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Beans for 18

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Beans for 18 sounds like a recipe doesn’t it.  Well it is and since the year 2004 it has become so much more than that. Take yesterday for instance, there was just so much going on. In the big city of Salisbury, MD there was the Seagull Century, a Craft Beer Festival, and an open house at the MAC Center.

Asbury United Methodist Church in Allen Md.

Locally at the Methodist church in the village of Allen there would be a memorial service to honor the life of a founding member of the Fire Department Auxiliary who recently passed away. That wonderful person was Florence Davis. And that my friends is where the Beans for 18 comes in.

Personally, our day was a busy one full of obligations. Herself would be attending the memorial service at the church. I was a volunteer at the open house at the Mac Center and we would both be going to  the 18th birthday party for grandson Thomas later in the day. No, there were no beans for 18 at that celebration. The party was at the local brew pub Evo, short for Evolution Craft Brewery. Trip Advisor gives Evo it’s Certificate of Excellence. If your ever on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and close to Salisbury and hungry, check out Evo.

Now back to the Beans for 18. When herself left for the service at the church she put this dish in the oven and it would be my job to deliver it to the Community Hall when done. It would become part of the feed for those attending the service for Mrs. Flo. That dish would sit among the fried chicken and a plethora of sides brought by others in the village. These (feeds,) as I like to call them, are usually put out by the Allen Methodist Women and you will not go home hungry. Thank you Lord for your servents.

Fourteen years ago some new folks relocated to the area from Ohio, that would be the Wojciechowskis.  We would invite them to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve been known to host Thanksgiving dinner for ever, less one year we ventured back to Connecticut from whence we came (I know, a redundancy). The specific reason for the return was so herself could participate in the great Manchester, CT Turkey Day 5 Mile Run with my sister Donna and herself’s best friend Linda. That run was in a driving snowstorm by the way.

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Hartford Courant photo

So, back to the Wojo’s as we like to call them. They joined us for Thanksgiving dinner the following year after moving east. Our feast on that special day has been attended by as many as fifty-three hungry folks, twenty-five to thirty-five is more the norm. A whose bringing what list starts to develop in the month of October and five to seven days before the feast the menu is in place. Beans for 18 began appearing on the menu with the coming of the Wojciechowskis and has been there ever since. Now it not only comes with the Wojos, it comes with the Rooster and herself also at the gatherings we attend.

At celebrations of the life of the departed, the birth of a new-born, a fire department event, Lyons club meetings, family gatherings, holidays or just a good old Eastern Shore Crab Feast you will most likely find Beans for 18. At the end of the feed that 9 X 13 inch tray has always been empty.

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And for you my friends, here is the recipe. Join the family and at your next gathering try out the dish. Should you enjoy this dish as much as we have over the years, whisper a thank you to the Wojociechowskis.

Recipe for Beans for 18

1 lb. hot sausage
1 cup sugar
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
2 Tbs. mustard
1/2 Tbs. Chili Powder.
1 15 oz can red Chili beans
1 15 oz can Campbell’s Pork & Beans
1 15 oz can Lima Beans
1. 15 oz can cut green beans
1 15 oz can wax beans
1 cup finely diced celery
2 onions finely chopped
1 12 oz can tomato paste
4 slices of bacon chopped for garnish

Directions

Fry sausage’ remove and drain. Add to frying pan, celery and onion, sauté till translucent. Add to pan tomato soup, sugar, Chili powder & mustard, stir till dissolved.

Use a large bowl to mix all ingredients together. Add Sausage & contents of frying pan to bowl. Open cans of beans, drain Lima, green and Wax beans. Do not drain Pork & beans or kidney beans.

Pour contents to 9 x 13 casserole pan, spread tomato paste on top of bean mixture, garish with chopped bacon pieces . Bake in oven @ 350 deg. For 1 hour. Enjoy!

My First Road Trip

Three weeks post op today my friends.

Yesterday I had a follow-up with the CV Surgeon who performed my Cardiac Bypass. Both he and one of the P.A.s as well as a nurse checked my wounds. I look and feel like what it might be like to have survived a knife fight. I’m not sure if I won or lost. Were I the winner, I would hate to see the loser were this a knife fight.

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I got congratulated by the nurse for doing a fine job eliminating my tape residue which has stuck all over my mid section. While in the hospital numerous drains, monitor wires and lung tubes were beneath these bandages. Not to mention the slice running the entire length of my ribs. Through daily use of Alcohol, nail polish remover,  Kerosene, and numerous other potions that would remove the sticky gooey tape, I had done a yeoman’s job apparently. They were impressed.

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The surgeon stated he was happy with my progress and was giving me my walking papers, so to speak. Any further follow up would be monitored by my Cardiologist. In addition to saying thank you to the surgeon I got one giant piece of good news. You see, it was this man who had the power to let me drive once again, a privilege I lost three weeks ago. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last. Damn, I forgot to ask if I got an extended warranty with this cutting. If I get another sixteen years I’ll be quite happy.

I left that appointment feeling like a new person, one hurdle on the road to recovery completed. Next would be the Cardiology consult later this week. Early next month I will begin Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention. That’s a physical fitness and education program run by the hospital for those who have one type of cardiac event or other. It would not be a new experience for me.

This will be my fourth trip through the program. I had Bypass surgery sixteen years ago, a Stent and pace maker implanted which all got me back into this wonderful program. Once again it is time for the pain and suffering to begin. I’m looking forward to getting started. After that program it will be going back to the MAC Center and my old workout routines. I was doing Stretch/ROM & Flexibility, and chair yoga. I’m sure it will be like starting anew.

So, this morning I would take my first trip alone behind the wheel of my Ford Escape. A 2000 model with 239,000 miles I might add. Yes, I like to get my monies worth. My trusty Pick up truck, a 1992 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with 143,000 miles is still running and very serviceable for our needs. Vehicle number three at my disposal is a 2012 Subaru Forester with 84,000 miles. A great car in the mountains with the paddle shift feature, I might add. No mountains today on the Eastern Shore, thus the Escape.

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Our dog, Maggie, a standard Poodle would need a ride to the groomers for a Spa session today and I would drive her. Here I am 73 years old and feeling like a kid getting behind the wheel once again. My wife would first take Maggie on her mile and a half walk to the local yacht club for her morning exercise and business elimination run.

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It’s 0730, I pick up Maggie from the little woman and we are off on our thirty minute drive to the spa, well, almost. You see we here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were greeted with a bit of snow this morning and the temperature was 33 F. Really Mr. Meteorologist, I’m scraping snow off the windshield and warming the car prior to departing. Average high for April 5, 60F. Global warming???

I remembered all the basics of driving, seat belt on, in park, foot on brake, turn key, engine starts. Maggie in the rear sitting expectantly for her first ride with her old traveling companion, Most everywhere I go she goes, we’re a pair.

The first few miles through rural country is uneventful. I approach a major north south route on which I must enter to connect to the Bypass, (sounds familiar). Once I’ve crossed to the center medium I start looking to the right to enter the high speed lane of a two lane highway. As I’m twisting in the seat to observe safe passage, the seatbelt restrains me and irritates my chest. Oh yes, they had to spread those 24 ribs once again didn’t they?

Each intersection further into the trip would bring about the same discomfort. My right Scapula, that’s the bone that connects the Humorous (Not),  with the Clavicle has hurt like hell at times since the surgery. My neck a victim of two extensive surgeries was beginning to cause issues also. Just sitting in the drivers upright position was causing discomfort. Perhaps asking for this privilege was a bit premature. Tough it out Rooster, don’t be a wimp.

I would drop off Maggie with her stylist and make the return trip home in considerable more pain than when I left. I was also quite tuckered out. It was time for a couple of Tylenol, no drugs have entered this system since my discharge. I never took anything for pain this morning, a mistake.

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What I have learned from this bit of freedom is that I’m not ready to drive to Connecticut just yet. All things slow and in due time. Now I await the call to pick up Maggie.

“Honey, would you mind picking up Maggie?” I’ll stay home and let Simon in, (Cat).

Have a great day all and thanks for stopping by.

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