Tuesday, March 28, 2023

1980s Tupperware and Anniversaries


I've been married so long that my Tupperware is considered "vintage." Every so often, someone will post a meme on Facebook, asking who still uses their yellow Tupperware colander. 

Since I try to be a savvy Facebook user and not get sucked into conversations with potential scammers, I just smile and nod to myself. I may even have a conversation with myself, "I just used that for dinner today." (Don't judge: Don't you have conversations with yourself? If not, don't answer that!)

Anyway, that yellow Tupperware colander has been in a kitchen drawer for our entire married life. And that number just went up. Today is our 42nd wedding anniversary. We got married at the Pratt United Methodist Church on March 28, 1981. There was a deluge as we were traveling to the church, but the sun came out as we left for our honeymoon. On March 28, 2009, we woke up to almost 2 feet of snow. I don't think either of us would have gotten to Pratt from our respective farm homes.

I've always said that rain was a good omen for a couple of farm kids. We could sure use some of that rain today. 

Wedding photos by Stan Reimer, Pratt, KS

Anyway, I don't remember specifically, but I'm guessing the colander was a gift at one of several bridal showers where I was guest of honor. 

At one of those bridal showers in 1981. Sue Thole made the aprons. We still have those, too.

The yellow colander joined the other popular Tupperware of the era - all in the shades of avocado green, golden harvest and orange. (Why couldn't blue have been the popular color in the '80s?)

Found at 80sThen80sNow on Twitter

I couldn't find the meme with the yellow colander, but here's one with a similar product. I still have my pitcher in the same harvest yellow as the colander, complete with set-in tea stains that are well beyond ever being bleached out. 

When I Googled vintage Tupperware, I realize I still have some of those items in my Tupperware cabinet. Another popular bridal gift at the time was brown Pyrex. I have multiple 9 X 13 baking pans in brown, along with a pie plate and a round casserole dish, though the casserole's glass lid broke several years ago.

With our anniversary approaching, I thought about that Tupperware colander in another way. Maybe it could be used as a metaphor for marriage. 

I use the colander to strain out extraneous liquid and keep the "good stuff." Marriage is kind of like that, too. Some of the "stuff" needs to get washed away - the misunderstandings, the disagreements, the hurt feelings ... you get the idea.

But, if we wash that extraneous stuff away, we're left with the "good stuff." As I emptied the dishwasher recently, I thought about how those leftovers from the 1980s bridal showers could be a metaphor for marriage itself. They may have a few stains. Some of the pottery may have a few chips and dings. The surfaces aren't pristine any longer.

But isn't that the way we are, too? There are cracks and dings and imperfections in our lives, and, yes, our bodies, too. But we are still of value. 
It's kind of like the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, when a stuffed animal becomes real by being loved. I just love the message:
 "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse to the Velveteen Rabbit. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
From Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit

During several of our anniversaries, we worked baby calves. It was that time of year, so you do what needs to be done. On one anniversary, we had to round up an escaped bull. Randy asked, "Did you expect to be doing this on your anniversary all those years ago?" I just laughed and shook my head because all those years ago, I was more concerned whether the flower girl was going to stand in the right place during the ceremony and whether I'd get down the aisle without tripping in my unfamiliar high heels.

"Well," I told him back then, "I don't know that I would have imagined I'd be moving a bull on my anniversary. But I expected to still be married. I wouldn't have done it otherwise."

Being married isn't always easy. But through all the imperfections, we have definitely become more "real" and more loved ... just like that Velveteen rabbit. And I couldn't ask for more than that.
For an inside family joke, read this blog post from the early days of the blog, A Living Doll. It also talks about the Velveteen rabbit! 
Happy Anniversary, Randy! 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

A Winning Snack Buffet

1957 - my dad and me. Unfortunately, I did not get his prowess on the basketball court.

It's NCAA tournament week. It's time for basketball and for the hoops version of a tailgate party.

From upper left: Cheese Popcorn, chips (purchased), Toffee Snack Mix, Wholly Guacamole, Chipotle Raspberry Black Bean Dip, shrimp cocktail (purchased), Recipe links are at the bottom of this post.

We'll be in Manhattan - AKA the Little Apple - for the annual Kansas Master Farmers/Homemakers convention. But we will definitely find a television to watch our K-State Wildcats take on Michigan State this evening in the Big Apple. Go 'Cats!

Toffee Snack Mix

Pretzel Bites.

During the preseason, our Wildcats were predicted to finish at the bottom of the Big 12. And now they are dancing in the Sweet Sixteen. New coach Jerome Tang had just two players to work with when he became head coach a year ago. He put together a ragtag team through the transfer portal. He and the team call it CRAZY FAITH, and they put together a magical season. And, in the meantime, he generated positive change across the student body and the entire Wildcat Nation.

You can put together some magical treats - whether you're cheering for the Wildcats or another team or you just like basketball.  Yes, it's the second weekend of games in the NCAA tournament. Maybe you reached your quota last weekend with games from morning to night on four different TV stations. But basketball enthusiasts still love the game - and the snacks. 

If you're looking to add to your NCAA snack buffet, here are some tried and true options from Kim's County Line. As always, I don't share recipes unless they are get the thumbs up after I've made them here at home.  You can always search my blog for tried-and-true recipes. Type in "sandwiches," "meatballs," "snack mix," "drop cookies," "dips," "bar cookies," etc., in the search engine in the upper lefthand corner of the blog. It will give you lots of options.

Visit the links below for the recipes:


 Chipotle Raspberry Black Bean Dip 

Photo from Cooking for Keeps. For more information and lots more about the recipe, go to the Cooking for Keeps blog.

WARNING: Neon yellow fingers are a side effect of this snack. Cheese Popcorn.
If you want to get really fancy like a popcorn specialty shop, combine cheese popcorn and Caramel Corn. (Click here for the Caramel Corn recipe.) 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Salt of the Earth: Ag Day 2023


Salt of the earth. 

When I started thinking about what I wanted to write to observe National Agriculture Day today - March 21 - I remembered some photos I took during a drive through the mama cows and babies. On a couple of trips, I'd asked Randy to park the pickup near a tub containing salt blocks. My goal? To capture that lip-smacking reaction as the calves sampled the tasty treat. 

Do you know how hard it is to catch that split second of the tongue escaping the confines of the mouth for a quick slurp? Let's just say I had a lot of near misses on my camera roll.  

Case in point? This one:

Persistence is key in agriculture. In photography, too. And I don't think it's much of a stretch to call agricultural producers "the salt of the earth."

The phrase is from a portion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5: 13: "You are the salt of the earth." I'd just heard the verses again a few weeks ago at church as part of the Bible reading,. It's always been one of my favorites.
Jesus meant that the common people he was addressing – fishermen, shepherds, laborers – were worthy and virtuous. He was alluding, not to the tang of salt, but to its value.
Two for one on this shot - both calves had their tongues out!  

In other parts of the Bible,  salt is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.
That sounds like America's agricultural producers to me. 
I learned more at World Wide Words:

Salt has always been one of the most prized commodities, essential both for life and for preserving food. Roman soldiers were paid an allowance to buy salt, the origin of our salary. A man worth his salt is efficient or capable. To eat salt with someone was to accept his hospitality and a person who did so was bound to look after his host’s interests. The Bible also speaks of a covenant of salt, one of holy and perpetual obligation. ...To Jesus, therefore, salt of the earth was a great compliment.

I've been writing these Ag Day blog posts since I began Kim's County Line in 2010, but this was the first time we aren't actively farming. I wasn't going to be working calves or riding a 4-wheeler to move cattle or performing some other task on our farm. 

But I kept thinking about the cattle and their attraction to the salt.  Just like we humans, the bovines seem to want to flavor their diets with a bit of salt. As a child, I remember going with my dad on salt block deliveries. A little residue from the salt cube was left behind on my fingertips, and I couldn't resist a secret taste. The cows also seem to crave the mineral in the cattle lots. I certainly prefer my food with a sprinkling of salt, too, even though my doctor would recommend I limit my sodium intake.

Being the "salt of the earth" is a worthy goal. This Ag Day 2023 is a good time to celebrate the American farmer. America's farmers are the world's most productive. Today, each U.S. farmer produces food and fiber for 168 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960, and 115 people in 1980. I can't think of many industries in which productivity has increased that much! 

And even though consumers often complain about the price of food, U.S. shoppers still pay much less of our disposable income on food each year, about 10 percent.

Information from Kansas Farm Bureau. Click on the link for a complete fact sheet about farmers and agriculture.

That's definitely not a reason to stick out your tongue - unless you're savoring a tasty slice of wheat bread made with Kansas wheat and slathered with butter made from Kansas dairy cattle ... or you're enjoying a perfectly-grilled Kansas steak ... or you're scrambling up eggs from a Kansas poultry house (with a sprinkle of salt)... the list goes on and on! 
Farmers receive just under 19¢ of every consumer dollar that is spent on food. The other 81¢ is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution and retail costs of the food supply. 

There is something that might cause my tongue to stick out in aggravation: It seems consumers would much rather get their information about how their food is produced from someone who has never set foot on a farm or a ranch. They let restaurant public relations gurus define what is safe to eat. Yet it is America's farmers and ranchers who devote their daily lives to it.  
Farmers and ranchers are the original "environmentalists." The National Ag Day theme is "Growing a Climate for Tomorrow." Agricultural producers intentionally prevent soil erosion, preserve and restore wetlands, clean the air and water and enhance wildlife. Since 1982, the erosion rate on U.S. croplands has been reduced by more than 40 percent.

Farmers and ranchers truly are the salt of the earth. 

Kansas Farm Bureau has a fact sheet about farmers and agriculture. To see more facts about U.S. farmers, click HERE.


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Trojan History Intersects with Family

I always thought I married into a wrestling family.  

And I did. Randy was a high school wrestler. In his senior year at Stafford High School, he placed first in the Class 2A/1A tournament at Douglas to qualify for the state championships in Colby. 

 He competed in the 167-pound weight division in the 1974 state championships.

So when I wrote about the Stafford High School basketball team last week, I didn't realize there was a "rest of the story" in our family. Randy's dad, Melvin, was on the 1947 team that went to state. I wish he were still around so we could ask him about it.

Photo from the Stafford County Historical Museum

The 1947 basketball team included Randy's dad, Melvin Fritzemeier, No. 81. Others on the team were front row (l to r): Richard Doering, Doug Minnis, Kelvin Sell, Melvin, Gayle Sanford. Second row: Charles Beckett, Ted Ashford, Pete Wedelin, Lawrence Bell, Benny Hargett and Coach Johnston. 

From The Courier: The Stafford Trojans won first place in the Kingman Regional tournament, Saturday, March 8, 1947, by defeating the Kingman Eagles, 33-23 in the final round of play. The Trojans fought for and won the right to attend the state tournament in Topeka starting Wednesday, March 12. Stafford also had defeated Caldwell in the semifinals, 55-34. Stafford meets Beloit in the first round of the state tournament. The state tournament is made up of 13 teams, winners of regional tournaments, plus three invited teams, making a total of 16 class A teams who will compete for the state championship. 

The Stafford basketball team lost their game Wednesday night by 5 points. The Stafford hoopsters met Beloit, which was the only undefeated team. Stafford led until the final four minutes of the game. ... Coach Johnston in a telephone conversation with superintendent Wedelin said, "They just couldn't hold their lead as they were completely fagged out by too much flu."

Melvin was a junior that year. 

Photo (of a photo) by Julie McNickle

Our friend, Julie, took this photo of another SHS team during a recent funeral. We're not sure, but it was likely the 1948 basketball team, Melvin's senior year. He is fifth from the left. 

We also learned that Randy's Grandpa, Clarence Fritzemeier, was on the very first Stafford basketball team that went to the state tournament. On March 16, 1922, the high school basketball team went to Manhattan, where they took part in the state tournament and lost third place by one point. Final score was 17 to 16. It must have been quite the defensive battle.

The boys playing on the team included Randy's grandpa, Clarence Fritzemeier, along with teammates Lawrence Simpson, Emery Hickman, Marvin Gere, Firman Gere, Murl Blackburn and John Cox. Coach was Clifford Gallagher.

From Stafford County Historical Museum

The Stafford County Historical Society posted a photo of some of the 1922 players, but Clarence wasn't among them. Still, it was interesting to see the uniforms of that era. 

We did know Melvin was a runner. When Jill was in high school, her 4 X 100 M relay went to state two different years. 

SHS athletes at state track: Charles Keifer, Kelly Sell, Kenneth Reed (hurdles) Coach Slaten, Doug Minnis, Darrell Sanford (pole vault) and Melvin Fritzemeier Keifer, Sell, Minnis & Fritzemeier were on the 1-mile relay team.

I included Grandpa Melvin's 1-mile relay team along with photos from her team for a collage I made for her after the girls' fourth-place finish at state.

Photo by Nick Minks of community support on Stafford Main Street as the bus departed for the tourney.

Our 2023 SHS team played valiantly but came up short in the first round of the tournament last Thursday vs. South Central, who went on to finish 3rd in the state tournament. But spectators wearing our red matching state basketball shirts filled much of the coliseum for the game. It was loud! And we are proud of our Trojans ... past and present!