Popular Posts

Sunday, July 9, 2017

“JULY IS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH—BUT WHO STARTED MAKING AND HOW?”



July is national ice cream month but personally, I think any month is one for ice cream. You can just have a lot more this month to celebrate! Whatever your choice of flavor might be, just go for it. But have you ever wondered who started making it and how? I thought it was something American made but WRONG! Ice cream making went back as far as 200 BC. Amazing isn’t it and how was it made?

After reading a lot about ice cream, I discovered that in the year of 200 BC or thereabouts, ice cream was made by having servants or peons [to a king or emporer] go up to high mountain tops that were snow-covered. These men had the horrific task of digging out snow and ice and carrying in back down steep mountains by pulling a handmade wagon. Once their destiny was reached, others who served the king or emporer had to take the snow and ice out of the wagon. After doing that, whatever the royal wanted put into it was his choice—such as berries or lemons or the like. And the workers had to stir that by hand into the snow and ice. In China, the emporer liked ice mixed with milk and rice: And that is what the upper-class ate at that time for ice cream.

And as soon as that was done, the king or emporer set out to eat the homemade ice cream [not like today’s ice cream but similar] along with his chosen family and guests. If the king or emporer lived in a hot region, you can guess that the ice cream was devoured quickly! The royals of that time and a little later who lived in cold climates had the pleasure of eating ice cream at their whim but pity the poor workers or peons to them—for they had the disgusting duty as described above.

Forward in time to about 400 AD and Arab countries as well as those in Africa were also making ice cream by using the same method:  Someone had to climb high mountains, retrieve the ice and snow and cart it back to the palace. And once again, whatever the choice of flavoring the royal wanted was added to the ice and snow. If you live in another country other than the United States, google the history of ice cream in your area—might be surprised at what you find out.

When the United States became a country, people here wanted ice cream as well for they as well as their forefathers had eaten it in England. But the United States had no emporer or king in its beginning and still doesn’t as you know well—we have a president. Read that George Washington kept cellars under ground [all Americans did at that time—no electriticy and no refrigeration] as did other prominent and non- prominent people. The recipes for making ice cream in 1776 and years forward came from Quaker colonists who brought their own recipes with them when they came here to settle.  Again some had the grueling task of digging ice and snow [indentured servants] and carrying it down steep hills to a specific place. This ice and snow was kept in  tin containers and put in cellars underground a house or a building nearby.

Cellars were built underneath as a basement is today of sorts. Stairs led the way down to them and it was here that the above was kept till someone wanted ice cream. But a change was made and that was that when the ice and snow was put into tin containers, rock salt was added as a first layer, then ice and snow, then more rock salt and so on till the top of the container was filled. What did rock salt do? It lowered the temperature of the ice and snow to way below freezing. And this fact allowed the ice cream makers to be more variable with types of ice cream made. This was really the first ice cream here in the United States. Some people still do this today!

An African American man named Augustus Jackson made many ice cream recipes and is credited with inventing a way to manufacture ice cream in 1832. Eleven years later, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia got the first United States patent for a hand-cranked freezer for ice cream. From then on, everyone could have ice cream—if they wanted to make it themselves or have someone do it for them. Imagine after the invention of electricity what transpired with ice cream! There were ice boxes in houses and unlimited possibilites.

Fast forward to today’s time and if it’s ice cream you want, all you have to do is to go to a store to buy it—any flavor and any way—slow churned, low-fat and/or with fruit, nuts, chocolate or whatever added is there for the taking.  And since it’s July, go for it! After all, ice cream is wonderful and be so grateful that no one has to climb high mountains anymore to get ice and snow—who’d want that job anyway? Long live ice cream! Enjoy!

Sherry Hill


Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


*Photo from Microsoft Word





Monday, July 3, 2017

“YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE!”



After a guy posted something funny on social media, it reminded me of what happened to my first husband’s uncle who was his dad’s brother.  Both of these brothers loved to go fishing and hunting together but there was one distinct difference between the two:  Oscar was the taller one. So tall in fact that he towered over anyone at six feet seven inches tall. He was handsome, imposing and a heck of a man with a huge sense of humor.

Both of these brothers would always wear long sleeved army green shirts when they went fishing or hunting and aside from that, both had a big sewn on patch that said “West Virginia Hunters” or something like that on their shirts. I remember those patches were outlined with bright yellow thread.

And so it came to be that on one specific day when they were hunting in Pocahontas County here in West Virginia, they literally ran into some man who was encroaching on their staked out territory. Now if you’re a hunter or a fisherman that is not what one does: Encroach on someone else’s territory. It’s some unwritten law that can sometimes lead to much arguing or the like.

Exceedingly tall Oscar approached that man slowly for he knew if he ran towards him there was no knowing what the man would do. The encroacher took one look at Oscar’s shirt, saw the big patch on his shirt and screamed “You’re one of them! You’re a Fed aren’t you?” Knowing full well that the man was not real smart, Oscar replied “Yes I am one of those!” And the man fled never to be seen again on that hunting trip.

Meanwhile, Oscar’s brother was trying to stifle his laughter but I’m not so sure that it worked. “Well” said his brother “I guess I’m one of those too—a Fed!” From then on, both never hunted or fished without wearing those green shirts with the huge sewn on patches.

I can still laugh at this short story because Oscar’s brother was my first father-in-law and he would repeat this over and over again much to everyone’s delight. It happened. And are you “One of those?” Smile if you are.

Sherry Hill
© Copyright 2017
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


*Photo from Microsoft Word




Sunday, July 2, 2017

THE DAY I WENT “SNIPE” HUNTING



When my parents bought a house way up on top of South Walnut Street in St. Albans, I was nine years old. And at the end of the street was a cul de sac but beyond that were woods—woods that I would love to explore and come to know. Guess I should add that boys far outnumbered girls on this street, which on my part seemed like a good thing to me because I was boy crazy. Being boy crazy seemed to be the norm for most girls my age but on my part, I had to have a girlfriend with me when I was around boys: It was my safety net of sorts.

Aside from the fact of being head over heels in love with the boy next door, I knew the rest of the boys—some well and some not so well. It was the ones I knew “not so well” that got me in trouble one hot summer day. I had walked up to the cul de sac to sort of get away from my house and thought that there would be a bunch of kids hanging around that I knew well. Wrong.

Those boys I knew “not so well” were in mass on that day; heaven only knows what they had been doing or had done. I decided to turn around and go home when I heard my name being called; turned around only to be motioned to come nearer to them. A sense of fear set in me but being inquisitive, I approached them cautiously for some were a lot older than me and I didn’t know what they wanted. Right there and then, I should have trusted my gut instinct but decided to throw caution to the wind and walked up to them.

“Wanna go into the woods with this paper bag and get a snipe?” one older boy asked me. “What’s a snipe?” I asked honestly. “Oh it’s a neat thing; you’ll see.” “What do I have to do?” I asked. “Just take this bag, open it up and go into the woods and wait” he told me. “Wait and a snipe will come and get in the bag” he added. “Do I have to go alone in the woods with that bag?” I asked. “Oh yes; if you don’t, the snipe won’t come out.” At this point, I wanted female reinforcement but there was not one girl around except me.

“Okay. I’m in” was my reply. I grabbed that paper bag, tramped off into the woods, put the opened bag on the ground of the woods and waited. Waited more. Waited longer. Nothing came out and into that bag. Nothing. Waited a lot longer. Looked at trees. Looked around. And that’s when I heard those boys laughing so loud that it echoed and that’s when I learned that I had been had.

Feeling totally stupid, I had that paper bag crushed in my hands and when those boys howled with laughter, I ran all the way home. I didn’t know whether to tell my parents what had happened, to cry or laugh but the boy next door came out and asked me what was wrong. I spilled it all out to him: He told me not to feel so badly for it had happened to him once too. “Cheer up” he said. “There is no such thing as a snipe: It doesn’t exist.” “I sort of guessed that” was my reply “but still I was afraid of what one was or if it got in the bag, what would it do. But when I heard those boys laughing, I knew I had been tricked” I told him.

His words comforted me to the nth degree. “Thanks” I said. “Welcome” he replied.

At that moment, I knew I would be wiser the next time—should the next time happen. My parents were told of what happened to me and both of them said they had been tricked with the “snipe hunting” too when they were kids. “I’m not alone” I thought to myself; others have had it happen to them too.”

But thinking you’ll be wiser sometimes throws a, curve for I would find that much later on as a teenager or an adult, I found myself being gullible to “snipe hunters” disguised in different forms and the object was not a snipe—the object was to be tricked, fooled or thrown into a situation not wanted.

The moral is: If you think something feels wrong, don’t do it. It’s that little voice inside of you that tells you “No.” I would be guilty over and over until I finally learned to be cautious and cautious of everything. Maybe it’s not a good way to be but considering how things are in today’s world, it’s how it has to be. Just don’t go “snipe hunting:” Trust me on that.
Sherry Hill
© Copyright 2017
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved

*Photo from Microsoft Word





Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WEST VIRGINIA




What is it about the cunning calling of living in West Virginia? Is it the mountains that surround us here or the past lore or the people? I think that it is all three of these factors. My roots are here as well as many of yours; there's something indescribable that makes it home. I've seen our many rivers and have immersed myself into their beauty; in fact, I've swum in lot of them or fallen into a lot of them.


West Virginia is so diverse from one area to another--Harper's Ferry is completely different than say Charleston: It is northern in just about every way. Greenbrier County and Pocahontas County are two of my favorite places in the state. I feel "at home" there. The beauty of these two counties is breathtaking. The mountains seem to share their mysteries with me and make me feel secure. As for the people here, you won't find any better anywhere: They will open not only their doors for you but their hearts. Downright southern hospitality at its best is here.

I was born here, have always lived here and my children and grandchildren are here. Oh I've been to other states and enjoyed those trips: In fact, I love the beaches of North Carolina. But to live there? That'd be a definite no. There are still many places in West Virginia I haven't seen but it will happen. I can only hope that you feel the way I do about West Virginia. The country roads call out to be taken. The posh places are here as well. Diversity describes the state in one word. It truly is "almost heaven."

Sherry Hill



Copyright © 2016
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


TODAY is West Virginia Day. My state became one on this day in 1863 by a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln. West Virginia was part of Virginia prior to that date. Today West Virginia is 154 years old.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"AND A HALF"



Well I most certainly don’t say “I am such and such an age and a half” but there were too many times when I did. Thinking back, I must have been five when I was asked how old I was and my reply was “I’m five and a half years old.” That made it sound as if I were almost six which in reality I was not but oh it made me sound older.  Why did I want to sound older? It was the common core of all young kids to want to be older thinking that it would make it more desirable.

My adding “and a half” to my age continued until I was sixteen and then it seemed to come to some screeching halt. Reason? It really sounded ridiculous to say that to anyone and did anyone care? Very doubtful. And I’m sure they heard it way too often from other teenagers or those younger. Did these people say the same thing when they were young? I’m sure that they did although I’ve not done any research into this saying: I just heard it all of my life. And said it.

Another reason for my screeching halt to saying these three words was what my mom said to me when I was sixteen—well sixteen and a half to be exact, if you really want to know for she said to me “Don’t wish your life away. Time goes by too fast.”

After that I never said “and a half” added to my age although I didn’t believe what my mom said was true. Life seemed to go slowly with a lot of leftover time for this and that.

But her point was so right for the older I became, the faster the time seemed to pass. And now it just doesn’t pass—it zooms for it’s no sooner one month and then it’s the next. It’s no sooner one year and then it’s the next. And I remember her saying “Don’t wish your life away” but it was the hope of all little kids and teenagers to become older: I made a list when I was twelve [and a half,] of things I wasn’t able to do and that list was long. Did I keep the list? Of course I didn’t; I never showed it to a single soul for fear of being embarrassed to the nth degree.

I won’t write what was on that list but let’s just say that I did everything on it and then some—just the typical things that girls wanted to do to look cool and be cool. Nothing bad. Nothing sordid.

To be twelve and a half again? I wish. To be sixteen and a half again? Again, I wish. But since neither is possible, I’m trying to put skids on my life and that’s not working out well at all. The skids don’t seem to work anymore, I say pathetically, for all they do is make time go faster. Rest assured there is one thing I will never say ever again and haven’t in a long time, and that’s to say I am such and such an age “and a half.” That just makes it all the worse. Believe me.

Sherry Hill
© Copyright 2017
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved


*Photo from Microsoft Word


GREETINGS FROM FAR AWAY


This is so embarrassing in that it's been too long since I've posted on here and I could say that life got in the way but in reality? I've been writing and writing: Two more Amazon Kindle books have been added making it a total of 15 now. And in between I've been on a painting jag. Amazing what you can find online to inspire--at least I did.

Far away? I haven't been far away at all.

As I write this, it's still hot outside: Yesterday it was 91 degrees with horrid humidity when combined, it makes it unbearable to be outside. All I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning and floor fans for both help ease the heat an the "stickiness" feeling  that I get when I am outside. Maybe it's extremely hot in your area and maybe not but if it is, you know full well what I'm talking about. And yes, I am aware that not all people have air conditioning at all: There was a time when my house didn't have central air and we just dealt with it.

Please look for more updated posts and again, apologies from here. I have many more stories to post.

Sherry Hill
© Copyright
Sherry Hill
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 25, 2016

PEACE AND LOVE CAN COME FROM SMALL GESTURES



Christmas Eve has always held its magic for me for my family always celebrated Christmas then with the opening of gifts and a then we ate sumptuous dinner. The next day on Christmas was a day spent together and one of reminiscing along with relatives that would stop by.

But in 1980 a woman that lived up the street from me named Chris, called me and said she had an idea and asked if I’d participate. Her idea was for everyone in the neighborhood to place white bakery bags with sand in them on each side of their driveways and put a lit candle inside but just on Christmas Eve. She asked if I would call my nearby neighbors and I gladly said I would; she called the rest and the rest involved three streets. That phone call came three weeks before Christmas and gave us all time to purchase bakery bags, sand and candles. None of it was costly.

All of us lived close to a hardware store, a bakery and many places to buy small candles. Everyone I called thought it was a great idea and looking back, everyone that Chris called thought so as well.

The day before Christmas Eve that year, came a cold snap and it was so cold outside that it made anyone’s teeth shake. The supplies for the luminaries were ready at my house and the next night it was bone chilling. I will never forget going outside with my then-husband, my two young sons and the supplies and of course, they wanted to put sand in each white bakery bag and so it was back in the house to retrieve two huge spoons.

Sand was shakily put in each white bakery bag by small gloved hands, while my then-husband and I placed a small white lit candle inside each bag. Our driveway was illuminated on both sides and it was one glorious sight.

But even more glorious was to look up the street about half an hour later and see nothing but glowing white bags in rows of two as far as you could see. As no one then had very few outside lights, it made our neighborhood aglow. Chris’ idea had worked its magic for it made all of us feel connected all the more: The lit bags shone bright and created a feeling of peace and love.

Every year thereafter, we took Chris’ idea and lined our driveways with the sand filled bakery bags and lit candles. With the advent of some young couples moving away and new neighbors moving in, the idea slowly faded into near oblivion but Chris still did it as did other neighbors including me. And then like all good things, it came to an end sadly.

Looking back, her idea was not costly but the feeling those lit bags gave out was one of oneness and I miss it. The neighborhood changed and changed, Chris passed away and now no one does it. Peace and love can come from small gestures and come this Christmas Eve, rest assured I will line my driveway, as I did in the  past, while hoping others do the same.

One idea can make things magical as Chris’ did and it’s time to carry on her tradition all over again. She gave us much that Christmas Eve and it will never be forgotten and I owe her.


Sherry Hill
Published today in my local paper