Penultimate Ice Cream


When it comes to ice cream, I can’t think of any place better than Larry’s.

It’s a cozy little shop in St. Petersburg, Fl.,  sitting back on the diagonal behind a large parking lot just steps away from sandy beaches in the Gulf of Mexico.

That store’s been scooping up ice cream over 38 years with every flavor you can imagine  — even Italian Gelato.

My favorite, Butter Pecan, has a long history.  At six years of age, it was chocolate.  That changed when Dad said, “You can have as many chocolate ice cream cones as you want, today.”  I ate enough that afternoon to last a life time and I’ve never asked for that flavor again.

It really has to be Butter Pecan.  I’ll know immediately if it’s not.  In Great Falls, MT., when I was working there for the American Red Cross, a date returned with a cone.  I asked him to take it back and get the right flavor.  I could see that it was hard for him to believe it made that much difference, but he went back with the cone and returned, humbled, saying, “They made a mistake.  You were right.  It was Butter Brickle.”

Howard Hughes, too, had a special flavor he wanted his staff to provide every night when he was in residence.  They kept this favorite flavor on hand in a huge freezer and noticed the supply was running run.  Frantic, they contacted the supplier who said they were no longer making it.  In their haste, they contracted with another firm who made special adaptations to do so at short notice.

After they’d gone to all this trouble, Hughes said, “I’m ready for something different tonight.”

So set your taste buds on store for any concoction you have at Larry’s.


Inside the one-story building behind a huge parking lot are small tables and chairs that cluster along the left side of  long counters filled with ice cream and Gelato choices.  Sundaes like Peanut Butter Parfait or Banana Splits go along with a large selection of hot dogs, too.

Kids of all ages love Larry’s.  In a perfect work, I’d like to live next door to them.  Maybe like Hughes, I might finally have my fill of Butter Pecan and want to choose something else.  I might even want it served in one of their dipped waffle cones made with chocolate.







re are sundaes, too, like Peanut Butter Parfait or Banana Splits.




A Master Race Apology


Listed among World War II’s war victims are the mothers and their children of Himmler’s secret Lebensborn program to create a Master Race. My award-winning novel, Lebensborn, shown above, tells the story of one French woman who was sent by a Nazi SS officer to one of the first homes near Frankfurt.

Throughout Europe during the war approximately 26 lodges, private estates and large facilities provided the best food and medical services for the mothers and children who were to be the leaders of a Master Race.  After the war, they were deported to Germany or kept in camps.  The children were seen as the enemy and suffered pitiless discrimination.

Seen as traitors by Norwegian society,  prime minister Erna Salberg made international news last week by issuing a public apology to these men and women.  Most of the children grew up knowing they lived with a secret.  They were lied to, or abandoned, felt shame and were the rejects of society.

The grandmother of Anna, lead singer of Abba, whisked her daughter and granddaughter out of Norway, smuggling them into Sweden.  Anna’s husband searched for years to help his wife find peace.  When the two were reunited, she said too much time had passed to feel anything at all for him.

After the war, the women were accused of betraying their country and were deprived of their civil rights, arrested and put in prison without trial and some thrown out of Norway.

A few years ago, a group of Lebensborn children appealed to the United Nations for compensation for their ruined lives but were denied.  The European Court of Justice also ruled their case inadmissible because too much time had passed. Last week, however, the United Nations stated that Norway did violate the fundamental principal that no citizen be punished without trail or sentenced by law.

Sisela Heederresch, 63, continues to be proud of her father, an SS officer.  She is reported to be proud of being a Lebensborn because they were the elite.


Consider this: When an SS office told a romantic fairy tale, to a beautiful Norwegian girl about their becoming part of the secret Lebensborn program, the man wore what is still considered to be the world’s most fashionable uniform.  It must have been easy for her to fall under his spell even though he might have been married.  All German troops had to support the program by making a monthly payment.  All women were made to feel that they were special to the Fuhrer and were given awards and financial help.

As the author of a story about this secret program, my research included a trip to France and to Germany, an interview  which took place in the U.S. with an S.S. office who went through the trials after the war at Nuremburg, and the announcement at my first public book talk by a man who said, “I am a Lebensborn child.  Can you help me find my true parents?’  Fortunately, I did research the War Victim agencies who are standing by to provide such help.







Make It Easy on the Cook

chicken dinner

There is a magical recipe to bake a chicken.  Do you know what’s inside the chicken in this photo courtesy of PhotoPin?  If it’s one of mine, the secret ingredient would be half of a lemon inside a bird that’s been touched well with butter and olive oil.

Place your 4 to 6 pound chicken at room temperature in a preheated oven at 425 degrees placed upon a rack of some sort.  Cook one hour and 15 minutes.  Sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice over it.  Slice and enjoy the moistest chicken ever.

Here’s a photo of neighbor Sam Fisher who raises organic chickens.Sam Fisher

Twice a year Sam rents the conservation service’s chicken plucker machine and we take a couple of our chickens over to be stripped of feathers and interiors.Chicken Plucker (2)

There are many types of chickens to raise: for eggs or for meat.  Once there was a Rhode Island Red at the Lazy Bee.  She liked to jump the enclosure and take the flock with her.  Oh, my, she even brought the flock up to enjoy the front deck and had caused a lot of havoc before that digging up flower beds.  She wouldn’t be caught and taken to safety.  We finally found her red feathers scattered one day.  Moral of this story: if you’re a chicken, you’re best reward to be in a baking pot in an oven so you’ll look just like this.





Review: U.S. Passport Agency

us passport

If you are a U.S. citizen and have a passport but don’t have it anymore for some reason, there’s deep feeling of loss. (Thanks PhotoPin for the photo).

We needed to renew our passports and our small passport cards for going to Canada.  This is done on a form obtained at a U.S. post office or at an  official passport location.  We each filled out the form and took it to the Stevens County Clerk’s office, an official passport office, to be sure we filled them out correctly.

Instructions said to include passport and or card, so Bud chose to send his passport card and I put my check within my U.S.  big passport in the form.  We placed these in a Priority Mail packet at the Post Office on Wednesday and sent them off to the address for the expediting agency’s office.  There is different address for those wishing regular service.

In two days we heard from the folks at the expediting office by e-mail and a few days later by letter.  There was a phone number to call.  Soon we heard the caring voice of Mary and later of another gentleman saying that we  needed to forward both the big passport and the card.  So, we needed to send back their letter along with the missing card or passport.

“We’ll do everything possible so you can go to St. Andrews Church Sunday.  You can overnight it.”

We breathed a sigh of relief.  Our passports were in good hands.  The large passports would arrive first.  “We print those here at this office.  The cards are printed in bulk at another location.”

We chose to use Priority Mail, but could over-night from the Post Office for $24.70, but had to have it to them too early to make that deadline.  For twice that amount, over night service was available via UPS.  One agency gentleman even placed a return call telling us that the U.S. passport agency in Seattle could issue ours the next day, but we live 350 miles away so that wasn’t an option.  The fact that he cared enough meant a lot.

The freedom and power of having a U.S. passport was in the hands of the unknown, who we quickly learned take time to give true quality service.  Personnel at the U.S. Passport agency receive five-stars for superior service.

Adrift without a passport is a lonely place to be.

Call of the Open Road

Sarah and her Harley

A motorcycle often says a lot about who you are and the way you choose to live.

Sarah Groves pictured in Colville, WA. with her new Harley, along with son Vince Budinger, Alaska airline captain, are showing the world that they live freely and with a spirit of adventure.  However, no photo of Vince was available.

Vince rides his back and forth between home and the Seattle airport.  Sarah and her husband’s first trip in their new Harleys was to Banff, Canada.  Here she is arriving for a Colville Rotary meeting.

Riding a motorcycle claims the open road.  Herein lies the secret of living life to its fullest.  You don’t know what lies ahead, but you keep riding, exploring, going places in most exciting way.

Happy trails for these warriors of the road.  Be safe on the road.  Especially look out for wildlife and unseeing drivers, tractors, stray cows and horses.

A Lazy Day

3651 Shady Garden Platform

A day of leisure is like a mini-sabbatical.  Time slows down in my shady garden, pictured above.  A few hours of not doing – no achieving or pursuing anything brings cool breezes in the garden.  Then after a swing or two in the hammock, I walk down a forested lane.

The day glowed with the pleasure of tying a new recipe to make an old comfort food.  I walked along thinking it was delightful to realize that nothing felt important to do or to be done.  So I ignored the pine cones the squirrels plummet from the trees collecting on the shady garden floor and leave them to pick up another day.  And gave no thought to plotting The Ladies of the Ti-Pi.

It was summer’s end.  A little fire in the old cook stove in the kitchen seemed a good idea.  With the forest wild fires that had been blazing all up and down the Pacific Coast and up into Canada now mostly under control, a fire no longer meant fear but the joy of a little warmth.

It’s an okay day to think of fire being enjoyable, especially after the smoke and the destruction it’s left for so many people now without homes, or, those tired bodies of the men and women who have fought them.

It’s a lazy day – a ride on a slide – into the pleasures- of non doing.

A Different Twist to An Old Favorite

Toasted Cheese Sandwich

(Photopin provides this delicious photo of my old favorite, the toasted cheese sandwich.)

When the cat and I have the house to ourselves, I like a bowl of tomato soup right from the can and a toasted cheese sandwich.

For crunch for the bread slice that will fit on the frying pan, I added mayonnaise mixed with three large tablespoons of softened butter as I held each bread piece in my hand.  Upon one side of the sandwich to be, I placed a slice and one half of American cheese,  and placed it lovingly in the fry pan.  Then, to the second piece of bread, I added shredded cheddar cheese, and set it on top of the other piece in the pan.

A slice of lettuce and slices of the reddest Beef Stake tomato just picked from the garden, plus a new pulled carrot, the enriched sandwich was soon ready to place on a plate.

Next time, I might add a little raspberry jam to the mix and see what happens to the taste.

Meanwhile, this old favorite with a crunchy twist was just right in all ways for a lazy day.