Publisher’s Corner

Season of Memories

After the last pumpkin is carved and the Halloween costumes are put back in the steamer trunk for another year, it’s time to dust off the cookbooks and prepare for the holiday smorgasbord. Thanksgiving was always a special time for the Lester and Barnard clans when I was growing up. The old phrase, “too many cooks” did not apply at our family gatherings. There was no one “spoiling the broth.” In fact, Thanksgiving at the Barnard Ranch on West Drive came complete with three of the best Chefs of that era: my mother Mary Ann, my grandmother Hallette, and my aunt Begie. What must have been a 22 pound turkey roasted away in the oven while Mary Ann warmed up her famous Green Beans & Bacon. The beans had been simmering overnight so the combination of beans, bacon and onion had all the time they needed to meld together to create a mouth-watering green bean medley that has been passed down from generation to generation. Hallette (we called her Nana), was always in charge of the candied yams and the dinner rolls, that were of course made from scratch. And let me tell you, it is no easy feat getting those rolls to rise. She would fret over it, and they always turned out perfectly light and fluffy. Aunt Begie boiled and mashed the potatoes and made sure there was a southern-inspired touch to the meal from Oklahoma roots. I know she loved to bake great pies that went fast at a table of 18 with plenty of Jims and Bills. And I can’t recall who made the gravy, but I would guess it was our hostess Begie. It was so good dripping off our roasted turkey and filling up that hole in our mashed potatoes. The kids all liked the while meat, but my mother and I like the dark meat. There was nothing better than working on a turkey leg for half an hour. The candied yams were perfectly caramelized and the cranberry sauce was fresh and tart. I remember the eggnog tasting a bit sharp, but then again it was a sip from my mother’s glass. The butter melted evenly over the warm dinner rolls that were used to sop up gravy remnants from our plates. The chefs offered up giblet gravy, so we had to pour around those mysterious pieces of fowl. And the pies, pumpkin and apple, topped with ice cream. No wonder I would fall asleep in front of the fire after the meal. Or maybe it was the egg nog? Thanksgiving is all about family. Eating, laughing, reminiscing, planning, crying with joy. Uncle Jim’s eyes sparkled at the head of the table. Proud that he could host this family gathering. And knowing that it would all happen again in just 30 days or so when Christmas rolled around. This is the Season of Memories!

By the time most of you read this, we have elected a president. If you read this before Nov. 6, be sure to get out and vote! No matter who gets elected, we need a uniter-and-chief. Even if congress doesn’t play well with others, as they have shown in the past four years, we need a leader who will bring the ball to the game and lay out the rules. Compassion and courage. A leader with convictions, not blinded by ideology, but guided by temperance and vision. We need a pathfinder to bring us out of the wilderness where we now wander. Whoever is our next president, I hope he has the compass for the job.

J.B. Lester; Publisher