Monday, October 15, 2007

"Dead as a Door-nail"

MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt
whatever about that. The register of his burial was
signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker,
and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and
Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he
chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my
own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about
a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to
regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery
in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors
is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands
shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You
will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that
Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

From " A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickins

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wrinkled Memories ~ The Sputnik Shoes

During my father's tour of duty in Germany with the United States Army we had the pleasure to meet an Italian shoemaker and his charming daughter.
Truthfully, I can't remember either of their names.
The name Annette fits the memory I have of the shoemakers daughter, so I will call her Annette. Her father I will call Mr. Manetti because the name sounds like what my memory of him feels like.

I remember Annette as being a kind and genteel soul, graceful and delicate, as if she could be easily broken. Her demeanor was pronounced though casual. I can see her gently sweeping her long, black, gossamer hair from her face. Her small eyes were very dark and much like the movable eyes of a china doll. When she raised her glass it was with a deliberate ease of motion that would surely direct her drink to meet her lips perfectly.
She would tear small pieces of very thin ham with her slender, porcelain, manicured fingertips. It is only now that I realize that the ham in question was prosciutto.
Annette's exquisite nature was a true reflection of the talents of her father.

Annette's father, Mr. Manetti was not only a friend but also made shoes for my mother.
Pamela, my mother, was very stylish, with long wavy blond hair, a look reminiscent of Veronica Lake or Rita Hayworth. Her clothes were tailored and always appointed with the perfect jewelry selection.

The Russian sensation Sputnik was current news at the time, being the world's first artificial satellite. My mother got the idea that she should have a pair of shoes with a design that celebrated the accomplishment of Sputnik, hence displaying her fashion flair with a topical point of interest that would make for good conversation.

Mr. Manetti was commissioned to create the shoes and they would collaborate on the design. Payment for the shoes was to be two cartons of American cigarettes. The shoes were black and white leather with four inch high heals and open toes and sides. A large black double headed arrow symbolizing Sputnik flew across a solid white leather background. The Sputnik shoes were enjoyed for many years and have outlived their owner, no doubt they have many stories of their own to tell.

That summer we would all take a car trip together across the Swiss Alps from Germany to Italy; My father, mother, myself, Mr. Manetti, Annette and the Sputnik shoes.

The French Cafe ~

Mr. Manetti
My mother Pamela
Little Mike

Big Mike, My Father, took the picture

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Little Orphant Annie" ~ The Gobble-uns'll git ya

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Onc't they was a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wasn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found was thist his pants an' roundabout--
An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever'one, an' all her blood an' kin;
An' onc't, when they was "company," an' ole folks was there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They was two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parents, an' yer teachers fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns'll git you
Ef you

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Funeral Pie ~ Dig In !

1 c. seeded raisins
2 c. hot water
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1 well beaten egg
Juice & rind of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
Rich pastry (8 inch)

Wash raisins and soak in hot water for 1 hour. Add other ingredients and mix. Cook in top of double boiler until thick. Cool.
Pour into pastry lined 8 inch pie pan and cover the top with crisscross strips of pastry. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 425 degrees and continue baking until pastry is nicely browned.

Another Version ~
Funeral Pie #2

2 c. raisins
1 c. orange juice
1 c. water
1 t. grated orange peel
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 t. allspice
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 egg, beaten
(you need a pastry for a double crust pie.)

Preheat oven to 425. Combine raisins, O.J., water, and rind in saucepan. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Combine 3/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, allspice and nutmeg in small bowl. Stir slowly into raisin mixture until thickened (2 minutes.) Stir in lemon juice and nuts. Pour into shell. Top with crust and vent. Brush on egg, sprinkle on sugar. Bake ‘til crust is golden brown and insides are bubbly.

Funeral pie got its name from being served in the olden days at the big meal following a funeral.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Eyes have It ~

When a persons head is chopped off by the deadly blade of the Guillotine, the Eyes of the severed Head continue to blink 10-12 times.
Happy Halloween !