Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving ...

By now many of you are already arriving at your destinations... enjoying the evening with family or friends. Or perhaps you, like our family, are enjoying the holidays at home. In either case, I would like to pause for a moment and ask this question..."What does your family do for Thanksgiving? What are your traditions?" It has been pretty quite on here lately and I am hoping to generate some conversation. Please send in your comments...I would love to hear what you have to say. Who knows, your tradition could become a new tradition of ours.

~Gayla

Friday, November 6, 2009

The True Arthur by Matheson Miller

Although many of you think that King Arthur was a good king, you are wrong. He actually was a ruthless ruler. You will see in the story to come. It all began at the round table on September 13, 1120 a.d. A man named Malcolm "The Giant" was at a gathering at the round table to discuss the peasant uprising problem when it was suddenly interrupted by Arthur's right hand man, Seymour Bartholomew. He whispered into Arthur's ear and the gathering was cut short. Malcolm left and headed to the cave (which was the secret meeting spot for "dokulkastande", a group started by Arthur's step brother Charles Schmidt.) As he reached the front of the cave, he stopped at the door to say the password (while moving your pinkie, say hello). He entered the meeting which had already started. There was a man who was saying he had seen Seymour and Arthur leaving the meeting. Malcolm followed the two all the was to the center of town, where there were many peasants screaming, "Lower taxes!" Arthur pulled out his dagger and stabbed the man in the heart. The crowd became silent. Arthur yelled, "Let that be a lesson to you all", then he got on his horse and rode off. Suddenly a loud cry echoed through the cave. "Arthur is coming!" Every one was running out the door and into the woods. I made it to the tree right when Arthur got there. Unfortunately, Charles didn't. Arthur caught him and ordered him shot down. A man to the right of Arthur shot him in the back with his crossbow. Then a man came out of the cave. It was Malcolm's best friend, James. He shook Arthur's hand and rode off with him. So now Malcolm's friend was a trader. Arthur had found out about "Dokullkastande" and Malcolm was probably banned from the round table and if caught, he would be killed like Charles. So Malcolm blew his horn (which meant all men in the club were to meet at the giant stump in the middle of the forest). It was evening when they finally met. Malcolm stood on the stump and said, "My fellow brothers, I blew the horn today because we are in drastic times. We need to protect our people from this ruthless ruler. We need to stand up and stop being cowards. We must fight! Fight for our women and children! Fight for our pride! So who is going to fight with me?!"Not a single person stood. "Then you are all cowards. You can all play dead like an opossum or run in your holes like a ground hog. I will fight and die doing it!" Then he got on his horse and rode toward the castle. As he reached the gate, he stopped and said a prayer before meeting his death. When he was done he looked down the trail and saw Arthur, Seymour, James, and some other men. As they drew close, he picked up his crossbow and shot Seymour in the head. Then the other men got off there horses and charged towards him. He quickly slew them. Next, James swung his mace at him. He cut his arm right off, pulled him off his horse onto the ground and lunged his sword through his chest. Arthur suddenly started galloping toward the gate screaming, "Open the gate!" The gate started to open. Malcolm shot him in the shoulder and he made it through the gate. As Malcolm noticed he was missing a finger and bleeding everywhere, he fled toward the north to his homeland. As Arthur made it into the castle with an arrow through his shoulder, he yelled, "Follow that man and kill him!" A group of about one hundred soldiers on horses headed toward Malcolm. When the king recovered, he ordered that the history documents be changed and Malcolm was wiped out of it, and Arthur written to be a good king. Malcolm was never seen again and no one knows whether the posse got him or not. Well I am glad that you know the truth now and I am glad you heard it from a man who was there. My name is Malcolm, The Giant McMullen. It is September 13, 1180 and I thank the Lord to be alive.

written by Matheson B. Miller - age 15

They Made It -- Could We? Part 2

I finally have a chance to sit down and post the second part of Grandma Fern's article. Enjoy.

They Made It Could We?
Part Two
Some of the finest ears of field corn were "nubbed" and put through the corn sheller in the barn, taken to the mill, and ground into meal for cornbread and mush. (Hominy was also made from corn.) The dark, sweet smelling pantry under the stairs always had strings of red peppers, sage, dill, marjoram, sassafras roots and bark, and various bags of seeds hanging there. Also great sacks of onions, pickles in brine, and sweet potatoes.
I remember going to the root cellar in the yard with my young aunts on autumn Sunday when Grandma had company. Stamped on my mind are the many jars of fruit, vegetables, pickles, jams and jellies - the well filled potato bins, the big shelves of pumpkins, winter squash, carrots and turnips in baskets of clean sand, and bags of onions hanging from hooks in the ceiling. We then went into the smokehouse above the cellar to cut thin slices of ham from a brown-paper-wrapped sugar cured ham. Besides the cured pork there was corned beef in a covered twenty-gallon stone jar, as well as sacks and baskets of nuts, more onions and peppers, herbs, and more pumpkins to be used before they froze. The squash, pumpkins, and onions had a heavy piece of old carpet spread over them. Apples were in the garden in straw-lined pits.
Grandmother loved flowers, also, but feeding her family always came first. She was, of necessity, a very practical person. All along the base of the house she grew flowers. All the flowers about the house were mulched. I never remember any bare ground showing unless she dug to give one of her "girls" a start of some beloved perennial.
A wide porch extended the full length of the south and west sides of the white house. She had the boys put up strips of chicken wire at intervals from ground to eaves. She trained woodbine and wild morning glories up these wires until, by hot weather, the porch was a cool, shaded oasis much used by all with time to rest. Metal cots and homemade benches and chairs were used by young and old. The older children gave the porch floor a fresh coat of paint every two years. Many happy hours were spent on this porch, helping hull peas, snap beans, hull green butter beans, look over and wash wild or tame greens, or stem gooseberries.
Two big silver maples shaded the south yard; a beautiful spreading ash, the wed yard. A rope swing hung from the limb of the ash. Family reunions on Sunday afternoons in summer will never be forgotten by the grandchild.
Next to the high back fence of the yard, Grandma had a three-foot-wide flower bed with a two foot wire fence in front to keep the big collie dog from lying in the flowers. At the farthest corner she grew her perennial vegetables - asparagus, rhubarb hills, and horseradish, sage, dill, and other herbs here and there through the flowers. The flowers I remember were bleeding heart, phlox, purple iris, white lilies, tiger lilies, peonies, self-sown larkspur, poppies, four-o"clocks, sweet rocket, French marigolds, and a few wilding. Violets grew as a ground cover in spite of the mulch.
Thinking back, I know I gained a rich heritage from visiting my grandparents. I feel so sorry for my own nine grandchildren when they visit us, and it is necessary to say, "Don't go in the street! Don't get in the neighboring yard!" I try to provide entertainment for them, but my heart aches for what they are missing.
My grandparents made a living for a big family on eighty acres. Could it be done today?
After reading this article again, I am reminded, that I am married to one of those grandchildren she mentions in the last paragraph. I wish we could tell her that her worries were in vain, as several of those grandchildren have a connection with the land around them. We are passing down that love of the land to her great grandchildren, teaching them about God's great creations, such as birds, flowers, trees, animals, etc.... She has left her mark on her family that she will never know about.
~Until next time,
Gayla