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Halloween shows transition of seasons

THE MASTER PAINTER

            By Alice Hensley Church

As I sit looking into the distance

The leaves seem to be turning

Right before my eyes.

The steady hand of the Master

Is busy painting at this time.

The brush strokes slow and easy

Make the mountains look sublime.

The colors of the rainbow,

The flowers fading in my yard,

The blue sky just above us,

We're painted by our God.

Oh, that I could be a master painter

And paint just what I see

I see His glory all around us

And His love for you and me.

How could I paint this?

Would be impossible for me to do

Because His love outshines the world.

We cannot imitate nor recreate

The talents of Our Lord.

 

Our glorious October is fading away, with Halloween giving the month a final good-bye. It has become a popular holiday now, and quite different from what it was when I was a kid. We didn't go from door to door "trick or treating," as well as I can remember. Our own children did, and now it's the grandchildren and great-grandchildren that dress up in outrageous costumes and "frighten" the neighbors.

 Our celebration consisted mostly of having a party and building a bonfire. Some of the kids dressed up, and one year a tall Indian stood outside our circle and never spoke a word. He was dressed in an Indian blanket and never joined in the games -- just watched us. We found out later it was Daddy.

 We weren't really destructive; just soaped a few windows and skulked around the neighborhood. There was another element that gloried in a Halloween prank that was repeated year after year. There was a rock cliff right above the intersection where the road goes to Grannies Creek, and it was perfect for a road block. Plans were laid in advance with water being carried and poured into a No. 3 washtub.

 When dark came, their nefarious plans were put into effect. Logs were placed across the road so that anyone traveling that way would have to stop and move the road block. Of course that was the time the culprits on top of the rock would let loose with a bucket of water. I remember one time when a man and his wife were stopped there, and of course they drenched the man. The wife was hopping mad, and she jumped out of the car and yelled, "Let's see you throw it on a woman!" So they did.

 We were never allowed to take part in this, and neither were our children. (Of course some of them did anyway.) Daughter Patty learned a painful lesson that "crime does not pay," and "you reap what you sow" when she sneaked off and joined the Rock Cliff Crowd one Halloween night. They threw water on a neighbor who could throw rocks like a bullet. The criminals ran through the underbrush and Patty ran a stick in her eye. She suffered with it for years.

 Halloween didn't symbolize anything to us as evil or supernatural, but just an excuse to have a party and pull some harmless pranks. In Daddy's day, the boys would sometimes take a farmer's gate off the hinges and hoist it up on his barn roof. In fact, they called the night before Halloween "gate night." It is called "mischief night" in some places, and harmless pranks are funny. When it evolves into more serious and harmful actions, it is a different thing.

 One of my brothers did something that was borderline. (Don't anyone imitate this.) He dumped a nice horse pile in a large paper bag, set the bag on a neighbor's porch, and lit it. He knocked on the door, and then ran and hid. When the neighbor came to the door, there was a whole lot of stomping going on! I am not condoning this -- just reporting it.

 We were never afraid of Halloween "ghosties" or things that go bump in the night, but I was terrified of tokens. Tokens were an omen or symbol of someone's impending death, and they were accepted as Bible truth. They came in many forms, and most families in my childhood believed in them. (There were dreams and premonitions that could never be fully explained.) My mother was the seventh daughter, and she really did have ESP.

 My mother had dreams that came true, and many times she predicted things before they happened. I am so glad this was not passed down to me -- I never want to see a token!

 Have fun this Halloween, be good, and stay safe.

            ************

There was a recent request for stuffed peppers, and some folks still have green peppers in their garden. If you are fortunate enough to have fresh tomatoes too, this recipe sounds scrumptious. It comes from Barbara Dotson of Williamson, who notes that it was her great-grandmother's recipe and is over 150 years old.

Hamburger and tomato stuffed peppers

6 green peppers

1 pound ground hamburger

1 tablespoon fat

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1 cup soft bread crumbs

3 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons mustard

2 tablespoons butter

Cut a slice from the top of each pepper; remove seeds and white membrane. Pre-cook peppers in boiling salted water for five minutes, drain. Brown hamburger in hot fat, stirring to break up lumps. Add onion and cook six minutes. Remove from heat. Add bread crumbs, tomatoes, salt and other seasonings. Fill peppers with mixture. Dot top with butter. Place in a baking dish and pour in one cup water. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Serves six.

Here is another stuffed pepper recipe from Linda Cool of Webster Springs, which is a little different.

Stuffed bell peppers

Prepare six peppers by cutting each in half lengthwise. Remove stems, seeds, and membrane. Wash and set aside. In large bowl, mix 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef with one eight oz. can Hunt's tomato sauce, 3/4 cup finely chopped onion, salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup (uncooked) rice if desired. Spray 9x13 pan, place peppers evenly in pan. Stuff each with meat mixture. Pour two cans Campbell's tomato soup (undiluted) over peppers. Cover with foil and bake 1 1/2 hrs. at 350. Remove foil 15 minutes before removing from oven.

May God keep you safe and happy.

Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at alycefaye@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.


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