Good Will Mandate – (or How to have a Pleasant Christmas)



The family begins to gather.  First, the child from out-of-town, then the children who live close by, the older grandkids, the aunt, the babies, a neighbor, a few friends, a dog or two (couldn’t find a keeper) and suddenly,  it’s Christmas!  And the festivities begin.

Let there be armfuls of packages, overstuffed bellies, crackling fires, joyful singing, lots of laughter, game playing and couch napping.  Let there be peace on earth, re-runs of It’s a wonderful life, and harmony in our home.  That’s the plan.  That’s my goal.  There may be a grandchild or two that has to spend a little bit of time-out on the stairs or a dog that may need to be put in his kennel to get us there, but we will have tranquility in this house.  I am declaring a temporary nix on all unintended little jabs that quickly escalate into hurt feelings or wounded pride.  I’m also tabling the myriad of discussions that could arouse a little too much passion from an incredibly passionate family.  Why? Because I’m the mom and it’s Christmas.  We can get back to those inflammatory subjects another day.  My mother mandate for Christmas 2016 is: GOOD WILL WILL FLOW

Taking a cue from the way certain political figures field challenging questions, our family now has a brilliant strategy – don’t respond at all to something you’d rather avoid, just simply change subject.  We invoke state capitals as our diversion tactic.  For example:

Auntie, “Have you thought of giving your child less sugar?”

Son, “What’s the capital of Vermont?”

Someone, “Lansing?”

Someone else, “No, Montpelier.”

The rest of us pick up the game, dropping the potentially toxic conversation. Voila, crisis avoided!  

We actually tried this at our last family gathering.  One would think that our Thanksgiving was a scene straight out of Pleasantville.  Perhaps it was a bit too nice and a tad less colorful than previous holidays so I briefly consider lifting the good will mandate. Quickly evaluating probable conversations that might occur over eggnog, I envision,  “Can you believe the President Elects choice for Secretary of State?”

My knee-jerk reaction, “what’s the capitol of North Dakota?”









Super Hero


A family sat around the dining room table enjoying their dinner when the grandfather introduced a table question. “If you could have any super power, what would you choose?”
“I’d fly,” said the oldest daughter, and her cousin agreed.
“I’d be invisible,” said one of the other children. He wanted to sneak up on people and disappear at will.
“I’d like to travel back in time,” said the mother, for she had a passion for historical characters.
“I’d transport myself into and out of movies,” said the father who obviously enjoyed the cinema.
“How about you, grandfather?” asked the mother for he hadn’t answered his own question.

But before the grandfather could respond, his oldest grandson, who was only ten, suddenly burst out, “Grandfather, I know what you should choose! You should have the power to make copies of yourself, then there would be more yous and we could spread you all around the world and there would be enough yous to be president of all the countries and then there would be peace and everybody would be happy.”

And so, the grandson knew that his grandfather already had the greatest superpower of them all.

When life gives you blueberries, make LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Grandmother's lemon meringue pie

For some reason, the bushes in our neighborhood have been chock full of blueberries this year.  Loaded, for weeks on end.  At first there was a mad rush to fill our buckets before the neighbors picked them clean.  Unfortunately we picked some before their time, SOW-ER.  Then, they were beautiful and big, plump and ripe, sweet and delicious.  I gathered as much as I could, blueberry season being short, you know.  Then I took my granddaughter to gather with me.  Then I dragged my husband along.  We put handfuls of blueberries in our mouths on our cereal and atop our ice cream.  I made blueberry pancakes and blueberry smoothies.  I made blueberry crisp (4 times).  I found a Blueberry Buckle recipe on-line which was quite good, so I made a double batch to share with my neighbors.  I gave containers of berries to my friends who live in the city and froze blueberries in zip lock bags. My problem is that when I go for a walk, I pass those blessed bountiful bushes and I cannot walk on without stopping to gather.  I feel personally responsible for the berries that are shriveling up on the vine, sad that I ignored them until they passed their prime.  So, I’m still picking but suddenly craving my Grandmother’s lemon meringue pie.

Mamaw’s Lemon Meringue Pie



1 stick of butter

2 cups of sugar

6 eggs, (2 whole, 4 yolks)

1 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

3-4 lemons (1/2 cup juice)

2 pie shells (She made from scratch – I use frozen)


Cream butter, sugar and flour together.  Add 2 whole eggs and 4 yolks (save whites and set aside).  Add milk slowly, then lemon juice and grated rind.

Cook in unbaked shell at 400 * for 10 minutes and then at 350* until done (about 30 min. until custard is firm)

Cool and top with meringue


4 eggs whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

1/2 cup sugar

Beat eggs and salt until soft peaks form.  Add cream of tartar.  Add sugar gradually, 2 tbsp at a time and beat until stiff.  Spread over pie and bake at 400* for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Delicious!

gathering blueberries



Meanwhile:  Anyone have any good blueberry recipes?