Markland News 11-22-12

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Hola, mis amigos, hope you have had a lovely month and are anticipating a ‘good feed’ for Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, ‘Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias’ to all our Latin readers and ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to everyone else. (Actually there is supposed to be a punctuation mark over the ‘o’ in Accion but heck I am lucky to find the commas on this computer – so just pretend there is one there.)

Our ‘friend’ mailed me another little joke that seems quite apropos for the season.

Four friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night one of the hunters (Bubba) returned alone, staggering under the weight of a ten-point buck. The others asked, “Where is Billy Bob?

Bubba replied, “Billy Bob had a stroke, or heart attack, or something like that. He is laying a couple of miles back up the trail.”

The other hunters exclaimed, “You left Billy Bob laying out there and carried the deer back?” Bubba nodded and said, “Yeah, a tough call, but I figured no one in their right mind is going to steal Billy Bob.”

Our ‘friend’ wrote that she is also past seventy years and said that if she were a car, it would be time to be thinking of trading it in on a newer model. I got bumps and dents and glitches in my finish and my paint job is getting a little dull – but that’s not the worst of it. My headlights are out of focus and I can’t even see up close; my traction is not as graceful (or steady) as it once was, so I slip, slide, and bump into things, even in the best of weather.

My starter is weak and my battery runs out of ‘juice’ fast, and it takes me hours to reach maximum speed; my fuel rate burns inefficiently but here is the worst of it, almost every time I sneeze, cough, or sputter, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.

Thank you ‘friend’, I know there are many of us (older kids) that can relate to those same ‘problems’; getting old is not for ‘wimps’ and I can testify to that. Thanks again for writing.

My heart is rejoicing in the beautiful sunshine this week but I am still a little sad. One night a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my big chair watching TV and I heard the cats (Flake and Christmas) snarl, spit, and sputter. I rolled out of my chair, grabbed the ball bat, figuring a possum or a snake, had come in the cat door (which is always open in fair weather – there is a block on it so that it only opens about four inches, just enough for the cats to get through…but sometimes other ‘critters’ come in.)

When I rounded the corner, there was Christmas with her ears laid back and Flake looked like a big ball of cotton that had been left in the dryer, his tail was a good six inches around…and I broke out laughing.

Sitting at the cat dish was the most woe-begone, bedraggled, tiny little snip of a filthy kitten; it was about three inches high and four inches long – counting the tail. Its little ribs were sticking out everywhere and you could tell it was close to starving. After it finished eating, I wiped it off with a damp paper towel, dried it (yeah, I cuddled it for a bit) then put down on an old soft towel for the night.

In the morning I fixed some soft food for it (she could hardly eat the hard dry food the older cats eat; she wasn’t even good weaned yet. Naturally the old cats had to have some of the ‘special’ food too. Crotchety old Christmas (she will be twenty years old this December but truth-be-told, she has been ‘a nasty old witch’ since she was a kitten) didn’t want anything to do with the ‘newbe’; Flake was a little more tolerant – as long as she didn’t get too close of course.

Well it looked like she was here to stay even though I certainly didn’t need another cat (I can barely feed the ones I have) so she needed a name…and that was easy; I called her ‘Micki the Moocher’, there was nothing she wouldn’t eat including celery, carrots, onions, popcorn, (she loved cheese curls) and anything else she could get in her mouth, hence, ‘Micki the Moocher’. By the end of the first week, she had doubled in size; even after worming, nothing diminished her appetite.

She was turning into a beautiful cat with black tiger stripes on her back, a raccoon tail, neon white belly, and splotches of brown and yellow spattered on the rest of her. Micki had one black toe and a splash of brown across her nose and mouth, looked like she had been rooting in the dirt.

By week three, she was jumping like a kangaroo from the top of one big chair to the next (I just knew the curtains were in imminent danger) and she had Flake wrapped right around her little toe.

Flake would be all sprawled out (Flake is a big 14-pounder) asleep on the living room floor snoring and Micki would sneak up and attack him; she would jump right in the middle of him and they would roll around and around, like they were having a terrible fight. Flake always kept his formidable claws retracted (and I have the scars to prove he has some very dangerous claws but he never used them on Micki.) Wilma and I nearly fell off our chairs laughing at them.

When she had worn herself out (and Flake too), she would run, jump in my lap and go to sleep. By the end of the month, Micki was firmly locked in my heart, and Flake’s too – now Christmas was another story. Christmas decided to tolerate her in the house but that was as far as she was prepared to go.

One afternoon, Micki and I were out in the yard; I was doing a few chores and she was playing in the leaves. She would run a few feet up a tree, then pounce down and attack the leaves, roll in them, throw them up in the air and try to catch them. We were so enjoying the afternoon. Later I came in the garage and Micki came with me. I opened the door into the house but she wanted to stay in the garage and play with her toys. I hit the button to close the garage door and she was playing with an old knotted rope.

About 30 minutes later I went out to the garage to call her in (she always came when you called, after all, you might have food) and she wasn’t there; I thought she might have gone out the dog door so I went around the house to find her.

Evidently, at the last minute, she had decided to go back out to play in the leaves and tried to scoot under the garage door; the door came down on her and broke her neck…she was dead. I bawled for three days, had to wear my sunglasses in church, I missed my little friend so very much. Flake went in all the rooms and around the house mewing and calling for her. We were both broken-hearted.

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I was grateful for the five weeks of joy I had with Micki (Flake was too) and we miss her terribly. She came when I was going through a ‘rough patch’ and she lightened my heart so much and I thank the Lord for the gift of Micki.

I definitely do not want any more four-legged children; I want to make sure that the ones I have will be taken care of. Christmas is so old now that I should not, God willing, pre-decease her and I know, even though they have several pets of their own, the boys will take Flake in and care for him. Unlike Christmas, he is easy to get along with.

For those of us who love animals, our pets become like children to us; for those who do not care for animals, you wouldn’t understand the connection our pets have for us who do. Don’t worry; we probably don’t understand you very well either but the world will continue to turn, the sun will continue to rise and set…until God changes it of course.

Bridge was at Rita Green’s house last week and as usual, she served a lovely luncheon; Ana, Carolyn, and I really enjoyed it. (Rita’s husband Gary came in and got his share before we ate it all up; just kidding, there was plenty left, Rita always makes generous portions.) We had a good time discussing all the things going on in our various families, with some funny sayings from Rita’s granddaughter Sydney.

Sydney is three or four, lives in Atlanta, and comes up with the funniest comments you have ever heard; she is one sharp little ‘cookie’ and keeps us all laughing with her antics. We all enjoyed the game, the food, and most especially the camaraderie. Our Bridge games are: one part cards, one part food treats, and two parts friends getting together to share love and laughter, totaling one really nice afternoon.

Spanish class at the ‘Y’ last Friday was fun too. Art and Sherri Habel were back from their trip to Mexico and after we finished the ‘Spanish’ part, we got busy discussing our coming fiestas. No class this week but next week (30th), we will meet at Jean and Ron Sandidge’s house for an after Thanksgiving (pitch-in – everyone brings a dish to share) party.

Art and Sherri are hosting the Christmas (Navidad) party at their home on December 21st, and Sherri said she had lots of pictures of their trip for us to see. We are really good at ‘fiestas’ and we are even learning Spanish too, Ole.

Lots of celebrations and other ‘goings-on’ coming up in the next few weeks – and most of them will have food involved so I thought you might enjoy a new recipe. It is for Chicken Divan (it is my niece Kris Parker’s recipe) and the nice part about it (other than tasting good) is that left-overs will keep in the fridge for a few days (and still taste good.)

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. Frozen broccoli, cooked

2 and one-half cups cooked (sliced or diced) chicken

2 cans condensed Cream of Celery soup

One-quarter cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

One-half tsp. Curry powder

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Buttered crumbs (for topping)

Place the cooked broccoli in a greased (I like to use butter) casserole dish, then put the chicken on top of the broccoli. Combine soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder in a saucepan, heat on medium heat and stir until smooth. Pour over chicken and broccoli, cover with the cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 350* for 25 to 30 minutes, and serve.

This is the way Kris bakes it but it makes too much for one or two people (great for pitch-ins though) so I cut the recipe in half. Also I use cream of mushroom soup (instead of celery) and add a small can of mushrooms with the soup (I like mushrooms), and I add a layer of cooked egg noodles on the bottom. Served with bread and drink, it makes a complete meal. I layer the cheddar cheese (in which I have mixed some mozzarella – I like cheese too), over the broccoli; then I top it all off with crushed potato chips; then bake it the same as Kris. It is really good and the remainder (if any) will keep in the fridge for a few days.

After Spanish class Friday, I did my usual round of chores in town (no sense of wasting gas on extra trips), then went to the Library (had a nice little chat with Margie Edwards) and finished up with a visit at Patty and Mike Miller’s place.

Friends, Mike really needs our prayers; he is not doing well at all. He has been in and out of the hospital (he is home now and Patty is trying to take care of him.) Remember her in your prayers along with Mike and the rest of the family.

There are many grieving families in our community that we need to keep in our prayers also; losing a loved one is hard enough but seems especially so during the holiday season. Think too about all the victims of the terrible storms that have been raging, all of the ‘Sandy’ victims comes to mind immediately.

Debbie Bruce returned from her business trip to Belgium and we were all glad to have her back safely – she even brought us some Belgium chocolates to share. They were delicious. I know James and the girls were awful glad to have her back home, with or without the chocolates.

Shyla Prince and Jade Mullins have been doing some really good work in their young lives; they make us proud of them…and inspire us to do better too.

Kali Carfield is leaving in three weeks for Basic Training (Navy), do remember her in your prayers (along with all our other military personnel); Betty Mishler and sister, Ruth Lohide, are also ‘standing in the need of prayer’, their families too please.

We praise the Lord that Phil Kroening was able to attend church Sunday (he has been having a lot of medical problems) and he thanked everyone for our thoughts and prayers and asked to be continued to be remembered in prayer (he has a long way to go, health-wise.)

We have several members traveling and many others going to be soon; Sonny Fancher has surgery coming up and Emmett Church is having some medical problems. Continue to remember Judy Judy, Louise Rayles, Mary Davenport, and Vandora Bennett, in prayer too. We had some ‘unspoken requests’ for prayer Sunday; there are so many folks in our community facing hardships, of many different kinds but they all hurt.

Some birthdays coming up in December are: Madison Ledbetter (4th), Brennan Bragg and Sam Carr (both on the 5th), Jacob Dickerson (17th), Allie Bruce (23rd) and Marty Park on the 26th. We pray that each of you will have your special day filled with lots of love and laughter and that the year that follows will bring an abundance of God’s sweetest blessings; Happy Birthday.

As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, let us actually remember to give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received.

I am thankful to have a Father God that loved us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son’s life to pay for our sins, (past, present, and future, which, in my case, are too many to count); thankful for my family, both biological and spiritual (even if they are somewhat dysfunctional at times); thankful for my country (do I think it is perfect…heck no, but it is ahead of every other country I have heard of); thankful I don’t have to live under a bridge (that would be a real hardship in this weather and the cats would hate it); you get the idea.

We have so much that we should be thankful for, things we so often just take for granted. Think about it, let us count our blessings, be thankful, and quit grumbling about what we do not have.

Until next time my prayer for each of you is that you will have a blessed Thanksgiving and may the Lord cause His face to shine on you, to keep you safe from harm and may He lift up His countenance and give you peace. Amen.