2012-Cruise Night Yearbook

Another year is gone, and I haven’t published a single car feature. This album has every cruise night I attended this summer. The crop of cars this year were great as they always are. I had opportunity to photograph some really nice antiques and hot rods. The Frankfort Car Club and the Chamber of Commerce sponsor Cruise Night as a weekly event on Thursday evenings throughout the summer. Attendance is very good on balmy summer evenings. This summer we had a disproportionate amount Thursdays when it threatened to rain. Rain always keeps the cars and the crowds at home. Some of the nights were too hot to walk around, even in the evening. 

 

I Watched Mom Make Thousands of Them

Santa let me out of the workshop just long enough to bake some cookies for Christmas. It was a special day. I picked up my nine-year old grand-daughter from school and we came to Santa’s kitchen to bake a special recipe.

As a kid, I watched my mother bake often. She was expert at making delectable goodies which I loved to devour. One of them is kifli, or crescents. They are squares of dough rolled over a filling. My favorite filling is walnut. My job for Mom began by cracking hundreds of walnuts to pick out the meat. I’m sure that out of every pound of nuts Mom got about nine-tenths of it for baking. The other tenth went down the hatch, hymmmm. Over the course of her lifetime, Mom made thousands of these cookies. She never tired of it. The faster we devoured them the more proud she was. I helped her many times and watched her make those thousands. I testify to eating thousands too. Although my favorite filling is walnut, she made apricot, poppy-seed, and prune filling also. All are delicious.

This was a special adventure for me because even though I watched Mom make these cookies often, I never made them myself. It has been sixty years since I witnessed the action in her kitchen. All I have is a faint memory, and her Hungarian recipes.

I taught grand-daughter how to grind nuts, separate yolks from whites, how to make meringue, and how to roll dough. My daughter cooks with Jenna often, so when my Jenna works with me she comes as an accomplished kitchen worker. One mix of dough gave us six small batches of about a dozen cookies each. By the sixth batch our kifli began to look like the ones Mom made. We didn’t roll the dough thin enough on the first batch, the crescents looked like doughy bread. On the second batch we cut the squares too small and we had trouble rolling them. By the third batch we got the dough thin enough, but over compensated on the size of the squares. Anyway, by number six we got the dough thin enough, and the squares just the right size. Thankfully, we didn’t over bake any, and they came out a light golden color.

I used one of the eight recipes for kilfi shown in Mom’s cookbook, the one with the green cover. The ladies of the Dorcas Guild of the Magyar United Church of Christ who compiled the recipes must each have had their own recipe, and to save argument, they published all eight. The cook book is only forty-four pages long but is has the basics for any Hungarian palette.

Here is the recipe in all its simplicity.

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Sprinkle the finished product  generously  with powdered sugar to make a scrumptious treat. I can’t honestly say which batch these kifli are from. No matter, I’m enjoying them just like I did Mom’s.

Simple Flower Beauty Contest

I need your help folks.

Please judge the five Intarsia flowers below and tell me which one you like the best.

All five were hand crafted by Grumpa Joe in Santa’s workshop while Santa held Grumpa hostage and worked GJ’s fingers to the bone.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Flower A, Cedar, Pine, Poplar

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Flower B, Mahogany, Walnut, Poplar

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Flower C, Poplar

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Flower D, Pine, Cedar, Poplar

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Flower E, Walnut, Oak, Pine

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Vote by taking the Poll below:

The Gift-Part 8-Birthday Party

The Gift-Part 8-Birthday Party

Morty’s tiny house glowed with the tree and the nativity. The birds sang in anticipation of the party. Morty and Rabbit danced a circle around the room.

“My friends Max, and Gracie are coming to celebrate,” he said. “They will be late. Gracie is with Ben, and Max is with Jenna. They must stay until the kids say their prayers, and are asleep.

When the guardian angels knew their kids were dreaming of sugarplums and fairies, they slipped away to Morty’s house.

Max and Gracie arrived with their halos turned on, and shining brightly. Their angel wings glowed and fluttered when they saw Connie for the first time.

“Wow, what a beautiful tree,” they said. “Jesus will love you Connie.”

“I have a new tradition to share with you,” said Morty.

“What is it?”

“It is called breaking bread.” Morty gave Max and Gracie each a slice of unleavened bread He held his own piece up and stood in front of Gracie.

“Hold your bread up like I am doing.”

“Like this?”

“Yes.” Morty pinched a piece of Gracie’s bread and said, “I wish you peace.” He tore another piece and wished her love.

“Now you do the same and make your own wishes for me.”

Gracie followed his example.

“What a beautiful tradition. Where did you learn this?”

“On my last visit to heaven, Brad, Ben, and Jenna’s Grandma showed me. She asked me to keep the tradition going in her family.”

The three angels shared wishes for each other. Each of them broke bread from the other, and made a wish with each piece.

When the bread was all gone, they made one final wish.

“Merry Christmas.”

Without another word, Morty, Gracie, and Max, knelt quietly before the crèche, the birds, and the rabbit at their sides.

They said prayers for their children, for peace in the world, and for goodwill toward all men!

The End . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS BLOGGING FRIENDS

The Gift-Part 7-Final Touches

The Gift-Part 7-Final Touches

“Be careful with the tinsel, said Morty. “Hang each strand carefully. I don’t want Connie to look like the nest in the top branches.”

Morty placed a shiny gold ornament into the nest. As Red, Chick, and Spare hung the tinsel they chirped Silent Night. When the last strand was in place, they landed on Morty’s curl and admired their creation. Connie was an outstanding gift to the Baby Jesus on His birthday. Morty turned on the lights, and Connie came to life.

“I feel so wonderful,” said Connie, “you made me look beautiful. I hope Baby Jesus likes me.”

Morty handed the rabbit a bright red cloth, “put this around the tree stand to add the final touch.” Rabbit dragged the red cloth under Connie’s boughs where he had spent so many nights out of harms way, and worked the cover around the base.

“We have to put up the nativity next.” Morty pulled a small table to the tree. He wanted the nativity to be next to Connie where all of his friends would see it. Rabbit wiped the table clean, and covered it with Morty’s best tablecloth. The birds waited nearby. Each had a figure, ready to place. Morty set the stable in place.

“Okay, now you can finish by putting the figures down.”

Each bird hovered gently with a figure in its beak, and lowered it to the table. They handled each Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and all of the characters of the scene with special care and gentleness.

Morty put the last tiny white lamb down, “here you are little Shepard.” The nativity was complete.

To be continued . . .

The Gift-Part 6-Transformation

The Gift-Part 6-Transformation

Early the next morning, Morty got up, brushed his teeth, combed his curl, and ate breakfast. It was time. He found the tree stand and placed it in the corner of his tiny room.

“Stand straight Connie,” he said as he filled the bowl with sugar water to give Connie strength.

“You have an important duty ahead.”

“I have to play Christmas tunes while we decorate.” Morty tuned in to the Choir of Heavenly Angels over his boom box to play carols.

Morty sang with the music. He strung the lights onto each branch, making sure that the spacing was even.

The rabbit and the birds helped by hanging the popcorn garland. The Sparrow held one end of the garland while the Cardinal held it farther down the string. The Chickadee held a third spot. They flew in unison carrying the garland. Gently, they lowered the popcorn garland onto the branches. The beads came next.

“I wish Brad were here to help,” said Morty. “His muscles would be a great help with these heavy beads. They are too heavy for the birds. I have to drape them carefully to make them look pretty.”

As he worked, he hummed Silent Night, his favorite Christmas carol.

“Sing with me Connie.”

“Si – lent night, Ho – ly night,

All is calm. All is bright.

Round yon Vir – gin Moth – er and child!

Ho – ly in – fant so ten – der and mild,

Sleep in heav – en – ly peace,

Sleep in heav – en – ly peace.”

They sang together as they worked.

“After we finish with Connie, we can prepare for the party tonight.”

What a happy group they were. The Cardinals, Chickadee, Rabbit and Morty were all decorating the tree for Jesus.

“Almost finished,” said Morty. “Birds, please carry the crystal star and place it on Connie’s top stem.”

“Now, for the final touch, we have to hang the tinsel. It is a great job for birds,” he said.

All three birds began immediately, and carried tinsel like they carried grass to build a nest. They hovered above a branch and carefully lowered the silver strands down.

“You can be proud Connie. You are beautiful and will make Jesus happy on his birthday.

To be continued . . ..

The Gift-Part 5-Reminiscing

The Gift-Part 5-Reminiscing

The scoot home took a long time, and Morty deliberately kept Skye out of hyper-drive. He drove slowly to keep the little tree from tearing off. They talked as he drove.

“The farmer planted me as a seed eight years ago. I became a sapling quickly, and was transplanted into a new field.”

Connie jabbered away as Morty drove.

“Farmer Jim re-planted me again when I reached sapling stage. He put me into the field where his great, great, great, great-grandfather grew up. I went thirsty during the drought, and the hot summer nearly fried my needles. I liked winter best. I loved when the snow covered my boughs and they drooped to the ground.”

“I’ve been a Guardian Angel since the beginning of time,” said Morty. “My duty is to watch over Brad. I love watching kids the best.”

“My favorite job is to take care of birds. The cardinals and chickadees picked me this year. They built their nests deep in my boughs to hide it from predators.  I couldn’t believe how many trips they made with string, and twigs from all over the farm. Red Cardinal and his wife Rosy brought the pieces one by one. Rosy wove them into place, and pasted it all together with mud from the pond.”

“I loved to watch the Cardinals fly back and forth to feed their babies. They slept between meals, but made a lot of noise when they woke up. The kids chirped loudly until a parent came with food. One day, a cat came into my field. Rosy covered the nest with her body, and spread her wings to hide them. Red buzzed the cats’ ears to get his attention away from the babies. I dropped my boughs over the nest to give them more protection. Everything became very still while the cat was there. All the trees around me watched him stalk; his head was low, and his shoulders in a crouch. After what seemed like an eternity of stillness, the cat finally wandered off.”

Morty arrived home after dark. He untied Connie’s branches and set him upright into a bucket of water.

“Tomorrow,” he said, “I will place you into a tree stand, and dress you for the birthday party. Now it is time for all of us to rest.”

To be continued . . .

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