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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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holiday

Remember the Fallen

What is Memorial Day weekend to you? In western New York state, it’s the unofficial start of summer when people with summer cottages take the three-day weekend to go open them up for the season. It’s the weekend you can safely plant your flowers or garden without fear of a killing frost. It’s a weekend of parades, picnics and family time. My husband and I make it an annual event to visit the graves of our loved ones to plant geraniums or leave a new stone. We also go to a chicken-bar-b-q at the American Legion in my home town and enjoy listening to a country music band that we know personally.  Continue reading “Remember the Fallen”

Let’s Celebrate

The holidays are upon us….and I have read that “the holidays” start at Thanksgiving and carry through the Super Bowl because that is the time of year people overindulge in food, fun, booze, and gatherings. I don’t think there can ever be enough fun gatherings of family and friends, but you get the picture. It’s the time of year food takes a front seat no matter how hard we try to say or plan that it won’t. Maybe I am speaking for myself. Continue reading “Let’s Celebrate”

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my blog followers, may you have a happy, food filled Thanksgiving, if you live in the United States. Some of my closest writing community friends live elsewhere, so I wish you a happy holiday season. I know not all family gatherings are enjoyable, so I urge you to spend time with the people who do make you feel positive, re-energized and ready to tackle another calendar year. Life has its ups and downs so I wish you more ups than downs. Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving”

Security System

My father has been gone twenty-five years already. Seems like yesterday I was sitting at the table in his antique shop called “The Mousetrap.” His shop, located in a small town of 300 people in western New York, sat next to a large parking lot that had once belonged to an active business building that was set way back from the road. That parking lot attracted bicycle riders, skateboard attempters, and other children playing in the day light. At night, cars of teenagers parked in the shadows doing what they do in the dark.  Continue reading “Security System”

Lighting the Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has become a national tradition hearkening back to the days of the Great Depression. On Christmas Eve of 1931, a group of construction workers erected a small, Spruce Christmas tree on the site of what would become Rockefeller Center. In Rockefeller Center’s inaugural year, 1933, the first official  Tree Lighting took place.

The tree must be at least 65 feet tall and can be as much as 100 feet tall. In the construction world, 10 feet is the average of one floor in a building. Translate that to the selected tree and it means it is at least 6 stories tall or taller. The one time I had the privilege of seeing the tree in person, I was amazed at its size. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole thing.

I’m sure you’ve seen movies that had skaters enjoying the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Center during the holidays. Next time you see that scene, notice the walls around the rink. When you are standing on the sidewalk around Rockefeller Center the rink is actually below you. I’m short and couldn’t see over the people to see down onto the rink. I could see the skaters on the far side of the ice. It took some of the magic away because I couldn’t see all of it. The music from the live orchestra that was playing from below was wonderful to listen to as the sound carried up to us.

The stories of the Macy’s Christmas window displays are also true. Much better to see in person than on TV. The decorations in the store blew me away. Almost more decorations to look at than merchandise. Maybe it was because that is what I wanted to see. The hustle and bustle of crowds was another great experience. My visit there will never be forgotten.

If you get the chance, seeing the tree lit in Rockefeller Center and experiencing the Christmas holiday decorations in New York City is a visual treat. One of those things when you see it in person, you turn circles slowly and say Wow as if it is a two or three syllable word. Mind you the hotels rooms are triple the price they are in January, but in my opinion it’s a once in your life-time experience, so worth it.

Stuffing, Home-made or Not

Growing up I liked to help my mother make the home-made stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey. We would save the bread heals for a couple of months letting them dry in a pan in a dark cupboard. (As I think back, I wonder why they didn’t bring us visits from a mouse or two.) The day before Thanksgiving we ground the bread in a hand-crank grinder that we screwed on to the edge of the kitchen table. Cranking it was my job. Mom would cut up celery and onions until they were very fine, then saute them with butter. We also cooked the giblets and the neck meat went into the stuffing. I don’t know what spices she used, but we all had our fill of stuffing for the meal and leftovers too. We never added apples, cranberries, or chestnuts. My father liked his food plain and plentiful.

As an adult I discovered Stove-Top Stuffing. I rarely use a prepared food but I have never come close to the flavor of Stove-Top when trying to make my own. Plus, we can have it any time of year with no fuss or muss. I still don’t add any extra ingredients. This year might be more interesting as I am now following a gluten-free diet. Gluten free bread is readily available in my city, and it always crumbles, so it might be just the thing to make a good stuffing with. I will check with my blogging firends to find a good recipe for a home-made stuffing for our turkey dinner.

May you enjoy Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. Safe travels to you all.

 

 

Halloween

I grew up in a one-block town. Literally! There was one block, and a few houses that extended off each street. As a youngster in the early ’60’s when planning a costume for Halloween you had to pick one of three goals: not be recognizable; be the most unusual; or the most outlandish.  There were many houses in town that the lady had to figure out who you were before you got your candy. Sometimes it could be a slow process. It was fun if you could stump them. No one wore just a mask! My favorite house gave out homemade caramel popcorn balls (Nice big ones.) Another house wanted us to come inside for cider and doughnuts. We went there last.

Back then the full size candy bars of today only cost five cents. We got a lot of them; they didn’t have to be checked before we ate them and parents didn’t go with their kids.  My father had an antique business in the ’70’s and ’80’s in that same little town. He gave out huge candy bars.  The Hershey bars that were 4 inches by 8 inches!  He called them his security system. He never locked the doors of the big house turned shop.  Occasionally he would hear of some shenanigans in town and chuckle that his house was never touched because the “Kids” would protect it from others.

My mother had a friend that lived out in the country, so she would come to our house to see the trick-or-treaters.  She purposely parked her car where the windows would get soaped saying it needed to be washed at least once a year.  Then it got waxed.  She parked it out back in our barn after that.

We would often have about 100 trick-or-treaters and it was a fun evening we planned and looked forward to for weeks. There was a Halloween parade in school, and carved pumpkins on most steps.  Now I live in suburbia and my street has no sidewalks or streetlights.  The most visitors we have ever had for Halloween is nine.  It’s a good thing I have good memories.

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