My cousin’s Grandma Elsie died Monday, March 15, 2009. (I give you the date for only one reason: since her death, I have received many reminders that she looks down on me and my
sister-cousin from heaven at least twice a week.) Born Oct. 23, 1905, she lived to be 104 years and five months. Grandma Elsie had a beautiful garden. She loved to plant flowers and always had a bountiful vegetable garden. At one time, my young sons thought that her garden held the magic spell of youth as they overheard us talking one day, and we said, “Grandma’s garden keeps her young.” She lived alone in her house as a widow for almost 50 years after her husband Abner died in 1960. She begrudgingly moved to a nursing home when she was 103. Until then, my cousin would catch her up on the ladder, painting her window trim! She didn’t want to bother anybody or ask for help.
I had never heard of dimes dropping from heaven until the day of grandma’s funeral. My sweet cousin was sweeping her kitchen floor, tidying up the house to put off her grief, when she turned around to find a brand-new dime in the middle of the floor she had just cleaned. She held it up and said, this is from grandma. (I must admit I was a bit skeptical, but it was her first smile of the day, so I played along.) Well, grandma showed me, because later as I was getting out of the car, there was a dime on the ground right next to my foot. I picked it up and didn’t say a word. Two days later I found a dime on the Holiday gas station sidewalk. Okay, okay, this all might have been a coincidence, but a dime in my shoe? I tell you no lies; there was a dime in my shoe just a week later. Now they show up everywhere. In my pockets, under my desk, outside in the grass, at the park. My friend, I am now a true believer. I swear to goodness: dear Grandma Elsie is dropping dimes from heaven.
Now I am not sure why it is dimes that we find. My first thought is that it is because grandma was a centenarian and, if you live more than 100 years, you are given dimes to drop instead of mere pennies. Now I think it might be that a dime is a sign of love tenfold. Think about it, if grandma dropped a dime a week on each and every one of her 23 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren, and 18 great-great-grandchildren, that would be 4,628 dimes in this next year alone. (We could plant a city park full of flowers.) Whatever the reason, I am now saving these precious dimes in a jar and, when I have enough, I will plant a perennial flower in my garden in her memory. After all, I might just have another 50 years to live and I will need my garden to keep me young. My husband Mike can paint the trim on the house though, he’ll only be 98.
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Nordic Rhubarb Juice
3 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
Clean and rinse the rhubarb thoroughly and cut them into smaller pieces. Mix the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat it up to boiling point. Continue boiling for approximately 15 minutes. Pour the rhubarb, sugar and water mix through a strainer lined with a clean tea towel down into a large bowl. Let it drain as much as possible. Once the towel is cool enough to handle, gently squeeze the remaining juice. Clean some bottles using boiling water to make sure that all bacteria are gone. This will extend the shelf life. Pour the concentrated juice in the bottles and keep them refrigerated. When serving the juice, simply mix the concentrated juice with water or sparkling water in the ratio of 1:4. Yummy over ice.
Rhubarb Custard Cake – Shelly Danelke
1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
3 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with rhubarb and sugar. Slowly pour cream over top.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
Please note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.
Sandy’s Favorite Rhubarb Custard Pie
1 prepared pie crust, unbaked
3 cups rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Chop rhubarb and place into unbaked pie shell. Mix sugar, salt and flour together in a bowl. Set aside. Beat eggs and add whipping cream, mix well. Slowly add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture. It will look creamy when ready. Pour over rhubarb. Bake on a cookie sheet in case of boiling over. 10 minutes at 400 degrees then 40 minutes at 350 degrees.