Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Here is the 1st chapter of my very special kitteh book.  a highly fictionalized account of Oliver's search for a home.
Let me know if you want to read more...It'll be on Amazon as an e-book soon.

Patricia A. Garbutt

Chapter One: Coming and Going

A small black and white cat with a very long tail and very chubby cheeks lived in a big white house in a small city nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The cat was not quite a kitten and not quite a cat, but at that awkward, gangly in-between age. The small cat didn’t have a name. The Big Ones in the house just called him “The Cat.”
Cat was mostly content with his lot because he was warm and dry and had enough food to fill his small cat tummy. The big white house had plenty of corners and closets to explore and tall staircases to run up and down. When he was bored, he could play games for hours by chasing his shadow or bouncing a scrap of paper around a room. Of course, he also had to work on his catnaps, and usually he needed at least four or five a day. Sometimes the Big Ones even rubbed his cheeks and patted his head, which made him happy. At other times, when he wanted the Big Ones to play, he would rub his small cat body around their legs and try to talk to them. All that came out was a tiny little “mew?” He guessed the Big Ones didn’t understand, because they always shoved him away with their big hard feet and said, “Get lost, Cat!”
Cat would have liked to sit on the big soft places that the Big Ones used, but if he tried to join them, they would just put him back on the floor with the familiar, “Get lost, Cat or 'shove off, Cat' and some other words that Cat didn't understand, but that he was sure would not be appropriate in polite company.
Things hadn't always been like this for Cat. When he first arrived in the big white house he had been a small fuzzy kitten and the Big Ones would hold and cuddle him and play with bits of string and crinkly paper. As he began to grow things began to change. Perhaps it was something he had done. Was it the time he climbed all the way to the top of the silky window coverings? Maybe it was because he liked to unroll all the paper in the room with the falling water. He hadn't broken any of the Big Ones' belongings in a long, long time. Well...except for that shiny thing that just hopped right off the shelf right where landed in pursuit of a particularly enticing bit of dust.. Was it his fault that the floor was so hard?
Yes. He had learned some valuable lessons since then and he was sure his behavior would make his Mother proud. When Cat thought of his Mother he would often lie down in a box in the corner and feel very sad and lonesome, remembering his own family. He missed his Mother and Brothers and Sisters, but didn’t know where they were. One day they were all together, snuggly and warm, purring happily, and the next day he was alone with just the Big Ones for company.
Cat tried not to be sad and filled some of the lonely hours by amusing himself with other small things around the house that needed to be taught a lesson in manners. He stalked the wily dust bunnies under the beds. He skirmished with the savage cobwebs that lurked behind the couch, although he never did find the cobs. He was especially on the watch for flies or spiders or other creepy crawlers that dared to enter his house. Some of them were even quite tasty.
Sometimes when he was in a wistful sort of mood he would think about why he didn't seem to have a proper name. Names were very important to his people and he hoped that one day someone would accord him that honor. After all, everyone needed a name. The Big Ones had names. Cat knew that the large hairy one was called “Hey You” and the smaller softer one was called “Old Lady.” The names didn’t mean much to Cat, but a lot of the Big Ones’ actions were impossible to understand. They stared at a strange noisy box with mysterious images moving across it. They seemed to be able to do this for hours at a time and never want to run or play.
Their eating habits were very odd, too. They took perfectly good meat and placed it over a hot, red, flickering light until it was dark and hard. Cat couldn’t understand why they would ruin good food this way, and then smack their lips like it was the most delicious squeaky morsel they had ever eaten. But he had to admit that sometimes the aromas coming from their bowls made his mouth water.
They never seemed satisfied with their fur either, because they kept changing it: dark to bright, soft to hard, fluffy to slippery, heavy to light… there seemed to be no end to what they would do. Sometimes they took their fur off completely, which really made him shiver. Then they would step into a strange small room and make water fall all over themselves. At times, they would even lie down in the water! Even though it made his skin crawl just to think about it, Cat was strangely drawn to the room with the falling water. Whenever Hey You or Old Lady went into this mysterious place, he simply had to follow. One day as he was watching this strange ritual Cat came to a stunning conclusion. They weren't changing their fur...they had no fur at all! Oh, the poor things! That's why they had so many different coverings. They did have a bit of fur on the top but it certainly didn't amount to much in Cat's opinion, even if Old Lady spent an excessive amount of time fiddling with it. Yes. They certainly were unusual animals but Cat felt he was much wiser now about their peculiar habits.
One day things began to change in the big white house. Things were moving out and large boxes were moving in. Then even the boxes began moving out. Cat watched all this activity with a sense of foreboding. Change was usually not a good thing for kittens or cats and he felt certain that this “change” would be no different.
Finally, there came a day when all the Big Ones’ belongings were gone and the big white house was empty. The only things left were Cat and one small box.
Suddenly one of the Big Ones scooped him up and put him in the small box. He felt himself being jiggled and bumped as he was placed in a noisy, rumbly, dark space that started to move. Cat was unsure where he was going or why. Soon the swaying rumble in the darkness made him drowsy and he drifted off to sleep.
He woke up to the voices of the Big Ones and found himself again being jiggled and bumped along. “Maybe we are back at our house,” thought Cat. “Soon things will be back to normal.” He felt his little box being set down on solid ground and waited for someone to set him free. He heard some banging and then the noisy rumbly thing began its rumbly noise. The noise grew fainter and fainter and then there was only quiet, then after a bit there came the sound of the chirping of crickets. Cat knew it was the dark time and wondered what he should do.
Maybe the Big Ones will be back soon and I should just wait here in my box. That seems the best choice for now. That's exactly what I'll do.” So Cat made a few circles in his box … one, two, three , making himself as comfortable as possible and after much tossing and turning was finally able to fall asleep.

Chapter Two: Fear and Friendship

Friday, February 24, 2012


Hello again.   After much contemplation and sleeping on the matter,  I have decided how to continue with my writing and the "Perilous Quest to Being Published."    The "Toe Pads"  were just to get your attention.   Worked, didn't it?
I will continue to submit my Picture Books to established publishing houses with the hope of finding a "home"  for my nature based books.  The reason:   when it comes to illustrated books this is still the best method of producing a quality work.
As for my other Titles...I am going to venture into the world of E-books.   The 1st research project will be to find the publisher that fits my needs.   There are more and more of these "publishing formatters"  every day.   Some want up-front money and do part of the work for you.  Some take their money as a percentage of sales along with other fees.  You can still end up with as much as 65% if you choose the right one and if...the big sell books.   You also need to set the price correctly.  Too cheap and people may think it's not a good item.  Higher prices mean higher profits, but who will pay $9.99 for work by an unknown?
The 2nd project is the marketing.  OK.  I have a blog.  I'll need a FB Page for my books.  Gack...I may even need a website!   More cash outlay, since I am completely a moron when it comes to all things related to the way of the programmer. And get this... People are now posting their own Book Trailers on You Tube!  Another scary project for an amateur like me.
Once I get these things researched and  decisions made I will put myself out there...very, very frightening.  Which book should it be?  Right now I'm thinking "LITTLE CAT ON HIS OWN."  It was originally going to be a book for Middle Readers, but all my friends..(.I know. They're biased)...are cat lovers and all have really enjoyed the story.  One of them already has it sold to the movies and has stars picked out for all the voices.   An optimist, indeed.
My other choice would be "NUNS, NOUNS AND NIGHTGOWN RULES."   This one is my fictionalized account of the time my mother spent in an Ursuline Convent/Boarding School in the 1920s after the death of her father.  The Convent is now a Museum in Quebec and some day I would really like to visit.  I wrote this a few years ago for my family.  I would probably offer this one for 99cents or just for free.   Let's face it.  The market for stories about French Nuns is pretty small.  
Anyway.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it...unless anyone has a better idea.
Thanks for stopping by.   Come back soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To publish or not to publish...

Hi, friends.  Today  I face a dilemma.  I really don't want this blog to turn into a page of whining and I certainly don't feel the need of a "pity party," but sometimes a bit of advice is a good thing.   Perhaps I need a Mentor!  Any takers?   OK...on to the dilemma.
   I have several books already written, but can't seem to find a Publishing House that wants to take a chance.   I have been submitting stories since 2008 and tho I've had encouragement from a few Editors, I have yet to be published.  My only foray into self publishing was for a fictional memoir of the time my mother spent in an Ursuline convent in Quebec, ca. 1921.   I used Lulu and only printed enough copies for my family.  It's a cute little story, but how many people want to read about French Nuns? (thank you, Kevin)  I made a lot of mistakes with their formatting and am not anxious to put myself out there again and I certainly would choose some other venue.
On the other hand...after several trips through the Writers' Digest "2012 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market,"  I've found a shrinking base for the printed page.
Smaller publishers that were operating 2 years ago have either closed or been swallowed up by the giants in the industry.  The ones that remain, that publish the type of story that I write, are few and far between.   So many now will only accept agented material or their guidelines are so specific that the choices for submission become very limited.   Some houses seek only religious material...some are strictly regional, some want no work that has been self published and some want NO stories at all.  Why they remain in the guide is a mystery.
I belong to several Writing Groups on LinkdIn and most of the authors there feel that self publishing and promoting yourself are the only way to get noticed.   Some of these people are quite successful and sell many copies of their work, more than the average from a traditional PH.    My fear, justified or not, is that if anyone can and does much of it is really well written and how much is just out there taking up space?   Do people look down on self published work?   There's a reason it was called "Vanity Publishing" and you won't find any of today's SP authors using that word.
Another facet of the SP road is the marketing.  An author is expected to have a Blog, (guilty) a Facebook page, a website, book trailers on You Tube and promotions at local events and Libraries.  My question...if you're spending all your time on marketing, when do you get to write?   It's hard enough to get taken seriously when you work at home, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you'd like to do. 
Another thing to take into account: picture books require pictures.  Many e-book publishers can't handle illustrations and many writers can't DO illustrating.   Illustration is one thing the PHs do very well.   Me...not so much.
So, my dears.  What is a writer to do.  We all know what opinions are like so I guess it's something that each writer or artist or crafter must decide for herself.  We can only try, and hope we make the right choices.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

and some more cooking. seems I haven't mastered this blogging thing yet.  I couldn't get back to my draft to add the "finishing touch"  to my Grandmere's Pudding.
Aldina's Tart Sauce  

1 cup sugar                                               1 cup boiling water
2 T. corn starch                                         2 -3 T. cider vinegar

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan.   Add boiling water and cook on low till thickened,  stirring constantly.     Add vinegar to taste.
Again, to taste is somewhat hard to define if you've never had the sauce, so use your own judgement .  The sauce will be a lovely golden color.

Christmas Eve was always such an "event"  when I was a child.  We had a very large house and my Grandparents lived down while we lived up.  All the holiday dinners were held in the very large formal dining room and attended by Aunts and Uncles, cousins and any other "shirt-tail" relatives , as my father called them, who happened to be in town. (some of them were very large, too)  First it was Midnight Mass, and it actually was held at Midnight!   Then it was back to the house for the traditional  food and a bit of toasting.'s the important part...we were allowed to open our gifts.  Joyeux Noel!  I don't recall the actual getting into bed, so I must have been carried or sleep-walked to my room.  No need to get up early the next day.  Come to think of it, there was always a Christmas dinner, too.  Someone lost some sleep.  I must ask my sister, who is much older than I,  who cooked that Christmas day meal. 
Now that we've had a non-writing , memory sort of page, I'll have to actually use my imagination and write for the next post.   Till, dance, enjoy!

A bit more cooking.

As promised, I'm back with more of my Grandmere's recipes.
This Xmas Pudding is steamed in a double boiler and every time I see the recipe I think of Dickens'  "A Christmas Carol,"  or at least the Alastair Sim movie version.  Tiny Tim says to his sister on Christmas morning.  "Come, Martha.  Let's go hear the pudding singing on the hearth."
The original recipe called for diced beef suet, but that word is anathema to most people today, so I "modernized"  the recipe for this lower-fat generation.
  Aldina's Xmas Pudding:
1/3 cup canola oil                                         1/3 cup applesauce
3 cups sifted AP flour                                   1 cup molasses
1 cup milk, sweet or sour                             1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder                                        1 cup raisins
1 t. each, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Mix together the oil and applesauce, then milk and molasses.
Add to dry ingredients and mix.  Fold in raisins, dredged in flour.
Grease top portion of a good sized double boiler and ladle in pudding.  Fill only 2/3 full since pudding will expand as it cooks.
Cover and steam on low heat for 3 - 3 1/2 hours till set.  Serve with warm Tart Sauce.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A bit of Fronsh Cooking.

Hello fans, I thought I write about some traditional family recipes today.  French Canadian, that is.
Shown in the photo is a Tarte Aux Pommes, that mon mari made this morning.  The recipe is from "The Essential Pepin,"  so no directions for this one.  Jacque's mother made this every day for her restaurant and it is a simple patted- in crust with quartered apples and a bit of sugar.  Simply made and simply delicious.

I will give you the recipe for my Grandmother's Tourtiere...a meat pie that was traditionally served on Xmas Eve, but is so good I now make it other times of the year.  I have been enjoying this dish from childhood, but some may find it a bit strange.  Many other cultures make a similar pastry and it was probably originally made with "game" rather than pork.  We always served it with cranberries, but any fruit side dish complements the pie... I make a Vesta Salad or a simple Citrus Salad with mint sugar.     Here you go.    For 1  9" pie.
About 3 lbs of ground pork, 20 -25% fat is needed. I like to use fresh ham and have the butcher grind it for me.
Unbaked crust for 2 crust pie.
1. med. onion, chopped and 2 chopped celery stalks.
Salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.  this is done "to taste," but I'll try to get you started.

In a heavy pot, cook the onion and celery for a minute or two  in a bit of canola oil and then add the ground pork. Cook over medium heat till meat browns then add some salt and pepper, a pinch of cloves and about a tsp. each of cinnamon and allspice.  If the mixture looks too dry add 1/4 cup or so of water.
Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently and adding more water , if needed.
Now the hard part...adding the spices.  since I grew up with this dish, I know how it should taste, ergo it's difficult to put down an exact amount.  The only direction I can give is to taste and season until it's the way you like it.  I would approximate 1 T. for cinnamon and allspice and I always add a t. of nutmeg, just because I like it.  BUT...the taste is entirely up to you.  You should be able to taste salt and a combination of spices that is pleasing but not overwhelming.
Pour this filling into your unbaked pie crust.  Cover with top crust and bake til the crust browns.
About 45 minutes at 350 should do it.
I hope you like it.  Let me know if you make it or if you're familiar with this pie or one similar to it.
Tomorrow I think I'll give you the recipe for my Grandmere's Xmas Pudding with Tart Sauce.
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Ruby Slippers

  It was suggested that I should have explained the picture of the "very odd shoes"  that accompanied yesterday's blog.   It's a long story and involves a project for my Niece;s 40th Birthday.  Her husband had an idea ..  ".Let's   ask the friends and relatives that live out of the area to send a video Birthday Greeting.  We'll watch them at the party."  It seems I can never do anything in half measures, so I decided to put on a little play.  The story would be from the Wizard of Oz.
    The cast :  Dorothy- reluctantly played by my husband, costumed in a blue jumper, white pinafore, homemade wig and of course....ta -da...the Ruby Slippers.  An old pair of sneakers sprayed red and sprinkled with glitter.  He also carried the famous basket inhabited by a stuffed animal that may or may not have been a dog.
      Wicked Witch - that of course would have been yours truly.  Green faced, hatted and broomed, I told  "my pretty and her little dog, too,"  about the hazards of turning 40.  If I remember rightly they involved orthopedic shoes, muumuus, wrinkles and granny panties.  Oh, my!  
      Glinda -   my partner in many a crime , Sheryl "the Crankster,"  Crankshaw.   Credit where credit is due...she did not appear on camera but provided the voice of Glinda along with the camera operation.  Smashing good job!
    It was quite an endeavor....cue cards, music from the movie and so many laughs that it's a wonder that we accomplished anything at all.   It was a big my niece and nephew's house and of course I made a copy for my own viewing enjoyment.   Kudos to my husband for letting us dress him up.  BTW...he only had one line in the production...  "Toto, too?"  And of course he blew it.  leaving us doubled over and ad-libbing like crazy.  Wait...the whole thing was crazy and that's what put the fun in funny.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Pair of Shoes

   A pair of shoes can hold infinite possibilities.   Just think about the names  we give them:     Loafers,  sneakers, slippers,  pumps, stilettos, sandals, spectators,  f#ck me,  saddle, white and dirty bucks , oxfords, sh*t kickers,  platforms, clogs and the ubiquitous flip-flops.   No other piece of apparel has such a flair for the dramatic...panache, as it were.
    Think about a tall, self confident business woman.  Add a pair of 4 " heels and suddenly she's got it...power, standing eye to eye with her male counterpart, perhaps even an inch or two taller.  Maybe she can intimidate the one who's used to intimidating.
   A pair of shoes can make music.  Think Tap Shoes, rhythmically carrying the tune and practically singing the words.
   Toe Shoes, so elegantly showcasing the beauty of the dance while sometimes hiding the pain of the dancer.
    And then there are the baby's...not the soft knitted booties, but that first pair of real shoes.  Infancy is gone and now there is an inquisitive, growing individual, gradually growing away from home toward a life with friends.   Growing into those expensive Athletic Shoes.  So many many sports and comfortable that they carry us for most of our lives.
  Yes.  there are shoes for every occasion, big and little.    Marking time.  Marking our memories.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Leaf Casting, a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Hi folks, well I'm going to try this again.  Hopefully I'll get it right this time.

Leaf Castings

From the

North Forty


Scratch Pad

A leaf casting is a one-of-a-kind replica
of an actual leaf.
The process is time consuming but very
gratifying, as you watch a damp mound
of sand become the foundation of a de-
tailed concrete sculpture.
Each leaf is unique in itself, resulting in
a finished product that cannot be dupli-
Finished leaves range in size from small
and delicate to substantial structures over
three feet in length.
Usage and prices (if you plan on selling your creations) will vary accordingly.

                Now a look at the process.

The raw materials: Portland cement,
Play sand, fortifier, fiberglass tape and of course,
water and a leaf of your choice.

The formula is: 1 part portland cement
2 parts play sand
and water enough so that mixture is the consistency of toothpaste.
Add the fortifier to your first addition of water and then stir thoroughly every time you add water.

After determining the size and shape of
your leaf, make a mound of damp play-sand on
an appropriate level surface.

Next, cover the sand with plastic wrap and replace
the leaf, face down.

Mix your dry ingredients together wearing a mask and protective gloves and with plenty of ventilation. Add your liquid ingredients til the mixture is the consistency of toothpaste. Begin applying in the center working toward the edges, as evenly as possible.

Finish covering the leaf as evenly as possible, being careful not to cover the edges of the leaf.
If the leaf is over 12 inches in either direction,
consider adding fiberglass tape in a criss-cross
pattern to strengthen the piece.
Now would be the time to embed wire for
a hanger if you wish.

Add another layer of concrete mix to cover any tape. Smooth the surface as best as possible. Misting with water sometimes helps.

Now the hard part...cover your casting loosely with plastic and leave it alone for 48 hours.
Only then should you try and lift the casting.
Lift it gently and turn it over, again placing it on a secure surface.
Now the fun part...remove the leaf from the casting to see your creation.
As you can see, parts of the leaf will remain.
Let the leaf dry for another 48 hours and then pull or scrub out ALL the remaining vegetation.

                     After all the leaf is removed, it's time to
paint,” I use acrylics, watered down till
they're almost a wash. Several thin coats
seem to work the best. It's up to you as to
color depth and hue, etc.
This would also be the time to work on the back,
sanding rough spots, drilling for an anchor
hole or otherwise making it work for its
intended purpose. The back usually gets a
standard coat of acrylic paint.
To bring out all the colors in the leaf, apply
2 or more coats of an indoor – outdoor
clear urethane or varnish.
Have Fun!

Leaf Casting...Not

OK...I spent 2 hours putting this post together and it wouldn't post and I lost the draft.   Maybe tomorrow I'll try again.  Sorry.

Leaf Casting.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Well.  Two days...two  blogs of writing.  Time for something different for the weekend.   Writing about my friend, Mel was a obsession that had to be written.  The first time I've felt that way in a while and it was a bit draining but exhilarating.   Oh, I'm still submitting, but really dragging my feet on my current writing projects.  Need to do more research on my "Tween"  title.  Need to get to the Library.  Yes, Virginia.  They do exist... in the hearts of all us Boomers.  So...........time for another craft project?   I thought that I'd post pics and instructions for Leaf Casting.  A very satisfying garden craft that can be used for a multitude of things.  Only your imagination sets the limit.
Plenty of Slate Juncos outside my window, a sure harbinger of more snow.  That's OK.  Last week's snow is already melted away.   Look tomorrow for me being artsy-craftsy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Memories...part deux.

When we last spoke of Melrose she was spurning potential partners after the death of her Husband.
   The second part of this archive will be less of a narrative and more of a collection of fond memories and "Mel-isms."   Enjoy!
     Mel loved elephants and often voiced the wish that she could have one of her own, to keep as a pet.  I'm sure this stemmed form a childhood memory of an elephant chained up in a parking lot, to advertise the opening of some sort of retail establishment.  The poor thing was out in the heat, rocking from side to side and even then, she cried over the cruelty this involved.    But Mel loved animals of all kinds and always had at least two birdfeeders all year long.  The feeling must have been mutual for the Chickadees knew her and "rode" on her seed container from the garage to the feeder.  Once there, they often chose to eat from her hand, rather than the feeder...a mutual admiration society if there ever was one.    Another of her favorites were Chipmunks.  Of course, they were all named Alvin and because they liked the sunflower seed she kept in the garage, one of the garage doors was kept propped open with a tuna fish can so Alvin would always have access to the seed.   The one exception to this love affair was ...don't even say it...S-N-A-K-E-S.  I have never known anyone with such an aversion to the hapless reptiles in and around her home.  Even a shedded, empty skin would send her shrieking and dancing away.   In keeping with the subject, I must tell you that  Mel believed in a well stocked larder and each Fall would buy 150 lbs. of potatoes which would be stored in three covered bins in her basement.  Said basement was lined with laid up stone so it was inevitable that snakes would occasionally find their way in.   You can imagine what followed...the frantic phone call,  the rush to Mel's basement and the removal of the offending serpent.   At one point she bought  some sort of "Snake Repellent" that had a drawing of a Cobra on the package.  She refused to look at it and always made sure the snake was always facing the cellar wall.   Mel  referred to snakes with only one adjective, "GROSS!"  and she had a unique way of pronouncing the word that I could never duplicate and always made us laugh.  Eventually, my husband and another neighbor inspected the cellar, inside and out and caulked or otherwise filled any potential snake portals.   On a side note...Mel made the best Potato Salad I have ever tasted and oh...they were "potatees,"  not potatoes.
     Mel believed you could tell everything about a man (sort of like Sherlock Holmes)  by the state of his shoes.   Clean and polished shoes meant a clean and polished man and of course the reverse was also true.  Oh, she loved her a shiny pair of shoes.  In fact, she'd offer to polish anyone's and she meant it.  "Just bring 'em over.  They'll be shined to a fare-thee-well."
     Another of Mel's loves were Birthdays.  Everyone needed a party or at the very least, a cake.  They were important because "it's the only day that's just your own."   She would go to any length to make sure her friends had some sort of celebration.  Her favorite cake was called "Orange Crunch,"  but the rest of us couldn't get enough of her Cream Puffs....everything homemade and filled with real whipped cream.  She always tried to make them when she knew my daughter was coming home...a special treat for Jennifer.   They were absolutely delicious!    Another of her favorite holidays was New Year's Eve.   The beginning of each new year was full of such possibility that it was imperative to celebrate.  We would show up at her house dressed in our finest.   All our jewelry, faux furs, feather boas and of course hats had to be worn.  Even if this finery was worn over jeans and a sweatshirt, that just made it more fun.  Why did I NOT take pictures? 
     Another thing we had in common was a love of Bugs Bunny.  In Mel's opinion, Saturday morning was dedicated to  Warner Bros. cartoons.  Her favorite was Tweety Pie.  How can you not love someone who loves Tweety!
     I just have to mention this one...Mel's husband had been Highway Supt. when he retired and she had absolutely no respect for his replacement.  We only knew him as "Drag Ass Harold,"  and I suppose the "shoe fit."
     I couldn't finish this document without mentioning Mel's generosity, especially to her friends.  I had to be careful of what I said.  If I were to mention ....say....that I needed a new mixer, more often than not , one would appear.  I had to put my foot down when she wanted to buy us a new freezer.  From then on her gifts would be limited to food.  I assumed this would mean pie or cookies, but in Mel's opinion, "nothin' says lovin'" like the gift of meat.  Turkeys and roasts and hams, oh my!
     She was a unique and loving person, one of the finest I've ever known,  never judgmental and always accepting  and I often find myself smiling and thinking of her when something happy or sad occurs.  She would have had an opinion that would leave everyone smiling.
     Alas, the conversations ended in 1994 when she chose to leave us and join her beloved husband.   She left the rest of us sad and bereft,  but also happy that we had experienced the pleasure of her company.