Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Potato Soup and Other Homey Things

After anticipating it for weeks, I finally got around to making us potato soup for supper with grilled cheese sandwiches. It was not even chilly today—in fact, I think it tied records at 76 degrees earlier in the day. I did my town errands with short sleeves and no sweater. Nevertheless, the soup tasted good. I used some of the Yukon Gold potatoes Gerald grew—his first potato crop. (For years Dad Glasco provided us and a lot more people with potatoes, so we never got in the habit of planting them.) They are very flavorful, and I do like the gold tinge of color. Ours are very misshapen. I wonder if that a characteristic of Yukon Gold or if it the result of the late summer drought. I fixed more than we needed, but I was glad I did when son-in-law Brian stopped by needing a ride up to the other farm. He was down disking his harvested fields today and will be tomorrow too.

Next door neighbor Sonja dropped by this morning to pick Gerald up to go to the annual Veterans Day program at the Crab Orchard Grade School. Scott met them there. I think I went last year, but too many things had to be done today for me to take off. Katie always invites us to special programs since her grandparents live so far away. Her class signed as well as joining the younger children with their songs. I enjoyed the short visit with Sonja while Gerald finished getting ready because it seems as if both of us are too busy for much neighboring lately. Katie, who is one of the top young swimmers in the nation, is taken to daily swim workouts, lessons, and then weekend tournaments.

We had hoped our car would be repaired by today, but it wasn’t so I had to use the pickup to do my errands this afternoon. It is so big in comparison to a car, and I have trouble pulling myself up to the driver’s side. I am uncertain how much space it takes to park it, and I could barely reach the drawer when I went through the bank drive-in.

Gerald has been working hard at catching up the farm record books, and he is celebrating that he has finished and is ready for the appointment with Doug Hileman, our farm management field man.

One of the items I found while working on Martin family history was a 1922 yearbook photo of my aunt Myrtle Martin Ball. Cousin Carolyn Stanley-Tilt has found it and sent me a copy. I took it to my hair appointment today and asked Stefeny Grear if she thought I could have that simple straight cut in a few weeks rather than a perm I have to go to another shop for. She said we could always try it. If anyone can make it look okay, Stef can.

Then I took that notebook with Aunt Myrtle and Uncle William’s information, photos, and records on to Katherine’s house as she had asked about her lately. She was a favorite great aunt of Katherine simply because Myrtle was so loving and dramatic. We rarely saw her since she lived in Texas, but Katherine cherishes a little kangaroo pin that she once complimented Aunt Myrtle on. With great presence and flair, Aunt Myrtle took it off immediately and presented it to Katherine.

At one of our last reunions, Katherine had asked my cousin Joe for one of the vaudeville posters that the Ball family had when they spent a summer (or more than one summer?)touring with a family show. I grew up with my mother’s copy of the poster showing then young Aunt Myrtle in a granny costume and numerous other photos. But I don’t know what happened to that copy. Living to age 98, Aunt Myrtle was made professor emeritus of speech at the El Paso branch of University of Texas—I think the third name given to the institution where she and Uncle William taught.

One of her charms for me was knowing she had hidden letters (love letters perhaps?) in the walls of her childhood home she named Mount Airy Farm and where we spent summers. There was one attic room without a floor and you could go in that dark place walking on rafters only and put things down in the walls. When Mr. Maze came and did some remodeling for us, some of the letters tumbled out. My mother who loved Myrtle burned them and would not let us invade her privacy by reading the long hidden letters. I have to admit I would not have been so ethical. I would have read them every one.

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