Vegan picnic fare for the Fourth. June 30, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: hot sweet pickles, vegan barbecue, vegan coleslaw, Vegan Fourth of July, vegan picnic recipes, vegan picnics, vegan potato salad
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Silence Dogood here. This is going to be my first July Fourth as a vegan, and you can bet I’ve been giving plenty of thought to how to make a celebratory picnic meal without cheese!
Of course, you could do the predictable, which would certainly be filling and delicious: Make veggie burgers with all the trimmings, grill veggie kabobs, make corn on the cob, and serve it all with a huge salad and watermelon and/or cantaloupe, mangoes and berries for dessert. Yum! I’d be happy to be invited to a picnic like this any day.
But there’s no reason to stop there, or even go there if you’d rather make some picnic classics like coleslaw, potato salad, hot-sweet pickles, and even sloppy Joes vegan-style. Here are my suggestions for unforgettably delicious dishes to spice up your celebration! And of course, our friend Ben and I always watch “Independence Day” after our deckside dinner and before we head out to watch the fireworks in the nearby Breinigsville Park. It just wouldn’t be the 4th without it!
Our go-to potato salad recipe was developed by 92-year-old family patriarch and enthusiastic cook George Hays, and it’s still our favorite. Mr. Hays defies conventional wisdom and puts baking potatoes in his salad, and I can attest to how delicious it is. By substituting Vegenaise for mayo and leaving out the hardboiled eggs, it’s a perfect vegan dish. Try it and see for yourself!
Mr. Hays’s Baked Potato Salad
3 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 T chopped parsley leaves
1 t salt
1 t fresh-ground pepper
1 cup (about 1 stalk) chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 cup (1 medium) finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup each chopped sweet and dill pickles
3/4 cup Vegenaise grapeseed oil mayo
Bring the potatoes and a teaspoon of salt to a boil over high heat until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and gently rub off the skins, using a paper towel, while the potatoes are still warm. Chop the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and toss with the cider vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the celery, red bell pepper, onion and pickles. Fold in the Vegenaise. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Sadly, there are never any survivors when we make this!)
Here’s another vegan option, courtesy of William Lamont of Penn State, which is made from red-, white-, and blue-fleshed potatoes, perfect for commemorating the Fourth.
Penn State’s American Flag Potato Salad
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 lbs. new potatoes (red, white and blue)
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, diced small
1 bunch scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil. Add the garlic and whisk again. Let stand for one hour for flavors to develop. Boil the potatoes with skins on until tender but slightly firm. Drain them and let cool long enough to handle. Peel and cut into 1-inch dice. Transfer them to the vinaigrette, toss and let sit until the potatoes have cooled. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss again. Let sit for at least 2 hours. Serve or refrigerate.
Our friend Ben and I love pickles. We love big, garlicky Kosher pickles, tiny crunchy-sweet cornichons, bread-and-butter slices—you name it, we love it. After my father gave us a jar of hot-sweet pickles from a specialty food company in Nashville, we fell in love with them and I (of course) developed my own recipe for this fabulous treat.
If you can keep any around long enough, the flavor just gets better over time, and they stay crunchy for months. And there’s no standing over a hot stove with canning jars. We keep several large containers in our fridge all summer so we can enjoy them ourselves with sandwiches and appetizers, and have plenty on hand when guests come over or to take to the Friday Night Supper Club. (See my post “The Friday Night Supper Club” for more on this great idea.) Even if we set out a whole vat, there are never any survivors! Needless to say, a container of these makes a great gift, too.
Silence’s Hot-Sweet Refrigerator Pickles
5-6 slender cukes, sliced (any kind will taste fine, but please, no waxed skins)
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons salt (any kind is fine, no need to get pickling salt)
1 tablespoon black mustardseed
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, WallaWalla, or Candy type), or more to taste, diced
dash hot sauce, such as Tabasco Chipotle or Pickapeppa
Combine vinegar and sugar and heat until sugar dissolves; add salt, spices, and hot sauce. Layer sliced cukes and onions in alternate layers in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. When the brine (the vinegar mix) is lukewarm, pour it over the cukes and onions, then close the lid and refrigerate. Shake container gently every day to make sure brine is saturating top layers. You can begin eating the pickles after 3 to 5 days; the flavor gets stronger over time. The pickled onions can be eaten as is, and they’re great as a sandwich relish and in salads, too. You can add more fresh cukes and onions as you eat the first batch, but make sure you put them at the bottom of the container with the older pickles on top. Check the brine to make sure it’s still flavorful, adding more salt, turmeric, and other spices as needed. I’ve found that the brine can be reused about three times before you need to pour it out and start over. (Note: This brine is cloudy, not clear like a canned pickle brine, which is why we use opaque plastic storage containers for our refrigerator pickles rather than glass.) So easy and so incredibly good!!! People can’t keep their hands off them.
What about coleslaw? Coleslaw: What does that mean, anyway? From my horticulture background, I had no trouble with “cole”: The brassicas—cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and the like—are collectively referred to as cole crops. We learned that in class. But what does “cole” actually mean? And what about the “slaw” part?
Finding that out took me right to the founding of the American Colonies, or more particularly, to the Dutch founding of New Netherlands (you might know it by its later name, New York). Turns out, “coleslaw” is an Anglicanization of the Dutch koolsla, itself a shortening of koolsalade. A salad made from cole crops, or more specifically, cabbage. Early coleslaw was a simple combination of shredded cabbage, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, allowed to sit for a few hours to let the flavors marry, then served at room temperature.
Mind you, I’m not a snob when it comes to coleslaw. If I have a head of cabbage, I’ll use half and hand-shred it with my trusty Victorinox paring knife. But if I don’t have a head of cabbage on hand, or am in a hurry, I’m so happy there are now convenient bags of pre-shredded red cabbage, carrots, and “coleslaw” mix of shredded green cabbage with a little red cabbage and shredded carrot thrown in. I also love the bags of “broccoli slaw,” with shredded broccoli stems mixed with carrots and red cabbage, though I’ve never tried to use them in coleslaw. Instead, I mix a half-cup of broccoli slaw into my tossed salads to add some extra texture and cancer-fighting oomph.
But let’s get back to those slaws. When I’m pressed for time and want a super-fast, super-easy coleslaw, this is my go-to recipe: A bag of coleslaw mix, a half-bag of shredded carrots, a half chopped sweet onion, salt (we like RealSalt) and fresh-cracked black pepper, and olive oil and your favorite vinegar. (Red wine or white balsamic is especially good with this.) Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not only delicious, you should see how fast it vanishes from everybody’s plate. The trick is to let it marinate at room temp for an hour or so before serving. Adding pepitas (salted, roasted pumpkin seeds) just before serving for extra crunch and golden raisins for unexpected sweetness ups the ante.
Let’s move on to some of my more elaborate coleslaws. But please note, as you read the recipes, that they’re easy, too. Bless coleslaw for being no more trouble to make, even in its more elaborate incarnations, than a tossed salad! The next one’s as beautiful as it is delicious:
Silence’s Green and Gold Coleslaw
1/2 large head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 large sweet yellow onion (such as Vidalia), diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 generous handfuls yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut in thirds
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
3 radishes, minced
1-2 tablespoons whole caraway seeds, to taste
1-2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds, to taste
1/2 bottle Italian or Zesty Italian or Balsamic and Olive Oil dressing
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt (we like RealSalt) and lemon pepper to taste
Put shredded cabbage, radishes, yellow bell pepper, yellow wax beans, fennel, and onion in a large bowl; stir with a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Add caraway and fennel seeds, lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper; mix well. Finally, add dressing and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly coated. Refrigerate, covered, overnight so flavors can marry, and stir again to mix before serving.
For a lighter slaw with a fresh, green taste, try this one:
Coleslaw with Cilantro and Scallions
1/2 large head green cabbage, shredded
1 large bunch scallions (green onions), chopped
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
4 stems fennel tops (fronds), minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons Trocomare or salt (we like RealSalt)
1 tablespoon mixed hot red and black pepper, ground
1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or more to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
In a large bowl, mix cabbage, red bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, and fennel. Stir in seasonings and oil and vinegar, mixing thoroughly. Refrigerate, covered, overnight, so flavors can marry, then stir again thoroughly before serving.
Baked beans are also a staple of July Fourth picnics. No doubt I could make my own, but our friend Ben and I happen to love Bush’s Beans Grillin’ Beans, and their Southern Barbecue Beans and Bourbon Beans are our favorites. (And are entirely vegan.) How nice to be able to simply heat them up while I’m making the rest of the food from scratch.
Finally, what if you’re vegan and want to add a taste of barbecue to your picnic fare? Ribs are out, but I have the answer! It’s a Japanese dish called kinpira. The dish mixes the naturally smoky flavor of minced burdock root (which I can find at a local health-food store) with shredded carrots and flavorings. I like to add diced sweet onion for a little more punch. Fair warning: burdock roots look ugly and dirty, but they’re not, and their flavor is amazing. But to bring the barbecue flavor front and center, I like to add a little liquid smoke. Here’s how I make it:
Kinpira (Vegan Barbecue)
1 package burdock roots, scrubbed and minced
1 package shredded carrots
1/2 sweet onion (such as Vidalia), diced
Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pan (I love my LeCreuset pans). Add the diced onion and let it clarify. Add Trocomare or salt (we like RealSalt), fresh-cracked black pepper, and generous splashes of Frank’s hot sweet chili sauce, sake, mirin, and shoyu (soy sauce). Add burdock and carrot, stirring well to mix, and cook until tender. I like to add seaweed-enhanced gomasio (sesame/sea salt) as well. Add pure intent, eat, and enjoy.
The flavor is smoky barbecue. The texture is definitely messy! You can enjoy it as a side dish, or mound it on whole-grain buns and try a vegan sloppy Joe. But remember, this will definitely be sloppy, so you’ll want plenty of napkins and to balance your head over your plate so your shirt doesn’t catch the worst of it! Never mind, yum!!!
Happy Fourth of July!
‘Til next time,
And now for something completely different. June 29, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: great architectural photos, great photos, Instagram, The Angry Ginger
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Our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders, your faithful bloggers here at Poor Richard’s Almanac, are self-professed Luddites. We’re the sort of folks who couldn’t take a decent photo to save our lives, much less post one. The same can’t be said of our friend Rob’s son Christian, who posts his amazing photos as “The Angry Ginger” on Instagram.
We’ve been totally blown away by Christian’s photos, which tend to be of architectural details rather than predictable shots. His take on the SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA, site of the former Bethlehem Steel, have especially wowed us, but he has plenty more up his photographic sleeve.
Luddites that we are, we’re humiliated to admit that we have no idea how you can access Christian’s photos on Instagram; he showed them to us on his iPhone. But if you have more technosavvy than we do and can call up Instagram on whatever device you favor, we highly recommend that you head to The Angry Ginger and see these fantastic photos for yourself. Believe us, you won’t be sorry.
Seven times three is pretty silly. June 28, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: Domesteading, Poor Richard's Almanac, SaraC, Sunshine Award
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Seven questions. Three responses to each. Result: Not exactly earthshaking.
Poor Richard’s Almanac has been nominated for another award, the Sunshine Award, by the wonderful SaraC of Domesteading fame (http://domesteading.wordpress.com/). Thank you, Sara! As is usual with these awards, recipients are asked to tell something about themselves. But fortunately, this time, we weren’t requested to tell readers things they didn’t know about us (we’ve pretty much run dry on those). Instead, we were asked to weigh in on seven questions.
So your faithful bloggers here at PRA, Silence Dogood, our friend Ben, and Richard Saunders got together to answer the questions. The results probably qualify us collectively for the Darwin Awards rather than a Pulitzer Prize, but here you go:
1. Favorite number:
Silence Dogood: 7
Our friend Ben: 11
Richard Saunders: 27
2. Favorite non-alcoholic drink:
OFB: Who are you kidding?
Richard: There are non-alcoholic drinks?!
3. Favorite animal:
Silence: All of them.
Richard: My stuffed Easter bunny.
4. Facebook or Twitter?
Silence: Twitter, since as far as I know it doesn’t force you to register with it in order to allow access. But I’ve never tweeted and never will.
5. My passion:
Silence: Oh good Lord! How could you possibly have just one passion?! Please don’t make me choose between reading and writing and gardening and cooking and knitting and beading and collecting and…
OFB: Silence has a point here. I’m definitely a collector, so collecting everything in my fields of interest, from Pueblo pottery and coin and stamp collecting to seashells to ancient chess pieces to Sherlock Holmes novels and movies is huge and defining for me. But I wouldn’t have a clue about how to limit my interests to one defining passion.
Richard: If I had to choose one, it would be Colonial and Federal American history.
6. Favorite day of the week:
Silence: Every sunny day.
Richard: Friday. TGIF!!!
7. Favorite flower:
Richard: Water lily.
Well, there you have it. Please feel free to share your own answers with us! Sara’s answers were delightful; we’d love to know yours.
Blight hits; tomatoes wilt. June 27, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading.
Tags: early blight, tomato blight, tomato diseases, tomatoes
Here at Hawk’s Haven, our crops were coming in so well we thought this would be our best year ever. Then blight hit our tomatoes, and almost every one wilted before our eyes. Our local paper ran a front-page story alerting gardeners to the super-early arrival of blight this year. This is the same blight that caused the Irish potato famine; it attacks potatoes as well as tomato plants. But our potatoes seem to be holding their own; it’s only our tomatoes that are wilting. We’re just devastated.
Looks like we’ll be buying our tomatoes at the grocery or farmers’ market this year. What about you?
Let’s all salute Monsanto. June 26, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: GMOs, Monsanto, Sanders Amendment, Supreme Court backs Monsanto
As the fiesty cartoon character Maxine says, “Which finger you salute with is up to you.”
On June 21st, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to reject the Sanders Amendment, which would have given states the right to pass legislation that would have required food and beverage manufacturers to label whether or not they contain genetically modified ingredients. This delightful, encouraging news bite was posted on The Daily Beast under the headline “Monsanto Trumps Food Safety and Democracy [Again].”
This directive comes thanks to the Supreme Court, which has given corporations the rights of individuals and has struck down every attempt to keep said corporations from buying politicians, such as the senators who voted down the Sanders Amendment. I hope every justice and senator who’s received “campaign contributions” or kickbacks from Monsanto is sleeping well tonight. As well as, say, Jerry Sandusky in his prison cell.
As for Monsanto executives, those heartless, filthy pigs, I’d like to send them something truly special for their extraordinary efforts to destroy heritage gardening and small-scale farming in the name of profit. Perhaps they’d serve the world best as organic fertilizer.
How about a dog bird? June 24, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in critters, pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: bird dogs, German shepherds, golden retrievers, robins, Shiloh
Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I have had two beautiful, wonderful golden retrievers, Molly and Annie. Golden retrievers are what are called bird dogs: When they see a bird, they stop, lift up a front leg, and “point” in the bird’s direction. They also have what is called a “soft mouth,” so they can retrieve a duck or other game bird after it’s been shot without biting into it. Labrador retrievers and spaniels are also bird dogs.
These days, OFB and I have the pleasure of living with our beloved black German shepherd, Shiloh, whose herding instincts are superb but whose hunting instincts are nil. Squirrels send most dogs we know nuts, chasing them and barking endlessly in frustration, long after the squirrels have gained the safety of the trees. Shiloh just watches them (in silence, thank God). Baby raccoons waddle in front of her; she looks like she’s trying to figure out the best way to herd them—if only she weren’t on this wretched leash!—so she could keep them safely under guard.
Yesterday, I was taking Shiloh outside for a bathroom break when we had a new (and very endearing) experience. We were in the backyard, bound for the circle of trees, known as the Circle of Doom, that’s Shiloh’s outdoor bathroom area. I saw that two robins were blocking our path. One flew out of the way as it saw us approaching. The other held its ground.
I realized that I wasn’t looking at two adult robins, but at a parent and its just-fledged offspring, whom it was teaching to cope with life outside the nest. It was this toddler robin, probably on its very first flight, that was still in our path. I brought myself and Shiloh to a full stop to give the little robin time to run or fly away.
But it didn’t. It looked at us with the most extreme interest, and then began making a beeline right for us, running over the lawn on unsteady legs. All the while, its distressed parent hovered nearby, calling what no doubt translated as “What are you doing? Get back here!!! That dog is going to swallow you in one bite! And what about that scary person? Come back! COME BAAAACK!!!” Naturally, the young robin completely ignored its parent’s frantic cries.
Shiloh and I watched this phenomenon with quiet fascination. As it became clear that the little bird really was going to run right into us unless I took action, I took Shiloh back to the house, not because I thought she would hurt the robin, but because I was concerned about causing further distress to its parent. When we came back out later, both robins were gone.
I guess we’d had our first encounter with a dog bird.
‘Til next time,
Jerry Sandusky convicted. June 23, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized.
Tags: Jerry Sandusky, Sandusky trial
Please pass the fries. June 21, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: deep-fried cereal, deep-fried Kool-Aid, deep-fried pickles, fried chicken, fried foods, obesity, obesity crisis, perils of fried foods
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Silence Dogood here. The part of scenic Pennsylvania where our friend Ben and I live is not, shall we say, immune from the so-called “obesity crisis” sweeping our fair nation. So I was horrified when I first saw deep-fried mac’n'cheese cubes turn up at local diners, and deep-fried pickles given away free at a local steak house. Great, I thought, just what America needs: more deep-fried foods to pad our collective paunch.
Little did I know. Today’s Yahoo! news features a story about the latest fried, uh, treat to debut at the San Diego Fair: deep-fried cereal.
I’ve never understood how anyone could bear to eat the nutrient-free, chalk-dry, garishly colored chemical concoctions that pass themselves off as dry cereal to begin with, when they could be eating actual food. But deep-fried Trix and Cinnamon Toast Crunch?! Eeeewwww!!! (Apparently the majority is with me on this one; a Yahoo! poll showed 87% agreeing with the statement “No, it’s gross on so many levels” as opposed to “Yes, it looks really tasty” when asked if they would try deep-fried cereal.) One actual taster noted that the pool of liquid grease at the bottom of the container ”made me clutch my heart a little.”
Even deep-fried cereal pales in comparison to its creator’s debut food at last year’s fair: fried Kool-Aid. (No doubt fried Kool-Aid shots are in the works as I write.) This mastermind, owner of Chicken Charlie’s, offers fried everything on his menu, including fried Girl Scout cookies. I wonder if free defibrillation is offered as an optional side.
What would cause someone to eat fried cereal, or funnel cake, a PA regional specialty of lard-fried dough and powdered sugar, or even fried pickles? Simple: The same urge that makes us reach for that crispy-crackly piece of fried chicken or French fries or mozzarella sticks or fried okra or hushpuppies and fried catfish.
The combination of a crunchy, fatty exterior and a creamy (or at least soft) interior satisfies our most primitive urges.If we can add salt and sugar to the mix, we’re golden: We’ve achieved the gold standard of primitive man’s need to attain as many calories as possible in the most pleasurable possible way. (Preferably accompanied by that other effortless source of pleasure and calories, alcohol.)
Unfortunately for our health, we no longer spend the majority of our waking hours hunting and gathering or toiling in farm fields. Nor are most of us prepared to agree that weighing 300-plus pounds and dying in our mid-thirties is acceptable. The alternative is clear: Steer clear of those chimichangas and deep-fried turkeys and chicken-fried steaks. Run away from deep-fried cereal and Kool-Aid. If you can’t entirely give up that deep-fried craving, try to view it as a treat and go for the fried chicken or fish and fries once a month instead. Your arteries (and scale) will thank you.
(To read the article, go to “Deep-Fried Cereal Debuts at County Fair” on Yahoo.com’s home page.)
‘Til next time,
Can you grow fuchsia plants from seed? June 20, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening.
Tags: fuchsia, fuchsia berries, fuchsia plants from seed, fuchsias, fuchsias for hummingbirds, hummingbird plants, hummingbirds
Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood went a bit overboard this year and bought four fuchsia plants for our deck, since we’d heard that they attract hummingbirds. Well, we’ve yet to see a hummingbird. (We think they’ll show up when our cannas and rose-of-Sharons bloom.) But our friend Ben has seen an interesting development, namely, dark purple berries forming on the fuchsia plants.
Being a horticulturist by training and a plant enthusiast by nature, I of course wondered if I could plant these fuchsia berries and grow a bunch of new fuchsia plants. Our plants are all hybrids, though, which means that, even if new plants did come up from seed, they wouldn’t look anything like their parents. But, I thought, so what? The real question was if they’d come up at all. And besides, it might be exciting to see what colors and shapes we ended up with.
I’m planning to give it a try. And if anyone out there has experience growing your own fuchsias from seed, I’d love to hear from you! I’d also, ahem, love to hear from anyone whose fuchsias really did draw hummingbirds to their decks. So far, all we’ve gotten are bumblebees.
Autism rocks. June 19, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Asperger's syndrome, autism, depression, Lonnie Smith, Survivor Evolution
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Our friend Ben was blown away by an article in today’s local paper, the Allentown PA Morning Call (www.mcall.com), “An Autistic Superhero.” It was about a dad who discovered that his severely autistic son was a great artist. He encouraged his son, now 25, and his younger son, who also has autism but is less socially incapacitated by it, to create a series of illustrated ebooks.
The books feature the adventures of an autistic superhero, Survivor, who has the ability to heal, as he battles the evil forces of the League of Diseases, led by Cheeo, whose weapon is depression, and who is adept at targeting Survivor’s weaknesses. They are, of course, skillfully illustrated by severely autistic son Kambel Smith, plotted by dad Lonnie, and vetted for relevance to teens by 17-year-old Kantai, who also gives the characters their names.
I was struck by the tee-shirts the sons were wearing, bearing the name of the series, “Survivor Evolution,” showing an illustration of the headless hero. Presumably he does have a head, but the choice of this particular illustration for the tee-shirt reinforces the inability of people with autism to “read” facial expressions or verbal intonations that would instantly give the rest of us clues to the mood and emotions of the speaker. For the autistic, the head is expendable.
Our friend Ben was very impressed by Lonnie Smith’s brilliant idea to give his kids a way to express themselves and feel good about themselves and their lives. But I was even more impressed, first, because the boys’ mother was nowhere in sight, so presumably Lonnie has been raising them alone, and second, because Lonnie has what was described as a “blood disease” that, the article implied, is fatal and will eventually—and likely sooner rather than later, given that he almost died from it two years ago—leave the boys on their own.
Our friend Ben has a niece and nephew with Asperger’s, the high-functioning form of autism. Silence Dogood’s best friend has a son with Asperger’s. Our next-door neighbor’s son killed himself at just 17 after wrestling with depression; our friend Rob is terrified that his son, who has battled Cheeo for the past seven years, will do the same. I’m betting that you know someone on the autism/Asperger’s spectrum, too, as well as people who battle depression.
Here’s the advice Lonnie Smith has to offer you, if the people who are suffering are your children:
* As you watch your children around the house, keep in mind that those funny, unexpected and cute things they do may be a sign of a knack. [His word for a hidden talent.]
* Expose them to museums, the zoo, parks, learning supply stores, toy stores and any vibrant places that might spark inspiration. Pay close attention. See what catches their interest.
* Once you find a particular skill, it’s your job to find out how it connects to your child’s life. Research online for ways to use that knack constructively. Develop a plan to incorporate it into their lives.
Our friend Ben thinks this is great advice for parents of troubled children. It’s also great advice for any parents. And it’s great advice for all the rest of us as well. Thank you, Lonnie Smith. Please live long and prosper.