When was the last time you got lost in the Minot area?
It has been a daily occurrence at our home as we watch on television the intensified news coverage of Flood Fight 2011. Streets we know extremely well have become murky canals of mystery, especially from the aerial views. Many of us have taken a walk without a destination. Often this becomes a challenge which encourages us to confront ourselves and discover our inner resources. So will be the case as we recover from the exasperating flood. We have in our presence many who can recall the flood of 1969 and also numerous individuals who are too young to remember. This recovery will be the bridge that bring young and old together.
As new homeowners in Minot, we dashed to protect our home on West University. With the help of family, last Tuesday we moved contents from our basement and main floor to the upstairs and sandbagged our basement windows. With a rush of emotions, we made the journey down University Avenue, turning on Eighth Street, and eventually getting to the highway department off of Valley Street where we filled sandbags.
Charles Repnow is a freelance writer who lives in Rugby. His column appears alternate Wednesdays in The Minot Daily News.
Our first trips were done in the light of day, and it was easy to see as we crossed the Eighth Street Bridge that the voice of the Mouse River was speaking. Water was spilling onto the streets and everywhere you looked folks were in urgent passage. Moving vans, trailers, trucks were backed up to homes, front doors flung open as households contents were bustled out. Some basements were already wet and their chattel placed on the boulevards. With this sight came the truthfulness of what was to be and a lull came in our conversation. There was no need to talk. As we poked along in traffic, my eyes clutched a beautiful yellow climbing rose bush, white clouds floating over trees with wonderful canopies, and many bouquets of iris and peonies. All saying in their silent way we still are free to play and brighten your way as nature intended.
As evening ushered in its navy cloudy curtain, windows of homes were illuminated. As we commuted about, many looked like paintings done by the late prominent American realist painter, Edward Hopper. He is famous for doing urban and rural scenes often involving windows, and many at night. You may recall his famous painting titled "Nighthawks" which portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night around a curved counter being served coffee.
Here are a few scenes that could have been painted by Hopper. One home on Eighth Street had its antique, mahogany corner china cupboard ajar and the treasured contents being emptied; another window on Burdick Expressway East shows a woman standing with her hair in a bun as she piles quilts on the floor; another home by the fairgrounds shows an open door revealing its bright red painted entrance; a glance in a Fourth Avenue kitchen window showcases cupboard doors which were removed exposing ghostly emptiness.
Much of my world as an artist revolves around a visual image. On Eighth Street I noticed a cluster of dauntless dandelions that made me smile. This determined little weed that everyone mistreats even the flood waters persists with rays of sunshine as it is surrounded by a pool of water. With cheerful pompons of lemon yellow and bold strength, it stands tall. We in the valley of flooding will be like that dandelion; even though we have been inundated by the waters of the Mouse River, we will march ahead undaunted and recover the magic of Minot and the surrounding river valley.
May we keep in mind in the days ahead the quote by C. Adair, "A task without vision is drudgery. A vision without task is a dream. But a task with a vision is the hope of the world."
Now, more than ever, there will be a need for coffee and visiting as we recover from the flood. Cookies are a welcome addition to our latest brew. These Tasty Chocolate Tidbit Cookies are easy in preparation and long on flavor!
Tasty Chocolate Tidbit Cookies
6 squares (1 ounce each) white baking chocolate, divided
1 cup of butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (11.5 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Melt three squares of white chocolate. Cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars, add eggs and egg white beating well after each addition. Beat in melted white chocolate and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt with a swirl. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in semisweet chocolate chunks.
Drop by tablespoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. Melt remaining white chocolate; drizzle over cookies. These freeze extremely well. This will yield about 3 dozen.
Potatoes for a Crowd
Here is a velvety, creamy smoothing potato casserole to make for a large group. You have heard me tout the values of evaporated milk with potatoes before and soul of this recipe comes from evaporated milk. The texture of the potatoes is enhanced by the corn flakes. You may also choose to sprinkle a bit of dry parsley on the top before baking.
5 cans (12 ounces) each evaporated milk
7-1/2 cups milk
5 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
5 cans (10-3/4 ounces each condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 pound of butter, melted
1 package (12 ounces) cornflakes, crushed
3 medium onions, finely chopped
10 packages (2 pounds each) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
In several large bowls, combine all ingredients. Transfer to 10 greased 11-inch-by-7-inch-by-2-inch baking dishes. Bake uncovered, at 350 F for 45 to 55 minutes or until potatoes are tender. This will bring forth 10 casseroles (about 10 servings each). This would be perfect for delivery to 10 families who are tired from flood cleanup!