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Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Short History Lesson

     Yesterday the Mayor of Goose Creek, SC, Michael Heitzler, led about 200 local residents on a tour of the St. James, Goose Creek church.  He's an enthusiastic historian with several books to his credit.  The stucco over brick church was begun in 1713 and, while normally closed to the public, remains in remarkably good shape.  What is unusual is the slate jerkinhead roof with no steeple.  Both choices were probably due to experience with hurricane force winds.

     You have to realize that this was three generations before the Revolution.  The coat of arms of King George with the unicorn and the lion still adorns a piece of prime real estate above the altar.  The story goes that when the British were ravishing the countryside and searching for Francis Marion, that coat of arms saved the church from their wrath.

     In the early eighteenth century the low country, centered on Charleston, was home to the wealthiest citizens of North America.  Goose Creek was the site of wealthy plantations not only because it was in the middle of those suitable croplands, but also because it was a transportation crossroads.  Some American colonists were people looking for a place to practice their religion without interference or even persecution.  Others were missionaries.  The folks who set up shop in this area, however, were not nearly so altruistic.  The leaders came for money and power.  Cotton, rice and indigo generated huge profits.  The industry was labor-intensive, but that was not a problem; the plantation owners would just purchase more boatloads of slaves happily provided by Arab (and other) slave traders.  The culture evolved into a bi-modal one with a few living hypocritical lives of aristocratic elegance while many lived lives that were impoverished, brutal, and short.  That culture evolved and spread throughout the south, and its residue is easily visible even today.  A "southern living" society embodies a genteel and gracious approach, but the blonde's ugly roots are still evident.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

     Turkeys, turkeys, turkeys...there are so many ways to cook them.  There are fried turkeys, rotisseried turkeys, grilled turkeys, smoked turkeys and traditional, oven roasted Butterballs complete with a red button that pops out when the turkey is done.  I think I've done them all.  This year was a new wrinkle.  I used a recipe from Yankee magazine, but I cooked it on the Treager rather than in the oven.
     I started yesterday by brining a 13 1/2 pound fresh turkey overnight.  It was a conventional brine with salt, sugar, bay leaves, crushed garlic cloves, etc. until the recipe called for a cup and a half of bourbon!  The pot with the turkey and two gallons of brine just fit in the top shelf of the refrigerator.  The basting sauce included: stock, butter, and chopped pecans which had been run through the blender with some more bourbon.  1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup provided some sweetness.  In order to get the dark meat done without drying out the breast, I cooked it upside down, tented with foil for the first two hours.  It was on a rack in a roaster pan.  In addition to putting some stock in the pan to catch the drippings, I had some other liquid from the night before.  When I carefully opened the plastic wrap containing the bird, I captured a cup and a half of juice...let's say it; "turkey blood".  It was stirred into the stock in the pan.  When all that basting sauce made its way into the bottom of the pan, the result was some rich gravy. 

     Is that a good barbeque mop?  When the bird was done, it found its way to a platter my mother gave us forty years ago.

     The sides included: mashed potatoes, butternut squash, turnip, cranberry jelly and Cindy brought some creamed onions.  Here's the assembled feast:

     We have much for which to be thankful.  The world's turbulence is creeping closer to where we live, and a pandering government is endangering our grandchildren's future.  Nonetheless, we operate on some traditional values that continue to stabilize our lives.  May all of you enjoy the traditions...even the Detroit Lions.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

No news is good news

     In 2008 this started as a travel blog, and I have struggled to keep it such.  There are times, however, when we've been home a while and have no great pictures to build a blog around, that I am compelled to admit that this effort is mostly about keeping in touch with friends.  We've been home a couple of days short of a month with little exciting going on.  I've resumed bi-weekly PT, and it's gradually helping.  I have yet to visit my spinal specialist.  We'll see where that leads us.

     Baxter has had four growths removed.  The one on his toe was primary because it interfered with walking.  The other three were largely cosmetic while he was under.  All stitches are now out, but he does have to wear a boot when he goes out.  His heart, lungs and digestive system are all extraordinarily healthy, so he seems to manage everything else just fine.  Vision and hearing are nearly gone.
     Durelle, of course, is strong enough for all of us.  She even got in some golf with Cindy recently.
     I was going to add my all Fall foliage pictures...consisting of a magnolia and a Confederate Rose.  The magnolia blossoms are at their photographic peak for less than 24 hours each.  I missed the ones that were close enough for a close-up.  Here's our hibiscus mutabilis or Confederate Rose.

     I guess if I really want a nice Fall color picture, I'll have to steal one from Jackie Fare.

     This is their back yard, by the way.
     Thanks to Jack and Liz Flood for reminding me that I needed to get off my duff and post a blog.  It provides both comfort and a little pressure to be reminded that there are a number of friends out there that care about us even when we don't have any material for a travel blog.