Our friend/Sister by choice


32F655A6-3172-4A5D-92F5-6185A38AB7E7.jpegWhen my sister and I were in junior high and our mother was teaching school there, a terrible thing happened to one of her students.  Her family lost everything in a home fire!  Mom knew how hard it would be for a junior high student to change schools in the middle of the year so she arranged for her to move in with us. There was no money involved, just love. My sister and I were used to having extra people stay with us. It might be family members  down on their luck, or grandparents who could no longer maintain their homes,  or long distant friends who often came to visit. So a young girl moving in with us was a treat. She came from a family with eleven children, and you’d think to loose one for a little while would be a welcomed change. After all, that would be one less mouth to feed, a little less laundry to wash, and one less voice you’d hear arguing with siblings. But it was just the opposite! Even with all those other children around, she was missed terribly. It was the love of her parents that gave them the courage to allow her to stay with us for awhile so she could finish out the school year and start fresh in the fall at her new school. Mother and her teacher friends arranged for clothes to be given to her and, of course, my sister and I were more than happy to share our things as well. Her name was Darlene Adams, and with so many sisters and 2 older brothers, she knew exactly how to get along with all of us without any jealousy. She admired Mom so much and appreciated what she was doing for her that when Saturday’s came and we had  our chores to do, she willingly joined in and made it so much fun. The time flew by.  She was always laughing about something and had us laughing, too.

Since Darlene is one of my best followers and a dear friend, I wanted to share a couple of her recipes and her own memories with you.


Here’s one of Darlene’s family favorites:

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Summer Days/Fresh French Fries

I remember one sunny summer afternoon in 1960 something, I was looking for something to do when I came across a strange piece of equipment I soon figured out was a French fry cutter. You put a potato in one end and push down real bad and it pushes the potato through tiny little knives and out came potato strips. With a little more looking my sister and I found an electric fryer. So you can imagine how excited we were to be making our own French fries!! In fact we were so proud of ourselves we told the whole neighborhood. Day after day we fried up batches of those potatoes and the back door to that kitchen on Dunkle Road became a revolving door. The Porters, Diehls, Fredricks and Wardells just to mention a few didn’t have to wait for Pumpkin Show that year to enjoy delicious hot fries!! Mother said that was the summer she couldn’t keep potatoes or ketchup in the house. 🥔🥔

Our Aunt Wanda Belle Tacy/And Lemons. #lemons

imageI like lemons and put them in my water all the time. But I’ve never met anyone who liked lemons more than my Aunt Wanda. Through the years she put lemons in everything she made from  cookies, cakes, frosting, candies, puddings and tarts. She served lemonade  and lemon sherbet. She was a great cook and prepared many meals for everyone she knew and if you took the time while eating you’d probably taste a hint of lemon in most things she made. She said the secret ingredient in most things was lemon. Added to spaghetti sauce or chili brought out the flavors of all the other vegetables  It makes me sad to think that my sweet aunt passed away on August 31, 2016. But I can’t dwell on that for long because she was so ready to see her Living God as she would say and point to heaven while in her hospital bed. Still she fought hard to get rid of the pneumonia in her lungs. She would try to eat even when she wasn’t hungry. She’d sit up and cough and take small steps around the room. But in the end  she was really sick and very weak and she told me we have to trust God because He knows what’s best for us. 🙏

I have made lemon squares in her honor and I’m asking any of you to fix your favorite lemon recipe and send it to me and I will add it to this blog. She would have  liked this. Happy cooking! 🍋🍋🍋

image.jpegMix crust with 1/2 c butter, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place in the bottom of an 8×8 pan or tart pan like I did here. Bake 335 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix 2eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T fresh lemon juice and the jest of I lemon.

When the crust is done pour the mixture on the hot crust. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

PS  A special note of thanks to Lindsay’s Bakery for the delicious lemon coffee cake I took to Aunt Wanda at the hospital to help her and Uncle Bob celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. She liked it so much she ate two pieces and we still had plenty to pass out to all the nurses on her floor. 💕

Uncle Bob and the VA/

  • imageMy Aunt Wanda was taken to the hospital with pneumonia and her lungs were and still are in terrible shape with scarring. She has been there for two weeks so far and in spite of her condition her biggest concern is her dear husband of over 60 years. He now has Alzheimer’s and just can’t remember whether he’s taken his meds or not. If he were to drive somewhere alone he might get lost and couldn’t find his way home, but he never forgets Aunt Wanda or the fact that he’s a Christian and he tells everyone he meets that. He’s sweet to be with and can tell you many stories from the past. He loves talking about his days in the navy. He can repeat poems and sing songs of that time. So it occurred to me to check out the veterans association to see if there was any help for him there. You hear bad reports everyday about the VA and how the government won’t help the veterans after all their service but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. How could it hurt? First I went to Lexington, Kentucky and talked to my long time friend, Robert Barnard, who had been a chaplin in the army. He is retired now from that but is working again as a Chaplin for a veterans home in Wilmore, KY.  He gave me ideas to start with and phone numbers to call for help in Circleville, Ohio. I’m new at this and didn’t know that veterans have to get help from the state they are living in. A very important part of this puzzle too is they have to show their DD214. Now not being used to any military lingo, I thought, what the heck is a DD214? I starting calling the numbers Robert gave me which lead me to new numbers which lead me to more numbers and so on. I tried talking to Uncle Bob and if you got him onto the right subject he could give you his Navy ID number, and I found on his garage wall a framed Honorary Discharge paper and on Uncle Bob’s key chain was his dog tag. I thought well, with all this I formation, I’d be set. Wrong!! One of the numbers I called was the Pickaway County  VA office and I went straight down there. Everything I had brought with me was not enough to get that very important DD214 document!! Finally after talking and pleading and praying right in front of the lady there at this office she said she could call the county where he joined the navy and luckily I knew from my mother who was from the same area a name to start with. I also knew where he was born and close to the right birth date so now there were three people helping me. They found him in the system after all these years and she faxed to this VA office the famous DD214 paper, which looked like a birth certificate to me. With this new information the office lady went back to her boss and gave her all the information and I had an appointment with her for the next week. This made the fouth person helping me to get Uncle Bob enrolled. At this point I still didnt know much if any help was out there  to help Uncle Bob. My next move would be to go to the VA hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio. This veteran who was now working in the admitting office was so funny to watch. He knew his business backwards and forwards and jumped from chair to chair talking all the time, even faster than I do, and after calling the woman in Circleville the DD214 paper was faxed to him. He was the fifth person to help me. From there we were sent to the Social Security office to get Uncle Bob’s last year taxes to see what he had paid for his Medicare insurance.  This was the sixth person to help.

    I’m getting familiar with the right questions to ask. With the new information back to the VA office we went. This officer kept putting in all the information and to even his surprise over the computer came the words printed ENROLLED. The man told us of how Uncle Bob would qualify for medicines and doctors visits and a slew of others things I could barely hear because I was busy thanking God for all the wonderful help we were finally getting. The next day back to the Circleville office we went and everyone was so nice and helpful. He now has his veterans card  proudly in his billfold to show off. We got his DD214 paper documented and safely put it in his safety deposit box at the bank. I am so thankful to all the many veterans out there that helped us. And I’m telling this story so others will know that not all the bad stuff you hear is correct!!

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Honeybees/Honey and cornbread 

imageWhen I was in high school in Circleville, Ohio my science project was on honeybees. I had the opportunity of knowing an apiary who lived fairly close to us. He was willing to teach me everything I needed to know and allowed me to use his equipment and even gave me an inside bees hive that I kept in my bedroom closet. Now this decision limited a lot of my friends from spending the night. But not Betty McManes! Since this project lasted a long time she was able to spend many nights with me and we would go off to sleep with the soothing sounds of the bees happily humming away. One time I had them outside in the driveway and some of them escaped, but luckily I was able to catch the queen bee and bang pans together and the others followed her back to their hive. Many years later my daughter, Heather Atkinson, had to do a science project and, you guessed it, she did the honey bee project as well. During the fair some of the boys thought it would be fun to open the hive and let the bees get out! Well, get out they did and they were on everything! Covering all the other kids exhibits so the school called and Heather and I carefully gathered them up and put them back in their home. The bees were very docile so it was easy to do, but during the rest of the fair we had to have someone stay and guard the hive. Both times this meant an “A” for the class and I even got to go to the state competition and that was fun too.  From everything I’ve read the honey from the bees not only tastes good but it’s good for you. Especially if you eat honey made in your area it helps with allergies.  I use it to sweeten my tea and it’s great on peanut butter sandwiches. The last time I was in West Virginia, David Yaussy, had on the table during our meal a jar of honey sitting with the cornbread. I had never had it that way but when I tried it, it has not been the last time. It’s great that way. So experiment with honey! It’s good for you and helps with your sweet tooth craving!🐝

Note: Andrea Hinds is the daughter of Betty McManes Payne and she now has honeybees of her own. Isn’t it funny how things in life come full circle?

Easter/ Mother’s Holiday Egg Casserole

image.jpegEaster in our home was very important because of the Christian meaning behind it. We grew up knowing how Jesus sacrificed his life for us. We went to church and Sunday school wearing our new Easter dresses including Easter bonnets and shiny new shoes. We sang all the familiar  songs telling us of how Jesus arose from the dead and how that big heavy rock in front of the tomb just rolled away. They were happy songs and the choir always did such a good job after practicing for months preparing for this glorious day. Often mother would be playing the piano or organ and daddy would be up on stage with his Hawaiian electric guitar. Spring flowers including Easter lilies were everywhere. Sometimes my sister and I would have singing duets and as the years went by our voices improved and we could sound like the Lennon sisters the way our voices blended. It must have something to do with being related. That mysterious bunny must have gotten the solid chocolate rabbits and chicks from our paternal grandfather since he was a chocolate candy maker because it sure did have that Brevard Candy Kitchen taste. With Easter Sunday being so busy mother would make this egg casserole ahead of time so she could pop it in the oven and everyone would help themselves to breakfast. Basically you lightly scramble eggs in one skillet and make a chip beef gravy with or without mushrooms in another skillet. Layer the gravy with the eggs in the middle put it in the refrigerator  or freezer and it’s ready when you are.image.jpeg

The Christian Gentleman I Knew As My Daddy/ Date Shakes 


Rev. P. Lewis Brevard

There are so many fun and good things that I will  say of our “Daddy”, Paul Lewis Brevard. He was the only child of Joel and Callie Brevard, born with a separated lip and cleft palate. But his parents made sure he never felt sorry for himself, and they did a good job of this, too. He told me that on his first day of junior high, kids were making fun of him and he went home crying day after day until his father told him enough was enough! My grandfather, Pap as I called him, said “you come home one more day crying, I’m going to spank you hard enough you’ll have something real to cry about.” So the next day when he went to school and the same teasing happened, he knew he had to take care of things for himself. So he did. He gathered up all the courage he could muster and tore into the boy who was doing the most teasing!! When my dad did this with all he had, he won the fight. And he said from then on, that boy became his best friend, and he never had to fight again because his friend would do it for him. With that hurdle behind him he could concentrate on other things he enjoyed. He found out he had a natural talent for playing the guitar, and play he did. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could hear his music from one end of the city to other. The more he played the better he became. He could play by ear and read the notes. He played in high school and college, forming groups and traveling to Cuba and other foreign countries. He even played at the Grand Ole Opry with other guitar greats like Chet Atkins. Once he was asked to be in Hank Williams band, but he chose to go the Christian route instead .


The trio is Barney Pierce, Buford Cruise, Lewis Brevard

He was always happy and loved to play jokes on people. On his 21st birthday he was standing at the bottom of his parents stairs calling up to them saying, “Mom, Dad there’s a man down here!! Hurry!!” His father came running down the stairs, past my dad, looking franticly and turned back to asked my dad, where ? My Dad said pointing to himself, “right here, Dad. I became a man today.”

After college in N.Y. he went to Cincinnati, Ohio to God’s Bible School, and that’s where he met my mother. She had heard him play on the radio when she was in high school in West Virgina, and when she heard him again she remarked to a friend how much she enjoyed his music. The girl said, “I know him and he’s playing right now at the radio station. Would you like to go meet him?” Well, you already know her answer, and meet him she did!  They eventually married and moved to Circleville, Ohio where he managed the printing office for the Churches of Christ in Christian Union. Along with this, he continued to play his guitar as much as he could, going from church to church all over Ohio, Indiana and Illinois and sometimes to several other states as well. We as a family would go along with him and sing and mom would play the piano. This was a fun family activity we enjoyed together for many, many years.

Through the years Dad would get the chance to work in Washinton, DC, for the government printing office, and we almost moved there. But after doing this job for awhile he decided it would be better for us kids to grow up in Circleville, Ohio so he returned to the publishing department there. He also was given the chance to work in Columbus for the Weekly Reader and enjoyed that until they wanted him to move to Connecticut. He had grown up in a large city, Pittsburgh, Pa. and now enjoyed the smaller city life. So again, he turned that down. He was a happy man and I think the decisions he made through his life came with a lot of prayer first.

Paul Lewis Brevard, Lew to most people, was known as a Christian Gentleman who wore a black hat with his suit, had a song in his heart and a joke in his pocket.image

In 1946 when Mom and dad were on their honeymoon in Southern California, they drove by this quaint little place called Orange Inn. They were advertising “date milkshakes”. Who had ever heard of that unless you lived in California? Immediately they drove in and drank one! It became my Dad’s favorite milk shake forever.image

 A date farmer in Southern California created it in 1930. It is very tasty and very rich so you don’t need a large one! For your information, every year in Indio, California in February there is a date festival, featuring, of course, date shakes! Anyone want to go? Let me know and we’ll go together.

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The Third Week Of October



Every year my home town of Circleville, Ohio is like “Brigadoon”. When growing up the Pumpkin Show would take a few days to set up, not to mention the months before for all the clubs and churches to get their foods and arts and crafts prepared. The floats alone took weeks but I’ve never seen parades better and I’ve lived in several other cities and states. The rides are exciting and the smells make your mouth water. It’s truly a homecoming where families and friends can once again meet and walk the streets and eat till you think you’re going to pop. The many different creations made from pumpkin will blow your mind!  And  each year a new one is introduced. You can start with pumpkin pancakes in the morning and end with pumpkin pie at night. All day the pumpkin burgers, pumpkin soups and many more pumpkin concoctions will keep you from being hungry. And there are exhibites from one end of the town to the other. Contests to see who made the best pie or cake or who grew the best and biggest pumpkin. Or the winner of the prettiest quilt. Even the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts get to show their talents. But come Sunday morning as we would drive to church, it was all gone! Not even a napkin blowing in the crisp fall air. How did they do that?  It has grown a lot since then and it may not be all gone as it was, but as a child you’d wonder, was all that festivity really there just a day ago?


The thrill of Pumpkin Show goes on the whole month of October/Pumpkin pork sandwiches and pumpkin soup 

 Mother, Anna Lee Brevard, had lived in Circleville, Ohio since about 1950 and had seen the Pumpkin Show parades every year. She had helped many times with preparations like when the Girl Scouts and Brownie troops walked in the parades and she helped her children get ready. When I was Miss Circleville in 1966 she was instrumental in finding me a car from the Moats car dealership to ride on the front of during the parade.  She also helped any student who asked and many times put in hours when her church had a float in the parade. So it only seemed fitting when she was 80 and had never been in the parade herself to let her have this thrill. Mom was so willing to carry our dog, Chief Jack, in the pet parade. She said she couldn’t walk that far so we used a wheel chair from Hands For The Disabled, bless their hearts! And since some of Mom’s heritage is Indian it all seemed appropriate. We all dressed up as an Indian tribe and took turns pushing her. She waved to every student as she saw them and was extremely proud to be a part of the Circleville Pumpkin Show. She came in second place as I remember, to boot!

Here are a couple of her favorite Pumpkin Show recipes.

   This pumpkin soup is like a bisque. It’s so smooth and creamy and the delicate taste of pumpkin is perfect. Top with sour cream and add a touch of sherry if you dare. This recipe came from the page 51 from the Pumpkin Show cook book printed in 1975.