present, it must be washed and rinsed meticulously then let dry completely… any glossy surfaces must be sanded lightly….no loose or peeling paint…rust must be dealt with…  Certain kinds of woods must first be primed!   As I was uncertain of what kind of wood, Little building was composed of I bought primer and paint.

Daughter Angela volunteered to paint Little Building over memorial weekend…
Daughter Angela
She was able to get the ceiling completed, it took three coats one primer and two of paint. I was left with the walls…no big deal…the she was able to do the hard part, the overhead painting. Angela calls Monday morning her dog Scout has paint on her back and on her belly…. The latex paint would not brush out or wash out…it had to be cut out.
  After several days of me staying on task, the painting was complete!  Walls and floor!
But!  My brand new pedicure was a wreck, covered with paint splatters, that could not be scrubbed off….Paint splatters all over skin, hands, arms, and nose, that paint did wear off, but it was way on after while …
 Last week I went to get my hair cut… Tim the fella that cuts my hair, after shampooing it, made the remark, “some of the paint came out, but not all”.    This after many washings at least 10!  
 The intended surfaces to be painted must be dealt with carefully for the paint to adhere to it, but on unintended surfaces that paint clings like grime death without any preparation what so ever.  I think that is rather odd….But on the bright side if the paint on little building clings to it like it does to noses, toes and dogs…I will be in the grave many years before it has to be painted again.   
I sure do miss Mississippi
Love to all                                        

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My column from the Mississippi newspaper

The Hinds County News 

April 2016

From the Avenue

Every year, to anyone who will listen, I go into a long tirade, about the pointlessness of daylight savings time.  It makes absolutely no sense, no matter how the powers that be, shift the hands on the clock, there are just so many hours of sunlight in a 24-hour period!  That said…I believe I am adjusting a bit faster this year.  However, my body is still in a bit of a protest mode, body is slow to get out of bed in the morning …Maybe body is not so much slow… as confused?
  But! my mind is doing MUCH better with the change! Yes, it is!   Well possibly not…. when I look at the clock, I translate it.  For instance, the clock on the wall may say four my brain converts it to real time three O’clock!  Okay, that is that rant.
   Now then, we all know soft drinks are bad for us and we should not, under any circumstances enjoy one.  How do we know this?  The food scientists/ police tell us so… that is how.  
   I do not partake in sodas often, because they are bad for me…. but if I have an upset stomach a 7up or Sprite seems to calm it and I cannot eat a pizza without having a cola, Coke or Pepsi makes no difference to me.   Just yesterday I was enjoying my pizza and sipping slowly on my coke, trying not to consume too much, as I do not want to hasten my death.
    You know how when you are eating cereal you pick up the box and read whatever is on it? Well I picked up the Pepsi bottle and commenced to read the ingredients. Here goes “Carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, caffeine and natural flavors”.  We all know sugar has been named one of the really bad guys in the world of nutrition, but not bad enough that they are banning it in schools like sodas. So it must be the phosphoric acid right? 

So while sitting there munching on pizza, sipping on Pepsi I picked up my phone and googled phosphoric acid.   Well guess what folks!? According to my not extensive research, studies have shown phosphoric acid “may” be harmful.  And orange juice has more of it then sodas.  
Phosphoric Acid is an inorganic mineral, pretty much what I would call dirt.  Who hasn’t eaten a carrot or radish pulled out of the ground…cleaned off best you could by rubbing on you pant leg…still dirt on it but ate it anyway?
I said all of that to say this:  I am not longer going to let the food police tell me what I can and cannot eat or drink!  They are so often wrong…over years they have warned us about butter, coffee, eggs, bacon, dairy …. the list goes on and on….and on and on.  Corn syrup is high on the beware of list.
   Green Tea and nuts are pets of theirs at the moment, for a while they were real high on kale.  Very recently, I bought a bag of pistachio nuts, BIG BAG, just two days’ later the pistachios were recalled.  That may explain my queasy tummy after eating them…I had to drink a Sprite to get my tummy to behave. So in this case I considered the ice cold soda a medicine.
  Speaking of Medicine, Just Google the side effects the medicines you are taking…. the side effects of some of those are considerably more frightening, than any health concerns related to the Pepsi consumed. I am sort of seeing it this way…food can possibly shorten your life…. the medications you are taking can kill you.
   And if the lawyers who advertise on TV are correct, many medicines are very dangerous.   Even the manufactures of the drugs often do not speak very confidently about their meds….after they finish listing the side affects …you have to wonder, “how did this drug get approved?”
 If sodas are killing us, those lawyers, whose only concern is our wellbeing, they would be on TV advocating we jump on and sue.  Shouting at us through the TV to take legal action, against food and beverage companies…Right?
    I must tell you all, the Girls Scout cookies, I ate for dessert, after my pizza and refreshing cola,…the ingredient list on that package was much longer and less pronounceable than the soda I drank …. but reading the ingredient list was not enough to dissuade me from enjoying the cookie…. several cookies…half a box of cookies.... they were really really good!

    You all, I am not suggesting that you adopt my devil may care attitude toward food….I have had the cancer, twice, who knows if it is what I ate and drank or genetics.   Also I am over weight and would not be surprised if the Alzheimer’s has been sneaking in while occasionally eating at fast food establishments.
I am 71, and consider myself healthy….However Doctors I have been to since gaining weight, seem to disagree.  But I can still out work people decades younger than myself.
I hope to die digging in the garden, or running the string trimmer…. eating and avocado, bacon, cheeseburger would not be a bad way to go ether…Oh!  sitting on the front porch or in the swing watching the world pass by that might be the best!
porch last summer

 But the way I die, that’s is God’s call.   I shall just continue to soldier on best way I know how until that day.
Love and good health to all!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hinds county news for march 2016
Written February 20, 2016
 at Mississippi on the plains, Holdrege Nebraska

 The Great Ground Hog Day Blizzard 2016

 Yesterday was a beautiful warm day here, the pups and I spent a good part of the day, on the front porch, watching the last of the snow melt from “The Great Ground Hog Day Blizzard 2016”.    The snow in this yard measured 23 inches on the flat, drifts along the fence and the side of the house were a good bit deeper. Watching snow melt is slightly more exciting than watching paint dry…and slightly less exciting than watching grass grow….That said,  any one of three activities can be extremely therapeutic.

I was rather surprised to learn blizzards are not as common as I thought…As a kid growing up in Nebraska I thought blizzards were a common. But for a big snow storm to be officially called a blizzard, there has to be large amounts of falling snow or blowing snow, and winds must exceed 35 miles an hour for at least three hours.

The weather people warned us it was going to “BIG”, I have in the past been rather skeptical of dire warnings from enthusiastic weather folks.  But after being caught by hurricane Katrina miserably unprepared.  I had no real money, no gas in anything I drove, not even the lawn mower. Thankfully John had a tank full of gas and money.  Money was not much use however, because the electricity was out over much of the state, so could not buy anything.   So anyway, I said all of that to say this; before the storm I went to ATM and got real money, (to pay someone to scoop the sidewalks for me).  I went to the grocery bought lots of canned goods and water, you all I was prepared.  even had batteries! And gas in my car!

So the blizzard begins, first thing snow drifts up on the back door to where I could not get it open.  So I was diligent keep snow from building up on the front door. Because I had to be able to get outside to measure snow and take pictures to post on Facebook.  Not everybody was excited about the blizzard, but for me, “The Great Ground Hog Day Blizzard 2016” was grand fun.
When it was finally over, it went on for two days, I looked out, the sun was shining bright, I thought to myself, “let me see if I can clear the sidewalk just to the front gate.”  So I got dressed in the recommended layers, my yoga pants, jeans, overalls, threes shirts and John’s hunting coat and gloves.  (I have yoga pants because my doctor urged me to take yoga to improve my balance and get limber.   Well, one look at myself in those yoga pants, I knew I would not be taking a class!
Then as an afterthought, before going out, I went to the computer, then to YouTube and watched several videos on how to scoop snow.  Even though I grew up in Nebraska, doubt I ever scooped any snow before…I had brothers so I feel sure that the snow scooping job fell to them. ( Heads up…if you do not want to be snickered at do not mention the fact to Mid westerners, that you went to the computer to learn how to scoop snow.)   So anyway, when snow is very deep you take it off in layers.  It worked beautifully! So well in fact I went on to scoop the sidewalk in front of the house, then on to free up the back door…. still going strong I scooped from back door to the back gate.  I was first on my block to get the sidewalk scooped! I was sooooo enormously proud of myself!

Picture taken from alley
Picture taken from back door

Swing area early on in the storm
Backdoor to gate
Miss Shelby loved the snow!

 Decided to stop and continue the next day, scooping from back gate, to the garage and alley.  Big Mistake! Still puffed up with pride…  I went to take trash to alley…there was no pathway,  I fell… as I was tumbling… I recalled the verse from Proverbs “Pride goeth before a fall”    I was not hurt, because the snow was so deep…in fact, deeper than my arms are long, so could not lever myself up.  You all I had to roll over to picnic table and grab on to it and pull myself up!  Remember that movie The Christmas story? When Ralphie’s mother bundled him up in that puffy snow suit, he fell and could not get up?  I know how he felt….

Then! I did not learn my lesson form the fall in the snow! Later in the week, I was in the grocery store! In the pickle isle! I Struck up a conversation with a sweet lady, about the blizzard!  Boasted to her about me scooping myself out at 71!   She gently informed me she shoveled her own snow too and she was 81!   When will I learn!?
Love to all
Come see if you get this way