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In my column for the past several years, I have written about Memorial Day from several viewpoints. I have shared memories of my own family’s activities including visits to family gravesites not only at St. Ignatius where my sister, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are buried, but also to cemeteries in Grayson County where my grandmother’s family is buried. Mike and I have carried on his family’s tradition and already have been to St. Ignatius and will go to St. Clare and Lebanon Junction City Cemetery this weekend.
I also have written and given you recipes for celebrating Memorial Day either on the weekend or on the actual Memorial Day in years past. I also honored two friends who were in Iraq and Afghanistan with their activities during the time of that column.
But today, I want to honor not only our veterans and our active duty soldiers, but the unsung heroes, the spouses who are left behind to maintain as much of a normal life as possible for their children and other family members left behind. I have asked one such spouse, a lady left behind to care for her children and to maintain some normalcy in life.
She and her husband are from Pennsylvania and her husband has been in the military for many years. He has been reassigned to the East Coast and she and the children stayed behind to sell their house. She shared with me how much the kids miss him and how much he misses them, especially in everyday activities.
In her words: “As we celebrate Memorial Day this week, it is a time to remember fallen soldiers, heroes and loved ones. It is a time to gather for families to enjoy a patriotic day as well as some good food and fun. During this time we honor our military members both past and present. However, we also should remember the difficult times that military family members have endured. From the days of the Civil War, through World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam to the present, military families pay the price for duty as well. It is a true challenge on the home front to keep family units together, sometimes during difficult financial times. At times there are months and years families go without seeing a parent or spouse during deployments. Geographic separations of families due to military service in these challenging times are not always understood by those outside of the military.”
I also asked this military wife to share with you some of her favorite Memorial Day weekend recipes. Maybe you can tuck them away for next Memorial Day or save them for July Fourth or Labor Day.
I hope you had a memorable Memorial Day weekend, but let’s remember our military members, past and present all year long. Recently, while at Churchill Downs as the national anthem was played, one very well-dressed lady shouted, “God bless the USA” and we should all be thinking the same. God bless the USA.
Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at email@example.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.
Mom’s Strawberry Fruit Dressing
1-10oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed, drained and crushed
2/3 cup mayonnaise
8-ounce cup strawberry yogurt
Combine first two ingredients and then fold in yogurt. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Serve over fruit.
Aunt Patti’s Barley Casserole
2/3 cup pine nuts
¼ cup margarine, divided
2 cups pearl barley
1 cup sliced green onions
7 cups chicken broth
Sauté nuts in 2 tablespoons margarine until toasted. Remove from pan. Sauté barley and onions in the remaining margarine in the same skillet until the onions are tender and the barley is lightly toasted. Add broth, then stir in nuts and pour into a 13” x 9” baking dish. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until barley is tender. Serves 8-10
Aunt Irene’s Cole Slaw
1 Tablespoon sour cream
2 Tablespoon Miracle Whip
1 Tablespoon sugar
Mix first three ingredients and then add to grated cabbage. You can make as much or as little as you needed.
Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.