NEWS FROM THE HILLS
A sky as blue as October’s stretches above our hills this morning, without a cloud to mar its surface. A lone jet trail streaks across the sky, neatly dividing it with a line of white. Sunshine caresses the bare trees on the hillsides, and shines warmly on brown meadows and fields.
This is supposed to be our only fair day this week. The good Lord must have seen that we had need of a day of sunshine, and dropped this one down in the midst of dreary, gloomy days. The memory of this serene day will cheer us during the cold, snowy days ahead.
We had a memorable Thanksgiving—one we will long remember. I was making pie crusts on Wednesday when I got so deathly sick I couldn’t finish. Fortunately, my sister Jeannie stopped by and ordered me to bed while she finished the pie crusts. I managed to stumble out of bed and mix the pumpkin filling, and Patty came down and made the pecan pie.
That was all for me. Our youngest daughter Crystal and husband Jeff, plus their three daughters were on their way home from North Carolina. She came home singing, “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go . . .” Unfortunately, grandmother was in bed with a vicious stomach virus.
And so—Crystal and her father Criss got to cook the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I must say, it was as delicious as any I’ve ever made. I was shut up in the bedroom and couldn’t even offer advice. I came crawling out Thanksgiving evening, better but weak.
This was not the end of the story. That vicious bug bit almost all of us, felling us one by one. It didn’t last too long, but was nasty while it lasted. With two bathrooms, it was still family togetherness at its worst. I have a feeling that this Thanksgiving will stand out in our minds for a long time. I hope yours was better.
Back in the summer I received a poem from Edith Workman, which I saved to share at this season of the year. Mrs. Workman is a 91 year old resident of the Pocahontas Continuous Care Center in Marlinton. She wrote this when she first retired.
THANK YOU LORD
Thank you Lord, I’m old enough to retire;
Still young enough to sit by the fire.
Down the hill and up the trail,
I’ll take a walk,
Alone with God, I will pray and talk.
Fast from Heaven the snowflakes fall;
In the distance I hear a lone bird call.
I look across the river and see
Three beautiful deer silently gazing at me.
One side of the trail is a bank of pine;
From the tops of the cliffs, long icicles shine.
The branches of the pine are all covered with snow;
Only God could make such beauty, I know.
On the other side of the trail
The Greenbrier River flows;
Slowly and steadily down the valley it goes.
I’m alone in a world so clean and white;
I feel God’s presence and His awesome might.
He has covered all the ugliness
Man has made with the snow;
No rubbish or decay through it does show.
It reminds me how the blood of Christ
Has made me whole,
Like the snow on the land, it covers my soul.
It has always amazed me how God covers our land with a thick coating of snow, and every mundane object becomes a thing of beauty. Fields become a vast landscape of white, while dry weeds and shrubs are decorated with white puffs of snow.
It seems almost a desecration to mar the white surface with footprints, yet the wildlife has no qualms. Here are the delicate hoof prints of a deer that has crossed the meadow, and the loping tracks of a rabbit that ran along the edge. Mingled with the rabbit tracks are the paw prints of a dog, probably a beagle, which tells the tale of a merry chase.
It’s a different world when it snows. Our hills are transformed into a fairyland, with evergreens drooping under their burden of snow, and crystal icicles hanging from each outcropping of rock. It is truly beautiful—but cold.
We have received a few requests over the past few weeks. I have searched all evening for the words to a song that T. E. (Thelma) Hall of Marmet wants. It goes, “There’s a little pine log cabin, waiting down in Welcome Valley . . .” I hope someone can help.
J. D. Beam of Reno, Nevada, tried to explain to his wife about “dropped apple dumplings.” He asked me for a recipe, and I’ve never made them. I wonder if this is the same thing as “boiled apple dumplings.” Mom said Grandma O’Dell used to make them, and they weren’t fit to eat.
As I remember, the apple was covered with dough and dropped into a pot of boiling water. Mom said they were blue and chewy—she didn’t like them. We’ve always made baked apple dumplings, and they are delicious.
I like to peel and core the apple, then pack the cavity with brown sugar. Wrapped in pastry dough, they are placed in a baking dish and covered with syrup made with one cup of sugar, one cup of water, stick of butter, one teaspoon ground cinnamon. Bring this to a boil, and pour over apples. Bake at 350 until brown and apples are tender.
An unnamed reader is looking for a German recipe and she is unsure of the spelling, but is pronounced “spit-a-kees.” Her aunt made it over 40 years ago, and the recipe was misplaced after her aunt died. It consisted of a pastry shell filled with a mixture of hamburger, onions, kraut (and she doesn’t remember what else) then fried in a skillet. Has anyone ever heard of it?
by Adelaide Love
Not only in my summer let me sing
When Beauty storms my senses and my soul,
When mine is the mysterious and dark
Delight of one who feels the quivering
Tumultuous heart surrender utterly,
Idolatrous of that bright deity.
Let me not ever lose the moment when
I stand, transfigured, on the shining verge
Of dreams beyond all telling and I glimpse
The realm where earth and heaven subtly merge.
O God, when in my winter I shall walk
The quiet and the twilight ways along,
Let me feel still a breath upon my brow
And find in snow the silver seeds of song.
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