Succotash: The Family’s Favorite Holiday Dish




Being a mother-in-law has been one of the hardest roles I’ve ever stepped into. There aren’t a lot of resources out there to draw from, other than observation. My own mother was a terrific mother-in-law. She loved on all our spouses and cared for them. Mama always went out of her way to make sure that her sons-in-laws and daughter-in-law knew how much she cared about them.

Christmas dinner was always a big deal at Mama’s. She made Prime Rib every year. Sometimes she would get even more daring and add lamb – my husband’s favorite – and once she added Duck, which we all agreed to never do again.

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Less than Angelic

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Daughter Ashley told me that during church service last Sunday the pastor asked for all the members of the congregation who were facing their first Christmas without a loved one to please stand.

My mother would have probably hated that. She never liked anything that drew attention to her, especially not at church. Mama quit church at the age of 29. The year she became a war widow.

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My girlfriend Debbie  just lost the love of her life on December 1st. Swede’s death was shockingly abrupt. They were supposed to celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Instead, Debbie will be facing her first Christmas as an adult without her college sweetheart. Around our house, Swede was known as Daddy Swede because our youngest daughter Konnie had white blonde hair like Swede. The last words Swede spoke to me were, “Give Konnie my love.” He uttered those words as Tim and I left his hospital room. We were off to spend Thanksgiving with Konnie and her husband.  It was the day before Thanksgiving.

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Shame has a purpose


Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of chairman of Korean Air Lines, bows in front of the media outside the offices of the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board in Seoul

Shame lost favor with the American public at about the same time Reality TV found its footing. Perhaps there is a correlation between the two? I’m not sure but I want to give a holler out to my fellow South Korean brothers and sisters for keeping shame alive in their neck of the woods.

You’ve likely heard the story of Cho Hyun-ah, a senior vice-president at Korean Air, who has made a public apology after delaying a plane leaving New York’s JFK Airport. Seems Cho was upset that her nuts came in a package and not a bowl, meanwhile Delta’s passengers are just grateful they still get tiny packages of nuts and biscotti for free. What is it about being on a plane that makes a person feel like they have to eat? You’d think the way airlines pack people in those seats like sardines in a tin can would discourage all of us from eating anything.

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Glistening Eyes of the Season

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“And when we heard that baby cry, there was such joy in that delivery room. Everyone was crying. He was the most prayed for baby.”

The woman sitting in the wing-back chair was leaning forward and telling me that story of her grandson’s birth.

Her son, the father of the prayed for baby,  had waited a very long time to become a dad. It had not been an easy journey. His mother recounted the number of years her son had longed for a child. There were times when it seemed he would never get that chance. He and his wife had one failed attempt after another.

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Itty Bits of Almost Nothing

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Kentucky women aren’t supposed to be barren. It goes against every stereotype, every myth ever propagated. Sylvie Garcia reasoned she had to be some kind of genetic throwback to not be able to get pregnant in Kentucky.


Do you read short stories?

I’ve a whole collection of short stories by Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty and Alice Munro. When Mama was dying I tired of reading her books on how to improve her life, which it seems to me is nearly all that fills the shelves at Christian bookstores, which is where people go to shop for books for people who are dying.

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