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“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence unto the end; while it is said, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:12-15

It is the last day of November 2021. Can you fathom that in less than a month, we’ll be writing 2022? It is almost mind-boggling. And to think when we started 2021, it was, well, what? Daunting? Scary? Who knows what 2022 will bring. Nevertheless, God is in control, and I, for one, am glad of it.

Today is a fairly mild day, sort of wispy cloudy, not really cold, but still, I don’t want to spend a lot of time outside. It could be partly due to the fact that I’m feeling a little under the weather. Or whatever. I’d rather be under a blanket! I don’t feel really bad, but not really good, either.

I believe a lunch of really hot chicken noodle soup would definitely be in order. I’ve been drinking hot tea until I almost slosh when I walk. What really doesn’t contribute to my feeling of well-being, or lack thereof, is my really full schedule.

Husband Erwin’s cousin passed away, so we want to go to the visitation this evening, cutting my writing time short. And tomorrow is the funeral, so I can’t take my papers in like I usually do. I’ll have to get it all in order this evening.

That makes for a tired brain that feels like a wad of cotton. Of course, I don’t know what gets the blame for some of the things that happened recently. Maybe my brain is always a little cottony.

The other day, I was doing laundry. I’ve done some pretty lame things, like putting the hose in the rinse tub and getting sidetracked until I hear water trickling. Oops, the rinse tub is overflowing. Or then I turn on the hot water instead of the cold water.

But the other day, what I did was just really lame. I usually put in a load of clothes, and those wash while I rinse the previous load and put those through the spinner, then I hang those out and I’m ready to repeat the process.

Well, I opened the machine, the dasher was merrily sloshing away, but there were no clothes! Oh! I had added more detergent, started the dasher and forgot to add the clothes! Sigh ... It could have been worse. At least it wasn’t an automatic that went through the whole cycle and drained the water.

So anyway, we’ve had two family Thanksgiving dinners. Our Otto family minus Milton and Jane and family, they were in Indiana on Thanksgiving Day, with daughter Rachel doing the meal. Oh my! Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, dressing, rich brown gravy and pies. I’ll take the hot stuff over pies any day! Her meal was over-the-top good!

On Sunday, my Plank siblings were at Dale and Louise Kauffmans. Same story, second chapter of good food. We did have a turkey along with chicken. Aren’t we glad the Pilgrims had turkey for their meal and we can continue that tradition? What if they would have shot a coyote and roasted that?!

We’ll have our Plank Christmas dinner at Elmer and Barb Gingerichs’, Lord willing. Some were sharing memories and mentioned a dessert our mom made way back in the day before whipped topping, cream cheese and all that stuff. They thought it might be good to have that. So I hunted up a recipe that compares because mom didn’t remember? It’s at the end of this column.

I may have to forego my usual Ritz cracker pudding if I make that. Also, sis LaDonna would like to have cornbread salad, so ...

In closing, an optimist is a person who thinks a housefly is searching for a way out.

And now for the old-timey recipe ...

Graham-cracker pudding

For crust

2 cups graham-cracker crumbs

6 tablespoons brown sugar (Mom thinks she used white; either would work.)

1/2 cup melted butter

For vanilla pudding

31/2 cups milk, scalded

31/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstartch

1/2 cup milk

2 egg yolks (save whites)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, combine ingredients for crust and press lightly into bottom of 13-by-9-inch cake pan. Bake for five to eight minutes.

In separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks. Stir into scalded milk (brought to boiling point, but not boiling). Heat on medium until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and butter. Cool and pour onto graham-cracker crust.

Top with stiffly beaten egg whites. Broil in oven until egg whites are light brown. Let cool and serve.

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