Need a gift for teacher? How about a chicken-bone necklace?

reporter interviewing state trooper

On the job in Indiana, interviewing a state trooper. Photo by Mary Patchett

My first reporting job was on the education beat in a small Indiana town, and near Christmastime I thought of how my mom used to puzzle over what to give my teachers as gifts. No gift cards then, and cold cash was frowned upon. On the list were gloves, scarves, candy, dusting powder and lotions  (most grade-school teachers were still women).

I wondered what the teachers’ reactions were, and the result was this story (and I wonder how this story would read if it were redone today!). Here it is, slightly abridged. Hope you enjoy:

Most teachers know, when they open a Christmas gift from a student, it’ll probably be something conventional, like gloves or after-shave.

But once in a while, a teacher gets a doozy of a present that brings back Continue reading

Enjoy your holiday, but don’t forget to look around

I wouldn’t leave you high and dry for Thanksgiving Day without pointing you to a few trusted recipes.

First up, the sweet potato-and-apple dish that brought me back to the sweet potato fold: You can find it here.

Nor would I leave you without a peek at our Italian family’s stuffing recipe, which you’ll find here.

And, in case you’d like to be reassured that even seasoned cooks can make kitchen blunders, check out the tale of my 2014 turkey here.

I do hope you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, whether it’s a Continue reading