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Have you seen NOM’s “massive public revolt”? I haven’t either.

One of the new tactics the National Organization for Marriage (& Against Gay People) has been forced to develop lately is “claim we’re really winning. Or will soon. Or you should be afraid we will.”

Here’s an example of the latest bombast out of Frank Schubert, NOM’s political director, when asked by The New York Times about today’s new ACLU lawsuit on behalf of a Lesbian family in Pennsylvania:

“Our challenge is to let the court see they’re not going to get away with this without a massive public revolt,” said Mr. Schubert of the National Organization for Marriage.

So I ask you: was there a big fundamentalist march in Chicago and I missed it? Maybe D.C. or Birmingham, Alabama?

Where is this “massive revolt”? It’s strictly in the mouth of Frank Schubert.

angry-man-shaved-head-shouting-pointing-20160814

After a huge string of losses (6 states, 2 Supreme Court cases), he had to come up with something. Lying isn’t working as well as it used to, so now he’s adding more intimidation.

Or did I miss that Catholic uprising in the streets?

Or that hurricane that destroyed the Castro, Greenwich Village and Boyztown?

There were big Catholic protests in France months ago, once the ultra-nationalists, skinheads, racists and punks saw their chance to join up and commit violence; but yes, there were nuns and priests too. There, not here; it won’t work here. U.S. Catholics favor Gay and Lesbian marriage.

Anti-Gay marriage violence in France, April 23, 2013.

Anti-Gay marriage violence in France, April 23, 2013.

This Schubert fella’s looking more and more like Harold Stassen, a 1940s politician who kept announcing he was running for president every four years, for decades after Americans forgot him. At one time he was on the cover of national magazines. Then he became a joke; he made himself a joke.

Nice toupee, Harold. They on sale this week at the five and dime?

Nice toupee, Harold. They on sale this week at the five and dime?

Never forget: while your Aunt Frieda may be a harmless bigot, what drives anti-Gay campaigns is a lust for power and money.++

FrankSchubert_blog

Steve Grand Finds the Star Machine

Cute kid; better as a video than a song. Hits most of the buttons on the dial, including the flag and a big-ass Pontiac. But —-

If he’d ever learn to sexualize Gay guys instead of Straight ones, he might have something to sing about. Are we really this backward in 2013 that being honestly Gay is considered a noteworthy advance?

I wish him well. That brief flash of nudity was slightly courageous. But the story is 1953, and I’m not impressed that another one’s come out.

What we do after we’re out is what matters. As for the hide-bound country audience, who gives a damn.

The Point: the same things that make this performer desirable – handsome, muscled, talented, smart, nice and above all *male* – make other Gay men desirable too. So don’t throw yourself after the unlikely ones – in their rented Pontiacs, they mostly turn out to be jerks.++

Liberal Naiveté Never Ceases to Amaze

That Maddow grrl is eloquent, a genius; but she still strikes me as naive half the time. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

That Maddow grrl is eloquent, a genius; but she still strikes me as naive half the time. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

I like liberals; I’m one of them. But they do amaze me with their inability to understand good and evil.

They don’t see political issues in those terms – which might be a helpful way to prevent yourself from falling into the intellectual trap of thinking “My side’s good and their side’s evil,” just because you’re on one side.

– But not if you’re actually confronting evil.

Let me define some terms here: preventing the poor from getting health care from Medicaid – as scores of un-United States are doing, thanks to Republican governors and legislative supermajorities – is evil. The Federal government’s paying 100% of the costs for three years, which will save the states big money, but no dice.

Throwing the poor off Food Stamps, as John Boehner’s House Republicans have tried to do – that’s evil. Their Farm Bill tried to cut $20 billion from Food Stamps, while the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill adds $40 billion for border security.

We’re going to secure our borders by starving people? That’s fiscal responsibility?

Meanwhile legislatures in North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere are taking advantage of a holiday weekend by passing draconian anti-abortion bills, knowing full well that the public favors the status quo on abortion and Democrats are unprepared to defeat them.

It’s the unprepared part that bothers me.

A Texas state senator, Wendy Davis, has become a political star by waging an 11-hour filibuster against a close-the-clinics bill. She was prepared; the rest of the Democrats largely were not, which made her instantly amazing.

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, at a rally at the state Capitol July 1. I'm glad she's being acclaimed, but she wasn't that coherent on the Maddow Show.

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, at a rally at the state Capitol July 1. I’m glad she’s being acclaimed, but she wasn’t that coherent on the Maddow Show. If you think she’s ready to be governor, you might find yourself muttering “Oops.”

In North Carolina they’re bellyaching about a bill that purported to ban Sharia law but was suddenly turned into an anti-abortion measure and passed as lawmakers headed out of town.

But what did those Dems expect? This is what Republican majorities do.

No one’s really surprised; Republicans understand the human vagina about as well as they do a foreign religion – it’s all the same to them, they don’t need to read the bill – but now Democrats are running around saying they done us wrong, when all they did was act on the power voters gave them – since Democrats can’t be bothered to vote for a mere governor or legislator, while Republicans do turn out. All these folks were lawfully elected, because progressives really don’t give a damn. If there isn’t a Barack or a Hillary at the top of the ballot, they don’t show up. They just complain mightily afterward, while Republicans couldn’t care less.

The Democrats’ naiveté troubles me, because it’s not like you can’t learn all there is to know about good and evil if you’d just pick up your Bible.

It’s all there, because human motivations haven’t changed in 10,000 years.

There are seven deadly sins, uhkay? Let us start with Greed and Pride. They’re all over the pages of that book.

It’s about greed and pride – but these liberals are babes in the woods. They heard the Bible was about God, and they don’t believe in God because the Pope and Pat Robertson are batshit crazy, so they don’t bother to read the instruction manual, which leaves them squawking that Republicans done us wrong and they can’t understand it.

Of course many liberals are fervent believers in God And All That; I’m one of them. Chris Matthews, E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Chris Hayes are all semi-public Catholics. I don’t know Joy Reid’s affiliation, but that lady’s grounded in the Black church.

Secular progressives do not see a use for God, and while they’re entitled to their faith or lack of one, they drive me to distraction. They have no grounding in classical justice, which is another thing That Book is about.

See, they think they’re inventing justice here and now, brand-new – which makes them dumb as rocks.

What the Bible does is make you see into the ugly heart of Greed. Do that, and you won’t be surprised by Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment.

Capitalists have to attack the poor. Otherwise voters might decide that Greed is not good and vote it out.

The good news in what we’re seeing now, as the Republicans fall inexorably into their death spiral, is that Romney and Rubio, Ryan and all their lesser lights are out of the closet with their hatred of the poor.

They don’t hate them individually – they don’t think they hate women or Gay people either – but they are forced to hate the poor as a class, because people without money threaten the notion that “the United States is the greatest country on earth” and capitalism is the best economic system ever invented.

It isn”t. Anything-goes Capitalism is one giant Monopoly board. Sponsored by Citibank!

Remember how much you hated your cousin, the ruthless Monopoly player?

In my case it was my brother Steve, and it took me decades to find out he wasn’t a horrible human being. I came to love him dearly; he was only half-horrible.

I believe in regulated capitalism as the best system for creating jobs and a middle class, promoting the work ethic, generating innovation through competition, and keeping the rich from robbing us blind – which they’ll inevitably do if there aren’t cops patrollng your Monopoly board.

MonopolyMan

It’s no accident that the Republican death spiral coincides with the most blatant promotion of “Makers, Not Takers” in today’s political rhetoric.

Even the racism, sexism and homophobia of today’s GOP makes a certain logical sense if you dig deep enough: they think Straight White Males are the ones who got us here, and if we’re to keep prosperity going we have to keep pale men in power.

(Please do not notice they are robbing you blind.)

Jesus knew about greed. His father YHWH wrote the book on it. I am sorry the secular Democrats never read the book.

I do not trouble any woman or man about their religion; freedom of conscience on religious and other matters is what makes us Americans.

The Vatican’s now the House of Crazy and Pat Robertson flies around like an Alzeheimer’d bat. We all know that.

But if you’d like to know about the sins of Pride and Greed, you could try reading the Book just once in your life. It’s a story of heroes and villains, and God comes out even more spectacular than Superman.++

(comicvine.com)

If he’s so Straight, why’s he always showing off his junk? (comicvine.com)

Pride Day Gallery: Bye-Bye DOMA, Hello Equality

You can enlarge these pictures with a click or a touch.

Jim Borgman of The Cincinnati Enqurier won the Pulitzer Prize for this drawing.

Jim Borgman, Pulitzer Prize winner, The Cincinnati Enqurirer.

(The Rev. Deacon Leilani Nelson)

Love and flowers. (The Rev. Deacon Leilani Nelson)

Castro Throng, 6.26.13 (The Rev. Deacon Leilani Nelson)

Castro Throng, 6.26.13 (The Rev. Deacon)

A Tuesday night, not a weekend; 6.26.13. (The Rev. Deacon Leilani Nelson)

A Tuesday night, not a weekend; 6.26.13. (Deacon Leilani)

Cynthia Wides & Elizabeth Carey, trying the knot at SF City Hall.

Cynthia Wides & Elizabeth Carey, trying the knot at SF City Hall. (source unknown)

The Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, retired from the Yale Divinity School, is up on charges now for officiating at his son's wedding. (Christopher Capozzelielo/The New York Times)

The Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, retired from the Yale Divinity School, is up on charges now in the United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s wedding. (Christopher Capozzeielo/The New York Times)

The minute Edie Windsor found out she beat the United States government. (Ariel Levy/The New Yorker)

The minute Edie Windsor found out she beat the United States government. (Ariel Levy/The New Yorker)

The most famous building in the world went Gay.

The most famous building in the world went Gay again; it always does, every year, it’s got Pride.

SF 6.26.13. (The Reverend Deacon)

Equal: imagine that. (The Reverend Deacon)

Ernest & Louie, Apostles to the Queers.

Ernest Clay & Louie Crew, Apostles to the Queers. That whiteboy’s gonna be a saint someday, you know he is, so let’s remember the gorgeous guy he takes delight in.

Priests of the Orthodox Church of Georgia beating a man for being Gay. Priests! (Reuters)

Priests of the Orthodox Church in European Georgia beat a man for being Gay as a police officer tried to get him to safety. Priests did this! May they rot in hell. (Reuters)

International Day Against Homophobia, May 17, Cuba. I didn't even know there was such a day, but Castro's daughter got involved. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

International Day Against Homophobia, May 17, Cuba. I didn’t even know there was such a day, but Castro’s daughter got involved. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

Jen Rainin and wife Frances: doggy & flags.

Jen Rainin and wife Frances: doggy & flags, nice chair. (Source unknown.)

Keith Ford kisses his fiancé Robert Hart, FDNY, 6.30.13. Watch out, people, the person who saves your life might be a Homo Sexual. (James Estrin/The New York Times)

Keith Ford kisses his fiancé Robert Hart, FDNY, 6.30.13. Watch out, people, the person who saves your life might be a Homo Sexual. (James Estrin/The New York Times)

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier wasted no time; they got married by the Attorney General of California. I think that's their oldest son looking on. (Dustin Lance Black, winner of the Academy Award)

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier wasted no time; they got married by the Attorney General of California. I think that’s their oldest son looking on. (Dustin Lance Black)

San Francisco, 6.26.13. I ran this on my prayer site and escaped unharmed. (Deacon Lani)

San Francisco, 6.26.13. I ran this on my prayer site and escaped unharmed. (Deacon Lani)

Mark Carson murder site, Greenwich Village, New York, May 17.

Mark Carson murder site, Greenwich Village, New York, May 17. (The New York Times)

More American. (Deacon Lani)

More American. (Deacon Lani)

One magazine, June 1963: we've been at this a long time, since before the word Gay was adopted. The editors couldn't conceive of actual legal rights, they wanted to promote relationships. Fifty years later, I believe that marriage equality, more than any other right we still need, is what breaks the back of homophobia. (bluetruckredstate.blogspot.com)

One magazine, June 1963: we’ve been at this a long time, since before the word Gay was adopted. The editors couldn’t conceive of actual legal rights, they wanted to promote relationships. Fifty years later, I believe that marriage equality, more than any other right we still need, is what breaks the back of homophobia. We’ve won, people, you can stick a fork in it. (Russ Manley/bluetruckredstate.blogspot.com)

Paul Katami & Jeffrey Zarrillo. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times)

Paul Katami & Jeffrey Zarrillo. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times)

World LGBT acceptance map, according to the Pew polling organization.

World LGBT acceptance map, according to the Pew polling organization.

Where it starte - which is why New York, not San Francisco, will always be the world's Gay capital. We fought back; that never happened before. We fought back. (source unknown)

Where it started – which is why New York, not San Francisco, will always be the world’s Gay capital. We fought back; that never happened before, though there were earlier protests in California and D.C. We fought back in New York, with fists, rocks and bottles flying – and the word spread worldwide. They scared the cops; that’s what made the difference. (source unknown)

Unconstitutional. The Castro, SF, 6.26.13. (Deacon Lani)

Unconstitutional, you mother——: The Castro, SF, 6.26.13.(Deacon Lani)

Butch boys. Let's give that man a Pulitzer Prize. (adamandandy.com)

Butch boys: Give that man a Pulitzer Prize. (adamandandy.com)

A Cathedral in the Cornfields of Beaverville, Illinois

St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, Beaverville, Illinois, on the National Register of Historic Places. (Wikipedia)

St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, Beaverville, Illinois, on the National Register of Historic Places. (Wikipedia)

I was once a Morocco Beaver. Let the titters begin.

Morocco, Indiana High School, 1963-64, 7th grade: there was no middle school or junior high. I was on the basketball team, though I was terrible and seldom played. My oldest brother Dick, a senior, was the manager of the varsity team, which played nearby schools in Beaverville, St. Anne and Sheldon, Illinois, as well as Indiana schools, since we were only four miles from the state line. I’m sure he rode the team bus ten miles to Beaverville – maybe it was an intense rivalry way back when, the Beavers against Beaverville – but today was my first time setting foot in enemy territory.

Morocco doesn’t have beavers anymore, and neither do Beaver City or Beaverville. This whole area was once part of the Grand Kankakee Marsh, a wetland the size of the Florida Everglades, until settlers started digging ditches to get rid of the water. They committed a terrible environmental crime – but when the land dried out it was good for farming, and that’s the way of life here.

Beaverville and Morocco don’t have high schools or basketball teams now either, but they still have farmers and a grain elevator, located on a highway, a railroad or both. The elevator’s really the only reason these towns still exist; Morocco’s current population is about 1100, while Beaverville’s down to 300. I live in a metropolis of 1800 and we’re all 70-80 miles due south of Chicago.

Now about that church: it’s really something, especially for a town that tiny. I would guess the building seats 300, the entire population. There aren’t any other churches, because the original settlers were French Canadians who didn’t like being oppressed by British Canadians. Someone built a church, they named it after Mary (and the village too, St. Marie originally), a town grew up, a few stores and the grain elevator. (The Post Office made St. Marie change its name, since there was already a St. Mary, Illinois.)

I was urged to check it out by local readers who saw my previous post, Visit to a Smalltown Catholic Shrine in nearby St. Anne, Illinois, and got a little jealous perhaps, because they’ve got a great church too. And they’re right, so I owed it to B’ville and my own education to visit.

Front of the church from St. Charles Street, June 27, 2013 (Josh Thomas)

Front of the church from St. Charles Street, June 27, 2013. (Josh Thomas)

The draw at St. Mary’s is the stained glass windows and the architecture. The origin of the windows, all by the same studio, is not certain, but likely they came from Lascelles and Shroeder of Chicago, which served French Canadian congregations in the city and downstate.

The architect is known, Joseph Molitor, a partner with Charles W. Kallal in Chicago, the city architect who restored the famous Water Tower, the most prominent survivor of the Great Chicago Fire. A brochure says the Beaverville church is an eclectic mix of styles, predominantly Romanesque Revival, with a central octagonal dome over the nave, surrounded by small windows. Its ceiling is a moderately dark blue sprinkled with painted stars to resemble a night sky; it needs some work, but the rest of the building is looking good.

Angel with a font of holy water - or a moist sponge, anyway. (Josh Thomas)

Angel with a font of holy water – or a moist sponge, anyway. Gorgeous blue robe. (Josh Thomas)

The windows use a lot of opalescent glass made in Kokomo, Indiana (where my mother’s family are from) in the Munich Style as developed and refined by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge. The windows are rare, numerous, and the parish was able to restore them ten years ago at a cost of $320,000 – or more than $1000 for every man, woman and child in town.

That was some prodigious fundraising, even miraculous, considering that first they had to spend another 465 grand redoing the roof. Those bake sales must have multiplied like Jesus feeding the 5000.

Windows and arches, with a glimpse of the central dome. (Josh Thomas)

Windows and arches, with a glimpse of the central dome. (Josh Thomas)

It makes a visitor wonder where they got such dedication. But they’ve always had it, from the beginning in 1851 when the town was founded, through erecting the present building in 1909, to today. Surely this reflects very strong family and community ties – as well as a succession of priests and nuns who flogged those poor folks mercilessly to empty their pockets, punching every guilt button they could find.

It’s the same way at nearby St. Anne; both French Canadian towns, devout in their beliefs, stuck in the middle of nowhere, just raising their crops, taking their kids to church every Sunday, watching them intermarry, and obeying the Fathers, Sisters, Bishops and Popes as much as humanly possible, when they weren’t out getting in trouble.

Regular readers know I am a sharp critic of the Roman Catholic Church – that is, the hierarchy, not the People. What these folks in Northeast Illinois built in their humble surroundings is two small versions of a great cathedral in Europe. So what if they’re on the prairie next to a cornfield? Their churches gave them an identity, a purpose, a mission. And they’ve stuck to it.

Comparing the shrine at St. Anne with the church at Beaverville, I see they both had their advantages. St. Anne always has been a place of pilgrimage, while St. Mary’s had a school for many years called Holy Family Academy, staffed by nuns from an order in France; the cemetery at St. Mary’s has a special section of the sisters’ graves, dozens of them, whose headstones are sensitively carved with both their religious and birth names.

The front of St. Mary's Cemetery was reserved for the Sisters. (Josh Thomas)

The front of St. Mary’s Cemetery was reserved for the Sisters. (Josh Thomas)

The school is gone now, with only mentions and artifacts available to visitors, but it must have been thriving in its heyday; I imagine, since it was an academy, it may have been more than just a parochial school, but drew from all over the area. Meanwhile nearby St. Martin’s, Martinton is only a simple frame building like you’d expect in such an isolated, rural spot.

Corinthian column under the organ loft, topped by gold leaf (Josh Thomas)

Corinthian column under the organ loft, probably topped by gold leaf. (Josh Thomas)

Martinton is on the highway (U.S. 52), as Saint Anne is but Beaverville is not. I took a county road to get there, called 2950/3000 North; tourists never see the light of day in Beaverville. Instead what it had (and still does, three tracks right next to the elevator) is the railroad – specifically the Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad. Amazing!

There ain’t no Chicago and Morocco Railroad, lemme tell ya. But Beaverville has always been on the line; David, one of my correspondents, said the stop there shows up as “St. Mary” on the old maps, from before the Post Office intervened to change the town’s name.

My point here isn’t a travelogue, much less an architectural review; I’m a layman. Instead it’s all the things the People built.

They’re not quite my people – my family and my town are English Protestants, not French Catholics – and yet they are my people; my drive today cost 50 miles and two gallons of gas round-trip. These folks were and are farmers, and wherever they started out from, I know where they ended up. We can still see today most of what they built, and we can guess at some of the reasons why. Nationality played a part – all the windows at St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s are inscribed in French – but so did faith, family, business and pure survival.

Organ loft and rose window (Josh Thomas)

Organ loft and rose window (Josh Thomas)

As much as I tease the Roman clergy and sisters about mashing all the guilt buttons, let’s think about their motives, too; it’s inherent in the Catholic religion that churches be as beautiful and edifying as possible, so they can reflect the glory of God and teach us who our Creator is.

That’s a very worthy project.

The rectory, behind the church before you get to the cemetery, has been updated a little since it was built; the pastor serves Martinton, too.

The rectory, behind the church before you get to the cemetery, has been updated a little since it was built; the pastor serves Martinton, too.

As an Episcopalian who is both Protestant and Catholic, I am used to beautiful churches in large towns. But I am awed by what these farmers did in these two villages. They built far beyond their means, but somehow managed to match their means to what they built – and all for a reason, the best reason, to glorify God. They didn’t go practical, as farmers usually do; for practical, see that little “nothing” of a church at Martinton. At Beaverville and St. Anne, they built their ideals – and this area is richer because they did.

I’m richer because I went there. If you ever get a chance, you should go too.

All three of them noticeably contribute to the food pantry at Martinton, which is exactly how it should be. So what if St. Martin’s never had a gimmick; it knows what its ministry is, because there are food-insecure folks in all of these towns and it’s the Church’s job to feed them. So they do.

I still wouldn’t cross a county road to see the pope, even this new one Francis; but once you get past the Vatican’s sexual obsessions, the People are living out the faith despite it all. That’s my kind of church.++

Good work, Sister Holy Cross. (Josh Thomas)

Good work, Sister Holy Cross. (Josh Thomas)

Special Post: YHWH Parts Red Sea for Gay People

Reposted from dailyoffice.org:

StonewallInn

THE LESSON
Exodus 13:21-22 (NRSV)

The LORD went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light; so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, left its place in front of the people.

THE PRAYERS

The Gay Lord’s Prayer
© 2013 Josh Thomas – All Rights Reserved

Our Lover in heaven,
your name is holy.
Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the bread we need.
And forgive us our many destructions,
as we forgive those who seek to destroy us.
Save us from our wrong temptations
and preserve us from violence and hate.
Yours alone are the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever.
In the Name of Jesus, let it be so.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.++

With this added illustration, just for Gay Spirit Diary readers:

50 years ago this month - before the Stonewall Riots, before we'd even adopted the word Gay!

Fifty years ago this month – before the Stonewall Riots, before we’d even adopted the word Gay! The male authors didn’t believe we’d ever get actual legal marriage; they were promoting commitment and long-term relationships within their underground subculture. This “Gay rights” thing you’ve heard about? It’s *always* been about love.

An Abundance of Cherries: 5 Recipes

Cherries ripening 10 days ago. (Josh Thomas)

Cherries ripening 10 days ago. (All photos by Josh Thomas)

I am just indoors after picking three quarts of cherries in about ten minutes.

I have two trees laden with them. To me they’re fun to pick, because my fingers don’t know where to reach next; here here here here? They’re everywhere, the very definition of abundance.

These are sour cherries, planted by a previous homeowner for their springtime blossoms. But the fruit is good to eat.

Last year a late frost killed off the fruit after the trees had bloomed. The birds and I went hungry. Not this year; I’m baking up a storm. And I have so many, most will go into the freezer to enjoy the rest of the year. (Wash ’em, bag ’em, throw ’em in there.)

Free food!

Now the minute you start telling yourself there’s nothing more tedious than pitting a bunch of cherries, I’ll get in your face: it’s easy when you know how, and it’s relaxing, a mindless, hypnotic activity with fabulous results. Wear an old shirt (or none), grab yourself some iced tea or a cocktail, take your cherries and a couple of bowls to the side porch out of the sun, and enjoy yourself, dreaming about all the great food you’ll make.

There are lots of old wives’ tales about how to pit cherries; I’ve tried them all – a plastic straw, a Chinese chopstick, a paring knife. Old wives say the pits are easier to get when you pierce the fruit from the bottom.

Nonsense: use your thumb, it’s why God gave you fingernails. Pierce the top, because the seed grows right underneath it.

Put on some beach music, you’ll be done in ten minutes – so you might as well have another cocktail!

And if this puts you in mind of how much your life is like your Grandma’s, because you remember sitting out in her back yard as a kid peeling strings off green beans, well, good for you – because you loved your Grandma, her green beans were great – and they tasted better since she grew them herself and you helped.

City people think they’re hot stuff when they go to the farmers’ market and buy green beans for $2.50 a pound – “So fresh!” they exclaim – but I secretly pity them. Produce from your own yard is fresher than the farmers’ market. Grandma grew a mess of beans from a 19¢ packet of seeds and a few sticks, then silently congratulated herself for roping the kids into helping her on a summer day.

Yes, we have the internet now, 200 TV channels, smartphones and stringless beans, but life is still better in the country. I don’t need to get in the car or hop a bus to find a farmers’ market, I just walk outside and start picking.++

Cherry muffins, June 15, 2013 (Josh Thomas)

Cherry muffins, June 15, 2013

Josh’s Cherry Muffins

2 C flour
1 C pitted cherries
1 egg
3/4 C sugar
1 C milk
2 t baking powder
1/4 C oil
1/2 t salt
2 t flour for cherries
1/2 t almond extract (can substitute vanilla)

Oven to 375 degrees F. Oil muffin pan or use paper liners. In medium bowl mix 2 C flour, egg, milk, oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and extract just until flour is moistened; don’t overstir, batter should be lumpy. Put cherries in a jar with a lid; add 2 t flour and shake to coat. Fold cherries into batter, just until cherries are covered; spoon into muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown; test with toothpick inserted into center. Makes 6 jumbo or 12 regular muffins.

Cherries ripening, 2013 (Josh Thomas)

Cherries ripening, 2013

Cherries are ready to pick when they’re red all over – but at their ripest, they’re a little darker than the brightest color; cherry red, not fire engine. The riper, the sweeter – but the longer you let them go, the more likely the birds are to beat you to them. The good news, as this photo illustrates, is that they don’t all ripen the same day. The best strategy is to pick what you can get every day, just like homegrown strawberries.

Cherry Sauce

3/4 C sugar
2⁄3 C cornstarch
Dash of salt
2 C pitted sour cherries, fresh or frozen
1⁄16 t almond extract or pinch of cinnamon

In medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add cherries and almond flavoring or cinnamon if desired. Slowly bring to a simmer, and continue simmering until the filling is clear.

– Rosemary Perry-Hessong
Journal and Courier

Josh’s Cherry Cheese Coffeecake

2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1-2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 C sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 egg white
~ 2 C cherries

Glaze:
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
1 T milk
1/2 t vanilla extract

Oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 13×9 baking pan. Spread a pack of crescent rolls in the pan – the package consists of two rectangles cut into triangles, so lay the two rectangles end to end – and pinch all creases together so the pastry is smooth.

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and whole egg together until smooth. Spread over crescent rolls evenly, top completely with cherries, then lay the second pack of crescent rolls on top and brush with egg white. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Cool 20 minutes, then drizzle on glaze.

NOTES: Rich to the point of decadence. Save money and calories by using 1 eight ounce and 1 three ounce package of cream cheese (lite is fine) or just 1 eight ounce package; it still tastes great. If using less cream cheese, cut sugar to 1/2 C for 8 ounces of cheese or 3/4 C sugar to 11 ounces. The cherries themselves don’t need added sugar; you want the contrast between a sweet ingredient and the tart cherries.

Josh’s Cherry Cobbler

Oven to 400 degrees F.

1st layer: melt 2 T butter in 9×9 pan.

2nd layer: 2 C pitted cherries or pie filling

3rd layer: Mix 3/4 C sugar, 3/4 C flour, 1/2 C milk, 1 t baking powder, pinch of salt; pour over cherries. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with milk (Grandma’s way) or ice cream.


Cherry Cheese Bars

1/2 C butter-flavored shortening
2 C pitted cherries or pie filling
1 1/4 C flour
2 8-ounce packages lite cream cheese
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2/3 C sugar
(1/2 C chopped almonds or walnuts)

Oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13×9 pan with butter-flavored shortening.

Mix flour and brown sugar; cut in shortening. (Add nuts.) Reserve 1/2 C of crumbs; press remainder into bottom of pan and bake 12 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, white sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Spread on crust and bake 15 minutes.

Spread cherries over cheese; top with reserved crumbs and bake 15 minutes.

Refrigerate; cut into 2″x1″ bars. Makes 36.

Almost ripe (Josh Thomas)

This year the birds seem to be waiting for all the fruit to ripen, then they’ll gorge themselves and strip my trees bare. The fact that the fruits ripen at different rates gives me an advantage, as long as I don’t put off my picking. As soon as I decide “I’ll get to them next week,” the birds set their watches and finish off my cherries an hour before.