For over a year now, I have searched every square inch of my house for a brown cloth bag containing two army green recipe boxes. Covered in rust spots, dented with a few off-the-counter nicks and scratches, these two rusty little things would appear outdated and in need of replacing. But these two dingy boxes, both close to 80 years old, are irreplaceable. One belonged to Nan-Nan, my grandmother, and the other to Auntie, my great aunt. Although the two were sisters, or I suppose exactly because they were sisters, the two boxes were in every way opposite and yet innately in tune.

These boxes were my treasure troves. I had begun going through each individual box while each relative had been living, organizing their already organized recipes and labels, asking questions, and beginning to formulate a recipe book. But to be honest, after my grandmother died, although I found great solace in my writing and recreating memories of food I reached a point where I had to step away from the emotional project. Looking through the notecard recipes and seeing her beautiful handwriting, thoughtful labels, and feeling her energetic personality just in the little way she crossed a “t” or wrote the letter “N” resulted in a blubbering mess of tears. So instead, I took out a few of my staple recipe cards, wrapped the recipe boxes in a bag and placed them somewhere safe for when I was ready to begin going through them again.

In the whirl of tears, I let my emotions go to my head and couldn’t remember the “somewhere safe” spot I had put them. When I say I looked everywhere, I truly mean everywhere. I tore apart closets, practically cleaned out the garage, rearranged rooms, and still nothing. I had begun to worry I had somehow thrown them out.

Last week I began preparing for an event I’m catering next week, sitting down at a desk I rarely sit in. I gazed up at a photo of my grandmother wearing “Billy Bob” teeth I keep on the desk, and was reminded to not take things so seriously. Looking for a pen, I opened a drawer to the desk and couldn’t find one. I knew there had to be at least one so I began looking in each drawer. Finally I got to the bottom drawer. I opened it and sitting there in the back half of the space, staring at me with the laughter and wimzy that only my grandmother could pull off, was a soft brown bag wrapped around something. I jerked the bag from the drawer and pulled out the bag. Tears overcame me, and a wave of relief and comfort followed. How had I missed this obvious yet oblivious spot?

To say these boxes have brought me joy is an understatement. These boxes have enlightened me and opened my eyes in ways that only these two mentors could, even after death. They saved everything, something that has ultimately been a blessing. I found recipes written my legally blind great grandmother, recipes from spinster cousins who lived to spoil everyone around them, newspaper clippings from the 1940s through early 2000’s, deposit slips from banks in Stamping Ground, Kentucky and Maysville in the 1950s with recipes and hints scratched on the back of them. And the adventure into the tin recipe boxes is just beginning. It’s going to be a delicious summer.

Today I have included a few recipes from the tin boxes I have been hungry for and attempting to recreate for quite a while. I’m so thankful and blessed to share them with you today.

Combine the potatoes and salt to taste with enough water to cover in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 12 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard and a dash of paprika in a bowl until combined. Pour over warm potatoes and gently mix. Cover and chill.

Add celery, onion, egg, mayo, and celery salt to the mix several hours before serving and return to fridge. Garnish with parsley and paprika just before serving. The recipe and photos used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz with a little help from her family and the family recipe box.

In a container, not an aluminum one, mix and set for 12 hours. Mix several times over that time so that the sugar may dissolve. Cook to a rolling hard boil for ten minutes, or until sugar has completely dissolved. Add strawberry jello then put into jars.

Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a cake pan that has been rubbed down with butter and flour. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Check before removing, may need more time. Great with icing or butter and coffee.

I find that sometimes a thought from my past that was about a minor event can bring back a lot of details with it.

I know that just the other day I walked through the kitchen and saw my wife loading the dishwasher and preparing it to clean a load of dirty dishes. I can’t really explain it but later on it came to me that when my mom would wash dishes and how it became more than just a chore.

As do most families, we would often times go to my parents’ house for Sunday lunch. My mom would prepare a meat and potatoes type meal that was good to eat and of course all there did just that. It comes to mind that we would sit around the table a little longer after eating until we were more than full and just visit. But after a while and as we arose from the dining room table my mom would take charge of what she felt came next. That was to clear the table and wash the dishes. For some reason mom felt job assignments were needed and she was the one to do the assigning. She might not have invented the draft but she sure was an advocate of it.

She would begin it seems that she went by the order into which we arrived in the family. So she would begin with a type of thinking out loud approach. Peggy, someone can begin to remove the dishes from the table please? Benny, someone can help Peggy and carry the dishes to the kitchen please. Ricky, someone can grab a dish towel and begin to dry the dishes please? Now her delegations didn’t stop with her children. She would then move on to her daughters-in-law. The only person that was exempt from this was my dad. I guess since he had been delegated to dry the dishes all week he got Sunday off. He didn’t allow this time to be wasted either as he could fall into a nap in his recliner faster than the average person.

I am assuming here, but I figure that since mom had cooked and served the meal and it was her kitchen she was going to be the one who got to use the dish rag and wash the dishes. Again I am only guessing but I think mom could run her cleaning crew from that position. She saw it as the place for leader I guess. So the first group would carry in a ton of dirty dishes and prepare them to be put into the sink. I am still trying to figure out just how I was drying dishes before all the dishes were brought into the kitchen but I was. Also she would have laid out to use three or four dish towels so that more than one person could help dry dishes. You see when it came to washing dishes my mom owned the speed record of the world.

Yes mom could wash all that it took to prepare and serve a meal for a dozen people at a speed that left us trying to see her actually washing them. (Faster than the eye could see!) If you ever got drafted to help you learned early on that mom didn’t wash a dish and lay it in the rinse basin where we picked the dish up. Mom sent clean dishes on the fly to their next location. How she did this and still had china in one piece I will never know but I swear she put air under them on their way over. I have at times and this was only to keep from getting a hand hit by a plate or pan in midair. I guess by doing this she shortened the time of doing the dishes.

Midway through the dish washing Peg and Ben had moved from bringing in the dishes to helping me dry them. By that time one person was falling way behind and a filled sink of clean dishes brought mom to a halt and this was not what she was wanting. Somewhere along the way mom would say she didn’t want to spend her day in the kitchen standing over a sink. Her statement was always “I hate to get to the living room only in time to find out that the men were all done talking!” I don’t know how that could have been as she had most of the men helping her. (But I was smart enough to never question this.)

Hand-washing the dishes was a decision of her own. Later in her life dad had bought her a dishwasher and the first time she had all the family in for Thanksgiving she used it as it required three loads of dishes to do them all. She praised it for making her load easier and the dishwasher had done a nice job. So she used it every day until the first water bill arrived. After that she placed a table cloth over it and only removed it for when a large occasion occurred and sometimes she would draft her nieces along with Peg and my wife to hand wash them. I felt this was so she could get them around her so she could hear a little family gossip so to speak.

Now I don’t know just why doing the dishes brings back such thoughts but it does. Along with this thought it has also brought back a grin on my face as I still see it in my mind’s eye those dishes in the air and all of us hustling to get them done. To me it was as humorous to see as it was to do. It was safe to say we were all moving too fast to complain about it anyway. By recalling this little event it begins to bring back other chores done by the family and led by my mom the little general. Like I said earlier she did believe in the draft and used it way more than once. We all learned to find something that took us away from the scene while the draft was going on. The trouble was we couldn’t all be in the bathroom at once!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you want he could speak at an engagement for you. He may be reached at

I don’t recall ever before relishing so much those first warm sunny days of spring. After wiping so many tears from little boys who wanted to play outside when it was simply not practical to spend hours in freezing temperatures, we won’t take beautiful weather for granted right away.

A couple of weeks ago, one Sunday afternoon, Daddy suggested that we build a little fire in the back yard and roast hot dogs and hamburgers, topped off with roasting marshmallows for s’mores. We were all tickled pink. The wind was a bit chilly, so he set up a piece of plywood to ward off at least most of the wind. As we sat together enjoying the fire, I told him that I could feel the chill of winter melting out of me; for me, there is nothing like a cozy crackling fire to relax and unwind. When I was a young girl, I especially enjoyed times with God, next to a fire. Somehow it just felt like God was right there — no doubt He was, but we don’t always feel it as a reality.

My favorite quiet moments with God are now my walks in the evening after supper. Since the weather has been so pleasant, I also enjoy sometimes taking the children with me on walks in the afternoon sunshine. They love rides in the double stroller or just running off all their pent up energy. The country road we’re on is only graveled and is quite practical for walks.

We are taking a turn hosting services at our schoolhouse, which is only a skip and a hop from here, so the children and I have taken advantage of walking to the schoolhouse to clean and get ready for services. The highlight on the children’s side is, of course, the swing and slide rides after Mama is done cleaning. While we enjoy hosting services at our house, it seemed like the practical thing to do to have it at school this year, since the option was available. Hopefully, next time it’ll work out to host it at our house.

Now talking about church reminds me of another question that came on the mail from Pittston, Pennsylvania, this week. Thanks, Ronald, for taking the time to ask. So the question was, “When you worship, do you have have a reverend officiate?”

Yes, we have ordained ministers who lead out in services and do the preaching. While they also take the lead in making decisions, they are not considered superior or better than anyone else. They live out the calling they have of servanthood leadership, as they call it; called to serve the Lord as leaders. The other brethren in the church also participate in sharing devotionals, leading songs, or giving testimony. Hey, we’d be tickled to have guests, anyone is welcome to come to join in for our Amish church service!

If you come, you may even get the chance of sampling our ham and cheese sandwiches with peanut butter spread, which is used in hundreds of Amish churches across America. If you like, you can always substitute the pancake syrup with real maple syrup for a healthier twist. Sweet or dill pickles are generally served with these sandwiches as well. When I was a little girl, in the large Amish community in Holmes County Ohio, we used to also have pickled red beets along side our church sandwiches. An assortment of homemade cookies along with coffee and tea finish this traditional Amish church menu.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

The God we serve is a mighty God. Our God is power, strength, faithfulness, and courage. We were created in the image of God Almighty. In God, there is no fear, in God there is no worry, in God there is not doubt. God is life and God is light. What does he ask of us in times on trial? God only asks for our faith and trust. What also helps trying times? Thanksgiving. As we weather the storm, we should praise His Holy Name for the peace He extends and for much, much more.

When the world gets nervous and unrest seems to loom, we, the children of God stand firm, and our reliance on God and our hope in His good plan are like beacons of hope lighting the way for others to safely come home. We stand, not in assurance of our own strength, rather in the assurance of the power and faithfulness of God. We know that all creation groans in the wake of sin. Things will get hard, things will try us, but God is faithful to remain our stronghold in times of trouble.

What happens to people when they fall in love? They think about their beloved. They spend time considering their beloved’s character and personality. They spend as much time possible talking to their beloved. They give of themselves for their beloved. They consider themselves blessed to be loved by such a marvelous person.

Perhaps this time of scaling back and repose is a time to rediscover our first love. There are many times in our lives when we have to reassess our priorities- some monthly, others yearly, and others longer still. If we were all honest, we would probably that find we don’t give the same affection and energy to God that we would to a person we love here on earth.

Maybe, during this time, we can slow down and focus on Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. When we spend time talking with God and reading His word, we are reminded of His loving nature, His unfailing commitment to His children, and His redeeming power. When we allow ourselves to be swallowed up by His Spirit, we are transformed. Maybe this is the time we needed to rekindle the fire of love for our Father that we’ve let become embers. It’s possible this could be a time of true revival with hearts ablaze for the Kingdom. When do people tend to seek Him most? In times of trouble.

When we choose to think about God and His wonderous works, we see things differently. We become grateful for the things we have, and we don’t long for things we don’t. We become thankful for everything God has done on our behalf. For each and every one of His children, He has done so very much. Think of His deliverance, His gifts, His promises.

When we choose to believe the truths of the Bible, we ask for bigger things. For example, if we continually read, “fear not” we will believe it and ask for courage. When we read over and over that God will provide, we dare to believe Him when things look uncertain. When we are encouraged to praise and give thanks in times of hardship, which is counterintuitive, we praise, and things change.

Whenever an unsettled feeling envelops us, we can throw it off with truths of Gods word. What should we be pondering in this uncharted time? We should try reminding ourselves: Jesus has already won the battle. There is noting that takes Him by surprise. We have power, love, and sound minds. We don’t have to worry, doubt, panic, or fear. God will provide. God will sustain. God sees all, knows all, and is in all places. God is our refuge, strong tower, and firm foundation. God will fight for us. God has endowed us with His power. His words will never fail. He hears us and answers our prayers. God comforts His children. The battle is the Lord’s.

It never hurts to have a mantra to repeat whenever we are tempted to worry. Try something like: My God is Power. My God is Mighty. My God overcomes. I am His and He is mine. God is good to me.

Tell the Devil to get back because He has NO power over us. No fear, no doubt, no powers of hell and come between us and the love God has for us. We will not be shaken! On Christ the solid rock we stand!

“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-1-

Judith Cooley teaches Language Arts and Drama. Follow her Facebook page @pondervotional for more encouragement.

“If wishes were horses, everyone would have one.” Who came up with that saying? Was it the same person who queried “Spit in one hand and wish in the other, and see which one fills faster?” And how come I never wanted a pony when I was a child? Oh yeah, because I feared them. And I was a geek. Still am. Not as scared of ponies, though.

As a matter of fact, the original saying was, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” part of a collection of Scottish proverbs circa 1628. Not to be confused with “If ‘Ifs and Buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a wonderful Christmas.”

I did have a dream one time where I was 50 foot tall — what do you think that means? Never mind — we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Which brings us to paragraph four, and what I really wanted to talk about.

As a child, I made some solid choices when it came to Christmas present requests. I asked Santa for Samuel Kling’s “Complete Guide to Everyday Law,” because I had intentions of being a lawyer when I grew up. I put Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” on my list one holiday because it’s one of the most innovative works of art ever written.

Yet for every chess set I requested as a gift, there was a sound-activated disco light I asked for that should never have seen the light of day, let alone the underside of our Christmas tree.

Which made me wonder — what if you could go back to the time you were a child and have a reset on your Christmas wishes? If you had a reasonable chance of that request being fulfilled, would you ask for lots of money? World peace? To be a movie star? The possibilities are endless.

However, like anyone who runs across a lamp with a magic genie inside who offers you three wishes finds out, it is prudent to take a step back and assess your options.

Sure, your first urge might be for the genie to make you rich. Knowing your luck, they would legally change your name to Richard.

You can say you’ll use the cash for good until the cows come home, but be honest — don’t you make that same bargain with the lottery gods every time Mega-Millions reaches nine-digit figures?

World peace sounds wonderful. But whose ideal world peace do you want realized? As we’ve seen over the years, peace is defined in a lot of different ways, depending on religious, political, geographic and ideological bents.

Therein lies the rub. As good as our intentions are, we can’t impose our idea of happiness or well-being on others. Life just does not work that way.

I guess it is a good thing sometimes that you can’t unring a bell. In hindsight, maybe I wasn’t so far off on my Christmas wishes as a child. I gratefully accepted what I got, thanked Santa and my family, and started playing with my new treasures. While it might not be world peace, it was, for that day, household peace, and I was the richest child in the world. At least until the newness of the toys wore off.

Nelson M. Maynard and Kathryn T. Maynard to Nelson M. Maynard, Kathryn T. Maynard and Maynard Trust, parcel on Taylor Mill Road, no monetary consideration.

Paul R. Rogers, Clayetta Rogers, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Revenue and Fleming County Hospital to Kentucky Housing Corporation, 2282 Hill City View, $58,320.

Tonya S. Back, Tanya S. Lawrence and George Lawrence to Kelly Rose and Nicole Rose, 4244 Pleasant Ridge Road, $40,000.

Bradley Hopkins and Tiffany Dawn Hopkins to Russell William Marr and Laura Puente, 420 East Third Street, $500.

William Kachler Estate and Susan Louise Kachler to Brandon Bellingham and Whitney D. Bellingham, two parcels in Mason County, $168,500.

Romie R. Griffey and Barbara Griffey to T and C Maysville Properties, LLC, 409 Forest Avenue, $60,000.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Mario Properties, LLC, 4015 Lowell Road, May’s Lick, $25,000.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Mark Weiss and Anna Weiss, 7058 Mt Gilead Road, $45,150.

Robbie Emmons, Chantell Emmons, Tony Emmons, Mark Emmons, Gary Emmons, Kathy Emmons and Andrea Lynn Jones to Trevor Taylor and Kalyn Taylor, 1586 West Algonquin Drive, $140,000.

Licking Valley Community Action Program, Inc. to Gateway Community Service Organization, Inc., 409539 acre parcel north side of Parker Road, no monetary consideration.

William R. Coblentz and Donna S. Coblentz to William Luke Coblentz and Barbara Coblentz, 11.499 acres on Murphysville Road, $26,250.

Richard S. Hartman to Timothy Paul Coblentz, Christina R. Coblentz, William Luke Coblentz, Barbara Coblentz, Nathan James Coblentz, Anna Mae Coblentz, William R. Coblentz, Donna S. Coblentz, Melvin J. Shwartz, Barbara A. Shwartz, Joshua Marc Coblentz, 310 acres in Mason/Fleming County, $435,000.

Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc. to City of Maysville, 217, 219 and 221 West Second Street, no monetary consideration.

Larry G. Harris Jr., Larry Harris and Tracci G. Frederick Harris to Colten T. Linville and Kayla M. Linville, 532 S. Algonquin Drive, $192,000.

This is an interest of mine, I watch all of the news channels to get, I hope, correct information, and I read the daily paper, but nothing is ever said about Russia. Don’t you think that is strange when no channel mentions Russia in this pandemic?

I really enjoyed the story that Ron Bailey had in the paper about the Maysville Bulldogs and the game that wasn’t supposed to have happened, and how they wasn’t supposed to have won. That guy has got a great memory, and really tells a good story. Another one I thought was really good was the one about Marge Schott, Cow Whisperer. I remember that when that happened, but I didn’t remember about them calling Marge the Cow Whisperer, but I do remember them having it on TV where they tried to catch the cow and they would show it every night on TV.

I agree, it’s great to be informed, but the media is taking this coronavirus to the extreme. I have seen the governor of Ohio on I know 10 times within 36 hours, and he’s on an hour at each time. So if you’re not informed by now, and you don’t know what’s going on, or you don’t know the upkeep of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Network, the local communications of the newspapers, there’s something wrong with you or you live in a cave. The media needs to quit hyping this up. You understand what’s going on, how to protect yourself, so let’s return to our regular programming please.

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Wow! None of us have ever lived through anything like we are experiencing right now. We at the Maysville-Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce are looking for ways to help our area businesses.

The Chamber, in conjunction with Tourism, Main Street and the Industrial Authority, have created a Facebook page for local restaurants and retail businesses to share how they are coping with the Coronavirus Restrictions: Making It Work in Maysville. Please like the page and try to spend $5 a day at a local business – Gift Cards count too!

The CDC has a special section of their website to provide Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. The web address is long so search online for CDC Coronavirus Guide for Businesses.

The State of Kentucky has a great website with information regarding the Coronavirus in Kentucky:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Kentucky will be or will soon be added to the list. Small business that would like to apply for the SBA Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL) are encouraged to go to their website and start the application process. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

Many of our planned Chamber meetings will, most likely, not happen. But, at this writing, we believe our FREE Shred Day is still a GO! On April 9th, if you are a Chamber Member and have documents to shred, bring them to the parking lot along Bridge Street and Rotary Park. A Document Destruction truck will be parked there from 11 am to 1 pm. You can drive your car beside the truck, get out, unload your documents (please, just 2 or 3 boxes per company) and either watch them be shredded or head back to work. Again, you must be a Chamber member to participate.

This month, I’d like to say Thank You to all of of the entities/agencies that work so well together. To Maysville and Mason County governments, our Buffalo Trace Area Development District, and our Police, Sheriff and Fire Departments, thank you for putting our community first and making this a great place to live.

When volunteers join Fire and EMS, they’re supposed to respond when an emergency occurs. That’s not the case in Aberdeen. They very often don’t show up, leaving the people that needs them waiting on another department to take care of the emergency. The responders need to wake up or go find another job.

To the person that wrote in condemning the Aberdeen Fire Department, I’m not on the fire department, I’m an old man, I was on the fire department years ago. From what I remember, Aberdeen is a volunteer fire department. They don’t get paid for fighting fires, or I didn’t when I was on there. Whenever I called them, there were here Johnny-on-the-spot, as fast as they could get people rounded up to come. They’re the only reason my house was saved enough that I could afford to rebuild it. It was the Aberdeen Fire Department, and the Ripley Fire Department was both here fighting tooth-and-nail to save what I had. I didn’t have insurance enough to pay for it, and I would have had to declare bankruptcy had it burned completely down. I really appreciate these people and all the work they do.

I think it was wrong to allow the schools to all be out because they say these kids are carriers. They’re not going to stay at home and be confined to the house. They’re going to be out running everywhere, and they’re just only going to spread the virus.

I’d like to shout out a big thank you to Gov. Beshear and his staff for the excellent job he’s trying to do in containing this virus that we have now. He may not stop it, but he’s doing an excellent job trying to contain it and keep all of his Kentuckians healthy. Big shout out to the governor and his staff for doing an excellent job.

I stopped by the grocery store the other evening to pick up a couple of items that my wife had asked to get, and as I was walking the aisles an observation was made by me.

There was an entire aisle dedicated to bread. Next to it were a couple of tables that displayed pies and cakes all baked and ready to serve. Walking on I would see biscuits and dinner rolls ready to pop in the oven. I saw ready-to-fill pie crust shells and in the frozen section bread dough that was ready to thaw out, let rise and bake it and it would look just like your momma made it.

This is where I had my revelation. All of the items I took for granted and ate, my mom had made from scratch. Now all one has to do is go to the store and buy it ready to serve. Now I know you all are thinking, this was a revelation to me? That in this day and age he wasn’t aware of the here and now foods. (Meaning I want it here and now and “poof” here it is now.) I guess I kind of was aware of this and even though I’m exposed to this fact daily I just never thought much about it or how much things have changed during my life. I guess since I am not the one preparing the foods, but just the one consuming them I didn’t give it much thought until that moment.

Since then I have been giving it a lot of thought. I know that in the years of growing up and onward it was very common to see used mixing bowls sitting in the sink soaking as my mom was whipping up bread dough or pie crusts or just simple old egg noodles to go in the soup she was going to make also. I have no idea of what the ingredients were or the quantities used but my mom along with, I feel, every housewife and most notably farmers’ wives did know the what and how much to prepare one meal right after the other and each tasting just as good as the previous one.

My mom used a wooden rolling pin along with what I feel is called a wooden bread dough/pastry board. She would place the dough on the board and then with rolling pin in hand she would attack the pile of dough as if it had just picked a fight with her, and proceed to roll the dough until she reduced it to the dimensions she had set out to. Not all items needed work as much as others, but I do recall that when she was making egg noodles she would spend great effort in reducing the dough to a thickness of maybe a sixteenth of an inch thick or less. To reduce a mixing bowl of raw dough to that size was an effort I never took as being that much work. But I will say it here and now. I was very wrong. When she had finished rolling it out she was ready to take a seat and a few minutes of rest was added. (A rare item to see in my mom’s day!)

Think about how much had to be created to be consumed. I don’t just mean at our house, but at every home this was in one way or another repeated time after time and day after day. The thing that has hit me with all these fact-finding revelations is that I, along with all others, took it for such granted. Oh I would tell mom how good her bread or yeast rolls tasted and I guess that was where I felt I was square with her on acknowledgement. At this time I feel I probably short-changed her, but then I was in the majority as we all probably took it too much for granted. I guess our consumption of her baking was the thanks she was looking for in the first place.

At a young age I learned that by entering the house — and the kitchen even more — all that had to be done was look around the area. A sink full of mixing bowls and dirtied baking pans was the first clue. If it was near meal time, the aroma coming from the oven was the major clue and the fragrance that could bring a hungry field hand to drooling a little. I personally can’t think of a better setting to recall or relive than being present in the presence of a good cook and the meal she had just worked long and hard for you to consume in literally minutes.

I can close my eyes and still see the huge yeast rolls still hot enough that the butter would melt on them. I can see the pies with a crust so flakey and still warm enough to melt a scoop of ice cream on. Or soda biscuits that were designed to hold that pork gravy on it as you put a bite of cured ham with it. I guess I better stop as I am beginning to drool, myself. But I know you get the picture. Frankly what could be made and served was only limited by the cook. Her imagination and the amount of time she had were her only limits. This is why good cooks should never be rushed.

So today is designed for convenience and saving time. The food tastes good but it still tastes as it was made — in volume. The foods I’m speaking of came from learned skills and a desire to deliver the best quality items they possibly could deliver. When you filled your plate then you knew who made it and when and where. No, it never was a question as to which company made that. When I think of something that seemed as simple as an egg noodle I think that if mom cut the dough a little longer than need be, that when you scooped a spoonful of the chicken noodle soup you might just slurp up a long noodle and as it slapped off of your top lip you couldn’t mistake the taste of that bowl of soup. No there was no mistake about it. It was homemade! To all those cooks I am speaking of I once more say to you all thanks!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you desire he can reached to speak at a gathering for you. He may be reached at

Our travels in Greece last summer took us through tight city streets and wide-open highways. When passing through Mykines, our journey led my husband and me across a battered farm road lined with endless rows of trees.

Once we emerged from the side road and back onto the main road, we spied a repurposed wooden door doubling as a hand-painted sign. A bright orange oval secured to the top of the door advertised “juice,” penned in English. Underneath, the following words, also in English, appeared in descending order: ceramics, antiques, traditional products and cafe. A hand-painted cup and saucer with three wavy lines representing steam completed the sign.

Behind the sign stood a modern concrete-block warehouse. “Antiques,” painted in black and white, all caps, stretched across its metal roof.

In our quest to traverse the Peloponnese region of Greece to visit as many significant archeological sites as time would allow, we had stumbled across an unexpected gem.

An antique blue Volkswagen, a Trojan Horse constructed from reclaimed wood and two white silos adorned the inviting exterior lot. Reclaimed wood, worn and pieced together, and outlined with smooth, large white stones, provided the path to the door of the Silo Art Factory.

Inside, the warehouse was sectioned off to highlight various styles of art made from repurposed materials. The architectural salvage featured furniture, such as couches, tables and chairs made from shutters, doors. Antiques, clay vases and other artifacts were given new life after being crafted into other forms of collectibles.

Tables lined with supplies clearly waited for artisans to return to their tasks. My husband and I admired the work, although we would not be making any purchases. We didn’t take any photos inside, either, out of respect to the artists who were creating one-of-a-kind pieces.

“Coffee would be great,” I replied, and she led us to a small snack bar back outside and near the road.

We complimented her on the art and thanked her for her hospitality, and she wished us safe travels. Before returning to our car, my husband and I stopped in the silos for a quick look. Tables and chairs had been arranged to encourage gathering, and a glass floor provided a look at the equipment below.

In comparison to the archeological wonders we had seen in Delphi and Olympia, this stop could not compare, of course. But it was in a category of its own. It wasn’t planned, but there was still good to be gained from it.

As the reality of our new normal sets in, we have to look for the good. To press on. And we have to learn from life’s unexpected detours.

(Note: Marjorie Appelman is an English, communications and journalism teacher at Mason County High School and co-founder of the travel blog Tales from the Trip, which is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. She can be reached at

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