Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

The Merry Go Round

Larry D. Cartford

Every 4th of July the Carousel would come to town. We lived a block from the park. I knew all was set to go and celebrate the fourth when the calliope of the merry go round started to play. I loved that music, always happy with a delightful beat. I’d run to the park, pay my money and hop on the merry go round. What fun! Round and round up and down. I didn’t want it to stop. But it did. I’d buy another ticket and around I’d go — up and down, round and round on that horse racing to the finish line. Oh that music, happy, delightful, radiant music. All day and into the evening it would play intoxicating me with glee.

Oh that merry go round. I still like to ride them. I see one and I have to get on, round and round, up and down and the music. What an enthrall, what joy.

Those childhood memories and experiences linger and have to be renewed.

Now older and more experienced, I see life as a merry go round, the music plays and round and round, up and down never stopping but on and on. I want to get off, but the merry go round does not stop. The horse keeps running, there is no end, only the circle and the music plays.

Oh to be happy with the round and round, oh to be thrilled with the up and down.

The animals whisper to me as I go. They encourage me on, they won’t let me stop. They keep saying go man go, do your life on this gallant circle, not to be saddened by the disappointments, but listen to the calliope — the delightful notes of life’s cheer.

I change from the horse to the rabbit to the rooster to the deer to the bear, but the merry go round does not stop. It maintains its relentless pace of round and round, up and down.

And in the midst of this never-ending circle life continues on and on. I cannot get off, I don’t want to get off. Life doesn’t exist off the merry go round.

And so the circle encircles. Life is lived to the beats of the calliope on the merry go round.

I can’t get off the merry go round, it doesn’t stop. I don’t want it to stop. For when it stops the music stops.

Round and Round (we hope)

Ellie Clark

Wheels are an important part of our daily lives. As children we have wheel toys, moving up to bicycles, roller skates, etc., and then on to the ultimate wheels, automobiles. There are however wheels we encounter along the way that do not fall into any of the foregoing categories. Wheels that are an essential part of our daily lives. These wheels can sometimes drive a person up a wall, oh, I don’t mean literally, merely that they are that annoying. The wheels I am about to discuss are some I’m sure you’ve all encountered.

These wheels are found primarily in retail stores, i.e., Walmart, Safeway, etc. You know the ones to which I refer, they really test one’s patience. You take a grocery cart from the cart area, wipe it down with a sanitizing cloth, including the baby seat, just in case; aim it toward the front door and hope it lets you glide through the entryway. On most occasions, particularly at Walmart, it takes every ounce of one’s strength to convince the cart of the way you need to go. When this happens to me I stop, get another cart and try again. Well, gee willickers…. this one too has a mind of its own. You notice there is a string, or debris of some kind around the front wheels, you bend over and attempt to get hold of the string in order to pull it off. Lots of luck with that — it is often yucky and it never comes off. A pocketknife might help, but you leave yourself open to a charge of “brandishing a lethal weapon.” It would be the case if I tried it I’m sure,

Now the mystery to all of this is “where does the string come from?” In all the times I’ve walked about Walmart I’ve never seen string on the floor, either a piece, or a spool. Based upon the number of carts affected by string around the wheels, the floor should be made of string.

I have taken as many as four carts back before finding one I felt I could deal with as I shopped. If you take one that’s fighting to lead you, you’re exhausted before you get past the bakery goods. I’ve done it out of sheer frustration and hated myself later. No more, I don’t even take them back. I just leave them where I stop, go back and get another. There is no reason the store cannot have someone check these carts out to make the shopping experience more comfortable. Why don’t they?? I’ve complained, but to no avail.

There are a few stores in the Sun Lakes area where they are well maintained and I generally shop these places as I’ve had it wrestling a blasted grocery cart, especially one where both front wheels are turned sideways and stronger than I.

The Red River Valley WOW and YUK

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

WOW…Delicious…juices running, and aromas of the finest culinary delights you can imagine. As most of you know I love to cook and bake, inherited some of my talents from my mom. A woman who cooked and baked without one shred of a recipe. Some time ago, I asked mom if she would write her special recipes for me to cherish and continue her legacy of a great cook. Especially her baking. After my mom had passed away, I was looking through her personal belongings and found an old black and white composition book with my name on the front. The book had seen its day and some of the pages had been bent or torn in the corners.

My mom wrote a beautiful sentiment on the first page which read…”My darling daughter here are my recipes, enjoy making them as I have and share with your family and friends.”

My mom had beautiful handwriting and easy to decipher. WOW, as I thumbed through the pages and read the ingredients, I pictured myself bringing back pleasant memories and preparing myself to follow in my mom’s footsteps setting a table with the most delectable plates of food.

The most interesting portion of this book, filled with recipes was, each and every recipe had no title. Ingredients and directions were written out to the letter, and most every recipe began with 2 cups of flour, 1-1/2 cups of sugar, baking powder, three eggs, etc. The outcome of most of the recipes were delicious. I attempted to follow her directions and was always surprised at the outcome. As I retrieve a baking pan from the oven, of a delicious cake or Italian cookies I baked these from a recipe with no name.

Remembering when I was a little girl standing next to my mom at the stove while she prepared the Sunday dinner. Homemade Italian sauce, meatballs, eggplant, and macaroni. It was always called macaroni.

Today, I am still following in my mom’s footsteps, baking and cooking from memory. I go outside the box on several occasions and search for recipes from friends, magazines and now you could find lots of recipes on your Facebook pages.

While scrolling on my FB page recently, I came to a quick and easy way to roast a chicken. A baked chicken prepared in a bundt pan. It looked rather interesting and decided to gather up all my ingredients, including my bundt pan and of course a 3-pound chicken. I followed the instructions and told my husband he was having a beautiful roasted chicken surrounded with vegetables that evening.

I covered the hole in the pan with tin foil as the directions stated and loaded carrots, celery, onions and potatoes around the chicken as it stood up perched on top of the metal protrusion on the bundt pan. Into the oven it went. The recipe called for temperature 450 degrees and 45 minutes till carving. When the buzzer sounded, I peeked through the glass stove window to see a still milky white colored chicken. The oven was still on and the stove clock was still working. All in all everything was going smoothly, and the chicken was still baking. After 1-1/2 hours I pulled the bird from the oven. Skin was nice and crispy, vegetables done and ready to serve. I retrieved my feathered friend off of its pedestal and noticed still very pink in the deep valley (cavity) of the bird with a Red River running through it. The Red River had flowed throughout my vegetables as well. This is where my reaction YUK came into play. Quickly into the trash. I had prepared my side dishes prior and now, all the trimmings were done. Mashed potatoes with delicious gravy, homemade stuffing, green beans with tomatoes, homemade rolls, and a full bottle of the grape, wine of course.

Hummm, do I call my husband in for dinner or run to the store for some already baked chicken. What do you believe I did?

Please take heed of this recipe my friends, if you see it floating around Facebook do not….do not even consider using your bundt pan to bake a chicken. I love my bundt pan and I use it only to bake delicious cakes.