New Year’s Eve 1958

 

Leslie Paugh Sr. is back as our guest blogger. He shared this story with me via email. You can read his other stories about working with Clyde Martin which I posted earlier. 

guest blogger pencil

“I actually only worked 3 weeks with Clyde on the rig. Two weeks in November and one week in December. So most of it was just work and not much happened.

One other thing I will never forget. I was a pretty good (or bad) drinker. New Year’s Eve, we went up to the station where we both bought our gas to fill up the car. The owner brought out a pint, about 1\3 full of rye whiskey and handed it to Clyde. I told him that was only one good drink, he got a new pint and handed it to me. I said that’s more like it, and took a good long drink of it.

beer bar pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Well, I had never drunk any rye whiskey. The gas pumps started doing the hoochie coochie. I told Clyde that stuff has a good kick to it. We went down to a bar and started (this was our first mistake) drinking beer, then saw (this was our second mistake ) the hot dill pickles and started eating them. I never did know how Clyde came out but I didn’t make it until midnight. When I woke up I told Treva “THAT is it, THAT will not ever happen again.” That was New Year’s 1958. The best thing that ever happened to me.

After that, we would go to visit my folks southwest of Kansas City, and my dad and I would go up to play pool. I would drink one beer while playing. In a year’s time, I might have drunk four or five beers. I left the hard stuff alone entirely. After my dad died I didn’t even drink the beer. In the last eight years, I have only drunk two beers. Funny how things work out sometimes, for the best.”

les paugh sr. 2

Leslie Paugh, Sr.

Top Ten Posts for 2017

When I shared Gail Lee Martin’s stories in some groups on Facebook, her memory blog and her Facebook fan page gained quite a number of followers. People love nostalgia and old-time recipes, it seems. Here are the top ten posts for 2017.

  1. This post was a big hit with a Depression-era cooking Facebook group. Nostalgia groups also liked the memories it brought up. Saving the Cooking Grease
  2. This topic raised some controversy from animal lovers, farmers, and history buffs. Kansas Wolf Hunts
  3. The third most-visited post with 319 readers combined nostalgia and food, a winning combination. Bean Soup on Wash Days
  4. The post about old-fashioned sayings that Gail used was popular too. A Hitch in Her Git-Along
  5. More food memories that drew the lovers of nostalgia. Fifties Foodsretro fifties foods pixabay
  6. Disasters also caught people’s attention. M Is for Memories of the Flood of ’51
  7. This post caught the attention of a Madison, Kansas group as people dropped by to see if their parents or grandparents were mentioned. R Is for Ruth –  In Sympathy
  8. Hamilton is a very small town, but they have a group on Facebook that sent many readers to this post. H Is for Hamilton
  9. The novelty of this vintage recipe caught people’s attention. Heritage Recipe – Turnip Pie
  10. This follow-up piece with Gail’s own memories drew readers. Gail’s Memories of the Flood of ’51

Over 7,000 individual readers visited the blog in 2017. If you are reading this post, then you were probably one of them. If you missed any of the stories above, I hope you have a few minutes to read Gail’s memories.

gail's top posts 2017

Tips for Late Christmas Cards

Sometimes Christmas sneaks up on me and the Christmas cards aren’t sent in a timely manner. Maybe it has happened to you too. Perhaps you’ve been ill or had to work extra hours at your job or had some other disruption to your plans.

Here are some ways to deal with tardy holiday cards.

late xmas cards

  • Facebook Greetings

    Just posting “Merry Christmas” on your Facebook status is a little lame. It’s better to compose a reasonable Christmas letter that’s newsy and send it using Facebook’s message capability.

  • E-Greeting Cards

    There are plenty of sites that have cards to send to your e-mail recipients who aren’t on Facebook. These cards are quite colorful, often sing and dance and let you add a thoughtful message. One company for free Christmas e-cards is Blue Mountain Cards. To find more, just Google “free Christmas ecards.”

  • Phone Calls

    Hopefully, you have unlimited long distance calling on your phone because this is the way you can reach all your offline friends. It takes time to ring them all up and have a good chat, but that’s what happens when you don’t work on your Christmas cards earlier.

  • Mail Out Christmas Cards After Christmas

    This is an alternative to the first three suggestions. Send the cards with a “Happy New Year” or “Best wishes for a great year” penned in after the Christmas greeting. Try to get them in the mail right after Christmas.

  • Skip Christmas Cards This Year

    You can get away with this if you are right in the middle of moving, getting a divorce, have been sick, or are coping with a major family upheaval. Next year, send your cards early and explain what happened.

(Originally posted on List My 5 by Virginia Allain)

Gail Admired Norman Rockwell

One of the magazines available to the McGhee family in the remote Flint Hills of Kansas was the Saturday Evening Post. This window on the world included serialized novels, articles about celebrities of the day, and a variety of other topics. People looked forward to seeing what Norman Rockwell painting would grace the cover. He contributed 322 covers between 1916 and 1963 to the Saturday Evening Post.

 

I remember my folks (Gail and Clyde) having a stack of vintage Post magazines in a shallow box under their living room sofa. Now and then, we’d pull them out to admire the old scenes of Americana captured in the Rockwell covers and to read the articles from those bygone days.

I recently found that many of those cover images now are available on everything from fleece blankets to cutting boards, coffee mugs, trivets and other useful items. Here’s a sample to give you an idea of the wide range of topics captured the fancy of the artist and appeared on the old Saturday Evening Post covers.

Sport Fleece BlanketSport Fleece BlanketView DetailsTackled Fleece BlanketTackled Fleece BlanketView DetailsDecoys Cutting BoardDecoys Cutting BoardView DetailsRunaway TrivetRunaway TrivetView DetailsRosie the Riveter PlaqueRosie the Riveter PlaqueView DetailsDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketDreams of Long Ago Fleece BlanketView DetailsCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketCatching the Big One Fleece BlanketView DetailsThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketThe Fish are Jumping Fleece BlanketView DetailsHollywood Starlet TrivetHollywood Starlet TrivetView DetailsSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetSpringtime, 1935 boy with bunny trivetView DetailsDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketDoctor and the Doll Fleece BlanketView DetailsBefore the Shot or At the Doctor's TrivetBefore the Shot or At the Doctor’s TrivetView Details

Every cover was a delight. Often it featured a nostalgic scene of small-town America. Although many contained an element of humor, the artist could also address serious world issues and capture them in a scene.

Since I’m posting about Gail’s admiration for Norman Rockwell and it is December, I’ll include this classic cover. You can see all the covers at the Saturday Evening Post website.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Norman Rockwell 1930s cover art for the Saturday Evening Post. 1930s Santa.

Make Candied Nut Clusters

 Instructions for Gail & Clyde Martin’s Candied Nut Clusters

Things You’ll Need:

  • medium size cooking pan
  • chocolate or vanilla flavored almond bark
  • aluminum foil
  • small to medium sized nuts

Clean and sort the nuts. My husband used different strainers with different size grids, large and medium. The large grid let everything go through except for the largest pieces. Those worked great in the sugared nut recipe.


After that, he had lots of smaller sizes of nutmeats. Really just bits and pieces. So he shook them up in a strainer with a smaller size grid. The smaller grid lets the tiny pieces of shell and other debris fall through. Clyde dumps them into a white baking pan and searches for more shells that slipped through. Some tiny pieces of the shell stick to the nutmeat and can be removed with tweezers. Shaking in the strainers seem to bring out the oil in the nutmeats, making them shiny and tastier.

With the medium size nut meats, we make candied nut clusters. For this process, you need the following: medium size cooking pan, chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark; aluminum foil, and lots of small to medium size nuts.


Break or cut the almond bark into chunks easier melting in the pan. Place it on a very low heat.

When melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the nutmeats. Keep stirring as you add them until all are coated.
 

Drop the mixture by teaspoon onto the foil. Let the clusters cool until the almond bark hardens.

The Christmas Gazebo

Some years back, I added a miniature gazebo to my Christmas decorations. Although I don’t set up a Christmas village, I couldn’t resist getting the piece. Every year, I bring it out and add the fir trees and the tiny fawns carved of wood.

Christmas village gazebo

Ginger’s Christmas scene with the gazebo and deer.

This small replica honors my brother, as it evokes memories of the gazebo that he built for the city of El Dorado. There are actually two gazebos. He was an accomplished cabinet maker who custom built cabinetry for homes in the area and some businesses too.

Owen Martin and Gazebo he built in Eldorado

Owen Martin in the gazebo he built for the city of El Dorado, Kansas.

After his stroke, he had to give up that work. I noticed once that he was watching a home remodeling program on House and Garden TV, so I’m guessing he misses his tools and projects. He can take pride in his handiwork being on display in these gazebos.

I imagine the city decorates them with lights for the Christmas season. I’d love to see a photo of that.

Cindy’s Christmas Memories

Cindy Ross, our guest blogger for today, is Gail and Clyde Martin’s fourth child. She shares her Christmas memories with us.

As a child, it seemed to take forever for Christmas to arrive. I remember the anticipation while waiting to open gifts early that morning. 

It could be very cold if Dad hadn’t stoked the fire in the potbelly stove. So, if you arrived downstairs too soon, you’d be scampering back to that warm bed.

Our stockings hung along the staircase and you could almost peek into them from up above. We were lucky to get an apple or orange, ribbon candy, or a candy cane.

I loved the wooden bowl Mom placed on the table holding the English walnuts, cashew, Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, and peanuts to be cracked open. The slender metal picks in the center of the bowl helped get the nutmeat out of the shell.

For fun, we played Fox and Geese in the snow, but only after we finished feeding and watering the rabbits and chickens.

rustic wooden nutbowl with cracker and picks

This is what the nutbowl looked like.

Comment from her older sister, Ginger: “Thanks, Sis, for writing this. I’d forgotten where we hung the stockings and about the bowl of nuts. Now, I remember how exotic those nuts seemed and how difficult it was to crack the hard shell of those Brazil nuts. There were hazelnuts too. Christmas was the only time we had those.

I hadn’t forgotten how cold it could be in that uninsulated Kansas farmhouse. We would huddle around that woodstove in the living room while hustling into our clothes. Upstairs there would be ice on the inside of the bedroom windows.”