A visit from Craig

Up a Country Lane, Jan. 16, 2019

This past week, my youngest son Craig has been visiting me in Sidney from his home near Seattle. We’ve had a delightful time. We’ve talked and talked, telling stories, sharing experiences, and discussing plans for the future. We never seem to run out of exciting things to say.

Craig told me about his current project of being the assistant scoutmaster of a new troop that is sponsored by the Methodist Church his family attends. It is made up of young women, including his daughter Amanda, who is fourteen. The Boy Scouts of America organization recently approved this kind of troop so that girls could take part in adventurous Scouting activities.

When I was growing up, I felt like I was in my father’s Boy Scout troop. He was the scoutmaster of a troop in Dexter, Iowa, and he would practice with me when he was getting ready to teach subjects at troop meetings. We would do fire building in the back yard and cook meals over the coals. He taught me how to tie knots and used me as a volunteer as he tried out first aid bandaging and splinting methods.

Because I was a girl, I could not take part in the real troop activities. Sometimes I watched the Scouts in a wooded area behind the church as they had their meetings. I saw them getting ready to set off on hikes and wished I could go with them.

Now my granddaughter Amanda gets to be one of those Scouts, not just watching from the window. Her brother Nick loved his time in Scouting and went all the way to the Eagle Scout award. Perhaps Amanda will be one of the first young women to reach that goal, too.

In addition to sharing Scouting with Amanda, I think Craig enjoys being a troop leader because it reminds him of times he had as a Scout when his own father was his scoutmaster. It is a wonderful legacy to pass on to new generations.

Craig and I were talking about his dad and how he was always eager to learn. He read a lot. If there was a course in the area that he could take, that would interest him, too. 

Soon after we were married, Robert took a Dale Carnegie course in self-improvement. One class was about improving your memory for names by associating a picture or word with a person. My good friend Stella Marlin was coming to visit us, and Robert practiced on connecting her name with a special word. When she walked in the door, Robert said, “Oh, hello Mrs. Fish!”

While Craig is home, he will be repairing a wooden dining room chair that needs some glue to tighten the legs. The chair has a row of notches across the back that Craig made when he was little and playing with an open-end wrench. At the time, his father and I were very upset with the damage he did to the chair. Today, that piece of furniture with those notches is one of our family treasures. 

While I’ve been having my afternoon naps, Craig has gotten out to do some things on his own. He’s been to downtown Sidney to visit the Penn Drug soda fountain. He checked the mail at the post office. 

On a sunny afternoon he drove out to Knox and then up the hill to Grandview Cemetery. A short walk from there brought him to a clearing on the bluffs where he used to camp with his dad when he was a Scout. I’m sure he thought about what it would be like to bring Amanda’s troop there someday so they could enjoy that campsite, too.

This morning Craig was out in the kitchen making bread from one of my recipes. He also made some cinnamon rolls. 

Tonight we are going to dine on cinnamon rolls and homemade chili. That was a traditional meal for our family for Christmas Eves when the boys were young. Since everyone is now scattered around the country, we have decided we can celebrate Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays at any time a few of us can get together.

I look forward to the next time Craig or other family members visit. We will talk and cook and celebrate, even if there isn’t a holiday around.

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Here’s an easy recipe for a hearty soup that’s delicious on these cold winter days.

Beef and Noodle Soup

1 pound stew meat

1 soup bone (optional)

¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sweet marjoram

1 quart water

3 medium potatoes, diced

1 cup uncooked egg noodles

Combine flour and seasonings, coat meat and soup bone with this mixture, and brown in a little shortening. Add water and simmer until meat is tender, about one hour. Remove meat from bone, cut into bite-sized pieces, and return to broth. Add potatoes and noodles to boiling broth and continue cooking until tender. Serve hot. Homemade noodles are marvelous in this soup. Serves 6 to 8.

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