Annual Asparagus Festival

Every year for many years, we could count on my parents to stock our pantry with cases of home-grown pickled asparagus due to their abundant asparagus field and their talents in the kitchen. Even if we told them we still had plenty, my dad would say something like, “It will keep for years, and you never know when you’ll need it.” That was my dad. My mom, too, but mostly my dad.

The asparagus crop of 2019 produced much more than we could use. My mom tried to keep up, and she did pickle some, but being only six months after my dad had passed, she was still a mess. And it was overwhelming.

The fridge was full, the pressure cooker was cooking, piles of asparagus covered the counters, and pounds a day kept getting cut.

My brother had given so much to the neighbors, that when he tried to give them more, they sighed and said, “I still have plenty from the last time you came over!”

“What are we going to do with all this asparagus,” I exclaimed, sometime after I had arrived on April 19th, 2019.

“We can have an asparagus festival,” my brother said jokingly, at which I heartily laughed.

We had recently and frequently discussed how the small towns of Hastings and Waurika have so many festivals. It took us by surprise, I guess you could say, to hear about a different festival every other day. The fire department’s fish fry, the Sorosis Club’s fundraiser, the high school band’s breakfast, and that was just in one week. Every week last spring, it seemed , was like that. The all-day long and into the night event, “Meet Me Downtown,” was my favorite. I won $100 MasterCard gift card playing bingo that night, courtesy of FFNB.

So when my brother said, “Have a festival,” it was really for the chuckle. But I was like, “Yeah, let’s do!” My mom was like, “No, I do not want to do that.”

Once I convinced her that it wasn’t going to be an actual festival, it was just going to be me handing out bundles of asparagus after the Wednesday lunch at the Senior Citizens Center, she consented as much as I could expect her to. Oh, and I threw in a promise to do my best not to embarrass her.

So we, my brother and me, with our mom’s consent and our dad’s blessing from heaven, held “The First Annual Asparagus Festival” on May 1, 2019, and it was a hit!

Thirty bundles, almost a half-pound each, I gave away in less than a half-hour. “You know,” my brother (the idea-man) said, “saying it is a ‘First Annual’ denotes there will be a second.”

“Yep,” I concurred, “I guess we’ll just have to make it an annual thing!”

The Hastings Senior Citizens Center

There was quite a spread served-up today at the weekly Wednesday lunch (as usual) and thankfully a handful of people walked in right at noon, helping to keep the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center open. Six bucks is all it costs to have a home-cooked meal, including dessert and an ice tea or ice water. The money goes toward paying utilities and insurance on the building, so that it may remain open and available for rent.

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Several of the area’s residents each bring a dish to donate for the cause. There is generally a variety to choose from for all courses – the main course, side dishes and desserts. I like to try everything. Today, to save room, I mixed together two different side dishes and thought, “What a coincidence, they are both pickled!” Or were they? I don’t know, but I know they were both good that way.

A few of the folks who frequent the lunch went to high school with my mom and dad. I think that is neat. We sat with one of such friends at lunch. This person also attends the UMC in Waurika and we discussed how much we loved last week, seeing The Master’s Storyteller, and discovered we have had the same song rolling around in our head ever since. So, again I will say but in another way, if you ever get the chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly doubt you will be disappointed.

And, if you ever happen to be in the Hastings, Oklahoma area on a Wednesday promptly at noon, stop by the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center for lunch. Not only will you get a great meal for only $6, you will be helping the whole town. No one wants to see the Center close down. It is located on Main Street across from the post office and available to rent for most occasions.

The Revival in Waurika

The Revival in Waurika

As I am not a huge fan of organized religion, my immediate reaction this morning upon hearing of the “Bible Quest Worship & Drama” schedule for the week at my parent’s church was, I hope my parents won’t want to come to this every night. Church every night, oh, that just seemed like a lot.

Ten minutes into the service, my thoughts changed to, I hope my parents want to come to this every night! It was awesome! One of their brochures says it best – You’ve never seen anything like The Master’s Storyteller. His name is Wesley Putnam, of Wesley Putnam Ministries.

Tonight, Elijah came to life as a New York Bronx cop. Tomorrow night we get to see Gideon as a Yiddish version of Barney Fife. The music was also amazing. A little mini-revival, is what I would describe it as, although I have never been to a revival before. I just know that it is absolutely entertaining and soul shifting – girls and boys young and old alike laughed until they cried and then tried not to cry when their heart started to stir. I saw it. I felt it. Powerful stuff, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of it at the First United Methodist Church Waurika, where I have been a visitor ever since I was born. I used to be visiting my grandparents, now it’s my parents.

On the way back to their house in Hastings, I took pictures of the sunset. Not bad, considering it is through the window.

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If you ever have a chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly recommend that you do. Until then, you can find him at wesleyputnam.org. (And yes, we plan on going every night. I am so excited!)

Hola from Oklahoma!

Hola from Oklahoma!

Hola, Hello, Hi, from Oklahoma where the air is dry, and sixty-five degrees and sunny seems like the perfect day. That’s how it was the day after I arrived. On Wednesday, however, when I flew in, it was in the 30’s, and I sure was thankful that I opted on bringing along the extra layer of warmth even though it meant carrying it from Florida, where it was in the 70’s at 5:30 a.m. when I left. Because, if you know me, you know there was no room in my carry-on for a jacket.

And yes, I was glad to have it, along with my hooded layer and my gloves while waiting for my parents to pick me up at 9:45 a.m., which was a little eerie. Never have I seen no one in an airport baggage claim pick-up area. There were three cars at the curb, but no people. Seriously, I was the only person around, at all. I found that so completely odd and I took a picture. Three, actually, looking one way, straight ahead, and then the other way.

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Maybe it happens all the time, I don’t know. I am surprised though.

So my parents picked me up and we went to the buffalo ranch and spent the night, where I have no cell phone service. Therefore, Dave could not get a hold of me. The last he knew when he had talked to me, I was standing on the curb at baggage claim in the Oklahoma City airport where I had an eerie feeling because there was no one else in sight.

Was everything okay? Was something going on? Was I okay? Well thank goodness Dave didn’t torture himself wondering any of this. No, that is not Dave at all. He was more concerned that I knew he did in fact call. And I am so glad I have grown-up.

The sunrise in Hinton is something I love seeing every time we stay there.

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Here, you can see the buffalo.

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The next day we drove to my parents home and when we pulled up, my dad said, eyeing his garden, “Alright, we can pick asparagus for dinner!” I walked out there, looked, and said, “Where?”

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He showed me and I said, “Oh wow!”

I picked enough for us to have for dinner, with some left over. I also left some in the garden to pick the next day. I have never had such fresh asparagus in my life. Man, it was excellent.

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The Garden Gym

My dad and I shared some laughs today when I started to ask what a hoe looked like. “Here it is,” I hollered upon seeing it, just as the image of what I was looking for came to me. I hurried over to the garden where he was waiting to show me where to plant potatoes.

“No problem,” I assured him, “I can hoe a row for poe-tay-toe!”

In fifteen minutes, I was feeling muscles in my back that I didn’t even know I had. Thank God they are not the same ones required to do the “asparagus cutting squats.” Between the two, I should be getting tone while growing good food – talk about a win/win.

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The row of potatoes I planted

And speaking of winners, it was another hit last night as The Master Storyteller played Gideon. Tonight I am looking forward to the story of Jonah and the whale. I’ll be there at 6 p.m.! (Spoiler alert – he already said he is not playing the whale.)