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RDJ-- Creamy Shell Soup, 02-26-00  Recipe du Jour
 Feb 26, 2000 06:32 PST 
Volume 3      Number 49

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3 to 4 bone-in chicken pieces
1 cup diced yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 1 tbs dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 medium potatoes, diced
4 to 5 green onions, chopped
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
4 cups milk
2 cups medium shell macaroni, cooked and drained
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Bring 4 cups water, chicken, diced onions, celery, parsley, bay leaf, salt,
and white pepper to a boil in Dutch oven. Simmer over medium heat until
chicken is tender. Remove bay leaf; discard. Remove chicken; cool. Remove
skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken into small cubes; set aside. Add
potatoes, green onions, bouillon cubes, seasoned salt, and poultry seasoning
to broth. Simmer 15 minutes. Add milk, cooked macaroni, and chicken; return
to simmer. Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add flour,
stirring constantly, until mixture begins to brown. Add to soup; blend well.
Simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and ground black
pepper. Yield: 8 servings.

(from North Dakota Wheat Commission)

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By Walter Mills

   The General Grant Tree

When I was in my early 20s I took my own cut-rate Grand Tour, and bought a
3-week bus excursion good for anywhere in America. I got into Fresno in
California's San Joaquin Valley late one afternoon with a few hours to kill.
There was a movie house up the street.

The movie playing was "Tommy", the Who's rock opera, with Tina Turner as the
Acid Queen. For some reason, alone in a strange town in a strange state, the
movie gave me the creeps. I had been on the road for a couple of weeks and
had not slept much. Coming out of the darkened theater into the light of a
March afternoon, the town looked flat and surreal, hardly anyone on the
streets, the buildings like cardboard cutouts against a grainy black and
white sky.

I've had people tell me since that Fresno is always like that, but I think
it was my state of mind. Late in the afternoon I caught another bus to a
small town whose name I don't remember near the entrance to Kings Canyon
National Park.

By the time the bus driver let me off at the Greyhound station it was closed
and dark. I spent the night in my sleeping bag in a little park across the
street. Then in the morning I hitched a ride into the park.

I had heard about the giant Sequoias, the largest living things on earth,
and I wanted to take a look at them while I was in this part of the country.
In a paperback atlas I carried in my backpack I had read about the park on
the slopes of the Sierras where some of the biggest of the giant trees grew.

A young guy in a pickup truck with a big Dalmatian on the seat between us,
dropped me at the ranger station in the middle of the park. The ranger
station and a couple of other buildings that probably housed tourist shops
looked closed up. The snow at this altitude was very high and the buildings
were almost completely hidden under a deep blanket of white that looked as
though it would last late into spring. Once the man and his dog had gone on
I was the only person I could see in any direction.

There were markers pointing the way to the Sequoia grove and as I recall the
walk was not far or difficult. Before very long I began to come on the giant
trees, a few of them with markers telling how big and old they were. The
oldest and biggest in this grove was the General Grant, a colossus as high
as a 26-story building and wide as a city street, a barrel-chested tree as
weathered as old General Grant himself. It's the kind of tree you could
carve a hole in and drive a semi through.

I stood in the snow in the silence of the trees for several hours until the
cold drove me away. If the General Grant is only halfway through his life
cycle, he will see another two millennia roll in and everyone alive today
will be ancient dust, the pages of our books will be brittle parchment, and
the knowledge in them as faded as alchemy.

But all of the deep long thoughts quickly faded as I hitchhiked out of the
park. Two local boys picked me up in their van. I sat on the bare floor
where the seats had been taken out holding on for fear of my life as they
careened down the sides of the mountain, smoking grass and laughing crazily.
I had never driven in mountains like these and could catch only glimpses as
he swung out into blind hairpin turns in the oncoming lane, rarely touching
the brakes if indeed he had brakes. I slid on the metal floorboards and
quietly gave up my fear. I gave up my future and said goodbye to my loved
ones and prepared to die in a freeflight into the sky.

How much could it matter? In our own mind we are the crown of creation, but
to General Grant we are no more than ghosts in the snow.

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright 2000 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To contact
Walt, address your emails to wmi-@vicon.net)


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Do you remember?

This Land Is Your Land
Woody Guthrie
(alternate lyrics)

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the redwood forest to the New York island.
From the snow-capped mountains to the Gulf Stream waters
This land is made for you and me.
As I go walkin' my ribbon of highway
I see all around me my blue blue skyway
Everywhere around me the wind keeps a-whistlin'
This land is made for you and me.
I'm a-chasin' my shadow out across this roadmap
To my wheat fields waving, to my cornfield dancing
As I go walkin' this wind keeps talkin'
This land is made for you and me.
I can see your mailbox, I can see your doorstep
I can feel my wind rock your tip-top treetop
All around your house there my sunbeam whispers
This land is made for you and me.


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