Tuesday, November 27, 2007


DH and I finished separate November projects yesterday...just in the nick of time, for November is surely almost over.

November means deer hunting in WV. I think I'm thankful that DH's ardor has waned in that arena. We still like to can/freeze/smoke the meat; but the whole process is a lot of work for two old folks. Now instead of trying for the 5-6 he would be allowed to harvest between bow, rifle and muzzleloader seasons, DH is content to have gotten a nice big doe with the rifle and anticipate another try with the muzzleloader. The die was cast when he had to lug that big doe up the bank - which in this case was a near 90-degree slope. He was about as tired as I've ever seen him that day, the next day when heskinned and cut the meat and several days later when he smoked and ground what wasn't frozen. We do like those smoked venison hams/roasts, though.

A while back I gave a wonderwallet as a courtesy gift and the recipient was so tickled with it she asked if I could make some for her to give her church friends next month. I don't think she'll need more than half of these, but it was just as easy to cut two from each fabric as one. I can always use such things in my ditty stash. If you're looking at the buttons, you might want to know I've decided the flat ones are much better. The shank buttons, thought showy, add bulk and the whole purpose of the wonder wallet is to be able to tuck it in a small pocket. But I do suppose that if your jeans are too tight to acccomodate a shank button, they're likely too tight anyway.

Today DH will pick up our next to oldest DGS Jonathan for a visit. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Fron the Family Album 1990
(Cousin Vernon Miller would ask, "Was It 20 Years Ago, Or Yesterday...")

. . .are so new they are nearly obscured by proximity. As I type, the Moyers are driving back to Louisville. Craig is working his Saturday After shift at Radio Shack and Lisa's out grocery shopping. David is likely replacing the washer pump that left puddles of water on the floor this week, while Beccie tends their pretty ones. Bill extends his friendly hand at 84, while Nina and Joseph snuggle up for a nap on the couch ( I haven’t phoned to verify that news, but I am fairly certain it is accurate.) Papa has had his lunch and is scratching his head over the next procedure. With washer and dryer wheezing and thl~ping in the background, I am enjoying a fresh pot of coffee and the next to the last piece of pumpkin pie. Life after holidays returns to normal.

At this particular point in time, I am beginning to feel a certain affinity with the Hebrews whose nostrils tired of quail. Turkey, turkey everywhere – more than we all could eat. I thought I'd get a jump on the plan and cook one bird two days ahead of schedule. That way, I'd have broth for dressing and leftover meat for the day after. It worked. Laurie also brought a smoked turkey (which matched my first in size) for next day sandwiches. The "real thing" was a 20 lb. baby – and would no doubt have been sufficient in its own right. Of course the good intentions of the cooks were complicated by several factors – the first of which was a nasty virus which sent David and Beccie as far away from food in general, and turkey in particular, as they could get (and home a day early, sob...sob...sob), and the last of which was the "Chili's Fever" that often attacks the Moyers and Koens simultaneously. (They left a note saying they would have waited and taken us with them, but were afraid if they stayed another minute they would succumb and become desperate enough to eat turkey instead. . . and were obviously unwilling to risk that calamity.) Laurie could not be persuaded to take a single slice back with her, either, but that complication (and accompanying morning distress) should disappear come early April and a new little Moyer. But a mother never gives up. I packed one bag off to Lisa and Craig (newlyweds always welcome an extra package in the fridge, I think) and will divide the rest between tomorrow's company and frozen trays for Papa to nuke while I'm exercising. No little gobbler ... or two or three ... is gonna get the best of me!

Lest you think the Thanksgiving Table a failure, lets reverse this tape to mid-Thursday. Get your drinks and Chex snacks, settle in, REWIND: whir-r-r-r, static, snow, STOP – here we go.

For all its preparation (or because of all the helpful pre-preparation) the day has a casual, unhurried feeling about it. Breakfast at ten, with sourdough pancakes and sausage, leaves room for plenty of time between meals. Mama even slips off to rest her back, read a letter, take a short nap beside baby Hannah and dream pleasantly of home. There is no need to rush the clock – just take time as it passes and enjoy it.

It’s raining lightly outside. Papa and "the boys" are laboring (or so they would have us believe) in concert at the barn. The kitchen is at last beginning to fill with warm, sage-tinted shades of baking. Ten pounds of potatoes (yes, the whole bag of Idahos) are peeled and chill in water 'til a later hour. Alabama biscuits are set out for rising on the table. A sweet potato casserole and onion pie have taken their early turn in the oven. Two side pans of dressing wait for the turkey to finish its shift -- one is ordinary, the other boasts of sausage, apples and almonds, just for variety. A cranberry mold will soon be turned out and garnished with Mandarin oranges. [Since only one can of oranges will be required, Laurie and Nina and Beccie nibbled on the other as they shaved the spuds. . .and any cook knows it doesn't take nearly as long (or as much help) to eat a can of Mandarin oranges as it does to pare 10 pounds of potatoes.] A spicy brew of cranberry/apple/orange juice simmers in the crockpot, ready to be sipped at will, but we're too busy stirring around, talking, knitting, tending babies to remember it is there. All that remains to be done is make a bowl of cole slaw, put the green beans in the pot, boil and whip the potatoes, set the table, wait for the guys and put this show on the road. . .or, more precisely, the table.

My memories drift off to my first baked bird : Thanksgiving 1964, in Pennsylvania. We were "boarding" with the Hetzers the week before we moved to Oxford. Our hosts were visiting West Virginia, so Papa and I and 3-month old David were on our own. We couldn't afford a turkey, so we bought a chicken and baked it with dressing. I was so afraid the meal would be a flop, but it was delicious and the day a special memory. There we were...no immediate job or money or place to live; and all kinds of hope and faith and love for the family we were beginning. And here we are. . .that family extended many-fold, our faith rewarded abundantly, our love expanded timelessly, our hopes renewed continually. And, as I travel back to the present, I see children, where we were then. . . and wonder at the circle of our lives. GOD IS GRACIOUS.

The door rattles and in come the carpenters. One by one they whisk quickly off to shower while all hands man the deck at stove-side. That corner is crowded as Papa carves the turkey, Mama stirs the gravy (and almost burns the biscuits) and Nina whips the potatoes (in two rounds). All done, we clasp our hands and listen to the patriarch of Teel-dom speak of love and happiness well wrapped up in the moments that we share as family. Thank you, Lord, for such as he. And in the words of one now round the feast in Florida, "Amen, Go."

But wait. . . . .I didn't tell you about dessert. What? There's more? There is for sure! Nina prepared it all with her own little hands while Joseph rode 'long side to keep her going. If I didn't know better (or didn't want to brag) I'd say she shipped straight from the Greenbrier. For the eyes....what a gorgeous array! There's pumpkin pie (one standard), cranberry-mincemeat pie (with pretty peek-a-boo circles cut in the top crust), chocolate mousse cake (600 calories per 1/2 inch slice, should have been called "death by chocolate"), pumpkin cheese cake with sour cream glaze (embellished with pecans and slivers of orange peel – beautiful!) and grasshopper delight graham cracker pie (a marbled, minty cream cheese/whipped cream filling atop a chocolate mint base). If I've missed anything, I could clearly plead omission on grounds of being overwhelmed.....or over dosed, maybe. Incredible... just incredible!

And that, my dears, is about all the Thanksgiving that any of us can stand – for most of us (with the possible exception of sweet William) are probably due to repent today and diet tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Shifting echoes fill the hallway,
Shadows move within the light
Weaving fear and grief and courage
Through the tapestry of night.
Here reflection comes to surface
In the images of dreams
Once a distant recollection
Suddenly a clear-cut scene
Of remembrance, ever haunting,
Etched in fire upon the soul
And no length of time or space
Can move beyond its seared control.

Though the heart would draw its curtains
Round this memory and abide
In the gentle breeze of autumn,
Still the ever-rolling tide
Can so quickly recollect
The vision seen so long before
In the far-off realm of youth
Held in the deathly grip of war.

Who can know the pain they suffer
Hidden ‘neath the cloak of life?
Who can touch the wounds they carry
Deeper than the surgeon’s knife?
Who can count their sacrifices,
Or extol the gift of those
Who, with courage far from human
Face the terror of such foes?

God alone can see the battle,
Know the hearts by duty stirred;
Understand the need and anguish
Found upon that foreign sod.

God alone provides the comfort,
Strength and hope to light the way
From those paths of bleak destruction
To that bright, eternal day
Where all pain will be forgotten,
Every tear counted and dried
Swallowed up in joy and glory
By the grace of One who died
That the souls of every race may know
The power of His blood
To bring peace and reconcile
Our souls within the Love of God.


There are stories yet unwritten
In the wrinkles on their face
Heads of snow bow down in mem’ry
Of that distant time and place -
Of another world, soon slipping
From our chance to truly see
Through their eyes the untold sequence
Changing now in history.

PJT 11/10/07

Thursday, November 01, 2007


November shades are dampened
By the coming autumn storm,
Even so the rain cannot decry
Its colors soft and warm.
A blanket of gold leaves is
Spreading comfort on the turf,
And all around the scents of
Changing seasons fill the earth.
How precious are the moments
Passing through the Love of God -
Found in beauty of the hillside,
Drifting leaves and dew-drenched sod.
Will I one day wake in Heaven
And behold with spirit eyes
Glory passing through my vision
Shadowed by these gentle skies?
Well we know that there, God is the
Light, no dimness will abide
Yet within November wakefulness,
Its view of shifting tides,
There is a cycle - woven 'mong
The morning's dawning Grace -
That softly beckons us to come
And bow before His face.