Happy New Year! But I'm not ready to let go of the old year yet. What a Christmas I had. On Christmas Eve I went over to my sister Jo's. She lives in the family house, so it's always nice to have that feeling of family there and they are all such good cooks. And I don't do dishes anymore. I've graduated.
Around 10 a.m. when I was home watching TV there was a knock on my door and there stood my secret Santa and all his family. My secret Santa was my good friend Rob. He's kind of an adopted son. His mother and I are the same age. I met him in the strangest way. Some time ago I was having a lawn sale. This tall, young man came up to my table and said, "I just dropped my kids off at the playground and drove past your house. The Lord told me to turn around and talk to the lady at the table, so here I am."
I couldn't imagine what connection we had so I asked him, "Are you a born again Christian?" He answered he was and I affirmed I was too, so we had a connection. He bought some things and hesitated about buying my andirons for the fireplace. They didn't sell so I dropped them off at his house. Boy, did that gift pay off. Rob is always doing big acts of kindness for me. This Sunday they are coming over for dinner. There is also a new family in our church who came from California. They have two young boys who remind me of our two sons. I invited them too. I'm going to start the New Year right. I hope I still remember how to organize. We'll be 13.
One of my Christmas presents from my son Dan and his wife, Dot, was a cookbook for gout sufferers. They always find things for me that I wouldn't find for myself and they are always useful. Sometime in the future I'll share the vegetable soup recipe.
The other day I shared with some friends that I was expelled from school at the age of 4. They loved it and told me I should put the story in this column. You can see me as a trouble maker or a problem solver. Anyway, you'll get an insight to the real Margaret Valone. At any rate I'm a good sport.
I was allowed to go to kindergarten at the age of 4, so that my mother could go to work. This one day the teacher asked me to cut out a rabbit. She handed me paper and scissors. I told her I didn't know how. She insisted I could and I insisted I couldn't. She slapped me on the rear and I swore at her. Immediately, she locked me in the bathroom. I cried and begged her to let me out. No deal. So I put the plug in the sink drain, turned on the water, put down the toilet seat and climbed on top of it. Then I waited for the flood.
Well, that got me out of the bathroom and also out of school. Of course, I went back and apologized. They took me back and from then on I was a model pupil.
Now what did that incident say about me? When I have a problem I work on a solution. It may not be the best one, but it did get me out of the bathroom and I never cut out the rabbit. Art is not one of my strong subjects, although I appreciate others people's talents. I went to the Louvre every day while we were in Paris.
Did I make you laugh? Do you want to hire me to solve your problems? I can hear phones ringing now. Keep laughing. It's good for you.
P.S. I want to tell you about a New Year's dinner. I'll give you some tips on how to keep things flowing.
I set the table the night before. I used black dishes for one family and white dishes for the other family. Then I had each mother dish out for her family. She knows how much spaghetti to put in each dish. I had never done this before, it's a good idea.
Then I got everything ready for the salad. If you break up the lettuce the night before, you put it in a large bowl and put a piece of silverware in the bowl, cover and refrigerate. The piece of silver keeps the lettuce from discoloring. Then in the morning I add the tomatoes, onions and my own salad dressing recipe.
I also make a chocolate cake and everything moved smoothly. Now keep in mind these two families had never met before. We visited until a quarter to five. It was great.
Now I feel confident that I can entertain occasionally. I started the New Year right. I hope my tips will be a help. Happy New Year.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org