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My mom's recipes.
Read, "The Story of the
Missing Cookie Jar" by pen
vampire.  A delightful little
Christmas story with
mouthwatering warm tasty
recipes for the most
wonderful time of the year!  

"Santa and the Magic
Key", plus recipes for your
holidays.  A story by pen

Easter eggs, bunnies and
other stories.
"Easter and Where
NOT to Hide Eggs" Memories
of Easters past and a few
vintage recipes.

Logan's Halloween Story
-The original story won first
place in sixth-eighth grade
division of Southeastern
Middle School, 2005 by Logan
Lyon, alas, no recipes.

Food and Genealogy A
story By Robin L. Wallace.  
Our lives, our families, our
very history's are defined by
the foods we eat.

Family Reunion Recipes
"The Fourth of July and Other
(With Apologies to Jean
By Robin L. Wallace

A short story by Suellen Fry.  
Memories of my father and
his version of

Memorial Day Recipes - "For
Memorial Day was the
day when we went out where
relatives were buried in the
tiny, local cemeteries and
thoroughly cleaned up each
graveside, carrying away
branches that may have fallen
in the winter.................."

Grandma Erin's Story of
Courage and
Sweet Tater Bi
skits Recipe

Homemade Remedies
Recipes - Recipes our
grandparents used from a
poultice, mustard plasters,
gargles and paste.
I speak from sad personal experience on this subject.   
My sister's shoulder was dislocated when she was
tackled in the library during her high school orientation
by a careless senior on the school's football team.  We
made the mistake of taking her to a small hospital  
south of us to have her shoulder checked out. The
x-ray they took at the rural hospital was so bad, my
parents couldn't tell what part of my sister's anatomy
was in the picture.  We left with the x-ray and drove 72
miles to another larger city.   

Laughter and amazed exclamations were heard from
the ER staff we encountered in the big city hospital.  It
echoed from the ER even as we left to take my sister
home.  They asked if they could keep the x-ray to
show the next shifts, and since it was totally useless
for diagnosis, my parents let them have it.
To this day
that x-ray is being shown to novice technicians as a
"How to not take an x-ray."  At least I like to think so.
Aunt Helen Duryea's Shepherd's Pie Balls


12 large potatoes, boiled
half stick butter, cold and cut up into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream*
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound lean ground beef
1 stalk celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
olive or vegetable oil for frying

Peel and boil potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and set aside.  In a skillet, brown celery and onion in a little butter before adding ground
beef.  Cook until meat is thoroughly done.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.

Mash the potatoes, mixing in butter and cream until you get a smooth, not-too-wet mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  When the
hamburger is cook enough to handle, make a small ball of mashed potatoes in your hand and place a small amount of  the hamburger
mixture inside it.  Cover the hamburger completely so that it is completely encased in the potatoes.  Set the balls aside on a plate until
you have used up all the ingredients making small balls.

When the balls are finished, heat a skillet and add in about 1/4 cup of olive or vegetable oil for frying. Beat the eggs, and roll the balls in
the egg mixture.  Roll the balls in the bread crumbs before placing carefully in the oil to fry.  Turn once after first side is golden and allow
other side to brown.

Drain on paper towels after frying.

NOTES:  * To make the recipe a little lighter, you can substitute regular whole milk for the cream.  I would not use anything lighter than
2% milk as it doesn't work as well.  Some family members have reported that an equal amount of evaporated milk works as well.

VARIATIONS:  you can put finely diced green and black olives or green peppers into cook with the meat.

Another variation is to add a packet of French onion soup mix into cook with the meat to give it a more sauce like feel, although it will be a
little messier when you encase it in the mashed potatoes.  Other family members have also used undiluted cream of celery or cream of
mushroom soup.  You might have to play with it a little to form the balls properly for frying later.  If you have the time, it's well worth it to
experiment until you get the mashed potato consistency proper for the wetter internal meat mixture.

Others have also added grated carrots while cooking in the meat mixture and added mashed peas to come closer to the taste of a baked
Shepherd's pie.  I don't use carrots due to a food allergy, nor have I tried adding mashed peas, so I can't speak as to how successful this
might be.  Remember to add pepper to taste if you add the envelope of soup mix, but salt should not be necessary since the mix is salty
enough.  In this case, you should only need to salt the mashed potatoes.

These make a great hors d'oeuvres and can be made easier to grasp if you skewer them with a toothpick.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 can (29 ounces) solid pack pumpkin (Lake Shore is our local brand --- the pie
mixes like Libby's don't work for this)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups milk
2 9-inch pie shells

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Mix well beaten eggs, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices.  Add milk and stir until mixture is smooth.  Line two
9-inch pie pans with pastry.  Pour filling into the pastry shells, dividing it equally.  Bake in hot oven (400°F) about 45 minutes, or until a
knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

Notes:  # To lighten up the pie, try using an equivalent amount of a sugar substitute, like Splenda in the mix.  You may want to decrease
the amount if you don't want the pie to turn out too sweet,

Although the original recipe doesn't call for it, both grandmas, then Mom used to add in this amount of cloves in the recipe for a tastier

Instead of regular milk (I never use anything but whole milk for this recipe if canned evaporated isn't available --- don't use sweetened
condensed milk because it is too sweet with the amount of sugar in it), Gram Irwin always used an equivalent amount of Evaporated milk
in this recipe.  If she didn't have enough, she'd mix regular milk in to make up the 2 cups needed for the recipe.

You can either make your own pie shells, using your favorite recipe, or in this case, the frozen 9-inch variety works very well. Preparation
time will drop significantly if you use the commercial variety, but if you do, make sure the shells are thawed before you put the pumpkin
mixture in them.  As I have never tried to make a deep dish pumpkin pie (the ones that can hold up to 4 cups of custard), I don't if  this
amount of mix will produce two full pies or not.  To keep from spilling, I would suggest that you place the two shells on a cookie sheet
before filling them for an easier transfer to and from your oven.

Western New Yorkers will swear with their dying breath that this brand of pumpkin for the pie is the best anywhere (I have seen letters
and queries in papers in all parts of the US asking if there's any place this brand can be purchased outside of the area --- there's even
one entrepreneur who is making a mint on eBay selling cans of it to those who have no one left in the area who can send "care packages"
with that or a very popular loganberry-based soda we have here).  I think it may be because there is nothing but solid pack pumpkin
puree (with no preservatives or any additives) in the can, so whatever your local brand is should work just fine if you have something
similar.  You can also use an equal amount of home-pureed pumpkin to achieve the same results, as long as you have cooked out some
of the water for a thicker product.

VARIATIONS:  For a bit of a variation, try adding in a quarter cup of finely chopped pecans or walnuts to the mix before adding in to the
pie shell.  Bake as normal.

Some people in the family who make their own pie shells save some of the dough scraps which they cut into decorative shapes like maple
leaves.  About 10 minutes before the pie is done, add them on top of the custard so they can brown with the rest of the pie shell and not

Others have sprinkled about 2 tablespoons of maple sugar over the top for a little maple-flavored glaze on top (I suspect regular sugar
will work as well, but it could make the pie a little sweeter than you like).

Serves or Makes: 2  9-inch pies

Source (if known): original recipe, without the additions, from Lake Shore canned pumpkin label
What follows below are some of our favorite recipes that we use around Thanksgiving time.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Thank you, Robin Wallace
I wanted to let you know the photos are from my collection.  Old black n
white photos just seem to go with vintage recipes and stories.  Now we
may begin.

So often I read a piece by Robin Wallace and discover a world we may
never see again.  With a true heart, American know how and a smidge of
"do it yourself".

This is just a piece, so with recipes included here is .........

Thanksgiving Dinner and Other Interesting Holidays
Robin L. Wallace
Coming from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a colorful towel, my mother walked up the hall to where our visitor stood, barely inside the
front door.  The minute he saw her, he thrust the things in his hands at her, mumbling, "These things are all for you.  You know, for
helping... with the baby."

Without taking a breath, he continued on, "My wife really wanted to thank you, you know, for all you did."  There was a definitely glazed
look in his eyes.  "My wife was afraid the blanket you lent us was too messed up, you know, with
the blood, and stuff.  Too messed up to
give back." He took a long breath.  "Anyway, I bought a new blanket, and the hospital gave me a new pair of those things you used.  I
hope they're the right kind...

"And my wife wanted to make sure you got these nice flowers,
you know, for everything you did."  He bowed his head and spoke towards
floor.  "I don't know what we would have done without you. I thought I was going to pass out when the baby started coming"

Then he reached out and hugged my mother.  Our dog, sitting beside my mother, looked up, apparently trying to decide whether or not
she needed to take things in teeth to protect my mother, so to speak, when he let go and stepped back.  "Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.  My
wife and I named
our child after you.  She's going to be Elizabeth Martha, after you and her grandmother -- if it's okay with you, that is..."

Handing off the loot to my sister and I, my mother thanked him for his generosity, asking him to make sure he really could afford the
expense of such a nice blanket.  Hastily, he assured my mother that his wife would kill him if he hadn't gotten it for her.  She assured him
that she was honored that they wanted to name their daughter after her, and told him to assure his wife that everything he had brought
was more than adequate to recompense her for helping out.  Gently ushering him out the door, she thanked him again, and reminded him
he had a long way to go to get to the hospital, so she wouldn't hold him up any longer.

When he'd gone, my mother looked at me, and s
aid, "Please, next time, make sure you have TWO packets of those blasted bands so I
don't have to go through this again!"
Sure that they were safely off at last, my mother packed up the first aid kit, lugged it back
inside, and went to clean herself up, before coming back to my grandmother's house and her
dinner.  Just as she was about to lock the door, she remembered the rubber bands
(although the rolls never made it), the original reason she had come to the house, and
retrieved them, before she locked up for good.  The deputy called to say that they had
arrived safely, the baby weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and that the deputies would be
returning the clamps in the next few days.  After the story ended, my grandmother went into
the living room to rescue my grandfather from the cat who was busily trying to mooch ice
cream from him, before shepherding the three of us all out to the kitchen to put away food
and do up the dishes while my mother relaxed.

A couple of days later, there was a knock at the front door of our old farmhouse.  My sister
and I had just gotten home from school, and were greeted by the sight of a nervous young
man standing on the front porch.  He looked to be in his early 20s, and was clutching a
brand-new brand name blanket, a pair of brand-new hemostats, both still in the original
packaging.  Along with the rest of the load was a small bouquet of flowers.  He seemed
rather surprised that my sister and I and the older family dog met him at the door.  Clearing
his throat, he asked if he could speak with the lady of the house.
Living with medical people can lead to some very interesting situations.  I come from a rural
county in the western part of New York.  Where I lived, the nearest hospital (or one that I
will consider good enough to take the family pets to, let alone a real human being) was
located within a city that lay 35 miles north of us, attached to the topnotch medical school
that is located there.  A recipient of largess from the George Eastman family, among other
local luminaries, it had the best to offer and was one of the ones in the region that had
access to all of the latest research in any given area.  With the winding roads and the speed
limit legal back in the day, it was not unusual for an hour or better to pass before it was
possible to even make the doors of the nearest adequate emergency room.  I don't even
count the hospital that lay some 37 miles to the south in another little rural town.  That
hospital did not often attract the best doctors or staff, and in my opinion was nothing more
than a glorified aid station where treatment was of a questionable level of quality, at best.
With stern instructions to the deputy to make sure he retrieved the clamps after they got to the hospital, she
moved her car and sent the other two on their way, probably doing well over 65 miles an hour in a time before
the expressway had been built that would allow that speed to be commonplace.  With lights and siren going
full, the deputy called ahead to have the sheriff's department notify the hospital they were en route, then sped
away ahead of the station wagon to provide escort for their little family.
Muttering, "Oh, for heaven's sake!"  Mom crawled out of where she was next to the woman
in the back of the station wagon, and snatched the blanket from the husband.  Snapping it
open, she handed a corner to each of the men and told them to make sure nobody could
see inside the car.  The pair of them, white as sheets, stood with their backs to the goings
on in the car, finally providing a proper barrier to shield the poor woman should anybody
happen to pass by the driveway on the road that ran in front of it.  In short order, the
baby, a little girl who weighed about 8 pounds by my mother's guestimation, was born.

Although there wasn't much snow on the ground (really, barely a dusting, as I remember) it
was very cold out, and my mother's hands, bathed in the fluids that came with the birth of
the baby were getting numb.  For some reason, she later said that her memory of how to
tie off the umbilical cord after she cut it, left her, and cleaning her hand as best as she
could, she clamped it off with a small pair of hemostats (the special locking clamps used by
doctors in surgery to hold onto something without losing its grip) and wrapped the baby to
keep it as warm as possible.  She cuddled the baby up next to the mother, told her and the
cop she'd be right back, then went running into the house.  That's when she placed the call
to my dad, hoping he'd be able to do something to help before she sent the others off into
the hospital.  Exasperated by his answer, she went outside and tucked the blanket the two
men had been holding around the mother and baby, leaving the clamps firmly in place.
Luckily, the deputy was able to keep the poor father from collapsing on the ground, but it was clear that both of them were dangerously
close to losing it.  Positioning the mother so it would be easier for her to deliver her baby, Mom happened to look up and happened to
notice that anyone who might be passing by had an unusually clear view of everything that was going on inside the station wagon,
including the fact that the poor woman was wearing no pants and was positioned to facilitate the birth, leaving nothing to the
imagination.  Getting the woman to breathe and get ready to push when the next contraction hit, Mom called out for the two men to hold
up the blanket to shield the poor woman from passersby.  When she next looked up again, there was the husband, ashen faced, trying
to hold up the folded up blanket in front of the open station wagon door, covering little to nothing from prying eyes.
Inside, she found a VERY pregnant woman lying in the back of the wagon,
obviously very much in labor.  Her water had broken, and after a quick look all the
while telling the woman that she was a nurse, quickly determined that the baby's
head was already crowning.  Pulling her head back out of the station wagon, my
mother noticed the deputy had the father, who was busily hyper ventilating,
seated on the foot of his patrol car.  She quickly called him over, to jammed her
house keys in his hand, and gave him terse instructions on where a blanket and
her first aid kit were located.  She sprinted over to make sure the father was in
no danger of fainting.  He just looked at her blankly, mumbling, "B-b-b-baby    
coming NOW!"   About then another howl erupted from the woman in the wagon,
and Mom quickly rejoined the woman in labor.  Just about then, the deputy
showed up lugging a blanket and the first aid kit.  The husband came over again,
took one look, and started to crumple.  By then, the first aid kit was open and
sitting on the hood of Mom's car.  Stuffing the blanket in the deputy's hands,
she hissed at him, "DO something with that guy!"
Letting out an exasperated breath, we settled in so Mom could finish her tale.  It seemed, that when she got to the house to retrieve
my rubber bands, she was greeted by the sight of a strange station wagon parked in our driveway, a sheriff's car wedged in between
the two horse chestnut trees in the front yard, and the hysterical sheriff's deputy up on the front porch , pounding on the front door,
almost hard enough to knock it down.  His thump had roused the dogs who were barking ferociously from behind the door.  Seeing
Mom pulling in, he cleared the four steps leading down from the porch in one bound, and began knocking on her car door window
before she'd even been able to get the car in park.  Stomping on the brake to keep from running over the idiot
's foot and having
another injury, she quickly put the car into park and opened her door to hear what he was going on about.

In the middle of the deputy's explanation, there came a wail from the back of the station wagon, and the deputy suddenly jaunted
over the ditch running to the north of the driveway and began noisily losing his lunch in it.  The husband stood near the back of the
station wagon, looking like a jack-lit deer.  It looked like his legs were about to give way, so mom grabbed the deputy, shoved him
over to where the husband was about to collapse, and with a stern, "DO something with him!"  opened the back gate of the other
station wagon to get a better look.
"Whatever made you think you tie off an umbilical cord with a granny knot?"  My mother asked
my father, sweetly.  His jaw dropped and his mouth worked silently for a minute.

"What were you doing that you needed to know?"  My father demanded, a look of suspicion
crossing his features.  He knew as well as I did, that even though my mother's specialty as a
nurse had started out in OB/GYN, she much preferred doing emergency work and venipuncture.

"Why, nothing dear," she replied, brightly.  "You see, when I got to the house, there was this
poor little snake that was in the middle of delivering a little baby, and she couldn't seem to get
the cord tied off by herself."

Our choruses of, "Eeew!  Mom!"  and "Beth, be serious!"  almost drowned out her, "What do
you think I was doing?!  I was delivering a baby!"

In addition to the fact that it was too cold for snakes to be out and about, the idea of my
mother ever voluntarily touching one had about as much chance of coming true as my flapping
my arms one day and flying off into outer space.  My mother was probably the original
herpophobe, and I had seen her climb a porch, unaided by a ladder and go straight up a pine
tree unaided to get away from one on more than one occasion.  Suddenly her words sank
home, and we stared at her in disbelief.

We fired off another round of questions at her, but my grandmother held up her hands for
silence.  "Now how on earth can you expect her to tell you about it if you don't keep quiet
about it, and save your questions until she's finished?"
Sighing, we finished our dessert, sneaking covert peeks at were my mother sat beaming, eating her pie slowly.  
She appeared to be enjoying every mouthful, but personally, I think she was enjoying our discomfiture far
more than what she was eating.  With an almost royal flourish, she set down her fork at last, and dabbed at
some nonexistent crumb with her napkin.
"Honey," my dad said, trying to sound nonchalant, "why on earth would the
deputy be calling you?  Is there an emergency we have to get to?"

"That?"  Mom said, brightly.  "Oh, no, honey, the emergency is already taken
care of."

By then, already bored by the events surrounding the phone call, Grandpa Irwin
had wordlessly  wandered off back into the living room, a plate full of apple and
pumpkin pie, with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and a thin slice of aged
cheddar cheese atop the slice of mince meat well in hand, followed by a hopeful
Cleo, no doubt in pursuit of pumpkin custard, cream or cheese.  We were all
dying to know what had gone on, but before we could burst out in a chorus of
questions, Grandma Irwin hushed the lot of us, saying calmly, "Just eat your
pie, dears.  She'll tell you when she's had a chance to finish hers."
Her conversation with him was short, to the point of being a virtual conundrum from what little we heard her
saying back to him in answer.  She told him he could drop "them" off any time, or if we weren't at home, he
could leave them on the front porch under the door mat.  For a split second, a little crooked smile crossed her
face, then she thanked him and hung up the phone.  When she turned back around to face us, before she sat
back down at the table, there must have been at least  three pairs of smoking holes bored in her back.
About half an hour later, my mother showed up, blue packet of rubber bands in hand,
looking tired and out of breath.  We all noticed she had changed clothes, but never had the
chance to ask why.  Grandma, concerned, took Mom's coat and hung it up on one of the
metal hooks for that purpose just outside the door to the dining room.  Wordlessly, she
ushered Mom into her chair at the dining table, and shooed the rest of us in so we could
start eating.  Dinner went smoothly enough (back then it would have been OUT of the
ordinary if NOT punctuated by at least one chorus of, "Lona! The cats got her hooks inter
my leg!" by my grandfather, followed by Gram's, "Well give her a piece of turkey so she'll get
down!" as Cleo, Tinkle's successor, would come along to where my grandfather was sitting at
the head of the table. Knowing she could manipulate him for a handout, she would reach up,
almost gracefully from the floor to set her claws into his thigh as she made her want for
fresh turkey --- a favorite next to ham, and a ritual she repeated at almost every holiday
meal).   This time, though,  Mom stayed pretty much quiet while we ate.  Just before we were
ready to serve the pies, the phone rang again.  I recognized the voice of one of the local
sheriff's officers who knew the family very well, then handed the phone to my mother after
he asked to speak to her.
"Never mind that right now," she said, obviously out of breath and harried.  "Quick, go ask your father what kind of knot you use
when you have to tie off an umbilical cord."

Puzzled, I called into my father, "Dad?  Mom wants me to ask you what kind of knot you're supposed to use when you tie off an
umbilical cord."  (Believe it or not, with the family I grew up in, this was not as unusual a question as you might think.)

Wrinkling his fore head in thought, my father finally said, "A granny knot, I think... Why?"

"A granny knot?!"  My mother squeaked, utterly frustrated, after I had relayed Dad's answer to her.  "Oh, for heaven's sake, just
hold dinner another ten minutes or so, and I'll explain when I get there!"  With that, the line went dead.
Without really being aware of it, more than 40 minutes passed by, with my
mother still nowhere in sight.  Grandpa Irwin finally made his way from his
newspaper reading in the living room to inquire when it was, exactly, that we
were going to finally start supper because he and the cat were starting to get
hungry, darn it.  Surprised, Grandma Irwin went out to consult the old electric
clock that hung over the kitchen sink and noticed that by that time, nearly an
hour had passed with no word from my mother.  "Maybe you had better call
her, dear," Grandma told me quietly, "to see what could be holding your
mother up."

Just as I was about to my hand on the phone to call my mother, it started to
ring.  Picking it up, I was surprised to hear my mother on the other end.

"Mom," I said, puzzled, the packets of blue rubber bands are right in the
medicine cabinet on the second shelf just where I told you they were.  
Haven't you been able to find them?"
Throwing her hands up in resignation, my mother sighed, "Never mind, I'll just go back to the house and get them,
then we can start supper."

Although I'm not sure, I seem to remember that she and my grandmother had found some other element missing
from the dinner that had been left on the kitchen table back up at our house.  In no time at all, dressed in her coat
and holding her wallet and keys, my mother took off for our house, which was located about two miles up the road.  
The trip there and back should have taken no more than 10 minutes at the very most.
After a fruitless search, I turned to my mother and mournfully
announced that someone had to go back to our house to get the
missing blue packet of rubber bands.  "I'm sure this is something
that can wait until after we got home," my mother replied, trying to
sound hopeful.

Shocked, I turned to my mother, wide-eyed.  "But Mom," I
protested, "you SAID that I had to do whatever the orthodontist
told me to do, and follow his directions to the letter!  He told me
that I should never, ever, eat without the blue kind of rubber bands
in place, and I know right where they are.  If we go back to the
house right now, I get them out of the medicine cabinet..."
I suppose I should take a moment here to explain the system this particular orthodontist used to divide the different weights and sizes
of rubber bands which he used to help the teeth move around as a part of how the braces readjusted the alignment.  Some practices
separated the weight, width of the band, and interior diameter by assigning them numbers.  The doctor that I went to, did this by having
his staff place a set number of them into little colored envelopes, most of which were about half the size of a business card.  As I
remember, each came with 25, and it is my responsibility every time I went in for an appointment to make sure I had a supply of two or
three of the colored envelopes of any bands I might be using.  I used to keep one set in my purse to take with me to school, and the
rest in the medicine cabinet of the downstairs bathroom.  Being the tiniest of the three, the bands which came in the blue envelope were
the ones that I was constantly losing either from breakage when I moved my mouth, or because for some perverse reason, these little
buggers had figured out how to detach themselves in a fashion which would then turn them into deadly missiles launched at
unsuspecting targets when I least expected it (I later figured out how to aim them and launch them at will --- a very interesting skill).  As
a result, I usually picked up at least three times the amount of this particular band is compared to the others.  Despite the number of
times the office staff would grumble about how many of these precious bands I took home, the orthodontist insisted they let me have as
many as I asked for after the last time my primary care physician (and also head of the county's Medical Association) made him open up
on a weekend when he was out golfing to give me the supplies I needed after the orthodontist had gotten into a snit and prescribed a
heavy-duty narcotic as a painkiller when my parents complained to him following a session where he over tightened the braces initially
because he didn't want to cancel any orthodontic appointments during a raging thunderstorm when the majority of the county was under
a power blackout.  Instead of canceling my appointment, which would have been the wiser course, he used a failing flashlight as a poor
lighting source while he tightened the braces, causing me nearly four days of agony where I couldn't eat or drink anything.  My doctor,
short on bedside manner, but long experience offered to make sure the orthodontist didn't practice anywhere in the entire state again, if
I or my parents ever came back to him with any more complaints of how my treatment was being handled.  The prospect of losing such a
lucrative practice, especially in light of the fallout from the prescription of the drug the orthodontist ordered for me, made the
orthodontist exceedingly accommodating to any request I had while I was still under his treatment.
As it happened, we were just getting ready to sit down to
Thanksgiving dinner when one of the minute rubber bands sailed
out of my mouth and flew across the room to heaven only
knows where (as far as I know, we never DID find it, even years
later).  Feeling that something was not quite right with my
mouth, I ran my tongue along the weavings contained therein,
only to discover the little rubber band which came in a blue
envelope from the orthodontist, was now M.I.A.  Completely
faithful to everything I had been spoon-fed, I immediately
checked in my coat pockets and the purse I carried with me from
our own house to my grandmother's house.  No such luck.  The
little envelope I carried with me which was pink, as well as the
yellow one, were both in the purse where they should have been,
but the blue one was nowhere to be found.
Earlier in the year, my parents had fallen victim to the propaganda spun for
them by the only orthodontist outside of the city which lay 35 miles to the
north.  He had convinced them that my incoming teeth were in such bad shape
that if I didn't have them corrected immediately through orthodontic care, I
would spend the rest of my teenage and adult years morphing into some kind
of living Neanderthal, which, of course, would destroy any chances I had of
living a normal life (and believe me, I DO have examples of living Neanderthals
that somehow emerged out of the same gene pool that I did, though I can't
ever explain just how -- the results ain't pretty, folks!).  From the time my trip
into orthodontist land started, I was treated to endless lectures on just how I
HAD to do EXACTLY what the orthodontist said, exactly WHEN he said it, or if
I didn't, all that work and money to turn into a normal human being would go
to total waste.  Ah, little did my mother know how all those lectures would
come back to give her a huge chomp right on her backside!
Later that same year, just before school started, I began what was to be a long ordeal wearing braces to
straighten my teeth.  By the time Thanksgiving had rolled around, my teeth were completely encased in metal
bands with a wire that ran the entire length top and bottom (if I had a tuner, I swear I should have been able
to bring in most of the AM radio stations available in the area), and they were interwoven with multiples of tiny
rubber bands strung along tiny little posts welded to various bands in patterns that would have made the
crocheters among my family proud.
Without saying a word, my dad went over and tapped the attendant who was stationed at the
student's head on the shoulder to move so that he could take the attendant's place.  Heedless of
what the wet mud would do to the pants of his white nursing uniform, Dad very carefully knelt
down to get a grip on the backboard so he could lift the girl onto the stretcher.  I noticed that he
positioned his knees very carefully, almost as if he was straddling something on the ground.  On
the count of three, Dad and the other attendant were able to lift the girl up with minimal effort and
get her placed on the stretcher so they could strap her down for transport.  As they lifted her up,
the dilemma soon became apparent -- the girl had long, brownish colored hair which hung down
her back, and was almost long enough for her to sit upon.  When she'd been thrown from the car,
it had been loose, and consequently trodden into the mud by the boots worn by the attendants.  
Without knowing it, the man who had taken the position up at her head, had been kneeling fully on
her hair, in effect, keeping her pinned to the ground all the time they struggled to get her onto the
stretcher.  In less than 15 minutes after my parents arrived, the accident had been completely
cleared away, and the girl was safely on her way to the hospital located in the city to the north.  
Unfortunately, the lackluster level of medical care in our area remained the same for almost 24
months after that.
Luckily, the corners in question were located only about 2 miles away from our house, and with a
police escort, they made it there are no time.  Jumping out of our station wagon almost before it
came to a full stop, Mom and Dad were greeted to the sight of two of Paul's finest trying to get the
poor girl loaded up onto a stretcher before loading her into the ambulance and transported to the
hospital in the nearby city.  Racing over to the patient, my dad quickly checked her vital signs,
managed to get a cervical collar around her, and turned her head so that her face was out of the
mud and she could breathe again.  Sure that she was not going to expire anytime soon, the two of
them stood back to allow the ambulance attendants to strap her to a backboard and try again to
get her onto the stretcher.  Once they got her turned over onto her back, the two attendants knelt
down, one at her head and one at her feet, and counted in unison to three to lift her up onto the
stretcher, backboard and all.  As it happened prior to my parents' arrival, the attendant stationed at
the poor girl's feet raised them easily a good two or three feet into the air, but her head remained
firmly on the ground, attached there almost as if by magic.  After a couple more futile grunts, the
poor student was dropped back to the ground, still attached to the rigid backboard.  Taking a deep
breath, the two attendants counted to three in unison, then with a mighty heave try to lift the poor
girl up onto the stretcher again.  This time her feet went almost 5 feet up in the air while her head
remained firmly attached to the now sloppy mud.  The man holding her feet put them back down on
the ground again, utterly stumped.
On one particular Fourth of July, a student in a convertible collided with a pickup
truck heading south from the city at the intersection.  The student was thrown
from her car and ended up face down in the mud on a then-uninhabited corner
of the intersection.  Paul's Crack Troops were called out to transport the two
drivers to the nearest hospitals.  The pickup driver had only minor injuries and
was able to drive away, like most farmers in the area, preferring to go to a
doctor only if HE felt it was necessary to do so.  The girl from the convertible
was in much worse condition, lying on her face out cold in the mud.  About 10
or 15 minutes after the accident happened, we were greeted by the insistent
knocking of a county sheriff's deputy (who knew my parents well) asking them if
they could please come to the accident scene to help out.  They were having
some sort of difficulty with the patient, and thinking that the critical injuries
involved, both of them took off carrying the little field hospital with them.
Another example of our need for medical help came in the form of Paul's Crack Troops'
the closest volunteer ambulance corps to us.  We had an intersection not a quarter of a
mile from Gram's house where two major routes intersected.  One led to the city to the
north of us, and the other led to the state university campus in the town about six miles
away.  There was an incredible number of accidents and fatalities at the corner because
there was no traffic light at the location (I don't think we finally got one until the early
1980's after years hounding the state for one), and since the intersection wasn't well
marked and those travelling to and from the city often forgot basic driving etiquette
about slowing at an intersection and giving way to those travelling to and from the
campus (equally guilty of the same infractions).
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