Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas News 
From a Most Remarkable Friend Who Celebrates Her NINETY-FIRST Birthday in January!

Independent, happy, pretty and productive at age 90

Dear, FT,

Had a "productive" Christmas day!  Spent the morning roasting a 10.5 lb. turkey stuffed only with orange, apple, onion and a rosemary branch; placed on a rack, which was placed on rim of a shallow roasting pan and contained sliced onion, celery, carrot etc. in at least 5 c of water and white wine.  This resulted in a moist turkey along with a very tasty and cream colored gravy!  (I tried to color it with Maggi but more than two dashes would have made it much too salty! and the two only made it a little less anemic.  But it was good!)

Always before I'd stuffed it, but this time the dressing was en casserole.  It was good too –– made with Ciabatta I'd made in the bread machine, cubed –– including chewy crusts –– and toasted in the oven and combined with all the other traditional ingredients.  It was also delicious; but I do like dressing from the bird.

With all the moisture beneath, I didn't have to baste so was free to go help distribute the gift bags (sponsored by the Methodist Church) we'd made –– EIGHTY of them! –– to residents of the rest home in town.  Fortunately there were enough volunteers so that I could return home and collapse before going to dinner!

Janet, our new neighbor, had been the instigator and guiding light for the aforementioned project,

I "plated" the turkey on a lovely large wooded Dansk tray (that I'd gotten years ago at a church fair), decorated it with holly and berries Bill Peters had brought a few days ago for me to decorate the mantle –– which I've not yet gotten around to doing! –– but it made the platter look very festive. 

We squeezed into the car, with the turkey on my lap, and drove to the end of our road, and had a lovely evening with Janet and Steve Anton our new neighbors.  They moved in just a few days before last Christmas and have been so helpful and thoughtful ever since.  We are lucky.  (Janet made all the rest of the dinner.)  We are both recovering slowly ...

And that's probably "more than you wanted to know about penguins!" as Mamma used to say.

What did you do?


[NOTE: Karen is the wife of my lifelong friend and mentor, J. Erwin Solomon. Both of these remarkable people turn 91 in January, and both are still living independently in the custom-designed mountaintop home they built nearly forty years ago on 120 acres not far from the Great Smokey Mountains.]


  1. The woman must have limitless energy!

    Both of these remarkable people turn 91 in January, and both are still living independently in the custom-designed mountaintop home they built nearly forty years ago on 120 acres not far from the Great Smokey Mountains.

    Oh, to be that hale and hardy right now at my age! And I'm not yet 62.

    Having Tammy Swofford here as a house guest for a few days has been wonderful. Such good times! But with all the activities that we've been engaging in, I've really been feeling older than this time last year. I would not have aged so rapidly if not for that car accident I had in 2005 and this ongoing caregiving that I've been doing since 2009.

    But I'm not complaining: Christmas 2013 has been our best Christmas ever!

  2. Good morning, AOW!

    My mountaintop friends may be unusual, but they have had their share of trouble too, I assure you.

    He had a bad heart attack at age 62, and underwent quadruple bypass surgery he following year. The whole event was made more complicated and difficult, because the surgeon and hospital were located about seventy miles away, and recovery period was not easy.

    HOWEVER, he went on to enjoy some of the greatest triumphs of his career , which has never ended. I think I already mentioned that these dear people gave a full-length concert to a packed house for a nearby Steinway distributor less than a year ago, and are planning soon to give another!

    When you see the post for New Year's Day, you will understand even better why I draw so much inspiration from super-annuated individuals who have never given up on life, despite many difficult, -- even horrifying -- setbacks.

    You may not fully understand how very remarkable YOU are, AOW. All of us get tired and feel terrible more often than we'd like to admit, but if there's a "trick" to living well, it is to cultivate determined optimism, and always make sure you have something worthwhile to look forward to -- even if its just reading a book you always wanted to read, but never had time for before.

    My friend "Karen" (not her real name, of course) would be the last person to think she was "remarkable," but she is. The letter published today is exactly as she wrote it, except for the necessary name changes, of course.

    I am VERY glad you and your husband had such a gratifying Christmas. Good experiences make for good memories, and I can tell you as an "aged," individual, myself, that fond memories can be very sustaining -- even inspiring -- as time wears on.

    It doesn't matter how LONG we live, only how WELL.


  3. And that's probably "more than you wanted to know about penguins!"


  4. Yes, Thersites, not only is she aged, but indomitable, she's also managed to keep her sense of humor intact.

    Pretty rare, I'd say!



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