A 100 years ago, my dad was living in Lyndonville, VT. His father was a conductor on the Boston-Maine railroad that had a route up through Vermont all the way up to the Canadian border.
So my dad used to tell it, his father used to come in every so often with a sack of oysters from some guy in Boston who shipped them up into the interior. Down the block from where he lived was a country store and in it they sold Vermont Common Crackers. The rest is legend.
Enjoy this recipe. It is the one my dad's dad made for him and he could never get enough.
Pint or so of select oysters
sleeve of saltine crackers (sub for Common Crackers)
pint of 1/2 and 1/2
a stick of butter
Use a little butter and coat a small backing dish or some small over proof dishes
Melt the butter and crush the crackers and toss them in the butter over low heat.
Take some of the crackers (butter toasted) and line the bottom of your dish
Top that layer with oysters and repeat until your run out of oysters (obviously) - reserve the oyster liquor
Light cracker layer on top
Pour in 1/2&1/2 until it is 1/2 way up the dish more or less...but kinda covers the top layer of oysters...also use the oyster liquor in this step. Don't add much salt if you use the oyster liquor. Fresh ground pepper to taste.
Warm in a 375 oven for 30 minutes or so until the liquid is hot enough to make sure the oysters are poached
Serve warm. Get there first or you won't get any. Here it is close version...some folks use parsley or spinach but that is up to you.
My dad was at work that Sunday. A former neighbor, Brooks Webster, was there - recently out of Bowdoin College. My mom was teaching in Ludington, Michiga at the high school and my mother in law was bundled up in a house off the Hudson River north of the city. Like the day Kennedy was shot or 9-11 for others, the precise moment and location - down to what you were doing and who said what - is carved in granite on the precursor to the Facebook "wall".
I asked Brooks about it once; you know. How was it?. Aside from a rather cold and sorrowful look his only comment was "it was worse". Never the "than what"...just worse.
My dad went into the service a short while thereafter making it across the South Pacific with two wounds and eventually to Japan for the first of the occupation. Mom taught and did factory work as did my mother in law. Somehow I think it was worse for them - not in the life threatening sense like being in combat or for that matter with the risk of being shot or shot at, but waiting. Waiting for news.
My point is that announcements like Pearl Harbor or 9-11 come out of the blue. There is an interruption and the news is dumped out. Momentous news that for a second freezes all your senses and observations, reducing them to dimensional picture that you just carry around in your "wall of life".
I like to listen to the radio, particularly late at night. When I was a kid growing up in northern Michigan I used to see how far away I could pick up a signal. I could get WLW in Cincinnati and WBBM easily in Chicago, and on Sunday nights I could pick up a NY station that would broadcast the NY Philharmonic...seems so strange to think of radio as a travel machine, a virtual map on electrons. Now I just dial it up on the ole PC but it looses the magic of fade and untuned signals.
I lived in Tulsa for a while and a fellow who retired from WFMT in Chicago, that huge midnight special arts station started up this little bitty thing called KCMA. John Majors was his name and he sold after a while. It cost nothing much to operate the station and most of us did it for free but the big deal of compiling a program that worked out to the second and then being a classical DJ on weekends was, well, a treat.
The broadcast facilities were north of Tulsa in the middle of what could charmingly be called cow-shittin' country as that is all there was as far as the eye could see...cows and cow...well dung or chips. The reach of the station was unbelievable...all the way to Joplin and the other way to Oklahoma City...250 miles in a circle....all that power...beaming Mozart to the horizons of the earth.
I'm on eastern long island now and have a SW so I can listen to Europe or I can just crank up my PC and do it that way...with a cable modem my little outfit is hot potatoes but I think I'll stick with the fuzzy stuff and think back to signing off at 359am and signing on at 4am, wind blowing, smell of a fresh cut field and of course the occasional cow.
I'm bathed in a piece of music I have loved from the moment I heard it half a century ago. It is playing on the radio now - Internet from WKAR.org at Michigan State University - wrong direction. It is a Spanish Caprice (Capriccio Espagnol), written by a Russian about a land he barely knew but could dream about.
I've played in an orchestra performing this piece dozens of times. It never failed to make me smile. The trumpet fanfare part is above. I know it by heart. I know the entire score from memory..can still write out all the parts (for $ of course....hey! I'm not dumb). I'm not bragging. If you really love something, you learn all about it.
If you go south out of our side door about 100 yards and launch a sail boat, fair winds blowing will take you to Portugal and then on to Spain. I want to go. Perhaps not by sailboat. We are on the right latitude.
I have a friend of some 35 years who turns out is playing in the Barcelona Orchestra. She (Josie) was just the best and nicest person when I first met her...I think she was 12....and you could see the light and passion in her eyes. Now she is a grand frommage. To think.
I'm glad she landed so successfully in Spain. I envy her.
I am second to no one with my disdain for Congress. Well. I might be tied with about 300 million people. I mean, only 10% approve of the job they are doing. That means the Micky D's would have fired them 9 times ago if you want a blunt comparison.
Now the Agriculture Committee can't come up with a farm bill. The supposed reason is a fight over food stamps; you know it as a program that helps people buy food to eat and stay alive. It's about $4.00 and change per day.
A provision in the bill that will soon expire because Congress doesn't give a rat's ass about poor people and they are going on recess (better known as fundraising vacations), so the price of milk is about to go from $4.00 a gallon to $7.00 and some. It may double. That means it will take 2 days of food stamps to buy a gallon of milk instead of one.
I suppose kids can drink water instead. Perhaps if they didn't want food, they could eat scraps of stale bread. No? Well better than the "let them eat cake" attitude these bozos carry around.