All posts by turg7269

About turg7269

I am a Minnesota woman who grew up on a farm in Swede Grove Township and spent much time in the Arizona Desert during the winters. For many years I was a professional communications writer. I had my own recipe column with a weekly publication and was the press secretary/assistant communication director for Minnesota's Secretary of State. I am a two time cancer survivor and am currently in remission from Multiple Myeloma a blood cancer.

Letter to my Grandkids: Cat Warfare….Lincoln Loved Cats, People and Our Union…..Political Cat Fight–November 8, 1864

Happy Birthday Abe Lincoln! Some history to celebrate your day!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

                           Abraham Lincoln in 1861                                  Dixie 

Dear Kids:

Howdy, I hope your week is going well and that you are pacing yourself with homework and Valentine treats.  Too much of either can make kids your age feel sick.  Actually, there are days when I feel sick just listening to all of the  political bickering on the news.  It’s probably best that video games were invented so you kids can avoid the never ending foolishness.

Although, in my day, we were just stuck watching the news. It was considered educational. We even had tests on it in school. They called it current events.  Which was nonsensical as many of us farm kids had no time to read newspapers and magazines.  Or, listen to…

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What Is On My Mind Today? Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln!


lincoln19Yeah, it is Lincoln’s birthday! I know you all have special plans to honor this tall dark quiet man who put country before self and despite all odds, won the Civil War, kept our nation whole and took a bullet to the head because John Wilkes Booth, knew that Lincoln would eventually give the vote to former slaves.

Maybe we could use him as an example of a hero instead of the Kardashians. Just saying…..

Lincoln, Lincoln I’ve been think’n you’re so sad and I’ve been drink’n…..

Recipe: Skinny President Lincoln’s Lemon Cake

Well, in a couple of days it will again be….Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. His life was like a great theatrical tragedy from start to finish. At his greatest moment of happiness, and personal and political triumph, John Wilkes Booth ended his life with a bullet to the head, in a dark theater on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.

This recipe for Lemon Cake was one of his wife Mary’s specialties and his favorites.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

a chocolate cake

I am in a baking mood today.  I just took a Zucchini Chocolate Spice cake out of the oven, (recipe on this blog). After it cools I will cut the cake layers in half and make a four layer cake frosted with chocolate buttercream frosting.  There are chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven as I type and I still have grate and freeze two more large zucchini.  Then, too, I still have supper to make, which will be Sloppy Joe sandwiches made with ground beef and served with Coleslaw with Lemon Dressing, (recipe on this blog).

Chocolate Cake whether it is the recipe for Boiled Chocolate cake (recipe on this blog), or the cake that just came out of my oven is probably my husband’s favorite dessert. After 37 years of marriage, and me baking for him all of that time, my husband still weighs almost…

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Protect Your Neighbors–Serve Pie

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Just the other day, I read on Facebook, so it must be true, that you are less likely to be kidnapped if you are overweight. Preventing becoming a crime victim may be as simple as eating more pie. So, when my friend Kate recently contacted me to request a copy of my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie recipe, I decided that in the interest of decreasing societal victimization and promoting the only superfood I wholeheartedly recommend—chocolate—I will share the recipe.

Every day on social media there is a new superfood that boasts unbelievable healing powers. I have read many articles on a variety of superfoods and have had three personal observations.

1. The mere scent of coconut oil depresses me as it is a reminder that winter is on the way here in Minnesota and there are warm beaches somewhere.

2. If cinnamon could heal, I would be super human…

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Grandma Pat Letters: Cat Warfare: Dr. Martin Luther King, England’s Two Black Queens and Abraham Lincoln

Dear Kids,

It is freezing out today, and boy did we get a lot of snow yesterday.  The most in seven years.  It’s suppose to be excellent snowman and snowball making snow.  I hope you are having fun playing outside.

Since, its so snowy and cold outside, I figured its a good day for me to stay inside, keep warm and write a letter.

I suppose you know that last week was Martin Luther King Day.  I sure hope that you had lessons in school learning about what a wonderful civil rights leader he was and how he died.  When I was young there wasn’t a Martin Luther King Day, because he was still alive.

    Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.                    Martin Luther

Just for the record Martin Luther and Martin Luther King are two separate people.  They did have somethings in common. They were both Christian pastors and fought for human rights.  However, Martin Luther was an old white guy who was a German professor of religion, composer, priest, and monk.  He began a movement called the protestant reformation.  Lutheran churches are named after him.

It is so important to learn about great men like Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King.   He taught that not liking or being mean to someone…anyone…because of the color of their skin is just wrong. Some people have this idea that they are better than others just, because of their skin color.  I am here to tell you that is utter rubbish!

I learned that lesson in Sunday School when I was only three years old.  One of the first Christian songs our teachers taught us kids was, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”   It goes like this,

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red, yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Truer words were never spoken.

I remember Dr. Martin Luther King very well and especially the day he was assassinated.  At that time in our country’s history it seemed like there was just one assassination after another.

First, it was President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1969 in Dallas, Texas.  Then,  Dr. Rev. King  on April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee, and just several months later President Kennedy’s brother Bobby was shot and killed campaigning to be president on June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, California.

I was very young and so was television when President Kennedy was killed.  I do remember watching his funeral on a black and white television.  The image of his casket being pulled by horses stuck in my mind. I, also, remember news films of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and being afraid of the riots that followed his death.  I heard about Bobby Kennedy’s assassination on the radio.

Dr. King was only 39 years old when he died. That might seem old to you, but its not.  He was a young man in the prime of his life, about the same age as your parents.

Dr. King accomplished a lot during his few short years on this earth.  He was a highly respected leader in the Civil Rights movement. He devoted his life to saving souls for Jesus and ending the inequity and racism experienced by our black brothers and sisters that had never gone away since the end of the Civil War.

Dr. King helped end something called “Jim Crow” laws. In short, these laws separated white and black people.  By law black people could not use the same bathrooms or water fountains as white people.   I remember that I once went into a really expensive store and in their bathrooms each stall had a lock on it.  You had to use a dime to go to the bathroom.  I was a little kid, and thought that was terrible and felt bad that poor people couldn’t use those facilities.

So, imagine how awful it would have been to not be able to go in restaurants, on buses or attend a school just because of the color of your skin.  All “Jim Crow” laws were was slavery in another form.

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The night before he was killed Dr. King delivered one of his most remembered speeches.  It is often called, “The Mountain Top Speech.”  One of  the more famous quotes from that speech goes like this,

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop…And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”  

Like Biblical Moses, who thousands of years before him had led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, neither Moses or Dr. King would never enter the promised land.  Moses died of old age on a mountain and Dr. King’s life ended just a few hours after he made this speech with an assassins bullet.

If genius is defined by making the complex simple, there is no doubt that Dr. King was a genius.  Dr. King summed up in one sentence the goal of how people should be treated no matter what the color of their skin when he said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Yes, people are still judged and found wanting just because of the color of their skin.  Take for example the bride to be of a English Prince Harry.  She is a beautiful young woman whose mother was black and father white.  There have been several news stories about how some people don’t think, that the bride is good enough to marry into the English Royal family, because one of her parent’s is black.

Rude comments such as these are the absolute the definition of the term, “catty.”  Which the dictionary defines as someone who is, “unkind, spiteful, mean, malicious, or critical.” 

cats fighting

I have always felt that people who are just mean or who judge individuals by the group are in desperate need of prayer.  However, in this case their nasty comments are just reflection of their own ignorance, because there already is “black” blood mingled with the blue blood of England’s royals.

England has already had two, “black” royal queens of England….Philippa and Sophie Charlotte.

Queen Philippa was born on June 24, 1314.  She died August 15, 1369.  Philippa was the daughter of a noble ruler who lived in what is now the country of Belgium. He was of “Moorish” descent, which meant he was black and his ancestors had come from Africa.

Queen Philippa

Philippa was King Edward III’s wife and England’s Queen-Consort. Theirs was an arranged political marriage.  That means their parents picked out who they had to marry.  How would you like that?

Edward’s father, King Edward II, sent a fellow to Philippa’s kingdom to check her out and report back.  The report came back as follows,

“The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is cleaned shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than the forehead. Her eyes are dark. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full and especially the lower lip…all her limbs are well set and unmaimed, and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father, and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us.”

Philippa is considered a “most royal” Queen-Consort of England.  Four of her great-great-grandfathers had been the kings….in France, Aragon, Naples and Hungary.  She was intelligent, a capable ruler when her husband was away from the palace making war and was known for her patience, kindness and mercy. She often pleaded for her husband to spare the lives of those who were sentenced to death.

Together Queen Philippa and King Edward III had thirteen children.  Their first child was born before Philippa was sixteen years old. Three of their children, a daughter and two sons, died from the black plague.  I already told you about the black plague.

Queen Philippa was very much respected and loved by the people England.  She promoted the arts, and was a sponsor of the famous author Geoffrey Chaucer. The Queen’s College at Oxford was founded in her honor.

Tomb effigy of Philippa of Hainault, Westminster Abbey.
Queen Philippa’s Tomb

The second of England’s black queens was Sophie Charlotte who was born in 1744.  Princess Sophie Charlotte was the eighth child born to Germany’s Charles Louis Fredrick and Elisabeth Albertina.  Her father died when she was only eight years old.

It was through her father that she inherited her black heritage.  There are six different royals lines directly connecting Sophie to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, the daughter of Alfonso III of Portugal and his mistress, Mourana Gil, an African of Moorish descent.

Queen Charolotte

While several generations separated both Philippa and Charolotte from their African or Moorish ancestors, the practice of marrying cousins practiced by the royalty in Europe kept that gene pool small and helps to explain why these two queens had dark skin.

Many of the people who knew them described them as having African features such as dark eyes, hair and skin.  Sir Walter Scott  wrote that Charolotte was “ill-colored” and called her family “a bunch of ill-colored orangutans.”  One prime minister once wrote of Queen Charlotte: “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”   The Queen’s personal physician, Baron Stockmar,  described her as having, “a true mulatto face.”

So how did this German princess end up being Queen Charlotte of England and Ireland?Parents arranged the marriage. A marriage contract was signed.  She traveled from Germany to England, on September 8, 1761, within six hours of first stepping foot on English soil, at the age of 17, Sophie Charlotte married King George III.

King George III is the guy George Washington and his fellow Americans rebelled against to win our freedom. This king eventually went crazy, but that is another story.

On August 12, 1762, Queen Charlotte gave birth to their first child, a son who would become King George IV.  Their son Edward, Duct of Kent, was the father of Queen Victoria.

All together the royal couple produced 15 children.  Thirteen survived to adulthood.  Which was rare in those days as one out of even ten babies died before they were a year old and 30 percent of all children died before they were teenagers.  But, then the average life expectancy for people of the 18th century was just under 40 years of age.  Now, its almost 80 years.  Hurrah for modern medicine and vaccinations!

Queen Charlotte was a very great English Queen.  She, like Philippa, was a lover of art and music.  One of her music teachers was Johann Christian Bach.  When he was only eight years old, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated his Opus 3 to her.  She helped establish the famous Kew Gardens; a maternity hospital, the oldest in England; and was the Queen who introduced the Christmas tree to England.

Queen Charlotte is the great great-great grandmother of the present Queen Elizabeth II. Prince William’s little daughter is named after her.  Many cities around the world and in our country are named after her.

In the year 1818 two very great women died, Queen Charlotte and Nancy Lincoln. One lived in great palaces and the other in a one room log cabin with dirt floors. One was the mother of kings and queens who most people could not even name, and the other the mother of Abraham Lincoln, the most famous and admired president of our nation.

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Lincoln once said that all he was and could ever hope to be he owed to his mother.  He was merely nine years old when he watched his beloved mother suddenly die from sickness.  She was only 34 years old. Lincoln used a knife to whittle the wooden pegs that held his mother’s coffin together.


Lincoln would grow up to be the president that saved our Union during the Civil War and ended slavery.  Both he and Dr. King lost their lives to assassins because of their political convictions and while our nation still needed their leadership.

I think that had Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King lived at the same time and met, they would have been great friends.  For Lincoln wholeheartedly believed what Dr. King once said that,  “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Don’t forget that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is coming up and send me some pictures of your snowmen.

Lots of love,

Grandma Pat




What Is On My Mind Today? Demise of the Last Childhood Tooth Filling


dentist office

This household has started out the New Year with a bang!  My quarterly cancer tests showed a cancer marker had returned.  So, I will get re-tested in six weeks.  My husband was diagnosed with his first cataract.  And, the very next day while eating, of all things, meat loaf, I lost a tooth filling.

Now, for most people getting a filling replaced is not a big deal. But, for this gal, with all of the bone hardening drugs that I have to take for my cancer damaged bones, going to the dentist could end up with complications that could give the most stoic of souls nightmares.

After my tongue found and fell in love with the sharp hollow crater, I  immediately reported the loss to my dentist.  An appointment time was set for the next day.  It wasn’t too long before the dentist’s office called me back to ask if I could come in a half hour earlier.  No problem!

When I got to my dentist’s office there wasn’t even time to get my new insurance card back into my purse before I was called back.  My dentist of many years came in and informed me that the filling I had lost was a very old one. She acknowledged that it had done very good service, but it was now time for a crown.

It was show time.  Needles delivered pain, then numbness and sun glasses went on.  The high whine of the drill, the only sound more obnoxious than finger nails on a chalk board, resounded throughout the office and my brain.

As the drilling commenced in earnest, I tried to mentally focus on my favorite place, the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National park.  I could see the the water falls cascading hundreds of feet straight down into the icy cold crystal clear glacier lake.  I could almost hear wind whistling through the craggy mountains peaks.  Almost, but not quite.

Dentist drills are hard to ignore.  I started thinking about that old tooth filling.  My last from childhood? Instantly, I slipped away from peaceful mountain meadows right into an over-sized antique dentist chair in Litchfield, Minnesota.


Dr. Farish was our family dentist.  He had curly grey hair, wore glasses and a white lab coat, and seemed to be always leaning over me with a drill bit the size of a car jack clutched in his fist of enormously fat fingers as he threatened, “If you don’t sit still, you will get Novocaine”.

dentist drill 2

Somehow trips to a medical doctor in those days always ended in shots….in your end.  A successful trip to the dentist was not the absence of cavities. It was avoiding a Novocaine shot to the head.

dentist drill

It was an experience sitting beneath the well-oiled cables and spinning pulleys that sprang into action when the drill began its work. The drill was so big and slow that your whole face shook as it came into contact with the offending cavity.  You knew the dentist was getting somewhere when you could smell the putrid smoke of your burning teeth.

There you sat with your tiny hands clutched to the arms of the dentist chair as if your life depended on it. Your focus centered on the prevention of wiggling, grimacing or groaning.  Wiggling, grimacing or groaning was to be avoided at all costs as it sent you straight to the head of the line for the dreaded Novocain shot.

Many a sin was repented in that chair.  Hoping a loving God would prevent your demise by drowning in your own spit or the perspiration dripping off of the dentist’s forehead.  As your mouth overflowed with juices, the good doctor shouted above the whine of the drill that if he stops for spitting, it is only going to take longer.

dentist sink

Prayers were said for courage so that you wouldn’t shame yourself by crying, as your siblings were usually watching in the doorway. Going to the dentist was an officially sanctioned farm family group activity and was considered a form of entertainment in the spectator sport category.

Visiting, a long lost communications art form where people politely talk to each other face to face, was widely practiced during my youth. Even, in a dentist chair.  With a mouth full of huge dentist fingers and equipment, a nod or well-timed grunt sufficed to keep the conversation going.

During each visit my dentist would retell the story of his heart attack while on the local golf course. More details were included with every appointment.

The basics of the story were that my dentist was golfing with his good friend who was a surgeon.  This surgeon not only practiced at our local clinic, but he had written a book about making a surgeon that had topped some list that impressed adults.  He was a local celebrity to be sure.

There my dentist was, golf club in hand when he was dropped right to the ground. Not by lightening, but by a heart attack. As he laid on the green drifting between life and death, his golfing buddy, the surgeon, began screaming, “Somebody get a doctor!”

Once the heart attack story was completed and after the last of the squeaky metal filling had be pushed into your tooth with the same tool grandma used to get walnuts out of their shells, the aqua blue paper drool bib held together with alligator clips was removed.

Your reward for “being a good little girl”  was picking a plastic gemstone ring out of the little square orange box, that would break before you got home. Or, a colored animal shaped pencil eraser that smeared more than it erased.

Off you’d go, happily skipping away with your hard earned prize and a new tooth brushing kit.

Of course you’d have to try out that tooth brushing kit as soon as you got home.  Into the bathroom you’d go excited to use the little kid’s sized tube of toothpaste on the new toothbrush.

Then, after you gave your pearly whites a rigorous going over.  After a quick inspection in the mirror of your glowing smile, it was time to put the pink pill that came with tooth brushing kit in your mouth and chew it.

dentist plaque-tablet-1

When you opened your mouth the red dye from the pill made it look like you’d bit your tongue off and were bleeding to death.  I am convinced that whoever invented that pink pill had no intention of ever having any child successfully pass the toothbrushing test.

The day’s adventures ended as an exhausted youngster said her bedtime prayers with pink teeth. Or in this case, with a new crown.




What Is On My Mind Today? Buying a Bomb at a Garage Sale

This story from Foxnews about a live World War II shell in an Oregon’s women’s shed  reminds me of when I bought the bomb at the garage sale.

Yup, I bought a 90 mm solid brass artillery shell at a garage sale in Shoreview for $3.25 to use as an umbrella holder in my entry way.

It looked like a huge solid brass 22 shell. The fellow had brought it home from WWII. The shell had been in his living room for over 60 years.

When I got it home, transported of course in my red Corolla with my daughter in the car, a neighbor boy looked in it and said, “Pat, there is shit in there!.”

So, we got a flash light and sure enough, the detonator was still in there and when I flipped it over the percussion cap was still intact on the bottom.

My neighbor, the one who has the brain tumor now who is a veteran, happened to be outside and hollered to keep that thing away from his house.

That was when I realized, I was $3.25 and a bang away from paradise.

I went indoors and called an army surplus store to see if it was dangerous. The nice fellow that answered the phone gently and calmly explained that explosives explode. Large explosives explode largely.

So I called the police, who called the bomb squad. It’s just how things go some days.

They told us it was safe as long as it was laying on its side. We all took a step back.

A discussion commenced. It was pointed out that I had no fear of the thing when I was driving all over with it in the trunk of my car.

Reality changes perspectives.

I tend not to lose arguments, if I decide to take one on. As former Secretary Mark Ritchie once complimented me after I learned that I was too short to be a Civil War soldier, without missing a beat and with a big smile on his face, he responded, “Oh, they’d take you, you’re a fighter.”

Recognizing when a cause is truly lost is a gift. The gifted officer, a true credit to his department, demonstrated an exemplary commitment to public service and bravely, and as soft as a feather, laid it on its side. He put it into the trunk of his car and hauled it away.

I arrived back in the house just in time to hear a television news station announce that a woman in Centerville had bought a bomb at a garage sale. My ever dignified and quiet husband said he was going to his room as the phone rang. It was his grandmother from Pine City who just said, “It was you, wasn’t it!”

The bomb squad had to blow it up and I never got back a single piece of brass. A shame! It was a nice piece of brass. It had 3-5 dynamite blasting caps worth of powder still in it.

After that I did see more bombs for sale at garage sales in Shoreview,. People had stolen them from the Arden Hills arsenal. I never purchased any more, not even the homemade dumb bells made with large live artillery shells, much like the one pictured below, duct taped to each end. A situation that clearly illustrated the difference between a dumb bell and a dumb ass.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but DAMN!