One of the things I like most about the Christmas season is hearing from friends. I have friends who send cards and notes before Christmas and those I know will send letters after the New Year.
One friend I enjoy corresponding with is Ella Ruth Moultrie.
She and I were classmates at Booker Washington Heights Elementary. She was not always a part of our neighborhood, but her grandmother Susie Thomas was.
Mrs. Susie was quite a lady and lived on the corner at the end of Beaumont Avenue, where the school sat on Grant Street. She was a highly respected lady, so my classmates and I expected the same from Ella Ruth — but no such luck. Ella Ruth was quite the opposite, and we learned our place as we accepted her in our classroom. Even the boys in the class learned when to tease her and when to just let her have her way.
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Ella Ruth left our neighborhood for a few years and returned when we were sixth-graders. She learned that being a member of our class was not so bad after all. After a few more bruises from the locals, she became mellow and mild.
During adulthood, she would leave and return and leave and return our hometown. But when her mother moved to the neighborhood and as our parents aged, we bonded in our support for them and in our understanding of what caregiving is all about.
Among the gifts I received this past Christmas were notecards created by my friend Dr. Minuette Floyd. The two of us share the love of many things: travel, jewelry-making, talking and writing to friends. At one time, the joy of my life was visiting the post office in whatever city I resided. Now my goal is to make sure there is something to be mailed from my residence daily.
Letter-writing should not become a lost art. I made a few resolutions for 2017 and writing more letters is one of them. I am not one to journal, but I am one to correspond with friends on paper. My goal is to write two letters each day this year. If I can keep the pace, I will have written more than 700 letters during the year.
It is not important to get a letter in return, but it is important that I stay in touch with friends, some of whom I’ve had since elementary school and some I’ve just recently met.
Penmanship is no longer valued. As I write, I can remember my second-grade teacher taking us from printing to cursive, demonstrating just how to hold a pencil. When that was mastered, we learned how to use a fountain pen. We also learned to write on line-less paper and how to fold a sheet of paper for a business envelope and how to fold for a regular envelope. I suppose those are skills no longer needed with today’s technology.
When I receive a letter from a friend, it warms my heart, and I hope I do the same for them. Today I share recipes with you that I hope likewise bring you comfort.
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.
Oven French Fries
4 large white potatoes
8 cups ice water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Scrub potatoes and cut into long strips. Place potato strips into ice water; cover and chill for 1 hour or longer. Remove potato strips and dry thoroughly. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place garlic powder, onion powder, salt, white pepper, allspice and pepper flakes in a plastic bag. Brush potatoes with oil. Toss potatoes in spice mixture. Place potatoes in a nonstick shallow baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking uncovered for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn fries occasionally to brown on all sides.
1 quart oysters
1 quart milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Heat milk and oysters in separate pots. Combine when hot. Add butter and Tabasco. Keep hot until oysters shrink a little. Do not boil.
Zippy Waldorf Salad
4 apples, cored and chopped
2/3 cup seedless red grapes, cut in halves
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup plain yogurt
Combine all ingredients; cover and chill until time to serve.