Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Memories—I’m mostly brave, except . . .

. . . that time when I was babysitting Jodie. Jodie’s parents were married in the 70’s. Jodie’s parents had a green toadstool footrest, macramé plant hangers, and the house was decorated in olive green, burnt orange, and brown—even the linoleum. They also had two channels on their TV, but no remote of course. I was about twelve and the perfect age for babysitting.

This particular night I had just gotten six-month old Jodie to sleep and in her crib. I quietly closed her bedroom door and then changed the channel on the TV just in time to hear that a prisoner had escaped from the penitentiary. Our state penitentiary was 150 miles away. If he just barely escaped, I had at least three hours of safety. But I didn’t hear when he escaped (nor did I hear from where he escaped, it might have been from Wisconsin for all I knew). I should have felt safe, we lived thirty miles from our post office so how would he find me, but I didn’t. The longer I sat by that toadstool the more scared I got. But even when I’m not brave I can plan, so I carefully got Jodie out of her crib so as not to wake her and the two of us hid in the broom closet. The escaped convict never found us.

Nita and me on a 4th of July picnic.
We were much older in the story below.

. . . that time when Nita went with me to the cow camp. Our summer range was about 40 miles away. Every summer after the cows had been trailed up to the hills, my older sister Chris stayed in the trailer during the week to look after them. We slept in sleeping bags and got our water from the horse trough which had clean, cold spring water running into it (that is also where we brushed our teeth and washed our hair. Oh, the throb of sticking your head into that horse trough early in the morning).

My best friend and I had gone up to stay the week with Chris. One evening we were in the trailer all alone. Chris had gone ten or twelve miles over to a neighboring cow camp. It was starting to get dark and Nita and I had just climbed into our sleeping bags when we heard a motorcycle in the distance. It was pretty late to be hearing motorcycles, and besides we were miles and miles away from campgrounds or government property. The motorcycle sound continued and sometimes it sounded like it was even getting closer. We played the “you go look out the door and see if you can see someone” game for quite awhile. Nita finally lost and quietly crept out of her sleeping bag and opened the door. When she did, the sound quit. She jumped back into bed much faster than she got out. We hadn’t been quiet long when the noise started up again. Certain now that the motorcyclist was even aware of our moves, we were more afraid — every ghost story from every sleepover began its rerun. We wished Chris would come back home. We wished the motorcycle would go away. We wished we were anywhere but in the middle of the hills all by ourselves. But we weren’t. For over an hour we were all by ourselves with a fly buzzing on his back in the window well, and did you know it sounds the same as a thug on a motorcycle.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


1.  Work is a huge blessing. This morning I went jogging and then Grace and I went for a walk. Ande was giving some private swimming lessons at a friend’s pool and Calvin was mowing the lawn. We were late eating breakfast -cottage cheese pancakes (my, they are good—better than a crepe or pancake I think) –and Calvin dared grumble that there was no bacon. That fried me right ‘til we went outside and raked, hoed, weeded, hauled, burned, pitched, and picked. Sweat took the fight right out of me. Blessing one.

Joe and Ande brought tacos home from the farmer’s market, an unexpected and good surprise. After I showered, Calvin and I went to town for dog food, chicken feed, and ice cream. We picked gooseberries and rhubarb this morning so I made a gooseberry/rhubarb pie. Blessing two.

Any kind of fruit pie is edible if there is enough ice cream for the top. We sat out on the porch this evening rocking in the white rocking chairs eating pie. Weary. Happy.  Blessing three.

2.  My mother quit mothering when some of us were still young so I wasn’t quite sure what mothering young adults and adults would look like. I wasn’t certain if our kids would still need an active mother or for how long. Absurd. Mothering is like the sun. Just because you don’t see it for a day or two doesn’t mean you don’t need it, miss it, or want it. The sun and mothers nurture, warm, color, brighten, kiss, envelope, and strengthen and you need them be you 23 or 32. This week confirmed that wonderful discovery.

3.  Mr. Holland was a musician and he wanted to write an opus. Until he could earn enough money producing music, he taught it. He would carve out time to write a masterpiece, but things got in the way and the time was eaten by students, responsibility, family, life. Mr. Holland felt like a failure that he never composed a great piece. When he retired from teaching his former students came together to play the notes he had composed. The opus was in the people, not in the notes.

I had a Mr. Holland day this week:  I planned to work on a class. I need to finish my degree sooner rather than later. I sat down to study. A good friend stopped by and we visited for an hour or more. While we visited another friend called and wondered if I could babysit for a few hours while they took their baby to the doctor for an emergency visit. While my little friend and I made cupcakes for his family, another friend called and asked if we could take a last minute meal to a new mother that night. In the meantime, Calvin came home from work a couple of hours early so that he, Grace, and I could go to the temple. All the while, the class manual sat open near the couch.

As I climbed into bed, I wondered about the class.  Then I thought about my day. It was good. Very, very good. Far better and more meaningful than I had orchestrated.

4.  Twice Grace has solemnly said, “I didn’t hear from Abe this morning. Blackout.” I assumed blackout meant not enough power for the demand so the power was shut down temporarily. I didn’t understand until today (during a blackout) that it means all communication to the outside world is cut because there have been casualties and until the next of kin is notified, no one is allowed to communicate off post. Oh. Sobering. During those blackout hours spouses wonder if it is they who will receive the dreaded call. Though she feels an inner peace, it is still no wonder that Grace hates blackouts.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Homemaking Tip—Qat

thank you google images

We play a lot of Bananagrams around here. It’s fun, addictive, quick-paced, and not as big a commitment as Scrabble, that’s why. I won a game yesterday. I seldom win. It doesn’t matter. I still want to play.

Here’s my secret tip for the day: qat is a word that doesn’t need a ‘u’ nor is it foreign or proper. It’s a plant and it just may make a big difference in your game.

photo from Leigh Anne's post

And, should you decide to play Banangrams over the 4th of July, here’s a pretty, perfect recipe to eat while you play. In fact, I think you’ll find lots of pretty and perfect ideas on Leigh Anne's personal blog, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

52 Blessings—Having Calvin as a co-parent

Once you’re married you find there are lots of ways to do things and think about things when you were certain there was only one correct way before. It makes for lots of learning . . . and discovery . . . and crying.

But, one thing I’m grateful for is that Calvin and I think and feel the same way about parenting. It’s been wonderful being a parent with him—truly a blessing.

Calvin is a great co-parent because the kids like him and want to be with him.

Trevor and Calvin at Grandpa Payne’s burial.  The family buries their loved ones themselves
at this cemetery, hence the casual dress and shovel in Trevor’s hand.

Trevor wanted to live with his dad in the worst way when he was a little boy so when he came to stay with us in the summers he was Calvin’s shadow. Every morning Calvin fed the steers and heifers in the feedlot about a mile from our home. He’d fill the feed truck with chopped hay and silage from the stack-yards, and then drive back by the house on the way up to the feedlot. One morning, Calvin tried to quietly sneak out of the house while the kids were still sleeping, but when the loaded truck rumbled back by the house Trevor heard it and jumped out of bed. He knew he’d been left.

I was taking care of the baby and didn’t even hear the screen door slam shut, but when Calvin turned the truck around to come get another load of feed he saw a little boy in over-sized irrigating boots about a half mile up the road running after him and the feed truck. Calvin never tried to sneak out of the house without Trevor again.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he knows the right thing to do at the right time.

Ty wanted to succeed in wrestling more than anything when he was in high school. He worked hard. He worked steady. He worked tirelessly. It was no secret he wanted to be a state contender.

His last high school match was disappointing. It could have turned out different, but it didn’t. It was sad and many felt the loss. Ty quietly went off the mat and walked towards the locker room after he’d congratulated the other wrestler. After several minutes, Calvin got up and followed him. He found Ty off in a corner of an unused room sitting against the wall with his head in his hands. Big tears ran down Ty’s face. Calvin sat down next to him, talked him through his wrestling experience, and then said a prayer with him. By the time Ty joined the crowd, he was subdued, but at peace.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he’s a great teacher.

One day when we were out working in the yard,
 Calvin found a couple of snakes over by the chicken coop.
He was excited to have one for him and Cali. No sharing.
(I was happy as could be there wasn’t three.)

When we lived on the ranch in Idaho, Calvin used to trap beavers, muskrats, and coyotes. Cali loved to go out to the barn when he skinned the animals and watch. She sat on a stool next to Calvin and he taught her all about the muscles and organs. Once, when it was too cold to work in the barn, he brought a big piece of plywood in and set it on the kitchen table and skinned a beaver right there in the dining room. Again, Cali sat next to him on a stool while he taught her about beaver habits. (This just reminded me of something else. Last year Cali, Ray, Calvin, and I went to see an IMAX movie on beavers. Calvin and Cali came out mocking it. They said it was green propaganda and they used beaver falsehoods to promote it. It was clear that beavers are Cali and Calvin’s friends and you don’t mess with them.)

Calvin is a great co-parent because he helps the kids see a bigger picture.

When Abe was little he couldn’t decide what he wanted to be when he grew up—Michael Jordan, a policeman, or a prophet. After a few years Calvin helped Abe to see he probably ought to plan on using his brain rather than his basketball skills for a career.

One Sunday morning when Abe was a sophomore in high school, Calvin sat down at the computer with him and started researching colleges on the internet. They looked at everything—MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, BYU, UW, Yale. Calvin suggested they take a look at the military academies also, so they looked at the Naval Academy, West Point, and the Air Force Academy. Abe showed honest interest, so Calvin took the boys to Colorado Springs a few weeks later to tour the Air Force Academy.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he expects a lot from the kids.

Ande had a huge toe. Abe had run over it in the pickup and then a boy jumped on it while they were dancing. It was very sore and infected, so Calvin operated on it. He told her to quit whimpering, toughen up, and bite on an arrow like the mountain men while he lanced it.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he is dependable.

Calvin’s dad was a good postman. After he retired from the post office, he delivered flowers for a part-time job. He knew all the streets.

Calvin is like his dad. When something needs to be delivered, you ask him. Like Grace. She needed to go to Georgia, so Calvin drove her. Before they left Grace asked if she could borrow my earphones. She whispered, “I might need them sometimes if he wants to listen to talk radio too much.” Later she said, “I didn’t need the earphones once. We just visited and looked at the country and listened to music. We had a really good time.”

Calvin is a great co-parent because he believes in the kids.

The other day Abe told Grace to ask his dad's advice on a matter. Calvin listened and then said, “I don’t know. Abe needs to talk to Ray. Ray would have a better answer and advice on that.”

Calvin is a great co-parent because he’s a lot like his dad.

Calvin's dad was a very good man.  I don't know of anyone thought more highly of than his dad.  Calvin's dad also teased a lot.  Posing as an insurance salesman, he sold me a bogus policy on our first telephone conversation.  Calvin has done likewise; Ande was three before she realized she wasn't hatched under the house with the dinosaurs.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he helps the kids be brave.

When the kids need someone to help them be brave they call their dad.  Once (not that many years ago) when Trent was having terrible dreams he called his dad and told him about them.  Calvin listened for a long time then talked to Trent and told him what he needed to do. 

Cali used to ride her bike to her job at the college bakery early in the morning while it was still dark.  She'd call and ask her dad to talk to her while she rode her bike through the scary parts, then she'd suddenly say, "Okay!  I'm here.  Thanks Dad!"

Calvin is a great co-parent because he lets the kids know he's proud of them. 

Calvin and Michelle (Trevor's wife)

Calvin doesn't hesitate to tell the kids that they're doing a good job—in their lives, with their families, in their schooling or careers, activities . . . even in their crafts. No one has to beg for their dad's approval of good things.  Stupendous is the word he most frequently uses in such cases.

Most definitely, having Calvin as a co-parent is a huge blessing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday Thinking Leads to Life in My World and Vice Versa

I planted sunflowers in the two front flower pots by the garage. I don’t know how they’ll look. In my head, they’re going to look unique, stately, admirable. But experience nags that there is probably a reason you don’t see sunflowers planted singly in large pots in front of people’s garages. It’s like casseroles and desserts. Every now and then I’ll create a new one with the combination of leftovers in the fridge and think, “I think I’m on the cusp of something great. People will want this recipe” only to later feed three-fourths of it to the chickens and understand why I’ve never seen a recipe like its kind before.

Even if those sunflowers do turn out unsightly, I’m still glad I planted them. Sunflowers forgive and obey. They are a living object lesson every time I walk by them. They were wilted and whipped when I planted them, but they are back to normal after a little water. And I purposely planted one with his back to the sun and he turned right around to follow it.

Sunflowers in pots by the garage. I just might be on the cusp of something great.


I have discovered this week that swear words are less abrasive to read than they are to hear. I listened to a great audio book written from the perspective of a 15 year old boy with Asperger Syndrome this week. It got me through two trips to Spokane and ironing fifteen shirts.  Oh my, I’ve enjoyed it but I don’t think I should recommend it because the swearing is so bad (not the boy’s, but rather the adults who are around him). Which is really, really, really too bad on so many levels.

emeraldish waves of grain

Last night we went on a drive through the dry land farms. I love dry land farms. If ever my functional mind can fantasize, it is when we drive through the acres and acres and acres of wheat. Houses are miles apart. I imagine life with the big red barn or by the massive silos. The rolling fields look like ocean waves except they are green not blue.  They remind me of a line from Edna Ferber’s So Big—“There are two kinds of people in the world that really count. One kind’s wheat and the other kind’s emeralds.” And that may be true, but in the dry land country in the spring when the wheat is green, you can be both.

Clara continues to grow. The ultrasound technician thought Abe would enjoy this picture of her arm.

A couple of weeks ago Ty and his fellow cadets had to climb a lot of stairs to a building, temple, or something. Ty wanted to see if he could hop up all 374 stairs on one foot. He did. He said it killed his leg.

A week later they were at the Great Wall of China. Again, he was confronted with stairs. 454 of them.  He decided to see if his other leg could do it. He hopped up them as well.

Three days later I received this funny blog comment from Robyn: On Saturday I saw your son on the Great Wall of China! I didn’t know it was him. I watched as he hopped up an enormous set of stairs. He was so handsome and looked so familiar. My husband and I joked with them and as we walked away I kept thinking that I knew him. Michelle told me tonight that it was Ty! I nearly died. Oh how I wish I’d have asked where they were from, I would have figured it out and taken a picture. He is a handsome boy. And competitive. No one else hopped as far as him.

Blogs continue to make the world smaller, one comment at a time. Thank you Robyn for taking the time to write and tell me of a ty sighting.

I asked Ty why he hopped and he said, “I don’t know. If someone dared me I wouldn’t do it.”

Ty, I dare you to hop with both feet up 586 stairs.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homemaking Tip—Company’s Coming

Ray and Cali showing us the boats at the Chittenden locks

Today’s tip actually comes from Cali. One day she asked me how to keep from stressing when company comes. I told her the secret is to not mop your floors or knock yourself out cleaning before they get there because you're the only one who knows the difference between extra-clean and clean in your home. Clean is clean enough because people come to see people; otherwise they stay in a motel. I reminded her that when company leaves they will take all the messes with them so not to try and pick up around them while they’re there because everything magically disappears with them. I encouraged her to just relax and enjoy the people and not worry about the stuff.   

Now mind you, this tip works well for Cali because she is tidy, tidy, tidy. They don’t wear shoes inside and she likes things really clean (she hovered over her own toilet and wore flip flops in her own shower for several months until they could gut and remodel their bathroom).

A few weeks ago an extra nine of us went to stay with Ray and Cali. They always have a comfortable bed for everyone, nice blankets, clean sheets, and a pantry full of cheese, crackers, salamis, trail mix, ice cream, etc.  They have good ideas of things to do and are willing to play lots of games.  In short, they are hosts extraordinaire. Cali called a few hours after we left and said, “You’re so right! I didn’t stress once. I didn’t mop the floors or clean extra and no one even noticed. (quick pause) Did you notice? (continuing without missing a beat) And when you guys left so did all the stuff. Having company is so easy now!”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesdays with Ande

Poor Ande. The rest of our kids just got my preaching at home, but it has followed Ande. I was not only her moralizing mother, but also her primary teacher, primary president, Sunday school teacher, seminary teacher and now, her evening religion instructor. She is to be admired. She’s heard it all before—all of it, for years and years—but she smiles back at me, listens, includes those around her, and is still willing to add her two cents.

I have lots to learn from Ande:

1. Endurance.

2. Patience.

3. Wear red glasses—even if you have 20/20 eyesight—to mix things up a bit.

4. Use your deep guttural laugh often.

5. Sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, work when you’re broke, play when you can, and spend some time alone every day so you don’t get cross.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things, eat new foods, read new books, listen to new music, and develop new talents and interests.

I’m glad Ande and I have been side by side through lots of Tuesdays. She is a good teacher.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Memories—Flagpole

Thanksgiving 1998
Calvin, Cousin Whitney
Cali, Abe, Uncle Hugh, Garth (Hugh’s brother)
Ande, Ty

And a Happy Flag Day to you. I was about fourteen or fifteen years old when my brother-in-law made a flagpole and gave it to my mom for Christmas. It was the first of its kind and I liked having a flagpole very much, but I was a wee bit embarrassed that a silver-painted toilet float was the knob at the top of the flagpole. Fourteen year olds worry about things like that. When my friend reassured me no one would ever know, I liked the flag pole even better.

Twenty years later when Calvin and I had a family of our own, we moved to Washington and that same brother-in-law made us a flagpole for our home. Instead of me worrying about the silver-painted-toilet-float-knob, our fifteen year old did. I reassured her just like my friend had me that no one would ever know. Still today that flag pole is one of the favorite things in our yard. And, long live the toilet float, it has long since fallen off and rolled away somewhere.

Tonight for family home evening we celebrated Flag Day. Even though we were just having meatloaf we set the table with white plates and napkins, blue and red cups, and a flag tray in the center.


After supper, we pulled out the crayons, markers, and coloring pencils and colored Betsy Ross, patriot, liberty, flag pictures. Yes, even Calvin colored a picture.  Ande wouldn’t let us take a picture of her because she hadn’t had a chance to shower after work.

Then we went outside, retired our tattered flag, replaced it with a new one and said the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a grand ol’ family night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

52 Blessings—Winning

This is a fairly familiar spring scene at our house: Calvin sitting at the computer watching Arizona State University play baseball. There are no people on the screen. There is no turf. There is no bubblegum. There isn’t even organ music. There is just a computerized baseball diamond with little orange dots representing players moving from base to base. I thought TV baseball was boring, but this takes boring to a whole new level. But not for Calvin, he loves it. For years he kept track of ASU scores through his dad. Each week when his dad called they’d discuss the week’s games. But his dad died and a year later he was able to start watching them on the computer. Abe has partially filled the ASU-conversation-void his dad left; just this morning I heard Grace ask Calvin, “Abe wants to know how ASU is doing.”

ASU is in the play-offs and last night their game was on TV. Calvin sat behind me on the couch while I sat at the computer. Out of nowhere, he hollered and hooped. Loudly. It scared me and Grace heard it all the way down the hall with the fan going full blast.  ASU tied the game.  Evidently that is a big deal.  After he cheered, Calvin relaxed back in the chair and quietly resumed watching the game for another hour or two without saying another word. ASU finally won in the 12th inning.  I fell asleep in the bottom of the ninth.

This morning I was thinking about how glad Calvin was that ASU won. And that’s when I thought about what a blessing winning can be. Through the years, there are many wins I’ve been grateful for—a football game win over Pasco, a wrestling match win against South Ridge, a state volleyball game, the last game of dominoes where the loser bought the milkshakes, not to mention the many battles and debates for freedom won.

Losing can be a blessing, too, but winning is a funner blessing.

Any wins you’re grateful for?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life in My World—Random Is as Random Does

Our keyboard and mouse died—they’ve been sucking air for several months I just didn’t know how badly until we got new ones yesterday. The new mouse zips from corner to corner and the keyboard only needs one dainty, light touch—no more pounding on “t” twice. Enough about keyboards and mice, sufficeth me to say I can post again.

This has been our weather of late. My neighbor brought her grandsons over to gather eggs a couple of days ago and later I went to her house to hear her nine year old grandson play his fiddle/violin. He’s really quite incredible and it was a wonderful personal recital.  After he’d played a few songs he sat down on the piano bench and began a discussion about the “cumulous clouds we’ve been experiencing.” It was a delightful conversation. Our cloud displays really have been quite fascinating.

Trevor, Michelle, and the girls came and stayed several days. They stopped in Montana to pick up a new dog on the way. His name is Ryker and he likes to watch ants.

Head:  Ray
Nose:  Trevor, Cortney, Cali, Grace
Hand:  Joe, Ande, Calvin, Nikki, Michelle

While Trevor & Co. were here we went to Seattle to see Ray and Cali. Among many stops, one was to see the troll under the bridge. What a funny way to use your talents to make the world just a little bit better—put a troll under a bridge.

I braided a “faith, hope, charity” bracelet the other day. I need to wear it at least five more days. It’s driving me a bit batty, I don’t think I’ve worn one since grade-school, but the weight of cutting the threads of charity, hope, and faith before their time is heavier than wearing it.

Friday Grace and I attended my niece’s graduation ceremony. She received her master’s degree in social work. I am extremely proud of her. Though I didn’t think to take a picture of us, I did think to take a picture of the man shading his bald head with a handkerchief that sat across the aisle from us.

A friend gave us four gift certificates to Golden Corral. Each one was for $13.68.  How very thoughtful to include a drink.  We used them this week.  And then last night we came home from my niece's graduation to find fresh whipped cream and strawberries in the fridge and brown sugar cake on a plate on the counter from another friend.  Again, how very thoughtful. Some people just do the right things at the right times. I’m grateful for people like that. 

I dropped my breakfast this week. I have no idea how high the fiber count of gravel is when added to wheat and peanut butter, all I know is I had my camera in my hand so I took a picture.  It's not every day you eat gravel for breakfast.

One of my friends is running a marathon. Hands down this band-aid "God speed . . . " tag is one of the better ones I've ever made.

Okay.  I'm off.  It's Saturday and fast keyboard or not there is still a house to clean and a garden to weed and clothes to iron and more random to gather . . .

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Thinking—Sometimes Parenting is for the Birds

thank you google images

Out under the flagpole on Sunday I saw the mother killdeer with her three baby birds—they’re more like teenage birds now. The mother bird started scratching in the dirt and the little ones followed suit. The four birds were busy scratching, scratching, scratching. The sprinkler made the dirt soft, but pretty soon it made them really wet, too. When that happened, the mother killdeer spread her wings out like an umbrella over the three younger birds while they continued to scratch. It was a perfect visual of good mothering—she expected them to be self-sufficient and independent even when it wasn't comfortable or convenient, and provided them a safe place while they practiced it.

Justin, Cache, Jesse, Hydyn, Maddie, Pal, Calder--this isn't posed, it's just life

Last Saturday Cali and Ray had a big layover in Dallas. They drove north to see my sister’s family in Oklahoma for several hours. I’ve told our kids several times that before they have a family they need to go to Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bert’s for a weeklong workshop on parenting. They’re that good at it. Like Grace and Abe who stayed with the Ellsworth's earlier this spring, Cali and Ray both said their stop was a trip highlight. Watching the family interact, seeing the forts the kids had lashed together, playing Apples-to-Apples (Ellsworth rules include selling your card to the judge; they said the debates were pretty darn funny since the Ellsworth’s don't lack for creativity)—I love every rerun Ray and Cali have told me.

our bossy, loud, and ineffective rooster

Our old hens have dug their way out of the pen. They’ve tunneled right under the wire and out to freedom. They love to scratch their way under the trees, through the pasture, up into the garden. It bugs the rooster they won’t stay where they’re supposed to. He won’t go out of the pen to round them up; instead he paces back and forth watching and crowing at them. Those hens ignore him and do whatever they want because what’s he going to do, crow louder? Though their actions madden him, he does nothing but squawk. He reminds me of a mom I saw at the grocery store that yelled while her kids ran wild. She threatened them with all kinds of dastardly things, but never followed through. It’s funny in the chicken world. It’s not so funny in the people world.

This week there have been lots of things that have made me think about parenting.  Sometimes it has made me smile, sometimes it has made my stomach hurt.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taco Tuesday

One suggested blog topic was Taco Tuesday. Lisa suggested it because they have tacos every Tuesday. Guess what we’re having for supper tonight? You guessed right, tacos, we're mates with Lisa's family tonight. But my tacos aren’t worth writing about. Well, that’s not entirely true. One of my taco recipes is worth a blog post.

cooking on the griddle, summer of 1982, in a gunnie sax dress

A few weeks after we got married I told Calvin we were having tacos for supper but that I still needed to make the shells. He was impressed. Really impressed. He said, “You know how to make tortillas?”

I said, “I do.”

He said, “Flour or corn?”

I said, “Well, they have a bit of both in them actually.”

He said, “Really . . .”

I pulled out the corn meal, flour, egg, and salt and whipped up the batter. Next I greased the griddle and put them on to fry. When they were nicely browned on both sides I called Calvin for supper. He was excited. He sat down at the table and looked at the fried hamburger. No spices. No peppers. No onions. Just good old ground beef fried crisp. Then he saw the bottle of ketchup—a condiment he clearly was not expecting—but no salsa. Next he saw the shells. He was no longer impressed. It was early enough in our marriage he ate them without saying anything.

Years later after my sister Rachel had married Bert the subject of tacos came up. Bert got the horse laugh telling about their first taco experience. It was verbatim to Calvin’s story, only Bert called them crepes while Calvin referred to them as pancakes. Either—or, they are delicious . . . if you were raised on them. I’ll even share the recipe. Posterity needs this recipe.

Chadwick Taco Shells

½ cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1½ cups water

Sift flour, cornmeal and salt together. Mix egg and water and stir into flour mixture until smooth. Pour puddle of batter (about the size and shape of a pancake) onto a hot griddle and cook until dry on top. Flip and brown lightly on the other side. Serve with hamburger, shredded cheese, lettuce and ketchup.