So what if no one ever accused the Ovid Midlife Moms of traveling light? We need a few, ahem, supplies, for a weekend at Terri's lake house on Cordry Lake. And this is not counting what the eighth member of our weekend crew brought on Saturday morning.
We went Friday after everyone got off work. We couldn't wait to get there, gather the evening's menu offerings, and enjoy a picnic on the lake. We had eight of our 12 present.
Dinner onboard included Sharon's homemade ham salad sandwiches, Terri's pea salad, party mix, an assortment of fruit and I see some celery sticks in there. There were yummy, ooey-gooey chocolate bar cookies as well.
The weather was perfect and some of us headed back out on the boat shortly before bedtime to see God's moon show.
What a beautiful scene from the water. A cellphone camera doesn't do it justice, but yes, the moon was THAT bright.
Still, I was the first to bed around 10:30 p.m., and I slept well as I dozed off thankful for this weekend that so many of us look so forward to all year long.
That's why I couldn't believe it when I didn't get up until 9 the next morning!
When it's not your turn to cook, the scent is all the sweeter coming from the stove.
Delaine make the best egg casserole, and we enjoyed it with biscuits, fresh fruit and zuchinni bread by Patty. Delicious.
All but Karen, who came Saturday morning, are the gals who made it this summer weekend.
Such fun, including tubing, swimming, boating, moon-gazing, movie night watching "The Greatest Showman," and a beautiful Bible study on the boat Sunday morning, courtesy of Karen, taken from the book of Joel. Oh, and some crafts, including some bookmarks made from this and that.
Thank you Terri, for the wonderful, relaxing, laughter-filled weekend. And thank You, Lord, for your creation, your abundance, and for providing such sweet friends.
Note: Welcome my friend, Janis Thornton as today's guest blogger. Janis releases her new book, a true-live mystery about the sudden death in 1965 of her Tipton High School classmate. The launch is 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 in the Tipton County Public Library, 127 E. Madison St., Tipton, Indiana. Janis is getting statewide media notice about her update to this still-unsolved mystery. She will be speaking and fielding questions on Saturday, along with signing books. Yours Truly will emcee the program. Maybe we'll see you in Tipton.
Pursuit for truth, justice unfold in 'Too Good a Girl'
by Janis Thornton
I’ve never forgotten Saturday, Oct. 16, 1965. It was supposed to be special, full of happiness and renewal of old friendships.
Tipton High School’s homecoming celebration was that weekend. My boyfriend, a year ahead of me in school, came home for the first time since moving to Bloomington to attend college. That Saturday, we went to dinner with my just-married friends, who recently had settled into their first home and were already expecting their first child. We had lots to feel joyful about.
Unfortunately, the day turned out anything but joyful. Instead, for me and the entire Tipton community, Oct. 16, 1965, became synonymous with profound tragedy and despair. It was the night Olene Emberton didn’t come home.
Olene was a quiet, well-mannered, studious, 17-year-old Tipton High School senior. That night, she dropped off a friend at his house and drove away, headed for home, a journey of only six blocks. Inexplicably, she never arrived. The next day, her car was found parked and locked at a four-way stop three blocks from her house. The day after that, her body was found discarded alongside a remote, Tipton County road.
The autopsy revealed no cause of death. The investigation by local and state police proved fruitless. The sudden, unexplained death of Olene Emberton has never been solved.
Her death was especially difficult to process because she was a member of my class. We had attended school together since fourth grade. We lived just a block-and-a-half apart. And even though we weren’t close friends, growing up in Tipton in the 1950s and ’60s provided countless shared experiences. I often look back and wonder how her life might have played out had it not ended that October night in 1965.
The notion of researching and writing about Olene’s case first occurred to me some 30 years ago, long before I had the skills to undertake such a sensitive, emotionally- riddled subject that was certain to ruffle feathers, stoke anger, and hurt feelings.
Someone needed to set the record straight. Why not me?
Fast forward to 2004. I had been a staff writer for The Times of Frankfort, Indiana, for five years. That’s when I made the decision to dive in, to honor my classmate by telling her story and preserving her memory.
So, off and on for the next 14 years, I pored over court records, combed through news articles, tracked down and interviewed law enforcement officials, sent Freedom of Information Act requests, picked the brains of forensics experts, studied criminology, attended conferences, surveyed my classmates, talked with Olene’s friends and remaining family members, and followed all the loose ends, and snapped the puzzle pieces together.
The result of my long pursuit for the truth has manifested in a book, “Too Good a Girl,” which launches Saturday, Aug. 4.
Did I solve the mystery? No, but I did weave all the strands of Olene’s complex story together so readers can make their own tapestry of truth and discover their own conclusion.
In the almost 53 years since Olene Emberton’s mysterious death, her friends and loved ones have never stopped asking, “What happened”? Unless someone steps forward soon with a sudden recollection or a confession, it’s likely we will never know. However, even without that closure, we can take satisfaction in pulling together to honor her name and her memory.
When Olene was a freshman at Tipton High School, she authored a brief autobiography. In it, she noted her plan for the future. She wrote, “I want to attend Ball State University … and after I graduate, I want to be a teacher.”
Sadly, Olene was not able to follow her dream. But I believe there is still a way she can help future graduating Tipton High School students achieve theirs.
The Tipton County Foundation has agreed to establish the Olene Emberton Memorial Scholarship. When fully funded, the scholarship will benefit college-bound, Tipton High School seniors who, like Olene, plan to pursue teaching.
Reaching the fund-raising goal of $25,000 by the end of 2018 will ensure that the fund is permanent, so an award of $1,000 can go to a deserving student in Olene’s memory every year.
I invite you to visit www.tiptoncf.org and consider making a gift. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book will go to the fund, and every donor of $100 or more will receive a complimentary copy with my gratitude.
“Too Good a Girl” will be available for purchase at www.janis-thornton.com and Amazon beginning Aug. 4.
So it’s Wednesday, hump day. Never mind wondering where this week has gone already-- what about the whole summer so far?
One good thing --or make it three good things -- about the nice-weather months this year is that I’ve got to see my friend Gay three times since May. Since Gay lives 100 miles away, that isn’t the usual case.
In early May, Gay hosted me to speak to her sorority in Angola; then in late May, she, husband Rick, Brian and I took a long-weekend to visit Galena, Illinois. This past weekend was “bonus” time as Gay slipped down on Friday and we spent the rest of Friday and Saturday running around to visit favorite consignment shops, boutiques and a nice yard sale a mile north of the Warm Glow Candle Outlet on Centerville Road in Wayne County.
We managed to get in a movie on Friday night and I got to hear all about Gay’s recent trip to California. It was so much fun.
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting, in person, Elaine Pence, who invited me to attend a break-out book-review session about my first book, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast, at the upcoming area Extension Homemakers Retreat at Lake Placid Conference Center in Hartford City.
The committee has also asked me to be their opening speaker. I’m honored and excited because three of the counties involved in the retreat represent my three “homes:” Union, Henry and Madison counties. Elaine and I discussed some details and she sent me home with the retreat’s full agenda.
I also swung by the library and picked up a memoir by Amy Dickinson, Strangers tend to tell me things. She writes the syndicated Ask Amy column. The book, subtitled “A memoir of love, loss, and coming home,” looks downright yummy.
It's hot and sunny and I can't wait until 5 when I'll enjoy some early-evening pool time while I can. Summer is moving too quickly.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
The following is in today's New Castle Courier-Times. This Henry County kid has a passion for seeing that kids in Kenya get clean water. This year he's upping his game from his lemonade-stand roots to a fesitival-type event, coming next Saturday. All the best Jacob!
By Donna Cronk
SPICELAND — Five years ago, Jacob Specht of Knightstown raised $30 at his lemonade stand and donated it toward providing clean water in Kenya. Each year since, the funds he’s collected have increased and last year $2,047 was raised.
This summer, the lemonade-stand fundraiser is more akin to a full-blown festival than a roadside stand.
Jacob’s Clean Water for Kenya includes a car show, quilt raffle, vendor and flea market booths, music, baked goods, meals and yes, a lemonade stand.
The event is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 28 at Spiceland Friends Church, 401 W. Main St., Spiceland. The goal is to raise more money each year than the year before.
The idea for the project began with Spiceland Friends Church Vacation Bible School a few years back when Jacob learned about Kenyan children who have to drink dirty water. He wanted to help them get clean water so he did something about it. He donated proceeds from his lemonade stand to purchase water filters. As in years past, all proceeds from this year’s event go toward buying those filters.
Each water filter costs $60. Each filter serves four families. The average Kenyan family contains 4.5 members so if each family has five members, that is 680 people per filter who will have clean drinking water. The filters are made of cement and last indefinitely.
Now age 10 and going into fifth-grade at Knightstown Intermediate School, Jacob has no plans to cease hosting the annual fundraiser.
“I feel that I’m doing a really good thing for people who don’t always have the clean water that we do and I think that it really helps out,” says Jacob.
He hopes to one day visit Kenya and stay for a month to check it out thoroughly.
Says his grandfather, Gerald Darling, “I think it’s wonderful that he recognized a need. Nobody told him, 'Jacob, this is something you should do.’ It’s really special.”
His mother is Valerie Darling and grandmother is Darlene Darling.
Highlights of the day include the car show until 3 p.m. with registration 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $10. Awards are at 2 p.m. Trophies and dash plaques will be awarded along with a 50/50 drawing.
A quilt donated by the New Castle Correctional Facility will be raffled. This was Jacob’s idea.
Indoor booths will feature crafts and other items for sale. There will be a bake sale and women of the church will sell pulled pork, sloppy joes, hot dogs, donuts and beverages. Of course, there will be a lemonade stand. Music will be provided by Jeff Curtis.
For more information about the event, contact Gerald Darling at 765-524-9194.
The following feature is reprinted from Sunday's Courier-Times. Congratulations go out to Blaise on the publication of his second cookbook, Blaise the Baker Celebrates! With his talent for recipe development, enthusiasm, and charm, I think The Food Network is missing the boat in not signing him for a cooking show.
By DONNA CRONK
If you’re familiar with Chew This! Columnist Blaise Doubman’s work, you’ll know that his mother, Darla, and two grandmothers, Deloris and Barbra, serve as his muses.
So it won’t be a surprise to learn that Blaise’s earliest cooking memory is helping Grandma Barbra in the kitchen while standing on an old, wooden chair.
“I also have an early memory of helping my Mom, Darla, in the kitchen baking a heart-shaped chocolate cake,” he recalls. “I was amazed at the process.”
Amazed is a constant state of being for Blaise. His writing brims with enthusiasm and unbridled joy about baking, cooking – and all-things food. Right now, he’s as busy with the business side of his spatula as he is with developing, testing, and tasting recipes.
His second cookbook, Blaise the Baker Celebrates! is newly released. It follows his 2016 debut, Blaise the Baker Dessert First.
“I guess in the back of my mind I always knew there would be a second cookbook,” the author says. “Once the first cookbook was published it wasn’t long after that I started gathering up recipes for a second and creating a vision for that one.”
The first volume outperformed expectations. “People just seemed to go crazy over it! I remember crying about how grateful I was that people seemed to enjoy it so much. I have had people email me and tell me that they have literally made every single recipe in the book and love them all.”
RECIPES THAT WORK
Blaise thinks people gravitate toward his recipes for one simple reason: the recipes work.
“So many cookbooks seem to throw recipes together without any form of testing. You have to make sure a recipe works.”
To that end, he explains his methods. First he considers recipes that he enjoys, then family recipes followed by foods he and his family often make, and then recipes that are popular which he wants to share. “I am not big into food trends or recipes that seem to be of the moment. I am more about sharing recipes that are timeless, that have been around 50, 60, 70 years and that people still enjoy today as much as they did years ago.
While he updates them, the recipe and processes remain about the same. But he also plays around with food, measurements, tastes and flavors “and luckily sometimes a delicious new recipe joins the others.”
Desserts were the focus of the first book (although lots of other recipes were included) but the second contains “some really, really strong main dishes and side dishes ...” The new cookbook is organized as is a typical cookbook in appropriate order of food courses.
Gratitude for readers pours from Blaise. “My second cookbook is also dedicated more to my fans and followers. It is because of them that I get the opportunity to do this again. It is a celebration in all definitions of the word. I am celebrating that I get to do this again, celebrating my thankfulness and just celebrating life.”
When asked to select a favorite recipe from the new book, Blaise finds the task difficult. One he mentions, however, is a quick chicken stir fry that is fried in Miracle Whip. Another fave features his new method of oven-roasting chicken that makes clean-up a breeze.
“One of my testers said it was ‘revolutionary!’”
As for mishaps while getting the book ready, Blaise wanted to develop a recipe for a pie baked into a cake. It didn’t go so well.
A Kennard native and resident, the Henry County town is near and dear to the author. One set of grandparents lived one block away from Blaise’s family in one direction, and the other set lived a block away in the other. And, his folks, Jamie and Darla Doubman, grew up as next-door neighbors.
“I tease them that they must have had a crush on each other in kindergarten,” says Blaise. “Whatever it was, it must have worked because they just recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.”
Blaise is in no hurry to leave his hometown. “I love Kennard and I love that I am surrounded by those that I love, so I guess if I do leave, it will not be very far away.”
A graduate of both Knightstown High School and Indiana University East, the author has written Chew This! for almost four years. Some of his other platforms include his blog, blaisethebaker.com where he writes extensively about various aspects of food. He recently partnered with White Cloud World Teas as a brand ambassador. Also check out his online Facebook group, Tasty Recipe Box and a cookbook-sharing group, Cookbooks, etc.
And, keep looking for the author / columnist every first and third Sunday in The Courier-Times Neighbors sections.
“Even to this day I get so excited to see my column and recipe in print – that feeling has never gotten old to me!” he says. “I am still just as excited today about it (as) I was on the first printing.”
He hopes readers enjoy the same things the did with the new cookbook as they did with the first: “That the recipes work, that they love the recipes and that they also enjoy the stories and family memories that I share with each recipe,” says Blaise.
“I really hope that they will feel a part of my family and feel like they were a part in the cookbook’s creation.”
For ordering information or connecting with Blaise, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know what they say about true friends; how it doesn't matter how long it's been since you've seen each other because it always feels as though it were just yesterday, and you can pick up where you left off with no awkwardness between you.
That truth applies whenever we spend time with John and Debby Williams. We had the chance to do just that Saturday. And speaking for myself, we had a blast.
We have a history. In fact, we spent the 1980s with them! Brian and John came on board as assistant principal and principal, respectively, at Fountain Central Junior-Senior High School in 1981. Debby had been a principal but took time to be home with the couple's four children. Their twins were babies when the family arrived in Fountain County and they would have two more while living in Veedersburg.
About the time their final baby was born, I was expecting our first and Debby loaned me all her maternity clothes! Ah, the 1980s! So many things happened while we lived in Fountain County. The chart topper was baby Sam's arrival, but there are so many other memories: finishing my journalism degree at Indiana State; getting my first job at the Attica newspaper where my childhood friend Sue Barnhizer (now Anderson) just happened to be the editor! Then becoming the editor.
There was joining the Newtown Community Church, making friends for life, including John and Debby, as mentioned here, Rick and Gay Kirkton and Barb Clark, and so many others we spent time with while living in Fountain County. We've got to visit again with some of these folks as part of my book journey these past few years.
We rented two country farmhouses in our years in Fountain County -- for $200 a month each and no contract unless you count (and we do) the handshake agreement that went with both. Yes, our years in Fountain County were another place and time in many ways. Many good ways.
So that's the 1980s background. John and Debby and family and Brian, Sam and I left Veedersburg in 1989 for other pastures. It was bittersweet. There was much to miss about the life we had built in Fountain County.
But we met more friends and found new opportunities and blessings in the years to come. Chart toppers: our second son, Ben and our daughter-in-law, Allison.
Brian went on to become principal at Fishers Junior High and John went on to serve as schools superintendent at Rushville. Both are officially retired, but John remains busy in consulting work and Brian drives cars for an auction house. I know they would tell you they are having fun with both and when it's no longer fun, they will retire-retire.
Debby served as a principal at Connersville. That's the backyard of where I grew up, a farm kid between there and Liberty. It's still one of those "out-of-context" experiences to discuss with John and Debby the general area where I was born and raised, and the area where I work in Henry County. They have been in southeastern Indiana for quite a few years now!
So yesterday was a fun day of travels, food, fun and conversation. We piled into John's big, black pickup and off we went to Jungle Jim's at Cincinnati.
I've heard about Jungle Jim's for years. Here you can satisfy your foodie yearnings sourced from all over the world.
The choices are amazing, including more cheeses than you can possibly imagine. Same with ethnic breads and any number of other foods as well. You can even do your everyday shopping here, too. It was busy as this is as much a tourist attraction as a shopping experience.
Rest assured we left with an assortment of goodies. In my bags: some interesting chef-made crackers and a basil-tomato cheese that I'll serve with a fruit platter next weekend when we have company; a delicious watermelon, beautiful, tasty peaches, some peach bubble bath (there's a theme here) and some artisan dark-brown bread Brian selected.
The most unusual offering? Brian spotted some frozen python filets.
Onward to Milan, where we checked out the Milan '54 Hoosiers Museum, a charming little place packed with memorabilia from the Milan Miracle when this small school won the state in boys' basketball and went on to inspire one of the greatest sport movies of all time: "Hoosiers."
Museum Founder / Curator Roselyn McKittrick, can't get enough! In fact, she bought the vintage barber shop next door and held court discussing her favorite town and team with our foursome. In case you are wondering, the basketball museum has had visitors from 42 countries and has 2,000 people a year stream through the place. Next up: She's opening the barber shop as a museum.
On the wall is what Milan Coach's wife Mary Lou Wood said after the team won it all, in characteristic Hoosier humility: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."
Love it. Don't you?
We tore ourselves away from Roselyn, who, in her 80s, could have gone on the rest of the day, I'm convinced (and she is charming, by the way), we headed off to Oldenburg where we enjoyed dinner at another iconic landmark in southeast Indiana:
We wound our way back to Rushville enjoying the lush mid-summer landscape, and even more, the company of dear friends.
Let's do it again soon, guys!
My Sunday column in The Courier-Times:
by Donna Cronk
Moments ago, I cleaned out the last pending email from my work in-box. Yep, I either deleted or dealt with every email cyberspace threw at me in this latest round. For one shining moment, I stare at the clean space in front of me where emails tend to collect like dust bunnies in a vacuum-cleaner bag.
The joy I get from a cleared in-box is why I know that I am not cut out to be president.
Never mind all the other reasons – that I’m totally unqualified, not rich, nor an attorney, nor did I attend Harvard or Yale. No, it’s fine to simply stop with the in-box vetting process and go no further.
I cannot imagine how many emails Donald Trump gets, not to mention those that his staff of gatekeepers intercept first.
At least at The Courier-Times, I can on occasion empty the in-box, placing items in the newspaper of community interest and deleting those with no relevance locally such as fashion week on the East Coast or a lovely notice from some prince’s estate notifying me that he had me precisely in mind to inherit his fortune. If only I would share my bank account numbers, I'd be wealthy.
Of course the in-box fills back up at a steady pace, but at least no one is asking me for a billion dollars or summoning me to an international meeting that will affect no less than the future of the world.
But even more than my concerns over never-ending emails, I could never be president because I don’t have that kind of energy. I mean, who does?
On this issue I have to hand it to President Trump and in equal measure, to Hillary Clinton. I’ll see the President on TV at a rally one night, still going full speed in front of the crowd as I doze off to sleep. Before I can get out of bed the next morning, there he is on TV, in a blue rather than red tie maybe, at his day job back in D.C. or in a different city or country, dealing with the new day’s latest crisis or critic.
Hillary kept that kind of schedule, too, during the campaign. Then she wrote a book about it all and hit the road again explaining why she lost.
Some nights after a day at the paper, I can’t make it to the laundry room to gather dry towels, let alone fold and put them away.
I don’t mind that I lack the right stuff to be leader of the free world. I suppose that’s yet another reason why I won’t be nominated for anything by a cheering throng of supporters. And if I were, I’d have to decline. Who can think with the volume in these people's in-boxes? Besides that, too many speeches and glad-handing are required well past my bedtime.
I think no matter their qualifications, education and timing, it takes a different kind of personal drive than I could ever muster to be president. I’m made, simply put, of the wrong stuff.
But that’s OK. If only for the moment, and only a moment will it remain, you should see my clean inbox.
Donna Cronk is Neighbors Editor of The Courier-Times and edits the quarterly her magazine for women. The summer issue comes out Sunday, July 22. She welcomes reader comments and story ideas. Reach her at email@example.com.