Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Parade Starts When?
Well, you are never going to believe this, but I have recently discovered that this month has one other purpose. (This is of course besides my nieces' birthdays, these two beauties decided to crowd in on my month but they are so cute I have chosen in my magnanimity to forgive them and even share.) Oops, I have wandered off course as usual. Back on track, apparently November also has an actual national holiday I had over looked, Veterans Day. OK, you don't have to get all judgey (That's a word, right! Well if it's not is should be!) on me. I am sure that somewhere along the line I learned about Veterans Day, I just worked retail so long that I forgot about those days people with real jobs got to take off. Well, it took moving to the sticks to truly educate me about Veterans Day.
My lessons about this day began about five years ago when my son joined Cub Scouts. His den would be marching in the annual parade and the other mothers seemed shocked that I did know when that would be. Apparently ALL Veterans Day parades are on 11/11 at 11am. Where do they learn this stuff?
But it wasn't until my kids changed schools that I truly learned what this holiday was all about! Now, for most kids Veterans Day is simply a day off from school. Not in Panther Land! These kids go to school on this national holiday for one purpose, to honor the men and women who have fought and died in service of our country.
Each child is encouraged to invite a Veteran to the school on this day. These honored guests are given special seating in the front row while all the parents, grandparents, aunts, sisters-mother's-cousins-in-law (I might be exaggerating just a bit), show up in red, white and blue to fill the High School bleachers. It is quite a sight! The students then march in and line up on the gym floor where they one by one take the microphone to introduce their guest. This introduction includes the service man or woman's name, rank, branch and years of service as well as any wars they might have fought in. It was moving to see each former soldier stand as they are introduced and remain at attention as each new honoree is announced. The applause never dies down as name after name is read.
The guests of honor are then presented with handmade cards of thanks and treated to patriotic music from the Jr High band and readings by the High School students. Of course I couldn't help chuckle as the elementary students took to the floor for their "ribbon dance" to God Bless America (Once again I thought if the ACLU ever finds out about this place we are dead!) The ceremony ended with each young person filing past the Veterans to shake their hands and thank them personally.
As I drove off, stressed that I was late for my next appointment, I knew I needed a little self-inflicted attitude adjustment. These men and women had given up everything to help preserve my freedoms and I was irked that a one hour ceremony in their honor ran a little late. I felt pretty small that day, but small in a good way. You know the kind of small that makes you feel a bit like a child, protected from this big scary world by something so much bigger than yourself. Thank you to all of you who have been part of that something BIG!
Fanny Farmer Pumpkin Bread
If you do not own a Fanny Farmer Cookbook, sell a kidney and get one!! I have made a few adjustments to the spices (I like things a bit more spicy) but otherwise it is all Fanny!
1 1/2 c. flour 2eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 c. water
1 c sugar 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c pumpkin puree 1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 c veg oil 1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)
(If you are adding the nuts try shaking them in a ziplock bag of flour to lightly coat them before adding to the batter. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom.)
Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix together pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices. Then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix to thoroughly. Stir in nuts. Pour into a well greased or buttered loaf pan. Bake 50-60 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Turn out of pan and cool on rack.