Archive for children cooking

Trinkets, Stones and Bones

Posted in Duke's Stories, poems with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2015 by dukex

What is the value of a dirty Cat-eye marble or a half melted toy army man? If you think Zero$$$ you could be right. Unless of course these items had a story projected on them by the one who possesses them. Their value may increase depending on where they are found or who owned them in the past. There is no shortage of trinkets, stones or bones so they can’t be more valued because of their rarity. Yet as family and friends we are compelled to collect such items and  pile them in delicate and loving arraignments along road-sides across America.

When I was walking in the early spring I came across this  sacred monument and was moved by its simple reverence.

074A sad memorial to the loss of children along the shore-line at the mouth of the Columbia river.


078Faces of toys and trusted friends that in the past had a comforting smile stitched on them, now were faded and drawn down by years of rain.  To me these object represented extreme expense and were placed here by broken hearts and trembling hands. Here lies what was once a Dollar store toy to help a restless child make it to the next stop on a day of errands now stands guard over a Geo-location that staged an event which, for someone, changed the world.

I’ve been paying more attention to such places lately and now see them more often.  Many are just a blur on the side of the road  where they denote a spot where at once, time stood still and trails ended. Some are kept fresh like a celebrity grave-site and others fade rapidly. Few grow and expand into more.044While I was speeding along traveling for an out-of-town job, something caught my eye. Brakes were activated and some gravel did spray. Looking out my window I could see what looked like a parade of colorful flags blowing back and forth, waving me to come closer. When my feet hit the gravel I noticed some coins mixed in and reached down to collect them, thinking it was my lucky day,  I poked the coins into my pocket with my other change. I then climbed the small grade through the scrub brush and empty beer bottles.045I was halted at the gate by a centennial that look me up and down before my entrance was granted. I was thrilled with its many trinkets and I started to see things that to someone, were once objects of great personal value.

048Somehow this seemed to be more than a one-time memorial. This area is part of the great Yakima Nation. But now suffers the installment of a paved highway and speed limit signs that stoically holler their commands. 055

001I’m not sure how much time I stood there and gazed at all the trinkets, stones and bones?  I did notice more coins on the ground and as I bent to pick them up something spoke to my soul. I realized this is not a place where one comes and takes things, no it’s a place where things must be brought and left. I was genuinely moved and before I slipped through the barbed wire I reached into my pocket and pulled out all the money I had and tossed it back. In doing so I felt I had added to the validity of the place and moment. I hope this is more than a Native American marker and now belongs to all who seek it’s offerings. I considered asking the local people  what this place is about, but I don’t think I really want to. I know what it means to me and think of it often, imagining fanciful reasons that had led to its establishment.

Today I was reminded of this place again. It happened when I was traveling through my old home town, The Dalles Oregon. When passing, I often like to drive through my old neighborhood. This time I had remembered that my brother Darrel suggested I stop and visit our old family friend and babysitter. Her name is Francis Lee and she had two boys. Bobby and Jimmy Lee. Jimmy Lee was Darrel’s best friend when we still lived there. Bobby and Jimmy both died way to young (Jimmy at age 19 passed due to complications of  Muscular Dystrophy). Francis is a longtime widow and still lives in the same home.  Because of Muscular Dystrophy Jimmy wore leg braces for a time and then was bound to a wheelchair. As kids we would take Jimmy into the back lot and spend hours setting up toy army men and wage battles with the carpenter ants as if they were an alien race from outer space.

Visiting was pleasant and I asked her about her new kitchen and if the laundry room was still downstairs. She said yes and joked about how she throws the dirty clothes down to the bottom of the stairs, when the pile builds up to a load she goes down and picks them up to be washed. She told me how she has a garden now in the back lot and she spends a good deal of time there during the growing season, and then she said something that pulled at my heart and clarified my thoughts on how seemingly unimportant objects can be a marker for the life of a loved one.

She said,”Every so often when I’m out in the garden turning the soil…  …a marble or an army man will pop up.”

Once cheep toys to be trodden under foot, now trinkets of peace and comfort.

I didn’t ask to see the jar of her precious trinkets, but I knew she had it…

We hugged and I took her picture.    Francis

Coming Soon:  “The Tree of Dash”



On Your Knees

Posted in art, Cooking Tips, Duke's Stories, Duke's Cooking Stories, Duke's Recipes, Handyman Tips, Kitchen Shop Tools, poems with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2014 by dukex

Cookies and Milk

The One Time I Kicked My Uncle Bud’s Ass

Posted in Duke's Cooking Stories with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by dukex

You know it’s quite fitting for my cousin, Lorelle of Lorelle on WordPress, to share in my cooking passion. She was actually present for one of my first culinary experiments.

My Uncle Bud and his son, Loren West, snuggle on the couch in the 1960s.I’d say the year was 1967 and I was ten years old. My cousin Lorelle and her brother Loren were visiting with their dad, (my Uncle Bud). After my father had passed away two years earlier my Uncle Bud would visit from Lake Stevens, Washington, to help my widowed mother. Mostly he’d kick me and my older brother’s asses for being the little trouble making rats that we were.

One particular afternoon, my two cousins and I were playing outside and decided we were hungry. Being the capable child that I was, I took them into the kitchen to make us peanut butter sandwiches. Our house was in The Dalles Oregon and was built in the mid 40’s. It was a small three bedroom, full basement track home common to that neighborhood and period. The kitchen was small to say the least. It had a door out to the backyard and across from it a door to the basement. The plywood cabinets were a multi-layer of white paint. The counter tops were some kind of composite linoleum, red with fancy sparkles scattered about the surface. The counter edges were a banded chrome strip etched with parallel dark lines.

It was probably a week earlier when in that very same kitchen I learned about food coloring. My mother was working on some sort of baking project and showed me the transformative magic of just a few drops.

As I was pulling out the bread, peanut butter and knife. I spied the food coloring on the cabinet shelf. I had a revelation! I could take this edible and very safe ingredient and mix it into the peanut butter. I was a genius. A true star among kids. The spectacle of seeing me mix the peanut butter into a dark blue paste was pure entertainment to my younger cousins. I carefully spread this new and mystical blue goo evenly on three slices of saintly white bread, then divvied them out.

In a flash we were jetting out of the kitchen and zipping through the living room. Had our mouths not been stuffed with dark blue peanut butter, we would have been squealing with joy. We almost made it to the front door and out to the safety of the yard when I heard my Uncle Bud Scream. “What the Hell”!

We all screeched to a stop and slowly turned to face him.

With his eyes bugged out about as far as any adult could possibly bug out their own eyes the scream turned into, “Oh My #@!%$&! What have you fed my kids?”

Our faces were frozen with fear and our hearts were trembling. I slowly looked over at my cousin Loren and saw his face smeared with this greasy blue paste.

I can only now as a parent myself begin to understand the horror that was going through his mind. When I think about how our faces must have looked. Any sane person could only surmise that we all had just eaten some sort of gasket sealer or toxic epoxy.

As you can imagine I tried to explain to him that it was only harmless blue peanut butter but it took several minutes before I was able to speak. Our leftover portions were quickly snatched from our mitts and I was soundly informed that I was never to feed another thing to my cousins… I sometimes like to think… this was the one time I had kicked my Uncle Bud’s ass.

I love you Uncle Bud and I miss you…