Deviled Eggs

this is a popular dish at pot-lucks, usually several people bring them and everyone likes them. I make them to keep in the refrigerator to enjoy for several days. These today are from a dinner at Debbie’s not long ago.

Living in a small town in West Texas, we will use any excuse to have  get-togethers. The church is a big part of our lives and we like to have pot luck dinners often. Everything is homemade and delicious. There are always wonderful vegetables dishes, can you imagine five different kinds of squash dishes~beautiful salads, and always hot rolls. We usually have a smoked brisket from HEB and that is the only thing bought-and-brought, the rest of the meal is built around this. The dessert table will have everything from cherry cheese cake, to pies and cobblers, and cookies, everyone brings their favorite recipe. ( the Women of the Church published a cookbook a few years ago ‘Passed and Present 1903-2003′. First Presbyterian Church of Eldorado, Texas) The dinning tables are covered with linen cloths and there will be a beautiful centerpiece on each table. We make dinners for family funerals, or when the kids graduate from school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, then dinners for no special reason. There are big hamburger picnics at ‘Church on the Waters’ at Clear Creek on the Powell Ranch to end the summer. (sometime a baptism too) When it is announced that we are having a pot luck luncheon, I get my ire up, it is not a luncheon, it is a full fledged dinner. Eldorado has the finest cooks in the world, we celebrate every occasion with our very best. And as always “Thank You Lord for our church family”.

Today I have a simple recipe for deviled eggs, you will find them at every dinner. They are one of the most popular dishes.
Deviled Eggs
Hard boil 6 or 8 eggs. It is best to use eggs after you have had
them for a couple of weeks, too fresh eggs are hard to peel.
Cover eggs with cold water and bring to a good rolling boil, then 
put the lid on pan, turn off burner and let the eggs sit in the hot
water for about 15 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water to cool.
In the meantime, you can  chop  pickles and onions, mix in with
mayonnaise, mustard and seasoning.
2 T finely chopped sweet pickles
3 T chopped onions
4 T mayonnaise
2 T mustard
small pinch of celery seeds
pinch of salt
Crack eggs and remove shell, cut in halves (if you cut them slowly with a sharp knife, they won’t tear)
Mash the yolks on a plate with a fork until they are smooth.
Add everything together and load each egg with this stuffing. Be generous, even if you end up with a coupe of extra egg whites, it needs to be full and don’t smooth the tops.
You can sprinkle a tiny bit of paprika on top~

Rattlesnake Will Davis Road

Snake stories abound in West Texas. We do have snakes! Everyone has a good snake story. The best ones are about rattlesnakes people have encountered. This is my best rattlesnake story~true and authentic~ 

this is like rattler that ‘froze to death’ that day~

 One day when the boys were little and we lived on the farm over on Will Davis Road we were on our way to town when we saw a big rattle snake in the road. We stopped and I found a rock while Daddy watched to be sure the it didn’t  get away.  He hit it but only stunned it, it was slithering around and rattling. Then Mr. Belk drove up  in his big butane truck and got out to help. He said he could spray it with butane and it would freeze like a block of ice. He got his big hose off the truck, turned on valve and sprayed. He said, “if you get these snakes froze solid, you can hit them with a stick and they will break into a hundred pieces.” By then, Longino and Goya had driven up.The kids were standing there with me watching.  Well OK, it’s Show Time! Mr. Belk  hit the snake with the nozzle on the hose but nothing happened. “Guess we need another blast!” So this time  he gave it a big thorough sousing until it turned pure white, frozen through and through, solid as a rock. He hit it with the nozzle again~ and again~ and it didn’t break into a hundred pieces, or even two pieces. “Well doggies”. Then he decided to just set it on fire instead. He stuck a match and WHOOP! The barrow ditch was on fire in both directions, all the way to T.P.’s gate and back nearly to town. Goya grabbed little Paul up and ran down the road, Dan was running neck in neck with her. I was just running. (so much for my theory that a mother will try and save her babies first).  Mr. Belk jumped in his truck and shot off down the road to get it away from the flames,  dragging the dripping hose  behind him.  In a few minutes I heard the fire whistle blowing and the fire truck was there a hurry. Half the town came out  to see what happened. Back then, when there was a fire, everyone showed up. it was like a social event, something to talk about at the coffee shop for the next week. I always liked Mr. Belk, he was a nice man. I don’t think any of us ever forgot this day. 

Home Sweet Home in Texas

Our new home in 1936

Our new home in 1936

In 1935, when I was two years old, my mother and daddy and older sister moved to Eldorado. It was soon after the Great Depression. Somehow Daddy put enough money together, with the help of my granddad to build house, it had four rooms and a bath. It cost $1,600, (I have a coffee table that cost that much).

It was freezing cold in the winters, no insulation in the walls. we had a wood stove in the living room and no heaters in the other rooms. You had to be careful about carbon monoxide poisoning. (later we had the nice big Dearborn heaters that put off a lot of heat but didn’t get hot to the touch). Summers were not bad, there was always a nice cool breeze at night. The back yard was for a cow, chickens and a garden. We had a cave that was about 2 feet deep. Daddy had a job at the Cooper Gas Plant east of town.

we lived across from Grandmother and Granddad Christian, that was the best part of growing up. About a year after this picture was made, Nancy was born.

This was a good time for two little girls, a new house, Daddy earning enough money to keep things going, Mother was an artist and taught painting. She also canned our food, even things like tamales and fruit cake. She made all our clothes and was good at everything she did. She played the piano at the Presbyterian Church for several years and was blessed with many gifts and talents. 

I started school in 1939, the teachers were old and cranky. When WW 11 started there was rationing on sugar, gasoline, candy, black pepper to name a few things. (even elastic and rubber). Each family was given rationing stamps and was allowed only small amounts of necessary   things. Mother had one pair of silk stockings that lasted during the entire war. Woolworth Store in San Angelo had a counter up front where workers repaired runs in stockings. (Women could also buy brown lotion to color their legs and then paint a ‘seam’ down the back, these were pretend stockings) 
I could drive by myself when I was nine, kids drove the family car if they they had one. The main street downtown was always alive with people. On Saturday, everyone came to town. There was one picture show in the middle of town that showed the same movie two days in a row, mostly scary war pictures and then on Saturday, there was a cowboy movie. Mrs. Davis had a popcorn machine and a quarter paid for popcorn and a movie. There was no restroom and no water fountain. You went down to the Eldo Hotel  if you needed to go.  Kids walked home from the movie in the dark. We never thought about walking at night, it was a little scary crossing the school yard though.
The fast food place was Hamburger Bill’s, the aroma drifted down the street, the hamburgers were good and cost 15 cents. (I might add there were few fat people back then, I can only remember one or two  while we were in school).  There were two drug stores, they smelled like medicine and vanilla ice cream, then several barber shops and they really smelled nice.  There were five grocery stores, two lumber yards, and at least eight filling stations. There was the Woolen Mill, the only one in Texas. J.B. Christian build it. I loved to go in there just for the smell, it had an earthy, lanolin sheepy smell, just wonderful to the senses. It is still stands here today but is only open for tours.

during the war, the mill made army blankets that were sent all over the world for our troops, they were dyed  army green

Another business that has been here forever is the First National Bank. It was started in 1907 and this was the original building. Later the building was turned into a Pool Hall, (no women were allowed in there). Now it has been restored and is a beautiful building where receptions and gathering are held.

the old bank is now used for social functions, it is  the prettiest place in Eldorado. The present First National Bank is across the street and spans the block.  (another of Frankie Lively’s pictures).

The finest homes were in Glendale. There were three doctor’s offices, no ambulance, people were loaded in a pickup or the funeral home’s hearse to be taken to San Angelo for an emergency. We had one dentist, Miss Nettie Isaac’s, her equipment ran on a treadle machine that  she peddled while she drilled). 
When I was nine, my sisters and I could ride the Oilfield Bus Lines to San Angelo by ourselves and spend the night with Grandmother and Granddad Montgomery. We would go shopping downtown at Woolworth’s and buy books for 25c, false fingernails, nail polish, and kiss proof lipstick, which was about the same as painting your mouth with the nail polish. The dream was going to the Texas Theater, oh what a place! Air conditioning, bathrooms and water fountains.
After the war, things changed fast, prosperity, new cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, good jobs and new oil was discovered. Eldorado was a booming town. There were five car dealerships in town at one time. Soon people started going to San Angelo to do business and buy their stuff.  Slowly, businesses here closed. Television changed the way of life too, people stopped visiting with each other.
I was in the first class graduating in the new high school building in 1951. I could have lived anywhere, after college I moved back and stayed. I love this town~

Christmas Carolers

this is what I opened my door to last Sunday, what a wonderful surprise~

Someone knocked on my door one Sunday afternoon last year and when I opened it, there were about 30 people loaded on two trailers and others standing in the yard! They were ready to serenade me with wonderful Christmas music. There was even a guitar player! This was a huge surprise. This was a huge thrill. It was the youth group from the First Methodist Church  in Eldorado, I recognized so many of my little friends. It was a beautiful evening, nice and warm, just perfect for caroling. I know they took their music all over town and brought so much Christmas Spirit and Joy to others, but it would be hard to imagine anyone more happy than I was. I even got some hugs! Thank you all for this special blessing~I am enjoying it all over again writing about it. Warmest Love and Merry Christmas 

they sang  beautiful Christmas music

perfect day, warm and no wind

everyone was having a good time

then off they went to their next gig~

time to say goodbye, it was truly wonderful