“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Thought for Today 01-29-16

January 29, 2016

“Forever is a long time to be wrong…”

How a Family Visit Taught Me the Value of Miller’s Gravy and Fellowship

December 10, 2014

“Let’s drive to a restaurant and eat breakfast before you and your family drive home.” Our group was rather large; however, a quaint restaurant was found with seating capacity to accommodate all of us.

Orders for breakfast items were recorded by our kind waitress with a genuine smile. Each time she completed a page of breakfast orders, it was apparent this waitress was the server our group needed. Thankful to receive good service with good food, my appreciation increased while observing her servant attitude.

With confidence she asked, “Do you need anything else?” In an adjacent seat, I heard a request for Miller’s gravy. It seemed plausible that I’d missed the listing for Miller’s gravy on the breakfast menu.

“Who wants the ketchup?” The casual question of four words from our waitress captured my attention. A cousin pointed toward the opposite side of the table. “Over there.” After a pause and an extended glance, I saw Miller’s gravy; it was ketchup. The visual image of ketchup covering an entire plate of hash brown potatoes and scrambled eggs is etched in my memory.

“Why?” The one word question slipped through my lips. Gentle laughter surrounded me. In unison the group proclaimed, “Heinz ketchup. It’s a family tradition at breakfast, over everything.”

That gravy conversation reminded me of the gravy Mom had oftentimes prepared for our family. Her version was a delight to smell and to eat. Even though a bottle of ketchup was a staple item in our refrigerator, we had never eaten Miller’s gravy at breakfast.

An African proverb reads, “If you close your eyes, you can see far.” When closing my eyes now, it is easy to remember the morning our extended family ate breakfast together. A substantial amount of ketchup consumption at breakfast precipitated a vivid memory from several years ago with a lot of new giggles.

Years have elapsed since we enjoyed that visit with family. The memory was and is a picture for a post card. It was the last time I enjoyed a 4th of July vacation with mom. Conversations, video cameras capturing laughter, a volleyball game or two, and the gift of time enjoyed in the picturesque mountains of West Virginia are now cherished memories.

Reflecting on that visit, I understand now the value of listening and observation. It is essential to embrace the myriad gifts of life with gratitude.

Although I may not eat Miller’s gravy at breakfast, I appreciate its value as well as how to order it. The distance between our family members is merely a noun rather than an obstacle.

 

 

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7 Steps to Cook a Great Spaghetti Dinner in a Slow Cooker Without Cooking in a Hot Kitchen

December 2, 2014

When hearing the 7 simple steps for a spaghetti dinner recipe prepared in a slow cooker for the first time, I was skeptical. However, after implementing this cooking skill in my kitchen, the entire family was delighted with the results. Using this cooking knowledge will empower you to prepare a great spaghetti dinner with your slow cooker and only 4 ingredients.

Warm up your crock pot rather than your kitchen. With an initial investment of just 20 minutes plus four hours and a few minutes later, you can enjoy this great spaghetti dinner whether the weather is hot or cold.

You will need a slow cooker, a 25.5 ounce jar of organic garlic roasted garlic pasta sauce, an 8 ounce package of frozen veggie meatballs, 6 ounces of angel hair pasta, and 16 ounces of water.

Step 1 – Select the “high” setting for the base of your crock pot and allow it to warm for 20 minutes.

Step 2 – Pour the entire contents from the jar of pasta sauce into the cooking dish. Next, pour 8 ounces of cold water into the empty pasta sauce jar. Replace the lid of the jar and rotate it until you can pour out the rest of the pasta sauce mixed with water into your cooking dish. Next, cover it with the appropriate lid. Heat up the pasta sauce for a minimum of 30 minutes before proceeding to Step 3.

Step 3 – Open the frozen package of veggie meatballs and gently pour them into the steaming pasta sauce. Cover this mixture of ingredients with the appropriate lid. Continue cooking on the “high” setting for at least 4 hours.

Step 4 – Stir through the mixture of pasta sauce and veggie meatballs with a large spoon.

Step 5 – Break the angel hair pasta into small sections and gently stir the pasta into the mixture of pasta sauce with veggie meatballs. Pour in 8 ounces of water over this mixture and stir through it with a large spoon. Replace the cover on your dish and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes on the “high” setting.

Step 6 – Stir through the mixture with a large spoon again before serving.

Step 7 – Serve and enjoy eating a healthier version of a classic spaghetti dinner with only four ingredients and your slow cooker.

The combination of these ingredients easily serves 4 adults. It smells delicious and tastes scrumptious.This dinner is suitable for children and adults. Cooks will especially enjoy the minimal time required to clean the slow cooker.

This culinary process is one of the most valuable cooking lessons I’ve learned from my daughter and a great example of a quote by Charles Spurgeon, “To know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.

 

 

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Perspective

November 22, 2014

angela scott two giraffes

It’s hard to understand the other’s point of view when one is looking in the opposite direction.

 

 

 

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Article I Wrote

July 5, 2012

Here’s an article I wrote for Eden’s Own Newspaper. The article appears on page 14.

http://issuu.com/edens-own/docs/july12/16

 

 

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Interview With Mom – What I Learned About Mom During a Sunday Afternoon Interview

March 22, 2012

More than eleven years after dad died, it seemed imperative to ask questions of mom that I’d never before asked. She’s wise, compassionate, fun, and creative. I believe her answers may teach us to be good listeners and encourage countless others.

While there’s still time, I wanted to remember and respect seemingly insignificant things that reveal her heart, a market place of treasures. “Mom, what’s it like to be you?”

Q. What is your favorite color?

A. My favorite colors as a child were yellow and light blue but now I prefer navy blue, red, and black.

Q. What is your favorite time of the day?

A. Sunset.

Q. What is your favorite book?

A. Gone With the Wind. When we were first married, I read it. We went to see the movie. Even though it’s been more than 70 years ago, I still remember that it was the only movie your dad ever went to see.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Hot chicken salad with almonds. It’s delicious!

Q. What is your favorite memory from school?

A. Well, that’s a two-part answer:

1. Sports: playing basketball and baseball. In my first year of high school until I graduated, I was a member of the first string and played every game as a basketball forward, one of three. Our uniform was a white shirt and dark blue shorts. I played in tip-offs. Our games in the 1930’s were half-court, not like today’s games.

2. Performing in school plays. In my junior year, I portrayed a mother in a play, although I don’t remember the title. The audience saw me sewing a white garment by hand. The husband walked toward me and asked a question. “What are you doing?” When I held up the white garment, the audience saw me holding a large pair of ladies bloomers with elastic around the legs and waist. They roared with laughter.

Q. When did you learn to ride a bicycle?

A. 10 years old. My brother would stand on the step and shove my bicycle. My first successful destination was riding to the local post office.

Q. Where did you first attend church?

A. At a Christian church close to our house. It’s still easy to remember the first scripture verse I memorized, Psalm 23. I walked to church as a young child before I ever began school. The path was straight between home and church; I didn’t even have to cross the road. My first Sunday school teacher’s name was Ms. Jewel Hatch and our class met in the church basement.

Q. Where did you first attend school?

A. My first grade class was in a one-room schoolhouse. When it was cold weather, I’d warm my hands at a stove inside a service station on my walk to school.

Q. Did you have any pets while you grew up?

A. One of my brothers brought a dog home with him one afternoon. The dog was black as a charcoal briquette. I kept a photograph of that dog. The photograph was taken with a box camera. Mom stood beside the dog that we named Little-Bitty.

Q. What is the most unusual event you remember from childhood?

A. Mom tinted my hair in the summer early on a Sunday morning when I was rather young. I wore a short-sleeved dress made out of light fabric. My hair was white as cotton and it always tangled. For some reason, mom apparently thought changing the hair color from white to black would make my hair easier to brush. She just didn’t like white hair. “I’m going to change it.” And that’s what she did. When the black dye grew out of my hair, it was never again as white as cotton.

 

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3 Questions for Fun Decision Making – How to Find Fun With 3 Questions

March 15, 2012

“How did you find that concert?” It was a profound question because it was engaging and thought-provoking. After a pause of at least thirteen seconds, the answers bubbled in my thoughts.

It was easy to remember an enjoyable evening when attending a concert almost two years earlier. Even though advertisements for the latest concert performed by the same musicians and artists weren’t readily available, I’d found them with a minimal amount of research. Perhaps my friend was puzzled due to the fact that I hadn’t shared with her my three question process for fun decision-making.

The questions are straightforward; however, clarity of thought is paramount to the answering process. With practice, you will improve as you discern whether or not the time is right to pursue an event, an idea, or fun.

Question 1. Will this occur near my location again within the next twelve months? If yes is the answer, stop immediately. However, if no is the answer, proceed to the second question.

Question 2. Is it affordable? If no is the answer, stop immediately. If yes is the answer, proceed to the third question.

Question 3. Would participation in the event provide life-enriching benefits for me as well as others? If yes is the answer, proceed to take immediate action.

Using these questions on a regular basis generates serendipitous memories. More often than not, five minutes is ample time to easily answer the three questions but expertise is achieved only after consistent practice in order to make it a permanent process.

Remember, there is a magic five letter word associated with the success of these questions: Think. Caution is strongly advised when this element is absent in the process.

As you decide to implement these questions into your own decision-making processes, you’ll find new opportunities waiting for you. Of course, you must be forewarned as this could be among one of the most challenging things you may ever attempt. Earl Nightingale said it best. “To think is one of the most difficult things human beings do.”

Begin today by investing a tiny fraction of time for quiet in your day. Practice the process at least five days a week each month. Write your thoughts and ideas in a notebook or journal. Even if you believe you only have one good idea each day, after four weeks you’ll have a minimum of twenty ideas to ponder.

An unknown author wrote a poem of only four lines that emphasizes the importance of quiet in our lives:

“I have a treasure which I prize,
It’s like I cannot find;
There’s nothing like it on the earth –
‘Tis this, a QUIET MIND.”

 

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Love Is Foundation for a Miniature Platform Rocking Chair

February 24, 2012

It was a gift from a previous colleague and friend. “This antique rocking chair was the first gift my wife gave to me when we married…” He had been promoted and his career required relocation to another state. “We just don’t have room to take it with us and we know you’ll appreciate it.”

Thankful to have been the recipient of such a valued treasure, reality struck. “This rocking chair needs a lot of love and work, which would include re-upholstering as well as refinishing the wood. When dad first saw the chair, he paused. “I hope they paid you to haul it away…” It was the truth, albeit brutal, and then he smiled.

Dad and I began our joint venture the next week. It proved to be an extensive project of work requiring incalculable hours. Several weeks later, family and friends enjoyed the new and improved antique rocking chair. It was comfortable beyond words. Someone always found time to rest in the classic rocking chair.

The corduroy cover on the seat cushion resembled the color of mink that faded with use until it was beyond time to repair it again. Thankful to remember that dad had a friend who specialized in upholstery, the friend agreed without hesitation to restore the antique.

Only a few months later, dad died. His death devastated my tiny daughter. Afterward, when chatting with dad’s upholstery friend, he offered to craft a miniature platform rocking chair for my daughter. He wanted to give her a tangible memory that represented her grandfather’s love as well as the friendship our families shared.

A few tears welled in the eyes of dad’s friend as he gently placed his hand over his heart. Emotion filled his words. “I have a few leftover remnants of the fabric used for your rocking chair… I’ll craft a miniature platform rocking chair for your daughter. It’ll be like a matched set. It’s for your dad, too.

Less than seven years of age, she enjoyed playing in the chair; however, several years would go by before she’d be able to comprehend the gift’s magnitude. She loved her grandfather; he loved her, too. On the birthday she celebrated with him before his death, he’d told me how grateful he was for the time he’d been given to spend with her “Pa-poo.”

Dad’s friend told me the fabric that covered her child-sized platform rocking chair was sturdy and durable enough to last a long time. He reassured me with a smile and a few words. “It’s so tough, gravy won’t stick to it!”

His eyes brightened when I asked if he’d autograph a 3 x 5 index card to commemorate the gift. “Of course! Write what you want remembered. I’ll sign and staple it underneath the chair to one of its wooden foundational supports.”

Recently, I was reminded of that signed index card. It was a tender, sweet reminder of dad, his love, and his life. The card remained in tact even though it’s been almost 20 years since it’d been stapled to the foundation of the miniature platform rocking chair that was custom-made for her.

Mom says it best. “It’s the little things that matter the most.”

 

 

 

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1 Reason Why I Needed to Read the Fine Print

February 23, 2012

Stored in a miniature cedar chest, I paused when the view of a flat rectangular purse captured my attention. Inspecting the denim zippered artifact, it seemed odd to hold denim that resembled the color of a pink rose. It had been more than a few years since I’d last held that bag. Rediscovering a tangible moment of a forgotten childhood memory piqued my curiosity.

Dad worked in a textile mill when I was young. The mill exclusively manufactured dark blue denim fabrics, which was quite the opposite of the pink denim bag resting in my hands. While wondering whether I’d purchased the bag or had received it as a gift, memories of dad surfaced when Mom and I visited his place of employment. The family day event was planned to celebrate those represented by employees of the mill.

It suddenly seemed important to inspect the tiny label on the simple and perhaps insignificant denim bag. Imagine my unexpected surprise when realizing I’d received a minuscule history lesson about the mill where dad had labored for our family. The message had been hidden by thick lines bordering the miniature company label on the bag.

Squinting didn’t reveal the seemingly secret words framed in a square line of print. It bordered the edges of the label, which was equivalent to the size of a postage stamp. However, with the assistance of a magnifying glass, the elusive answer was finally revealed. The textile mill proclaimed excellence as they began their second century of operation. It was easier to read the subsequent line summarizing the mill’s mission to create comfortable fabrics for everyone. The pink denim keepsake served as a reminder of the reason why dad appreciated working for the respected textile mill in our community.

While recently watching a movie about the Santa Clause, it was amusing to watch the key character casually read aloud a name printed in bold letters on a business card. There didn’t seem to be any apparent reason to inspect the broad lines bordering the business card, which temporarily disguised the charge for the next individual who received it.

It was only a few days later when the similarity was understood between the fine print that bordered the postage sized label on my pink denim bag and the fine print that bordered the business card featured in the recently viewed movie. Neither the movie character nor I had stopped to read the fine print before us until a magnifying glass finally revealed the mystery. It was vital for both of us to read the fine print in order to proceed.

The movie character needed the details on the card in order to continue and complete his scripted story; however, my need to read the fine print on the label was sentimental. The details of that pink zippered denim bag had been overlooked for years. Perhaps that’s why it’s now such a valuable memory.

Dad was a man of few words, yet he generously served our family, his employers, and friends in our community. The visual struggle to read the fine print on the postage sized label stitched to the pink denim bag finally unlocked the door to cherished memories that hadn’t been recorded for others to remember… until now.

 

 

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Boomerang 101 – How to Throw a Boomerang

February 17, 2012

One particular sermon illustrating the importance of the healing quality of laughter in life is unforgettable for me. Norman Cousins authored the book, “Anatomy of an Illness.” He discovered the positive effect of profound doses of daily laughter combined with Vitamin C that conquered his illness.

Fascinated with Cousins’ discovery of how laughter improved his life, my search for contagious laughter began. The notion developed about my preceding interest in boomerangs. Enthralled with their history, the mirth memory of a Far Side cartoon surfaced. While pondering the cartoon frame featuring Mr. and Mrs. Boomerang, I felt a smile and giggled.

In the lone cartoon frame, Mrs. Boomerang stood in the open door of their home while Mr. Boomerang walked away from the house. He held a solitary piece of luggage. Her words were few but the sentiment was clear. “Go ahead and leave. You’ll be back in 10 to 15 minutes, just like all the other times.”

It’s been more than a few years since an acquaintance had given me an Authentic Aboriginal Boomerang crafted by Wungella Artifacts in Australia. Several days ago my eyes rediscovered printed directions for the correct way to throw it. On the reverse side, a narrow rectangular sticker displayed the “How to Throw a Boomerang” instructions:

1. Throw at 45 degree angle away from wind direction.

2. Flat side away from wind or away from body.

The thought struck me that it was time to photograph the boomerang. It also seemed imperative to immediately complete the task since the New Year had just begun.

My goal was to understand how to correctly throw a boomerang. However, I received a greater appreciation for the meticulous design of the Australian boomerang.

Although throwing my boomerang produced a different result than the results featured on a YouTube video, it was easy to understand that practice is required to successfully throw a boomerang that returns.

Before throwing my Australian treasure again, I decided it was time to frame and exhibit the artifact in my work area. The frame shop guy I spoke with said this would be the first time he’d ever framed a boomerang. His finished project produced a stunning presentation of the painted kangaroo on the boomerang.

We smiled. Both of us enjoyed the boomerang challenge that incorporated humor, art, history, geography, and accuracy.

Boomerangs will return when correctly thrown; however, correctly framed boomerangs will tell stories that families and friends can throw and enjoy for countless years.

 

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