Home is home for Presidents, too

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Today’s Special

There’s no telling what you might find in DW’s shop, it’s quite intriguing in there.  I love to ramble around, though I’ve learned not to move anything for he knows exactly where everything is and when things have been moved.

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Luckily this house had a shop when we found it, a specific requirement when we were house hunters.

DW quickly built a long work counter and installed a pegboard for hanging tools along the back wall and hung yard implements, close to the door, though I never could find the hoe. (So, I got a red one that I keep in the greenhouse to solve that problem.)

On the pegboard along with tools, hang a South Panola School yard sign, a welcome sign that Nicholas made at camp, a vintage level, a shelf for an old but working boombox and a calendar.

Every day is Presidents’ Day. The calendar is out of date, the months torn off as 2018 transpired but DW keeps it because the top portion features a large composite picture of all of the United States Presidents, up until then.

I like to study it and look at their faces…some were great presidents, some not so good and others only mediocre, as history has shown us. But they all had/have something in common, a place called home. And that’s what interests me, politics aside, for I love houses with history.

Regardless of your political persuasion you must admire anyone who wants to take on the job as President of the United States.  Can you imagine the massive expanse of that job?  24/7/365 times four or maybe eight years.  No wonder Presidents tend to come out of office gray headed, having to contend with national and world issues, living under constant scrutiny with nonstop bombardment from the media and the malcontent.

I don’t know how Presidents survive their time in office. That must be why home means so much to the men who accept the office, even if home is only a memory. I appreciate those whose homes have been shared for us to get a glimpse of their pasts.

There are more to see. DW and I have been to Washington’s Mt. Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, and Harry Truman’s Little Whitehouse in Key West, all of which were well loved by their occupants. It is quite moving to me to actually stand in the same rooms where these American Presidents ate, slept and “lived” with their families whether in their childhood or as adults. Even looking at a door knob that a President touched or a chair one sat in makes me quiver. Living history.

Luckily there are a few presidential homes that are relatively close by:  Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is just up I-40 in Nashville; you can trace Abraham Lincoln’s family’s story in their homes as they moved from Kentucky, to Indiana, to Illinois; and appreciate Eisenhower’s boyhood Abilene, Kansas, home (which somehow, I missed when I was there). These historical places are next on my must-go-see list.  And on my reading list are books about Eleanor Roosevelt and Dolly Madison. The First Lady perspective offers more insight into “home” and family.

So, on Presidents Day in honor of past, present and future Presidents I’ll set a patriotic table and pray for God’s guidance for President #46 and those yet to come. God bless their homes.

And, for now, there’s a history lesson waiting in the shop.

Recipe of the Week

Creamy Slow-Cooker Chicken

This recipe melds many flavors into a delicious home cooked meal.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1 (10 ¾ ounce) can mushroom soup

8 ounces cream cheese

½ cup dry white wine

1 (0.7 ounce) package Italian dressing mix

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Cook in batches in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat or until lightly browned. Place cooked chicken in 5-quart slow cooker. Leave drippings in skillet, adding soup, cream cheese, wine and dressing mix. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 – 3 minutes or until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Arrange mushrooms over chicken. Spoon soup mixture over top. Cover; cook on Low 4 hours. Stir well before serving.  Serve with roasted vegetables and cooked rice.

Cherry Bread Pudding

Don’t know that Washington cut down the cherry tree, but truth is always the best policy.

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups low fat milk

6 ounces fat-free evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon melted margarine or butter

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cherry Sauce

Place bread cubes in an 11 x 7 inch lightly greased baking pan or six 8-ounce greased ramekins. Whisk other ingredients together until blended. Pour over bread, gently shake dish; let stand 30 minutes. Bake in 350° oven for 30 – 35 minutes until set. Let stand for 10 minutes. For cherry sauce: combine a 15-ounce can tart pitted cherries in water, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cherry-flavored liqueur (or 1 teaspoon cherry flavoring plus 1 tablespoon water).  Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid is reduced.  Top each serving of bread pudding with a spoon of sauce.