Saturday, November 11, 2017

Telling Their Stories: A Tribute on Veteran's Day


It's Veteran's Day. . .a day to remember those who have kept our Nation free. . .those who sacrificed much in order to defend what we hold so dear. . .

On this day, I would like to honor the Veteran that I knew so well. . .and miss tremendously. . .My Dad. . .Curtis C. Duncan. . .who joined the U S Navy in 1942 and served in World War II as a Yeoman of the 8th Amphibious Command Headquarters in the Mediterranean Operation. He was also on board the flagship of Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowry. . .the USCGC Duane. . .for the Invasion of Southern France. . .one of the vast communications operation crew.  He always said he fought the War behind a typewriter. . .but I have found he did much more. . .

Daddy was always so good to write letters to me, wherever I was living.  Many of them were about the garden, his photography, Mom's cooking. . .So I had the idea to ask him to jot down some of his stories for me when he'd write. It didn't need to be long or formally written. . .Simply what he wanted to tell. . .He seemed thrilled and worked hard on the letters. Over a ten year period, he poured out his memories. . .little by little. . .never lengthy enough for details but he was able to remember the basics. . .There are two large notebooks full, but they don't begin to touch on the details of the life he lived. . .Yet, with much research, and reaching back into my memories of the stories I heard, I've begun to put his story together and have realized what an extraordinary man he was.



USSCGC DUANE CREW--Y2c/S1c C C DUNCAN 1st Row Left--DALE ROOKS PHOTO

"You have served in the greatest Navy in the world. No other Navy at any time has done so much. For your part in these achievements, you deserve to be proud as long as you live. The Nation which you serve at this time of crisis will remember you with gratitude. . ." James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy
 I noticed that a large group of landing craft was coming into the harbor at Naples, Italy. Since I was stationed on the USCGC Duane and Com 8th Amphibious operation ship, I did not think too much about it. The LST's, LCI's, destroyers and the landing craft were loaded with tanks, trucks, jeeps, plus the army personnel. We were gathering a landing force for Southern France. Two days before sailing, all liberties were canceled. I got up one morning and all you could see was ships--slow ships running at 5 to 15 knots. We were on our way. . .  from the C C Duncan Journal: The WWII Years by Dru Duncan 2017

Y/2C Curtis C. Duncan, Back Row Left

Daddy's story is not  a singular one. It's the story of thousands of others who served in World War II. They have been called "The Greatest Generation." For them, hard times were nothing new. They lived through both the Great Depression and World War II and survived to help build a new and prosperous America that has endured to this day. Through their stories, we can learn what it means to sacrifice for others. After the war, they came back home victorious but changed in many ways as they took on the task of rebuilding this nation. Their love for our country was obvious in everything they did. I consider it an honor to be the daughter of one of those great, but humble, men. . .and to tell his story. . .from the C C Duncan Journal: The WWII Years by Dru Duncan, 2017

 USCGC Duane decked out for the King in Naples Italy, July 1944. CC Duncan on board. DALE ROOKS PHOTO

Please do remember ALL VETERANS this day. . .for their SERVICE to our COUNTRY. . .
whether it was a time of war or peace. . .They each deserve our RECOGNITION.

    Shake a Veteran's hand and tell him
'THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE'
not just today. . .but each time you meet one. . .
Encourage them to tell their story. . .the story of their service to this Nation. . .
STORIES which never should be lost. . .




 And to my Dad. . .a SPECIAL THANKS from me. . .
for enriching my life with HIS STORY. . .



Thursday, November 9, 2017

SEASONED SOUTHERN STYLE: Simply Good Food



". . .It was a revelation to find, when I first went north, that what we ate was not what everybody else in the country eats, because southerners, no matter where they were on the social ladder, ate pretty much as we did. The ingredients were the same, although the preparation might differ with the level of affluence. . ." **

GRAPE NUTS TEA BREAD***  (RECIPE LINK BELOW)

As I've discovered in life that SIMPLE can be the best. . .and the healthiest. . .so have I found it to be true of the foods we eat. . .

After years of trying new recipes with a long list of ingredients, seeking healthy alternatives to gluten and dairy, trying to eliminate preservatives and pesticides, I have decided to return to the food of my childhood. . .simple foods made from scratch (mostly) and of the freshest ingredients I can find. . .I think today's term for this way of thinking is 'eating clean'. . .I call it common sense. . .

In this community, we have had numerous octogenarians and at least four that I can count right now who are still living in their 90s+. . . My own great Aunt Pearl lived to be 101 (or was it 103?) years old. . . How did they do it? What was their secret to longevity? . .I can think of several reasons. . .and most definitely I'm convinced their diet played a huge roll. . .They ate whole  foods. . .grew their own gardens. . .canned their own fruits and vegetables. . .used mostly basic and easy recipes. . .They ate meat from the chicken yard. . .the hog pen. . .the pasture. . .and the woods. . .There were no GMOs. . .Few chemical preservatives. . .No additives. . .Simply Good Food. . .
There is no doubt the ladies in our community were terrific cooks. . .It was an art. . .and one that is fast becoming lost. . .It's how I ate for at least 30 years. . .but then it became easier and it saved time to grab prepackaged items than baking my own cookies. . .than canning my own veggies. . .than spending time in the kitchen. . .Easier but not healthier. . .for I have become 'food sensitive' and/or 'food intolerant'. . .I know, I know. . .It sounds funny, but let me tell you, it is not. . .Ingesting just a smidgen of my trigger foods, I can get violently sick for days. . .and it can take weeks for me to completely get over it. . .In my search for a diet that would take out those foods and preservatives, I realized that family recipes and the old foodways. . .with a few changes. . .were exactly what I needed. . .and maybe what others might need, too. . .
Come with me on my journey to healthier eating through recipes from the 1920s to the present day . . .I'll share the original recipes and processes of cooking homemade. . .Where I've tweaked a recipe for myself, I'll share that with you also. . .This will be just good homemade food. . .I plan to share recipes for 'company dishes' such as my Mom's dressing in time for the holidays. . .and her candied sweet potatoes with lots of butter, pecans, and coconut. . .along with foods for everyday eating. . .and all Seasoned Southern Style. . .
To get you started, here are a few links to recipes I have shared in the past. . .
























Mouth watering, yet?
I'll be back soon with my Mom's Dressing Recipe. . .
a combination of white bread and cornbread and lots of flavor. . .
Get your taste buds ready. . .It's delicious. . .




**Passage from Born in the Delta by Margaret Jones Bolsterli, 1991