Writing is all about sharing information learned through meeting people, the mail, or just plain observing. With that introduction, today's column is a collection of items I found interesting in my daily life and thought that you might too. I appreciate hearing from readers through both forms of mail, time-honored snail mail and e-mail which increases each week.
•Since attending the spring meeting of the Satellites of the University of Toledo Medical College I have kept the theme of the luncheon in the front of the reference file to pass on to other organizations looking for ideas. No ordinary potluck, the buffet lineup represented what makes food in America fascinating. Heirloom recipes pulled from family files and prepared by the Satellites produced a display of ethnic dishes that provoked conversation along with good tastes.
The menu and the cooks included Polish coffee cake, by Shirley Monto; Italian Pizzelles, Joanne Valso; hot German potato salad, Shirley Schlender; and Slovaki Halupi (pigs out of the blanket), Rita Cark. Peg Simon brought the menu back to America with scalloped corn, and a bowl of Betty's Salad, made by Augusta Askari spotlighted a Toledo original.
•"The Gorilla Wore Roller Skates," a bittersweet story written by Deb Wuethrich of Tecumseh, Mich., is included in A Cup of Comfort, a collection of 50 moving short stories written for the parents of children with special needs. Ms. Wuethrich was honored at an autograph signing at the Sounds of Light store in Adrian. One in the series of more than 30 A Cup of Comfort books, the one for which Ms. Wuethrich's story was selected is published as a celebration of extraordinary children and their accomplishments despite severe handicaps.
The Wuethrichs' daughter Michele was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, and was confined to a wheelchair until her death when she was 11 years old. Ms. Wuethrich's story explains with maternal pride that the wheelchair didn't stop Michele from achieving her goals. A competition in a mall on Halloween inspired her to write the story. Using black garbage bags for shiny clothing and converting the wheelchair into a motorcycle with cardboard sides, Michele entered the contest as Fonzie from the Happy Days TV series and won. Where does the skating gorilla in the title come in? He was the judge. Ms. Wuethrich is a staff writer for the Tecumseh Herald. Her husband, Gordon, teaches economics at Owens Community College.
•My handsome Digby has two namesakes somewhere in the Toledo area. Linda Scott, a volunteer with 4 Paws, a local rescue agency, finds homes for dogs that are going to be euthanized. The manager at the Red Roof Inn in Holland says that daily she receives a list of dogs that are "on the list." In addition to having four dogs of her own, she keeps others until she can find a home for them. Linda named two silky terriers Digby after reading this column about my Digby.
When I told the old fellow there were two youngsters with his name, I do believe he smiled. Digby was named for Digby, a coastal town in Nova Scotia.
•For families and individuals who have pertinent information stashed all over the house or can't remember the facts, Michael Meuth of Wauseon has an organization solution. After my column suggesting that families have past and current records in case of a death, Mr. Meuth mailed A Life Plan - A Data Collection Booklet. The retired insurance agent is the author of and salesman for the 56-page booklet that outlines data common in most households and covers family members from birth to the present.
Once all the blanks are filled in, the information should be beneficial as a ready reference in all manner of household management as well as for obituary notices. The book considers demographics, wills, trusts, insurance, banks, investments, memberships, military service, minister, and funerals.
The price is $7.50 from Mr. Meuth at email@example.com
•Some people can't leave home without a plan. I enjoy wandering in nice weather and stopping when the mood or hunger strike. Two examples last week took care of breakfast and lunch.
During a country drive of regional farmlands I happened in Metamora, not far from Sylvania. Breakfast at the Country Charm Caf was pleasant and a visit with owner Becky Ehrsam filled me in on the specials that include peanut butter pie and a $7.50 all-you-can-eat fish fry on Fridays. Becky says most of her staff are family members. "I hire right down to the nieces. The grandkids will be next," she said, adding that it gives the teenagers good work experience.
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org