Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lee - Jackson Ceremony

I drove over to Georgetown today to attend the Lee - Jackson Day Ceremony at the Confederate Monument. The event was put on by the Delaware Grays and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It celebrated Robert Edward Lee's birthday, which is today and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson whose birthday is January 21st. On a cold day there was but a small crowd for the outdoor event. The event was very well done.

The Commander, Robert Eldreth, Jr, of the Camp #2068 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Spoke

Richard Jamison said a prayer

John Zoch spoke

Jeff Plummer Spoke

Joyce Zoch, President of the Caleb Ross Chapter #2635 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, spoke

Terry Ayers Spoke

A salute was fired

Rats and Irish Potatoes

You know when you are reading down your grocery list and it has Rats and Irish potatoes on it that you have to be a native of the area. Irish Potatoes (pronounced arsh) are simply white potatoes, they can be found at any Walmart. The rats are another story however, rats are Muskrats and most people have their own supplier of Muskrat. If you don't have a supplier there is usually some produce stand around that will have a few. But it is best to know the person who is providing them to you. They should already have the fur removed and be cleaned. Be sure the head is on the carcass, that way you can tell if someone is trying to pass off a dead cat on you. When you are looking at the carcass with the rodent teeth sticking out the next question is "how should I prepare my rat?" I have provided two recipes below, all are good with boiled Irish potatoes.

From the Eastern Shore Classic Cookbook "The WICO Cookbook";

MUSKRAT STEW by Darlene Williams

3 muskrats
2 tsp ground sage
1/2 cups bacon grease
salt pepper (red)
Put in water, just enough to cover them. Let cook over medium heat for 5 hours. Start on high heat until it starts boiling then cut down. Let cook until it's all off the bone.

From the Delmar BiCentennial Cookbook
From the kitchen of Mrs. Laura Phillips
Take 3 muskrats & cut up. Soak in salt & water for a few hours. Rinse in cold water & drain. Heat 1/4" shortening or bacon drippings in large heavy skillet. Brown muskrat on all sides. Add 1 1/2Tbsp. sage & 1 hot pepper can be used instead of cayenne pepper. Cover & simmer until tender. If water boils down low, add more & salt & sage if needed for taste.

Bon appetit

Robert E. Lee was born today

Robert E. Lee was born today in 1807. His history is well known unless you were taught by New England teachers. In the south and elsewhere this coming Monday is considered a holiday for the birthday of Robert E. Lee.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Uncontested Elections

Norman Rockwell - Four Freedoms - Freedom of Speech

An article in today's News Journal said Greenwood and Frankford Delaware had canceled their upcoming elections because either no one was interested in running or the seats were not contested and the incumbents will continue in office.

This is becoming an increasingly important problem in small towns - people don't want to run for office and people don't want to vote. Delmar is a prime example of this. However, Delmar is not the only small town this is happening in.

We have troops dying in Iraq and other parts of the world to protect our democracy yet the people in the United States can not even take the time to go out and vote or run for an elected office. What a waste of life for something even United States citizens do not appear to be interested maintaining in their own country.

When no one comes forward to run for an elected office the town, it's citizens loses - they lose new ideas, new blood and new views. Worst, they lose a certain pride in their town. I am sure the town government makes out as they don't have to pay for an election and there is no upset due to new ideas so the status quo can continue.

One of the more inspiring speeches was John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address in 1961 in which he said;
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Today that idea seems to have slipped from many of the citizens in Delmar and other small towns. There is no one cause to blame, altho I do put a lot of this on the school system that is so concerned about being politically correct that such things as civic duty, running for office and voting is largely ignored.

The system still works, it is just a matter of "We the People" doing our bit and ensuring we are active in politics. Politics is not some backroom dirty dealing system it is "We The People" getting involved and making sure it is not some backroom dirty dealing system. So tell your child you voted in the last election and will do so again. Tell your child you ran for town office because you wanted to. Do less flag waving and rhetoric and do the real basics of democracy by running for office and voting.

Charles Ponzi

Today in 1949 in a charity ward of a Rio de Janeiro hospital, at the age of 67, Charles Ponzi died. He was one of the great swindlers in America and gave his name to a pyramid scheme of fleecing greedy people. In the Ponzi scheme of 1920 he would buy International Reply Coupons (IRC) in foreign countries with distressed currency values and redeem them in the United States for full US Currency value postage stamps. Obviously, this was at a time when the United States Dollar still had some standing among the Nations of the world. He promised investors in his scheme a 50% return on their money. He gave the initial investors their 50% return by taking the money from new investors and paying the old investors. At it's peak in 1920, this scheme was bringing in a million a week. He went to jail for mail fraud, and eventually ended up in Brazil where he died.

Frank Goes To Jail

Today in Delmar History, Frank D. Bonsell Jr surrendered to Deputy Marshals on January 18, 1974 and was taken to the Sussex County Correctional Center at Georgetown to serve a 10 days jail term and pay a $5,000 fine for income tax evasion. Frank was a three term Delmar Delaware Mayor (1961 to 1967), Head of the Delmar Chamber of Commerce, and had previously been Chairman of the State Personnel Commission. He was found guilty of Income tax evasion for the years 1966 and 1967 relating to his Vending machine business, consisting of two counts of income tax evasion and two counts of willfully subscribing income tax returns which he knew to be not true and correct.

It is interesting that the other Delmar Mayor that went to jail was also named Frank; Frank Edward Gully. Frank is still in the Western Correctional institution in Maryland.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The National Grange

I was reading in the Laurel Star about National Grange approaching 140 years as an organization. Now, this isn't an organization you heard much from. My main exposure to them is the food booth they have at the Delaware State fair. I like their food booth because you can sit down and the food is usually good. I also pass the Laurel Grange on Route 9 when I go to Georgetown, but I never see any activity there. The Laurel Grange is one of 16 granges in Delaware. Their sign out front is posted above. The "P of H" that surrounds the sheaf of wheat stands for "The Order of Patrons of Husbandry". The Broad Creek Grange in Laurel was formed March 2, 1875. Members met at the Masonic Hall in Laurel until 1952, when the current hall was built. This fraternal order is one of a number of fraternal and secret organizations that were big in the 1900s but now has diminished in size.

For some reason when you go to the Delaware Grange website, it is in Russian. Could the Grange in truth be part of a Communist movement? Perhaps I should reconsider supporting their food booth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Is Delaware the same as Arkansas?

I was reading tonight a blog called The Reign of Ellen and in one of her posts she talks about visiting Maryland and makes a trip in to Delaware. I think she is from Arkansas. Surprising she expected more from our little state, thought it would be more like DC, Please Ellen even you can have higher goals in life than to seek out places like DC, unless you are into freak shows. Her view of Delaware;

Delaware was... not really what I was expecting. It was sorta like Arkansas with an ocean. I guess I thought that, since it was so close to the culturally diverse D.C. area, it would be slightly more... I don't know... interesting. I had a great time lounging around the house with Alice, but our biggest outing was eating at Bob Evans.

Now being a native of Delmarva I have been as far North as Wilmington and as far south as Cape Charles, and I have never been to Arkansas. I have nothing against Arkansas, except they elected the Clintons and Huckabee to office.

Christine Truitt, Sentenced

I read in today's News Journal that Christine Truitt was sentenced to four years in jail and a year of work release. Her daughter, Nina Grimes got two years and her son-in-law Shaun Grimes got a year. Christine Truitt forged 383 checks ($800,000) when she was finance director in Harrington. 383 checks, what kind of cross checks did the town of Harrington have that would allow that many checks to be forged? The really bad thing is it could happen in any town or city on Delmarva. Hopefully not 383 checks, but the town and cities depend on the honesty of their financial people and when one goes bad there are few cross checks today that will stop this type of embezzling. I put the blame more on elected Mayors and Councilpeople who are suppose to also check on this type of thing - but few do. They seem to think it is a figurehead position as they have paid town employees to do the actual work and they think the job consist of only having to attend a meeting once a month. No doubt in Harrington those elected officials thought the same thing. In Delmar years back we would discuss at the council meetings the bills we were going to pay. Everyone knew to some extend how much money was going out of the town that month. The list of approved bills was made known to the public and was part of the records of the meeting. Todays Mayor and council seem more interested in getting the meeting overwith at 9 P.M. than doing any actual governing of the town. I am sure if you were to ask any of the Delmar elected officials what the Town of Delmar paid in bills today or this month none would know and would say wait until I get up with Sarah to find out. There in is the problem, a list of checks written that month should be part of the public meeting each month. Again, back a number of years ago the expenses paid out by a town would be published in the newspaper, which would let the public know if any one vendor was getting more than his fair share of the taxpayer dollar. The lack of public information on the ways towns are run is part of the problem. The excuse it is too many checks and expenses to itemize is not an acceptable reason for not doing it in this age of computers. Maybe we need a finance committee to do a monthly review of the town money, if the Mayor and council don't want to or are incapable of doing it.

1949 Ad - Jack's Market

Monday, January 14, 2008

1905 Dance

From the Jan 14, 1905 edition of the The Laurel Gazette

An informal dance was given in the Masonic Temple at Delmar, on January 4 by the young men of the town. It was a well attended and enjoyable affair.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This Weeks Delmar Meetings and Events

January 14th, Monday, 6:30 P.M. Delmar Police Commission (no agenda posted)
January 15, Tuesday, 6:30 P.M. Sussex County Council Meeting
January 17, Thursday, 3:00 P.M., Sussex County Planning and Zoning

Bugie or Bugia

Bugie in Italian means "Lies" and in light of all the political rhetoric we are hearing on television and in the news I thought it appropriate to put out this cookie recipe which goes by the same name. Altho they are prepared anytime they are usually made in carnival season, early January to the day before Ash Wednesday. Like the verbal lies, eating bugies are something you can't stop at just one.

Recipe for Bugie
3 C flour
3 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz brandy
Mazola oil for deep frying
powdered sugar
Mix dough well. If too dry, add water. If too soft add flour to the work surface. Roll out thin, cut into any shape you wish. Fry in hot oil, 4 or 5 pieces at a time. Place on paper towels to drain, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Now you know anything that is fried and has alcohol and sugar in it, has to be good.