09 May 2009

MARATHON WEEKEND, part 2: We Gather

Good sleeping at grandma’s—no one to keep me awake at night and no one talking first thing in the a.m. JE, MA, JA, and LE migrate over from the Cottager’s Lounge for breakfast at grandma’s. There is Starbuck’s coffee and grandma announces that we can help ourselves to anything we can find. I choose the buttery-almond cookies made simply:

1. Enough graham cracker quarters to cover ½ sheet cake pan
2. 2 sticks of butter boiled for 2 minutes with ½ cup of sugar.
3. Pour sugar/butter syrup over the graham crackers and top with toasted almonds and/or chocolate chips. Grandma chooses almonds, only, and these are yummy. Later LA tells me you can make this recipe with saltines and heighten the salty/sweet juxtaposition.
4. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and cool completely before separating into cookies.

JA loves the wide open green and grassy spaces around Gigi’s house and keeps MA busy outside for most of the morning. I have plans to join JA and GJ in Washington to make the two kinds of potato salad for Sunday’s family picnic. We are joined by PM for a quick and conversational lunch and then dive into our 14 or so lbs of potatoes and 2 dozen eggs. I chop onions and eggs, peel potatoes and cube them for JA. GJ has her own unique recipe which includes slicing the potatoes instead of cubing, and no onions but dill pickles… I have never had this recipe, but it is the one her family expects.

JA and I follow GJ to her church to stow the salads in the basement fridge, and then we head on to PM’s house for dinner. JA has prepared pulled pork and peanut butter pies. Gigi decides to sit this one out as she has been traveling with her senior’s group all week. Later in the evening LA and EG arrive with the irrepressible Sophie and our sister from Seattle NC. PM’s son and daughter-on-law stop by with their two little girls and the new baby twins, Grant and Charlotte. So, so tiny.

It is a mad house—more than NC is accustomed to, as she lives in the far northwest away from all family. Her visit is our excuse for convening this family weekend. I hang in until almost 10:00pm, and then bail and head back to grandma’s. I love my quiet room and open a window, falling asleep in due time. I am alone again tonight as CA has decided to drive down on Sunday—he was exhausted from a week of teaching and coaching soccer games—two games today.

A really interesting thing for me today was that GJ has a recording of our beloved Grandpa Korta telling the story of his sail immigration from Germany in 1892 or 1893. Their ship was two weeks at sea and lost its sails in a storm. They were rescued by a ship headed back toward Liverpool, so they returned to Europe and boarded another ship bound for Montreal. They eventually made their way through Ellis Island and then to Philadelphia and onward to Washington, Illinois where Maria Sophia Korte was scheduled to marry William LeConte. Maria was widowed with Louis Henry, Walter, and Martha and after marrying LeConte bore him five additional children—Elizabeth, William, Carol, Anna, and Johnny. Grandpa tells the story of his childhood and early adult years. Fascinating. The tape is scratchy and so we are looking into having it re-mastered onto a CD. Otherwise, I will do the tedious work of transcribing. I have only heard half and want to hear the rest very soon.

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