Endings and beginnings


Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist



Whew! Here we are again.

One year’s gone, another’s ahead. We’re looking at the wrinkly backside of 2016 leaving as young and fit 2017 struts in the door.

New Year’s Eve is always bittersweet. In hindsight, the highs and lows probably equal out. I was in an automobile accident and cracked my breastbone on April Fool’s Day, of all times. But I did what I was told, and by the end of June I was fine again.

Then there was the lovely fall morning I stopped for a dozen doughnuts to take in to work. I felt a little off balance going into the doughnut shop. The off-kilter feeling quickly morphed into full-fledged vertigo. Never had it before. I don’t want it again! The first day, when I couldn’t get rid of the pesky spinning feeling, I recorded a personal best with my rescuers — two squad runs in one day.

The contentious, downright nasty contest for the Presidency of the United States, that some of us thought would never end, actually did end back in November. That certainly was a highlight of the year 2016. I will never reveal my vote, although I will go so far as to admit I didn’t end up voting for Andy Griffith. I still contend he’d have made a better president from the great beyond than those for whom we were expected to vote right here, but that’s a discussion for another day. Time will tell.

Our family gained three babies in 2016. We of the “older” generation are all hanging in — certainly a banner year!

I am ever the optimist. My glass is always at least half full, no matter what. Regardless of the situation, it could always be worse and will, no doubt, be better shortly. It always is. It’s a fitting end to this back-and-forth year to have two playoff football games to watch. It’ll be fun to see the Buckeyes take on Clemson with an indoor tailgate leading up to midnight. Don’t forget to load up on foods that claim to bring good luck in the new year.

Bring on 2017!

HAM AND BEAN CHOWDER

1 pound dried Great Northern beans

2 quarts water

1 four pound ham shank

1 16 ounce can tomatoes, chopped

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed chicken broth

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

parsley

Wash beans. Cover with water in a 6 quart saucepot or a large crockpot. Bring to a boil; cover. Boil 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Let beans soak 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid.

Return beans to pot. Add 4 cups reserved liquid, meat, vegetables, seasonings and chicken broth combined with enough water to measure 6 cups.

Bring to a boil. Simmer 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender and will fall from the bone easily. If using a crockpot, cook for 6-7 hours on low. Remove meat, bay leaves and cloves. Cut meat off bone; return to soup.

Skim off fat. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Garnish with parsley.

Serves eight.

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Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.