Tag Archive | stories

First Families; Transitions

barack_obama_enters_the_white_house_march_2012

I have been thinking of a number of stories that are
beautiful.  You have probably read or heard many of them, but they are worth
repeating:
*When George W. and family were moving out of the White House and the
Obamas were moving in, the Bush Sisters wrote letters to the Obama
girls, encouraging them and blessing them.  One of the statements I
remember fondly is to the effect of, “You will hear your father called
names and there will be caricatures of him, but remember, for you, he
is still your daddy.”

*As Barack Obama was preparing to transfer power to Donald Trump, he
said that the Bushes had been so helpful to him and his family, he was
passing it on.
Way to go, George W. Bush; way to go, Barack Obama!

*When Donald Trump went into the Oval Office, he found a letter from
Barack to him that he says he will cherish.  No one will get to know
what the letter said, but it evidently was very much a blessing.

*The Bush Sisters followed with a second letter to the Obama Girls as
they moved out of the White House, again, we don’t know the whole
contents, but they encouraged them as they find their own selves,
apart from their famous parents.  What good big sisters they are!

*Chelsea Clinton stood up for Baron Trump today.  I didn’t know this, but she
evidently experienced some bullying as she was entering the White
House, shortly before her 13th birthday.  She defended Baron on
Twitter, saying that he is a child who deserves one thing:  Just to be
a kid!

****

Chelsea Clinton defends Barron Trump: He deserves the chance ‘to be a kid’ usat.ly/2jRgdZO

Good stories!

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Counting Kindnesses

One day, I had gone to one of my favorite delis for lunch.  I placed my order; then stood back out of the way to wait for it.  When the server came back, she informed me that someone had paid for my lunch.  That person remained anonymous.  I felt quite special and pleased by this kindness.

 

My eldest  sister and I took care of our mother in her last two years of life.
One Monday, after Mom had come home from the hospital yet again, two women who went to my Church brought us dinner.  We had so much to do; a lot of visitors had come by, including service providers.  We were exhausted.
The dinner brought to us was simple, but it could have been a twelve course meal, we were so relieved by the gift.

 

Almost 10 years ago, I had a knee injury that required two surgeries.  I was in a wheelchair for 4 months.  The challenge with that is, I couldn’t go anywhere unless someone came with me.  A bunch of my friends stepped up to the plate:  They took me to work; then came and got me to go home; they took me out to lunch, to appointments, Church, stores and anywhere else I wanted to go.  I don’t know how I would have made it without their help.

 

Earlier this year, I went out of town to a conference.  I met a man by the name of Wes, from Wyoming.  He was very much the gentleman:  Greeting me, visiting; helping if I needed it.  I never felt “hit on” by him or in any way patronized.  His kindess was genuine.

 

A friend went with me to this same conference.  She was very respectful of me and sensitive to my needs.  She treats me like a real, whole person; not like a “handicap.”  I truly appreciate her regard.

 

Just today, a friend came over.  She moved two rose bushes and a hops plant for me:  Hard work.  How sweet is that!

 

I could go on, there are so many stories like these.  I might have to keep a list, just to remember them all.

 

How many stories might be in your own treasure chest?  Count them one by one and enjoy the warm, happy feeling that springs up from within.

A LONG, RICH HISTORY

Eastern Oregon and the surrounding areas were havens for Native Americans. Many of these tribes, including the Nez Perce, Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Shoshone, would spend their summers in the bountiful Grande Ronde Valley, where they would forage, hunt, fish, and bathe in hot springs. Tribes that may have been hostile toward each other would live together harmoniously in the “Valley of Peace”.

 

The Astor Expedition passed through the valley in 1811; then it became a waypoint along the Oregon Trail for people headed to the Willamette Valley.  Every traveler who left a record of passing through the area spoke about it with favor.
Well, almost…

 

This lovely place was also the home of the largest “Used Oxen Dealership” on the Oregon trail.

It was an especially important part of that historic route, from the 1840s up until the Civil War broke out. Once an emigrant party had made it to the Grande Ronde Valley, it had straggled across hundreds of miles of the Great Plains, crossed the Continental Divide in Wyoming and thrashed through hundreds more miles of the Rocky Mountains and the blistering, arid Snake River Desert in Idaho – throughout which they were constantly fighting off attacks by hostile native tribes. By the time a party got to this tiny, fertile valley, it was typically pretty played-out.

 

This was more applicable to the animals than the people. After all, the people could rest when they needed to, sitting on the wagon while the oxen dragged it up yet another mountain pass. Exhausted from their ordeal, severely under weight and unhealthy from lack of suitable food, the oxen could not be helped by the pioneers.  What they needed was a long period of pasturing and rest.  That’s where the Native Americans in the region could help … for a fee.

 

The Nez Pierce, Cayuse, Walla Walla and Umatilla tribes had no use for oxen, except maybe for the occasional bad winter when better meats were unavailable. But they quickly figured out that they could make a lot of money on them.

 

These tribes would take skinny, exhausted draft animals off the emigrants’ hands for, basically, 50 percent of their value. Then they’d equip the party with fresh draft animals, ones purchased from immigrants during the previous travel season, and send them on their way to the Willamette Valley another 300 miles or so of Blue Mountains, Cascade Range and terrifying river voyages still ahead before the parties would get there.

 

The Native Americans made good money with his business venture.  Pioneers didn’t always like it, but they needed the fresh animals and the Grande Ronde Used Oxen Dealership” was the only shop in town.

“The Nez Pierce can beat a Yankee peddler in a trade,” one exasperated – and out-of-pocket – emigrant groused.

 

Early pioneers chose not to settle in Eastern Oregon, perhaps because they were intent upon reaching the Willamette Valley, it was too far from a supply base, or they feared the Native Americans in the area.

 

The first permanent settlement in the Grande Ronde Valley was established in 1861 byBenjamin Brown, an Englishman who had originally settled in Michigan.
Not long after, the Leasey family and about 20 others settled there. Serving as a travelers inn, the settlement was originally named Brown’s Fort, and then Browns Town or Brownsville.  Since there was already a Brownsville in Linn County, the name was changed to La Grande.

 

Early settlements were in the more arable northern parts of the valley, because the southern end had more alkaline soil.  It was also often swampy and subject to flooding. In 1862, Conrad Miller settled the opposite side of the valley. This settlement grew into the city of Union, the second largest community in the Grande Ronde Valley.  Island City, Cove, and Summerville were not far behind.

 

Many factors contributed to the growth of the valley. Some of these were the continuing presence of emigrants from the Oregon Trail, and the discovery of gold mines in the surrounding area:  Baker in 1861 and the Powder River Mines in 1862.

 

The name Grande Ronde means “great circle,” and this productive area, the second largest enclosed valley in the world, does indeed contain much of Union County’s economy, including nearly $100 million in annual agricultural sales, a figure that has doubled since 2001. Small towns like Cove, Island City, and Union, and the county seat, La Grande, depend on this economy to support local businesses, while visitors since the days of the Oregon Trail have marveled at the valley’s unique beauty.

 

In honor of this long, rich heritage, I offer this poem:

 

Great and lovely valley,
Filled with so much life:
Cougars, deer, elk, eagles
Crops, forest, livestock;
Place of fullness.

 

Seasons chase each other,
From hottest to cold:
Summer heat to bright fall;
Snow to rains in spring;
Ever changing.

 

Small towns, farms and woodlands
Make a giant quilt,
Looking down from high peaks,
Surrounding the land
Where quiet lives.

 

Place where native peoples
Hunted and foraged;
Laid down hostilities,
Lived in harmony;
Valley of peace.
(First posted on September 3, 2014)
REFERENCES:
1.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Ronde_Valley
2.  https://www.friends.org/trail/granderonde
3.  http://www.offbeatoregon.com/H0912d_GrandRonde.htm

PRUNE WHIP

Once in a while, it’s fun to share a recipe.
this is one my mother made very frequently for a period of about two years.  she absolutely loved prunes!  She could eat them just about any way:  Cake, rolls, stewed… I used to tease her by saying, if I could find a recipe for macaroni and cheese with prunes, she would be delighted.

The original recipe called for a can of italian prunes (or plums,) raspberry jello and Cool Whip.  I am a bit of a health food nut, so I reworked it:

1 pt canned prunes or plums
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg unflavored gelatin
sugar to taste (I put about a tablespoon of powdered sugar in the whipped cream, but most commercially canned fruits have all the sugar they need and then some.)
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Drain the prunes, save the juice .
2. Puree the prunes.
3.  Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water; then stir the juice in.
4.  Whip the cream with a little powdered sugar and vanilla until it is stiff.
5.  Stir the pureed prunes into the gelatin mixture.
6.  Fold in the whipped cream.
7.  Put in the fridge until set.
8.  Enjoy!

VARIATIONS:
+Add 1/2 cup fresh berries.
+Add 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or cashews.
+Sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

*If you want to dress it up a bit, make some extra whipped cream to top it.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking this would work very well with other fruits, such as apricots, pineapple, peaches or cherries.
If you try a different fruit, be sure to comment so I know how it worked.

Welcome

I invite you to share

*Recipes

*Stories about pets

*Stories about family and friends

*Pics

*Questions

*Advice or things you find that work especially well

*Poetry

*Books you’ve read that you would like to recommend

*Anything else that might encourage people, make them laugh or get them to think.

One book I have been reading is, “The Doctor Wore Petticoats; Women Physicians of the Old West,” by Chris Enss.  Those ladies had to be strong and resilient!

So here’s a question:  What qualities do you value about yourself and others?