Happy Easter, Hallelujah

God Bless America on this sunny but cold Easter morning. I fully intended to attend 7:30 mass this morning, and set my opportunity alarm to wake me at 6:15. It did the job, but instead Grumpa shut it off and talked himself ( 2 nano-seconds) into letting the snooze alarm give him ten minutes more. (HINT! The snooze doesn’t work if you turn off the alarm.) It was 7:15 when I opened my eyes again from a really wonderful sleep, I momentarily panicked. Not to worry I told myself, Catholics invented 9:00 o’clock mass for those who miss 7:30.

After not attending mass for two years because of the COVID-19 shut down, it was heartening to see so many families back to meet their yearly obligation. Actually, the obligation is to attend every Sunday, but many of us stretch that into twice a year, Christmas and Easter. On those two holidays Catholic churches swell with attendance. Most Sundays are well attended, but our fellow Christians do not fill every pew and spill over into the atrium like they do on the two holiest days of the Church calendar.

Nine o’clock is the children’s mass, and as I said, there were a lot of kids there. I sat in a pew behind a family, Grandma, Grandpa, Son, Daughter, in-laws and three kids between ages 18 months and four years. A little distracting, but nice because it reminded me of the days when wife Barbara and I had to corral three kids in that same age range. I remember once during mass, Barb was holding our youngest son Mike over her shoulder while he swilled a bottle of formula. When he finished, he did his best impression of Joe Montana by passing the bottle over the heads of several pews into the Sanctuary. This kid was great at sports, but never played football, even though he had a great throwing arm at eighteen months.

It is funny how seeing kids opens one’s mind to memories that have been locked up for fifty years. Someday, I will write a book full of those memories just so my kids can have a laugh about their own antics. In fact, that is such a great idea I will begin by logging the incidents the way I did for my childhood auto-biography titled Jun-e-or.

I Hate My NuWave Again

My family began arriving at twelve thirty today for our Easter celebration. My job was to make a ham and theirs was to bring side dishes. What a great chance to retry my Nu-Wave cooker to make a spiral ham. The last time I did this I set the ham so the bone was horizontal and the cuts were vertical. The ham fanned out like a deck of cards, and the individual slices were roasted to ham chips. The thing was crunchy to eat, flavorful, but crunchy. This time I decided to set the ham vertically so the slices were horizontal and they wouldn’t fan. I will be vindicated I told myself, I will show this group of skeptical children that I am the Master of the Nu-Wave. Wrong! The ham didn’t fan, but the edges got crispy. It was also over done. Once again the cooker I love so much became the cooker I hate with a vengeance. The tip of the meat nearest the heat element was charcoal broiled and so tough my electric knife wouldn’t cut through it.

In order to save my self esteem after Grace I announced that three years ago I retired from hosting the big holiday dinners. I told my kids it was time for me to pass the baton to them, and to remind them of why I retired, “I present you with a burnt offering.”

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Obama Fires Union Worker

The White House recently announced the firing of the Easter Czar. Easter Bunny a long time favorite with White House children has been fired. There will no longer be any Easter Egg hunts on the White House Lawn on Easter morning. Instead, the kids will scour the lawn with shovels to pick up Bo’s droppings. The new activity is in keeping with the spirit of saving money.

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Easter Wabbit Invasion

Am I Seeing Things?

It was early Easter morning when I awoke to some strange noises in the house. Not yet completely awake, I began shuffling around the house looking for the source of noise. Am I seeing things, what is that in Grandma Peggy’s potted plant? My vision is blurry, I rub my eyes to clear them up and to sharpen my senses.

Easter Wabbit Munchin of Peggy's Plants

Oh my God! I am not seeing things it is real. A Wabbit has infiltrated the house. What I see is sharp and clearly a Wabbit. “How did he get in here?” I leave to get something to catch him with.

Oh no, another one!

Wabbit eating a Hyacinth bulb

This is too strange. What will I do now? First they infiltrated the yard and now the house. I’m in deep trouble. If Peggy finds the bunny wabbits they will become pets, and I will be forced to feed them. I have to catch them and make hasenpfeffer before she wakes up.

Wabbit Chews on Christmas Cactus

I don’t believe it, he is eating cactus! This is serious, I must still be asleep and this is a bad dream. Not even the dreaded terror-wabbits eat cactus plants. Yeah, this has to be a dream, no, it is a nightmare. Wake up this can not be real.

Wabbit on desert rose

The nightmare is getting worse! Not even the desert rose is safe, who are these guys? Oh my, how am I going to catch them all? If I don’t they will multiply and take over the house in a couple of days.

God save the orchid from the Wabbit.

Dear God save the orchid from this evil Wabbit! Nothing is safe. Are these Wabbits related to those who ate my tulips last year? Are they taking revenge for the rabbit barrier I used to cover the lobelia? What are they, and from where did they come?

Wabbit eats succulents

Now, that’s the last straw! Get out of the succulents. I’m cooked, there are way too many to deal with before Peggy finds them, and they become pets. She hates hasenpfeffer, and there isn’t much else they are good for except maybe wabbit foot key chains. Think, Think, Think. I need a solution fast. I just know they are busy multiplying.

I retire to my study to find a solution. I Google wabbit invasion and find numerous Youtube videos on wabbit invasions, but no solutions. Maybe I should return to bed and wake up all over again. It’ll be different, right? I don’t think so. Oh me, oh my, what am I to do? I need help. Maybe my readers will help me, yes I’ll blog about the wabbit invasion. All the intelligent people who read Grumpa Joe’s Place will send tons of advice for how to deal with this situation. Yes that’s it, but first I have to eat breakfast. All this talk of Hasenpfeffer and catching wabbits has fueled my appetite. Yes, go make some coffee, boil some eggs to have with toast made from that homemade bread. Go for it.

Wabbit army eyeing up Grumpa Joe.

Ye gods, they are coming to get me!

I Hate My Nu-Wave

It wasn’t long ago when I posted a short piece titled “I Love My Nu-Wave” about how great my Nu-Wave infrared cooker is. Oh how I gave it lauds. It is a great cooker, but on Easter Sunday, I learned its limit. We invited the family for dinner. Grandma Peggy and I decided to put a ham on the table. I decided to use the Nu-Wave. I have never cooked a ham this way before, but the cooker works so good on everything else I’ve tried why not use it on the ham?

The cooking chart instructed to give it fifteen minutes per pound. The ham we bought was ten pounds. That translates into one hundred and fifty minutes, or two and a half hours. Not bad for a chunk of meat that large. We asked our guests to arrive in time for a four o’clock dinner. I made a note to start the ham at one o’clock.

Everything was going on schedule and as planned. Then it happened. What? I’ve left out the part about this being a spiral  cut ham.  I placed the ham into the cooker with the bone horizontal. The traditional way. I placed the cooking dome over the ham and set the timer.

An hour later the aroma of fresh-baked ham filled the house. I love the smell of freshly baked ham. Something told me to check things out. I stopped the machine and lifted the dome. There was the ham with the spiral slices fanned out like a blooming onion. The outer one inch of the edges were dark red, no, they were black. When the ham fanned, the individual slices exposed themselves to the heater and cooked rapidly. Thank God, a section in the center was still pink, and edible.

I checked the internal temperature.  It was ready after one hour, and the guests don’t arrive for another hour and a half. I tore off a piece of the dark red outer edge and popped it into my mouth. Yep, it was crunchy, but still tasty. Grandma Peggy got on the phone and called our guests and explained. She asked them to come earlier if they could. Since the guests were all of our children, they did us the favor.

Instead of serving at four, we served at three. I explained my error in cooking and presented the ham on a platter. I suggested that they eat the pink parts only. To my surprise several of the kids loved the crunchy outer pork chips. The company politely said nothing and ate the burnt offering. Actually, many feasted on the sides.

After the party ended, it occurred to me that I should have stood the ham on end.  Oh well, next time.

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