Saturday, December 31, 2011

For Auld Lang Syne

Tis another year gone by, it went in the blink of eye.  As is our New Year's Tradition, we went to the movies to see Sherlock Holmes and then dinner at the Oasis.  Parke loves their chicken parm.  Anyway - ever wonder about the song Auld Lang Syne. Well I did - and here is what I found.

The poet, Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man". Some of the lyrics were indeed "collected" rather than composed by the poet; the ballad "Old Long Syne" printed in 1711 by James Watson shows considerable similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burns' later poem, and is almost certainly derived from the same "old song". It is a fair to guess that the rest of the poem Burns himself wrote.

There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used in Scotland and in the rest of the world.

Singing the song on  New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo (gosh I remember watching him every New Years Eve with my Grandmother, that was BDC, Before Dick Clark) is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year’s celebrations in America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and television, beginning in 1929. The song became his trademark. In addition to his live broadcasts, Lombardo recorded the song more than once.

Here is the best part - here in the song phonetically written as the Scots would of pronounced it -

Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an nivir brocht ti mynd?
Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an ald lang syn*?
Fir ald lang syn, ma jo (or ma dear), fir ald lang syn, wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet, fir ald lang syn.
An sheerly yil bee yur pynt-staup!
an sheerly al bee myn!
An will tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.
We twa hay rin aboot the braes,
an pood the gowans fyn;      (what?)
Bit weev wandert monae a weery fet,
sin ald lang syn.
We twa hay pedilt in the burn,
fray mornin sun til dyn;
But seas between us bred hay roard
sin ald lang syn.
An thers a han, my trustee feer!
an gees a han o thyn!
And we’ll tak a richt gude-willie-waucht,
fir ald lang syn.
An wit that it a nodder day in Catasauqua fir auld lang syn -   Happy New Year to you!!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas is over

Well, another Christmas is over.  It started like every Christmas, my mom more excited about Christmas than me.  I am sure she was up at 5:00 AM and she was secretly wishing I would get up so she could open her presents.  If she was sending me wake up vibes it worked because I had my clock set for 7pm instead of  AM but I woke up anyway.  So we opened presents and had some laughs.  She likes her sock monkey hat, I made her wear it to church. 

Then after Church it was home again and waiting for the grandchildren.  That's always a whirl.  I was worried I didn't get them enough, but they seemed to be enjoying everything I got them, and now I even think Bey Blades are cool.

After they were gone it was quiet, too quiet perhaps.  My mom retreated to her room and Parke was asleep snoring way to loud for me to enjoy TV so I retreated to my bedroom for perhaps my favorite and most unusual Christmas Movie, Bell, Book and Candle with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. 

The film opens during the Christmas holiday season. Greenwich Village Witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak)  a free spirit with a penchant for going barefoot, has been unlucky in love and restless in life. Beside Stewart and Novak, it also stars Jack Lemmon, Hermoine Gingold, Elsa Lanchaster and Ernie Kovaks.

After that movie I watched Elf.  I found out that RCN has Holiday movies on Video On Demand, and I  see that Scrooged is on there, and I haven't seen that one yet this year, so that might be next.

I feel a little bit melancholy, the holiday is over, I am tired and perhaps a little burned out.  It always seems like so much work for one day. 

I was reminded today that I might think Christmas is difficult with a family - it can even more difficult without.  The thing is - if we believe in Christmas, then we are all of the same family.

Oh, there is one thing, I also believe in Santa, I swear with my hand to God that once I saw sleigh prints and reindeer hoof prints outside my window when I was a kid.  This morning I work up with a strange mark on my face.  I believe this Grandma might of got run over by a reindeer last night and that just might have been an incriminating hoof print.  Just saying.

Well Merry Christmas to you.  I am gonna settle down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and toast the Baby Jesus.  Happy Birthday Big Guy.

And with's another (Christmas) Day in Catasauqua.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Day

This morning we were having breakfast at Oasis when a couple came in and sat down across from us.  The lady looked over and smiled a big grin at me and I just smiled back, then I remembered, I was in my usual holiday festive dress, green shirt, with red scarf, giant green lightbulb earrings and since I didn't do my hair yet, a Christmas headband. 

If you know me, or even have read this blog lately you know I am quite festive.  I just finished a batch of chocolate chip cookies, I have overdosed on Hallmark and ABC Family movies, wrapped all the presents and am ready for the Holiday to begin.  But there is one thing you might not know.  I don't really like Christmas.

I love what it stands for, the Baby Jesus, God's everlasting gift to us.  I enjoy church, and it is because of this that I make it through the holidays.  You see, as a child the holidays were glossy on the outside but inside not so much.  I couldn't understand as a little child what was going on.  Christmas was quite the party at my Grandparent's house where I grew up.  It was full of people Christmas Night and later on Christmas Day.  Every year I did the same thing Christmas morning, creeping down the stairs  really, really slow and then I would see it.  All the toys.  Mine were never wrapped, they were out displayed like a store.  I would look at everything, usually by myself.  No one every got up to much much later. 

As I watch Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase last night, I realized that's more of what Christmas was like at my house.  Every Christmas eve I would hear fighting and shouting when I was little and in bed.  One year there was a lot of cursing, I wanted to come down to see what was going on, but my Grandmother made me go back to bed.  She said my grandfather had just cut himself.  Yeah, on my stove and kitchen set for Christmas.  You know it was made of metal back then, not the nice plastic of today.  When I got older and stayed up later, I found the fighting and shouting was real fighting and shouting.  It seemed to me, that if you combine Christmas, family and lot of beer, that's what you get. 

Gee, I was cute, notice the metal kitchen set to my right
There were some memorable moments.   The year I got a plastic guitar that my Grandfather thought he could play and ended up cutting himself up horribly and bleeding everywhere.  The year my Grandmother pulled a butcher knife on my Aunt's boyfriend.  Actually that's a fond memory, still makes me laugh, he said to her - go ahead I'll piss on your grave when you dead, ah the joy of Christmas Spirit. There was the year I woke up to find a relative asleep next to my presents, found out later she was thrown out of her house Christmas Eve, lots of fighting there to.    When I got older I learned to leave Christmas eve. 

One special Christmas Eve, I got engaged.  Bless Big Bob, he did make it special, it was a scavenger hunt all over his house ending with an engagement ring during the annual Werner Christmas Party.  What a special and happy night it was,  that is until I got home.  My grandmother (already two sheets to the wind)  accused me of having a planned engagement party at the Werner's and then promptly took a ring I had been wearing that she gave me for graduation, saying I didn't need it now.  I always say that I got nothing for my 13th & 16th birthdays, Confirmation and Graduation, because she took it all back whenever she was mad at me.  I got the last laugh though, I got most of it back after she died.

Speaking of that, a few years ago we discovered that my Grandmother was sick on Thanksgiving.  I told my cousin Sandy at the time, watch she will die on Christmas just to spite me.  Well, you guessed it she died on Christmas Eve and don't tell me she didn't plan it that way.  Just kidding I know she didn't well maybe I don't.

I know my bff,  Cathy,  is saying right now, Bev get over it, and I do after Christmas, and there are good memories to of this day.  I am blessed with wonderful Grandchildren - two of which were born 3 days after my grandmother died, making a sad time bright.  And even though I always feel a terrible foreboding this day I shove it back, and deck the hall with boughs of holly.   I wear the santa hat and read the Night Before Christmas.

But I know, most of all, that I am loved, and their is a light that shines bright in the darkness of the night this night even more than most, and that is the Baby Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate.  And I will tear up during Silent Night this year as I do every year and Christmas Spirit will fill my heart and make all the hurt just a memory again. 

So Merry Christmas, and if you have bad memories of this day, shove them back and make some good ones, Lord knows I try, and so should you and that's another day in Catasauqua.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's about Christmas

As I was sucked into Hallmark Movie Channel land last night, it got me thinking about Christmas Movies and televisions specials.  I love Christmas movies and I have been watching my share.  I have a TV on the third floor, so whenever I go up there to wrap presents I turn on Hallmark, Lifetime or ABCFamily.  I got all my wrapping finally done to "Annie Claus is Coming to Town" (loved it).  I also loved "Christmas Magic".

But let's not forget those kids shows, Prep and Landing is my new favorite. 

Now, let's take a moment to remember some holiday fun from the past.

1964 - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians -  1989 - Prancer (which ABC Family still shows) -  1961-Babes in Toyland (With Annette Funicello)  -  1977  Fat Albert's Christmas Special -  1978 - Twas the Night Before Christmas (from Rankin/Bass - its where the clock doesn't work) -  1977 - Bing Crosby's 42nd Annual Christmas Special (the one with David Bowie)  - 1977 - A Flintstone's Christmas - 1954 - White Christmas (MY FAVORITE and the best was seeing up at the Roxy in Northampton a couple of years ago on the big screen) 1979 - John Denver and the Muppets:  A Christmas Together  - 1962 - Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (gosh I loved that one) - 1970 - Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Fred Astaire tells the story - we have the Burgermeister and the Winter Warlock in this one)  1988 Scrooged (with Bill Murray - I love this one to - I haven't caught it this year yet) - 1969 - Frosty the Snowman -  1962 Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (both Frosty and Rudolph still shown today)  1966 - How the Grinch stole Christmas - and the best 1965 - A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

It's hard to believe that Frosty, Charlie, Rudy, and the Grinch are all over 40 years old. 

And let's not forget those Mc Donald's commericals that featured Ronald that always made us cry. <heavy sigh>

Well, I guess that's enough memories for now, but like Frosty "I'll be back again someday".....and that's another day in Catasauqua.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Grandmother's Cookie Recipe

Every year my Grandmother baked tons of cookies and stored them is really large cans and gave them as gifts during the holidays. I still carry on that tradition.  When she passed away a few years ago I was given her cook book where she wrote her recipes in. 

First let me tell you that the book is actually an account book which was to be used as a cash or day book journal.  So I find humor in that fact that she wrote in the front cover.  These are all very good receipts (instead of the word recipe)  She then wrote "This is grand-daughter Beverly receipt book after me."  HOWEVER, when she was mad at me once, she erased my name out of the book, then put someone else in, then erased them and put me back in.  Ah....fond family memories.

Anyway some of these receipts, oops recipes are really old, and sometimes use ingredients that I am not sure about.  A great example is the following recipe for - as she wrote it - A piece Christmas Cookies.  Actually Apees cookies are a cookie from the Philadelphia area and are of German, or Pennsylvania Dutch origins. 

So here it is:

1 cup of butter and 1 cup of Lard
2 lbs of Sugar
1 Large Can of Everyday Milk
2 teaspoons of soda
4 eggs
Pinch of salt, add flour to roll (which turns out to be a 5 pound bag roughly)   This must be rolled out and cut with cookie cutter.  Makes  1/2 to 1 can of cookies.

Let me tell you about the cans she used, they were huge potato chip cans (I still have one in the basement)  It makes a ton of cookies.  What I like about them, besides the taste is that they are easy to roll.  They make a thick cut out - they puff a little while baking.

Well all my cookies are packed up and ready to give away, but there are also some saved for Christmas Morning.  Plus I have one more batch to bake, chocolate chip that I will make Christmas Eve morning, for some reason we go through them fast.  Well, that's.....another day in Catasauqua.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies

I love to make cookies at Christmas.  It's practically a winter hobby.  Everyone has their favorites.  Parke loves my Chocolate Chips.  A few of my friends from Church and I love the famous "Better than Sex Cookies" which are white chocolate macadamia nut.  Missy, my daughter-in-law's sister likes chocolate with peanut butter chips. 

I just got done making up my own recipe for a new cookie.  This was something my Grandmother did a lot, but it's a first for me.  I haven't named the cookie yet, but it is a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips and then I dipped them in chocolate!  I haven't tasted them yet, they are cooling, so I don't even know if they are worthy of naming yet.  But if they are I  will have to remember to write the recipe down.

So here's what I made tons of Chocolate Chip cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Shortbreads, 2 different kinds of roll outs -  WAIT -SIDE NOTE - I just ate the chocolate chocolate cookie (before dipping it into the extra chocolate), OMG - its good - Parke says it doesn't even need the extra chocolate - but I said I wanted to make this one an event - not just a cookie.  Later I will try the cookie with the extra chocolate.

Any way where was I - oh yes, Peppermint Crunch cookies, Sugar Cookies. the Better than Sex Cookies, Chocolate with Peanut Butter Chips, Snickerdoodles,  and Forgotten Cookies. 

Well - time for me to finish up, and then to start packing up cookies for gifts.  If you are on my list, you'll be getting some, and if not......that's another day in Catasauqua

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Lovely Tradition

Once upon a time, 3 lovely ladies, all teachers of Sunday School started a tradition that lasts until today.  Those three ladies entered their chariots and travelled over the river and through traffic until they reached the establishment of one called Perkins, and partaked of meal early in the morn.  At that time they discussed the Christmas Holiday and the play that the little children of the hamlet of Salem would put on for the fine towns folk. 

Now, more than 20 years later, 2 of the ladies, still lovely they are and haven't aged a bit, travel again to the same fine establishment along with anyone from the choir of Salem in the early morn this Saturday.

I love traditions and the holidays are packed with them.

We have, at my house, an unusual meal Christmas Eve and that is cheesesteaks that I make before going to Christmas Eve service.  It came from a sad event a few years ago.  My grandmother passed away Christmas Eve and the next day we really did not feel like preparing a Christmas Dinner, so I made cheesesteaks, because everytime I would ask Parke over the past years what he wanted for Christmas Dinner he would say "cheesesteaks". 

Your traditions may be a simple as hanging the stockings or attending Christmas services.  It could be reading the Night Before Christmas or from the Gospel of Luke.  Maybe you walk through the streets of Catasauqua singing Christmas Carols.

Even if you are alone I believe in traditions.  Don't let this Christmas slip by without dabbing into a little tradition from your past.  One time, a few years ago I was alone on Christmas morning, but there was a package under the tree from Santa Cathy Claus that she snuck into my house that was marked "do not open until Christmas".  I still have the tag and hang it at the top of my steps.  Yes, I am a sucker for Tradition.

So people of Catasauqua, hang the stockings, kiss under the mistletoe, spin the driedel, sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, trim the tree, hang the lights and celebrate, because its another day in Catasauqua.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pizza please in Catasauqua

I am writing this article late in the evening, because I didn't want everyone to call Pizza Hut and make them even crazier than they were.

About a week ago my mother had seen the Pizza Hut commercial about the "Big Dinner" for $19.99 which included 2 Pizzas, breadsticks and wings.   She wanted them last Sunday, but I said let's wait until this Sunday because I had the concert at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and I knew I would not have any time to cook.  It was a good idea in theory.  Well, my mom was so excited she gave me the money Monday already for the pizza.

So tonight, after the concert, I called Pizza Hut, in North Catasauqua at about 6pm -  I should of known after being on hold for a long enough time that I could  changed my clothes and go to the bathroom that there was a problem at The Hut.  But I order my pizza and it would of been 1 hour a 40 minutes for delivery so I offered to pick it up and she said that would be a half hour.  So promptly at 6:30 we arrived at Pizza Hut.  I knew something was wrong right away, the place was full and there were no employees to be seen.  People were discussing how long they were waiting.  The phones were ringing and no one was answering them.  The one guy said he had called 3 times before he got through.  I asked if anyone was working, the other guy said yes they are but they won't come out here because they are scared.  He then saw a square pizza go in the trash and he says - I bet that was mine.  It seems that all of us waiting ordered the same thing - the Big Dinner and they could not keep up with the orders, I don't know why though, and perhaps I never will.

More people came in and even one of my former Sunday School students was there with her daughter and nephew, who were having fun running around.  I think they became a source of entertainment for us since we had nothing else to do.  For some reason spirits stayed high, even more so after someone finally had come out and told the men a head of me that their pizzas would be free, should they ever see them.

There were some orders done, but they were regular pizzas, one for a Dan and another for Brian, neither who were there, but about 5 minutes later a man walked in.  Since no one came out to wait on him, I decided to.  I said . "Are you Dan.?"  He said, "yes".  So I yelled into the kitchen - Dan's here - Pizza pick up and after about 5 minutes someone walked out and handed him a pizza and said no charge.  About ten minutes later Brian's wife walked in, so we yelled to the back again and a girl came out, handed the pizza to the lady and left.  Never saying a word.  We told her it was probably free, and finally a man came out and told her no charge.  Eventually the one set of guys got their Big Dinner and then some other guy did, (he was starting to get a little testy).   We had all offered to go home with Dan and Brian's wife, but they wouldn't take us. 

Around 7pm my order came out and they just handed it to me, I felt kinda bad because there was still one guy that was there before me.  But I left quickly because there was some talk about tripping me and grabbing the pizza.  I said thank you to the girl but there was no response and my pizza to was free, and I believe probably everyone there would be getting free pizza tonight in Catasauqua.   My mom was tickled, she pizza and her money back.

I still don't know what the problem was, only one girl came out for a little bit. looking weary and she said if she could, she would pull the commercial off for the Big Dinner.   Must be something about a square pizza that takes longer, or perhaps it was the magic of the full moon tonight. Either way I can't complain about free pizza.  I hope Pizza Hut works about their pizza problem though, or there will be a lot of free pizza in Catty.

And that's another day in Catasauqua.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hark the Herald Choirs Catasauqua

A few years ago my church Salem UCC,  combined with St. Paul's Lutheran Church to do St. Paul's Annual Candlelight Concert.  At the time we were experiencing some "dark times" at Salem and with out the help of St. Paul's and Pastor Gary Walbert, I think  a lot of us would of been without Christmas Spirit. 

Sometimes I think, oh, I don't want to take the time and participate, but then I do and I am glad I did;  and the night of the concert......all I can say is that sometimes, it takes my breath away.  If you have never gone, go this year.  It is tomorrow afternoon, December 11, at 3:30 pm.  Elizabeth Knecht is performing, she is an excellent dancer and soloist.  The voice of an angel.  Mike Fister on the organ at ear splitting volume.  Maybe it's because I sit to close to the speakers.  Besides the combined Choirs (St. Paul's and Salem), there is The James Ruhf Bagpipe Band.  When they come in, omg, it is awesome.  We are suppose to sing "La's" while they play Highland Cathedral, but I am always crying, sorry.

I also see in the bulletin that besides Pastor Gary, our own Pastor Elect Michael Smith will be there.  For those who don't know Pastor Mike will be our new permanent Pastor starting in January. 

There is refreshments afterwards and if that is not enough to make you come, well, I'll be playing the Bongo - yup I am!!!  For real!  I am all excited.  Maybe one day I'll get a drum solo!

Now, if you are still in the mood for music, then next Saturday, December 17th,  you are invited to Luminary Night in North Catasauqua.  The North Catasauqua Community Chorus "We Sing!" will perform a concert in the North Catasauqua Park beginning at 6:30 PM.  North Catasauqua (and parts of Catty) will be all a glow with luminaries throughout the town and around the Park. 

Music is always special, but Christmas songs, well they warm your heart and your soul.  We sing fun songs about reindeers and Santa Claus, but it is those songs about a special baby,  born in a manger that gives that true glowing feeling.

I love Christmas and I love Christmas music and in Catasauqua and North Catasauqua music will fill the air and dispell the darkness of night, because you are never alone when you can find the Light and Love of Christmas. And that's......another day in Catasauqua.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Beginning to Look alot like Christmas

I have been trying to get a moment to write for days, but it seems there is always something to do at this time of the year.  For only the 2nd time in 33 years did I have off on Black Friday.  First I was low man on the totem pole and later, we were busy or someone else took the day off.  It is not that I want to shop, but I want to start decorating.

I tried to be "cute" and post of facebook as I brought down my totes last week that hold my Christmas stuff, but somewhere around 8 I started to fizzle.  Truth be told I have 15 totes that hold my Christmas decorations, Christmas Plates, my Christmas socks and yes, even Christmas Pajamas.  It took Friday, Saturday and Sunday to finish decorating.  Nothing is untouched by Christmas around here.  From the Advent Candle ring to the Village on top of my piano Christmas is in every corner.

Christmas has been popping up all over Catasauqua to!  From decorations and lights to North Catasauqua's Tree Lighting last week (my favorite part is the hot chocolate, boy could I use a cup of that now)  and Catasauqua's Tree Lighting tonight.  We had breakfast with Santa yesterday at Salem UCC and there are still a lot of events to come all over town.

Well, it's time for me to clean up from baking, so back to work, maybe I'll save you a cookie and with's another day in Catasauqua.