October Sister Day


What a beautiful fall day. I’m heading out to Sisters Day. Lucy is our hostess so I’m on my way to Vienna. Overall, it was an uneventful trip. I did have one moment when I just had to laugh. I was getting close to Vienna when what to my wondering eyes should appear… a snow plow coming down the road. Just the sight of it on such a beautiful day lightened my heart and it still does every time I think of it. Seeing something so out of place yet in the right place just at the wrong time.

Those attending were our hostess Lucy Branson, Mary Jo Crider, Shirley Huffman, Linda Crider, Pam Hale and Susie Kleffner.

Greetings were offered as each of us arrived. We gathered around Lucy’s cozy little table and our day began. Lucy pulled a pan of hot biscuits from her oven, after placing them on a plate she set them on the table. The table already contained a full butter dish, a bowl of home cooked applesauce and a jar of homemade molasses. The menu wasn’t long but it contained all we needed for the meal. It was delicious and very satisfying.

Lucy had one of her large wall clocks sitting on the floor. It had hung in the dining area since she moved in but now it was leaning up against the wall in the living area. Well, the story is that ever since she hung it up there it lost 10 minutes. She would reset it and when she came back it had lost 10 minutes. She took it down and started moving it around to try to find a place where it would stay on time. It worked perfectly on the wall in Wardsville. After moving it to several different places without success, she set the clock down on the floor and herself down in her chair. After a while she noticed that the clock was still on the right time. So that is where it sits and it is keeping perfect time.

The molasses we had for breakfast brought to mind how the old timers used to make molasses and what an occasion it was. The kids got to ride the mule pulling the wheel that squeezed the juice from the sorghum canes. The three-tray versus the one pot cooking method was discussed. Uncle Joe Heiman made molasses every fall. Our mom, Anna Crider, did the cooking because no one else’s turned out as good as hers. She had the knack. Uncle Joe had the three-compartment tray setup. It was one long, wide pan with dividers. The raw juice went in the first section, cooked to just the right stage while being stirred constantly. At just the right time, it was transferred to the second compartment by pushing it with the stirring paddle, which looks like a rake with a solid board instead of tines. The divider had a hole in it with a little plate over it. The plate was lifted and the juice pushed through to the next compartment. Each compartment had its own fire which had to be regulated to keep the sorghum cooking down without burning. When one compartment was emptied, it was immediately refilled with more sorghum in that stage. This kept the process going. I have seen them squeezing cane at the State Fair. The “older” sisters actually got to take part in the process. There are not many places where they do this at the farms any more. Another memory lost with our generation.

Mom and Daddy’s house burned when Leo was a baby. Everything was lost. There was a large stone jar sitting in the corner of the kitchen full of molasses they had made that fall. When Mom went back to look, everything was ashes except for the crock with the molasses. All the molasses had boiled out and the jar was left standing, looking like it had not been damaged. When she touched it, it fell to dust.

We prayed the rosary for peace in the Middle East. The Blessed Mother said that is the only way peace can happen. Besides, what else can we do to stop the fighting?

The girls got into a discussion of shoe brands that are hot for 2023. Are those Hey Dude shoes? Some had on the hot thing from Skeeters. I know how out of date I am. I haven’t heard of any of them. I guess it’s no big deal I’m not going bare foot out in public. Don’t ask about at home. Ha! Ha!

We drew names for Christmas. For once I don’t think anyone drew their own name, which is unusual. Some years more draw their own name on the first try then not.

Lunch time rolled around and Lucy set out a feast: a crock pot filled with the most delicious vegetable soup, a bowl of tuna salad, refried bean pinwheels (Lucy makes the best ones of these) accompanied by three kinds of crackers. She had a pan of apple dumplings for dessert. Both meals were truly Sisters Day quality. Great job, sis!

Sister Shirley volunteers at the Visitation school lunchroom one day a week. Her recent day was a bit of an adventure. The kids had dessert day. That means all the kids brought dessert to share with the others. As Shirley and Kathy Hale, the lunch lady and our great niece, were about to start serving, in came some teacher and big kids who started moving tables. They were followed by the kids all bringing the dessert Mom had made for the day. Kathy had not been warned, so she was serving a rather messy lunch, and with all the extra dessert the cafeteria was a wreck. Much to both Kathy and Shirley’s relief when the meal was over, the older kids jumped in and cleaned the entire cafeteria tables, floor and all. All’s well that ends well. This led to discussing why more grandparents don’t volunteer for things like that. A lot of them are third-generation going to that school. Heck we are sixth-generation. That goes back to our grandmother and up to Pam’s grandkids.Wow, talk about roots. Does anyone remember the picture in the Catholic Missourian years ago with the story about the generation of our family going to Visitation School? I haven’t thought of that for years.

Do you hate to go to the mailbox? Most of us do because of all the junk mail we get. Especially the ones that are dressed up to look like an official letter. I don’t dare not open one because what if it is something you really need to know? Especially this time of year, when they are trying to get you to change your medical insurance. Second in line after all the mail is the commercial on TV. As aggravating as it is for us, remember how bad it was when we weren’t old enough to need to know that stuff. Why can’t they just leave well enough alone?

Somehow, we got to talking about homeless people. Two cities that have so many are Nashville, which some of the girls were shocked to see. I was in Honolulu and they had a lot also. They are not allowed to camp on the sandy part of the beaches but the park between our hotel and the beach was filled with them later in the day. This led to talk of panhandling. There are some in Jefferson City who are not homeless; they panhandle for a living. They claim they can make more money doing that then they can on a job. What I hate most about this is that while I would gladly help people who are truly in need, I don’t get enough social security to finance myself and someone who is able to work and earn their own way just like I did. 

Well, I think it’s time to put my soap box up and let us all get on with our day. Have a blessed month, and we’ll see you next time.

Thought: This is a story about four people named: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. Who are you Everybody? Somebody? Anybody? Nobody?

Fun Fact: He invented AC current, Tesla coil, X-ray, remote control, teleforce, violet ray, induction motor, Tesla turbine, wireless telegraphy and world wireless system, but he never got enough credit for those. This man actually designed the 20th and 21st centuries with his inventions, but still he died alone and poor. All he wanted is to make earth a better place to live in. The most underrated hero of our science history: Nikola Tesla.