Decoration Day aka Memorial Day

After a couple of really busy weeks, this one has been fairly quiet! My usual time in the hospital gift shop was on Tuesday and it was busy enough not to be boring with quite a few sales. We had started a patriotic red,white and blue wreath at the workshop and I worked on it. This wreath is sort of time consuming, as you make ‘pom-poms” out of yarn, winding them on a 4-inch cardboard form, remove them from the form and then tie them without cutting the ends (pom-poms are usually cut and then you trim them to form balls for the top of caps and things), and leaving strings long enough to tie them to a metal ring. It takes a lot of poms to make a wreath, as there are thirty-six for the blue field, fifty-six red ones in bundles of eight, and thirty-six white ones in bundles of eight to attach. Just as the flag has seven red stripes and six white stripes, so does the wreath and when it is finished, stars are glued to the blue field. For this wreath, I used thirteen stars that are silver colored and they were cut from a leftover Christmas garland. It is also beautiful with gold-painted stars or the ‘glitter’ stars that come in packs for crafting. Since I worked again on Wednesday morning to be with one of our ladies who has been ill, I finished it then! It turned out really great and will look beautiful on someone’s door for Memorial Day.
Now, the rest of the week will be spent doing the laundry from last weekend’s trip and getting stuff together for the trip coming up! Excitement reigns supreme at my house, as my granddaughter and her children will be here to take me to Galveston for a few days visiting and doing tourist things, including, (I’ve been told from a good source), a trip to NASA that has been arranged for us. Of course, there is the beach, the water, Moody Gardens, and seafood, seafood, seafood, and who knows, maybe a line with a hook dropped in the water to do a little fishin! (I got a new rod and reel for Mother’s Day, can you tell?)
Monday is Memorial Day. What does it mean to you? Do you celebrate it, or is it just a neat day to have off work for a long weekend? Do you fly the flag? It is mainly a day of remembrance, of all the veterans of all the wars and is one of the holidays that are celebrated on the last Monday of the month that it is in. This year, Memorial Day will be celebrated on May 29th.
Memorial Day was formerly called Decoration Day and was celebrated on May 30th. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic originated this day to honor the war dead.
It is a legal holiday in almost all the fifty states. In some places, the observance consists of civic parades and the placing of flowers on veteran’s graves. In San Antonio, there is usually a special service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. This very impressive ceremony, with taps and a 21-gun salute, always reduces even the strongest to tears as they realize that these men who are buried here given their all for their country.
There are services in foreign cemeteries honoring the graves of American servicemen who are buried on foreign soil. There are water services for those who died at sea, and there are ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It has been the custom to fly the flag at half-mast until noon in the United States.
The verse that follows this article is one of the best known and is written about the Buddy Poppy. Everyone is familiar with this little red flower that is offered for a donation either at Memorial Day or in time for Veteran’s Day in November. John McCrae (1872-1918) is the author of this famous poem. He is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and popular poem from WWI. He was a Canadian physician and fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918. His volume of poetry, “In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, was published in 1919. It is said that John McCrae was standing in the cemetery and saw the beautiful red poppies growing over the area, that he was so impressed and moved that he wrote the poem.
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae (1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the
Poppies blow
Between the cross, row on row
That mark our place;
And in the sky
The larks, still bravely
Singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the
Guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw
Sunset glow
Loved and were loved,
And now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take
Up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing
Hands we throw
The torch’ be yours to
Hold it high.
If ye break faith with us
Who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
OK, folks, I realized that all of you have your favorite main dishes to serve at a family party or picnic, so decided to share desserts with you instead of main dishes. Just remember, a most important thing is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! A family epidemic of e-coli is nothing to laugh about.
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 (9-inch) baked pie shell
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups water
3 eggs, separated (set the whites aside in a metal or glass bowl for the meringue)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled is OK)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
6 tablespoons sugar
Combine sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch, whisk in the water and cook over moderate heat until mixture is thick and clear. Beat the yolks until well mixed and add some of the hot mixture, mixing into the yolks very well, slowly add this mixture to the cooked mixture stirring constantly, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in butter, lemon juice and lemon rind. (If you want the mixture to be really lemon colored, add 3 or 4 drops of yellow food coloring. I also like to add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon lemon extract at this point). Pour into baked pie shell. Cool slightly and top with meringue made by beating the egg whites with the 6 tablespoons of sugar (added gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time as you are beating the whites, until stiff enough to hold peaks. Brown in hot oven (425ºF) for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Black Forest Dump Cake
(Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake)
1 box regular size chocolate cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling (21-oz)
(My thought for this is dark sweet cherry pie filling-Joyce, did not work well made entire cake too dark)
1 can pitted dark sweet cherries, undrained
1 tsp. almond extract
1 stick butter (room temperature)
½ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375º. Spread pie filling into a lightly greased 13X9-inch baking dish, stir almond extract into undrained cherries and place on top of cherry pie filling. Set aside. Pour cake mix into a medium mixing bowl and using your pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the cake mix, (just as you would cut in shortening for pie crust), it should resemble coarse crumbs, spread this on top of the cherries, top with the sliced almonds and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until topping is set. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Their directions suggest that if you want to serve this with whipped topping to save a couple of tablespoons of the juice from the cherries and stir it into your whipped topping before serving).
Sopapilla Cheesecake
2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8-oz) cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon (or more if desired)
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease or spray a 9×13-in. pan and roll out 1 package of the crescent rolls on the bottom of the pan, sealing creases. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and spread over the dough. Roll out the second crescent roll sheet and place on top of the cream cheese mixture. Pour melted butter over the top and sprinkle with the sugar and then the cinnamon, bake for 30 minutes.
Pineapple Upside-down Bundt Cake
1 large can of sliced pineapple, (drained reserving juice)
8 maraschino cherries, drained
¾ stick butter, melted (6 Tbs.)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 box either pineapple or yellow cake mix
Ingredients as listed on box for making cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Open pineapple, drain well, and cut slices in half. (You will use only 8 slices), cut cherries in half and drain well. Place melted butter in a well-sprayed Bundt pan, top with brown sugar spreading it out evenly over the butter. Place the slices of pineapple evenly around pan, resting one edge on the sugar/butter mixture; place cherries, cut side up, close to the ends of the pineapple (if you place them too far toward the sides of the pan they will be around the edge of the cake instead of on top). Mix the cake batter according to the directions on the box, using the reserved pineapple juice instead of water in the mix; gently spoon the batter over the pineapple, straightening the slices as necessary so they are nice and even. Bake according to directions on box for a Bundt Cake. Allow to stand about 5 minutes in pan and then invert over plate for serving. This makes a really pretty cake, that some of you may have seen on FB and maybe have been wanting to try!
Piña Colada Cake
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, divided
1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice (or rum, or, add rum flavoring to the juice)
3 (20 oz)* Cans Pineapple Tidbits in Pineapple Juice, drained
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
2 Cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Melt 1 stick of butter in a 13×9 inch-baking pan in the oven for about 5 minutes. When butter has melted, remove pan from the oven. Stir pineapple juice then pineapple chunks into the pan. Spoon cake mix over all pineapple chunks covering completely. Sprinkle coconut on top of cake mix until completely covered. Cut remaining stick of butter into small cubes and top over coconut. (I cut mine into 15 narrow cubes…and spaced them just as you would cut the cake, with three across and five down the cake. Bake for 45-60 minutes rotating cake 90° every 15 minutes for even browning of coconut.
*So far, I haven’t been able to find pineapple tidbits in anything other than 8-oz cans. My solution was to use my apple/corer/slicer and cut sliced pineapple into pieces with that, or you can use a paring knife. Also, after baking this several times, I have found that 2 cans of pineapple are plenty! Have fun, it really is pretty and the taste is wonderful.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend, fly your flag proudly and try to attend any of the local ceremonies that you are able. I am having to write this on the 18th and don’t have the latest edition of my Devine News, so I am not aware of just what ceremonies will be available, there is usually one in Natalia at the monument and the VFW has one at the four corners in Devine. Please check the paper for times and locations.