Thursday, December 29, 2011


Let me tell you of a meal I served to six persons who came one Sunday evening with profuse apologies for their unheralded arrival and for their appetites. Here is the menu:
Tomato soup
Salmon with border of peas
Pineapple salad with pimento cheese
Hot biscuit Grape conserve
Coffee Small cakes

First, I set the table. I then put a large can of salmon and can of peas in a kettle of water and placed on the stove to heat. I opened two cans of tomato soup, put in a saucepan to heat and put a cup of milk in another saucepan to heat.

Next I made the biscuit, using prepared flour as they can be made more quickly by its use and if directions are followed, they are delicious.

While the biscuit were baking, I prepared the salad. This was quickly done. I opened the can of pineapple, placed a slice of the fruit on each salad plate and in the center of the pineapple slice I placed a ball of pimento cheese and a spoonful of “ready made” salad dressing.

Everything was ready so I added the hot milk to the soup with just a pinch of soda, and served it in cups with wafers.

I removed the cups to the kitchen, quickly opened the can of salmon, placed it in the center of the platter and garnished it with slices of lemon. Then I opened and seasoned the peas and poured them around the salmon.

While the man of the house served the salmon and peas, I brought in the biscuit, butter and salad. Last came the coffee and cakes.

It was not an elaborate meal but it was good and satisfying. Our friends were loud in their praises and appreciation.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why it is called Christ-mas

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. The Holy Bible--Luke 2: 1-20

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This girl is from a big ranch in the Northwest:

This morning I was wakened by the sun as it first shone in at my window. As it was only a quarter to five I covered my eyes for one more nap. We have cool nights, but yesterday it was 104 in the shade. Soon I heard Papa get up, so I did likewise. I built a fire in the kitchen range and cooked my own breakfast. “Cookie Sis” was not up and Papa does not eat breakfast.

I thought the rest had slept long enough, so I turned on the water near the house and began to carry wash water. That got them up. While my water was heating, I gathered the clothes, swept four rooms, irrigated a little on the garden, and picked up chips. Then I washed—they call me the “family laundry.” I must be somewhat Irish, too, for I must have everything in the house and on me washed clean.

At noon I was still washing. While waiting for dinner, one of the hired men struck a bargain with me. He is to bring down his spring and summer collection of seventeen dirty shirts; I am to show him how to wash them and then I may iron them. I promised because I believe in helping my neighbor, because this fellow sometimes takes my sister riding in his new buggy, and because he and I have red hair.

Dinner was good even though served on our decrepit ranch dishes. We are running three kitchens. We have good meals always. We eat well and work hard for what we get here in the West.

In the afternoon I finished the washing, helped clean the house, and mended. After three o'clock I sat here in a cool room by an open window watching Papa mow alfalfa and the men stack grain. The children were in swimming. By and by one of my chums drove by on her way home from town. We visit thus mostly.

Supper at six. I ironed before and after as long as the irons were hot. Now at sunset my work is done. But Papa is irrigating—that takes twenty-four hours a day.

This was a typical working day; but it would have been as natural for me to have described one of the six days last week when I spent ten hours a day hoeing corn. To-morrow we girls will put on overalls and shock hay! Don't let it shock you—we live in the West!

The trouble with farming is that the days are not long enough for work or the nights long enough for sleep.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 4 of 4; June 1915

He looked at her and laughed and slapped his knee. “You're the same old tease you always were, aren't you, Alvira? Want me to tell you? I haven't got the price of a good fiddle and never shall have in this world. When I git up above, I s'pose I shall have to content myself with a harp but I'd darn sight rather have a fiddle.”

They laughed together like children, shutting their eyes tight and gasping in their glee. He sobered to explain.

“I've got my pension but that goes to pay a big debt that I've always had on my hands—a debt my boy incurred--”

“Don't think about it,” she soothed, recognizing the agony in his face. “Don't try to tell me anything about it. It is past and gone now---”

“And the debt is about paid,” he announced. “I'll be scott free in another year, and---”

“How would you like to go back and live on the old place?” she asked suddenly.

“How would I like it? How would I like to go to heaven?”

“How would you like to go back and run the farm? It's my farm yet. I've never been able to bring myself to sell it. I'm homesick to go back, but—I can't go alone---”

“Alvira Dole!” He was staring at her excitedly. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, let us take hold of hands and run—away—home!”

“Why—Alvira! I haven't a cent in the world!”

“I'm almost a rich woman, Rob—as riches go back there in the country. If I stay out here with Vesta and the girls many years longer, though, I won't have a cent to bless myself with. I don't know why it wouldn't be about as commendable to spend my money buying a fiddle for you as paying for bridge whist parties and dinners. I like you better than I do Vesta's family.”

It was getting dusk; the afterglow even, was at an end. He drew her to him and kissed her.

“Fifty years behind time,” he said, “but a blessed kiss after all!”

“If I buy the fiddle you must practice,” she warned.

“Oh, I'll saw away,” he promised. “Why, you know, Alvira Dole, it seems like one of these here fooling dreams that leave you lonesomer than ever when you wake up!”

“We'll give a series of sunset parties,” said Alvira, “where there will be very little good form but lots of good things to eat and much good neighborly feeling of the old-fashioned kind.

“Vesta won't favor this arrangement any to speak of,” she added. “Vesta is my own child but her family and her interests are alien to me. They want to live always in the morning of life. When you really begin to get old is restful to settle into middle-aged ways, to accept the quiet and comfort of afternoon. I shall be very glad, Rob, very glad indeed, to go back home with you and rest.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 3 of 4; June 1915

“I've always been kind of glad my troubles all happened so far away from the old neighborhood. I've always been in the habit of beating back there in memory and sort of restin' up. I wonder if that old well is there yet?”

“It was the last I heard,” said Mrs. Herron. “I went up there the week before I came West to live with Vesta.”

“Any of the folks left there that we used to know?”

“Yes, Dan Costigan lives on the old place yet and his Uncle Trib—oh there's quite a number of the folks we used to know left. Old, of course--”

“Of course. So are we! But how I would love to see them and talk over old times! Do you remember that piece of road between your place and town—right after you passed the schoolhouse? That was the blamedest piece of road in America, I believe.”

“Yes, I remember. But I presume that's all changed now? They say the country is full of automobiles. Dan Costigan has one, I hear.”

“Is that so? Well, good for Dan. He always got the best of everything, Dan did. The nicest team and the shiniest top buggy—got the girl he wanted, too. Some folks seem to get exactly what they want, no matter how big their wants are and others never get even the littlest, weeniest wants; wants so small that it almost seems as if the good God could have spared 'em that much and never missed 'em. For instance, 'way back, when I worked for your father, there were three things I wanted might bad. One was so big it was entirely out of my class. I realize that now—realized it a good many years ago, of course. But the other—you know every boy in those days wanted a girl, a gun and a fiddle. I got the gun.”

“You wanted a fiddle?”

“Always. Always intended to buy a fiddle and learn to play it, but never did. Never saw the time when I had the spare money to buy the instrument nor the chance to practice on it. You have to be more or less alone when you practice the fiddle. Lily never could have stood it and of course I wouldn't have blamed her.”

“Why don't you learn now?”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 2 of 4; June 1915

She stood up. From the dim past, racing the years, came the memory, fleeting and imperfect at first but gaining strength steadily—the memory of the boy-man who had worked beside her father in the green marches of long ago. She seemed to see his gleaming eyes above the tin dipper of water which she had brought from the home well.

“It—can't be—Rob Fay?” she faltered.

He threw back his head and laughed and it was Rob Fay's laugh.

“Why of course it is!”

They clasped hands and stood a moment laughing delightedly.

“To think,” she said, “that you should have known me after all these years.”

“It is funny, isn't it? But there was something about the way your arm lay along the top of the seat of your hat and the tilt of your head, that took me back and aback, slam bang to the old bench out there by your father's pump house on the farm. You remember that old bench, don't you?”

She made a little deprecatory gesture. “Yes-s-s, of course! For years and years she had not remembered but she remembered now that Rob Fay had asked her to marry him there on that same old bench and had trembled forth his boyish despair at her refusal. “Well, well!” he repeated, gazing at her delightedly with his round, boyish blue eyes. “To think that here we sit talking after more than forty years! Ain't it forty years, Alvira, since I've seen you?”

“I guess it is. Let me se-e-e- I was married in--

“Never mind when you are married, Alvira. I was off to the war before that so that I needn't hear about it then and I don't want to hear now. I did hear all about it, though, down there that last year when things were getting ready to be settled up. I was mad to think the old war was over. There was nothing for me to come back to, you see.”

She laughed shamefacedly. “Oh dear, what fools boys do make of themselves! And didn't I hear you married down south?”

“Yes, I married down south, but not for ten years after that.”

He grew suddenly sober. He had pushed his hat back and a wisp of thick white hair showed matted against his brow.

“My wife was a widow with three girls of her own. We had one child—a boy--”

He paused and looking into the woman's face saw the interest, the sympathy there, and the masculine element of eternal childhood reached out for it.

I've had lots of trouble, Alvira—trouble and bad luck!”

“Oh!” she said sympathetically and waited for him to go on.

“Lily and I thought sickness, poverty and death were the greatest trials that could happen to a family but—that's where we got fooled. A dead trouble or a poor trouble ain't anything to a livin' wicked trouble. Our boy went wrong. I don't know but it was our fault. We pampered him a good deal---”

His voice trailed into silence and Alvira had the tact to be silent too.

“Yes,” he resumed after a moment as if in answer to an audible question, “they're all gone now—Lily and the girls. Lily didn't live a week after he was—after he died.