She stood on the corner of Ninth and Main wearing her striped green and white polyester pants. As usual when she was outdoors, a hat was on her head. She shifted her position to the cotoneaster hedge that had been a long-standing prop on the west side of the former Strand Studio and watched as a new pine tree was planted on the north side of her home. She shared with me that she would not be around to see this tree reach the towering beauty of the preceding pine. However, she was sure its beauty would be of valued merit to younger eyes.
Maxine Strand was a planter not only of trees, but of goodwill, humor, wit and wisdom. She passed away in Rugby on Aug. 3, and I would like to share some of the reflections of this unique and creative lady.
I came to know Maxine and her husband, Curtis Strand, when I purchased their studio 23 years ago. Their influence upon us has been one of great privilege and fine entertainment. They were, without a doubt, our Rugby parents. Through them we became acquainted with their two congenial sons, Mark and Todd, and their families. We have always felt very blessed to been invited into all of their lives so willingly.
Several years ago in the spring, Maxine and her dear friend, Jean Vigeland, decided they would drive into Persilla Watts Cemetery. All was going well until exiting when Maxine's car became high centered on a small snow drift. Maxine revved the engine to no avail, and finally came up with a solution. Since Maxine was bigger, Jean would slide over into the driver seat and Maxine would get out and push. The only tool that she could find in car to aid in snow removal was a large piece of cardboard.
Blessed are those looking about their neighborhood and willing to give a helping hand as was the case with Wayne Stevenson. He noticed Maxine and Jean having a bit of trouble and went over and shoveled them out. Jean said to Maxine "Well, that certainly was embarrassing." Maxine quickly replied, "No, Jean the parable of this story is that many are dug in to Persilla Watts but only a few lucky ones are dug out!"
Another time we were sitting in her sunroom on the east side of her home. Looking out the window, she noticed some folks, without asking, decided they wanted to help themselves to her apple trees. She quickly excused herself from our conversation and opened the door and said to pickers. "Oh go ahead help yourselves. Unfortunately, that tree has just been sprayed with insecticide." Needless to say, they quickly left.
Often in the studio the work of retouching and finishing photographs could get to be overwhelming. As the piles surrounded us, Maxine would remind us, "Inch by inch, life is a cinch; but all at once, things go crunch." How true this is when we need to tackle a huge project. When we take it in small steps, it soon becomes very manageable and even enjoyable.
One of Maxine's finest plantings came when she chaired the library board during the building of the new library in Rugby. She had the dream that Rugby should have a fine library that would be open daily. Her foundation for this project came in the form of hard work, positive thinking, and certainly constructive and harmonious thoughts to all those involved. Today our library stands as a center to cultivate many horizons. It is, without a doubt, one of Rugby's finest additions. Many of you know that Maxine was a powerful woman strong-willed and unflinching when she made up her mind to do something for the common good. She never once gave up on thought of having a beautiful library in Rugby.
Perhaps the greatest thing I have gleaned from Maxine was to concentrate on building a life not just making a living. That along our way in the world, we take the time to learn a hymn, appreciate a poem, visit the shut ins, plant a few flowers by a stop sign, teach Sunday school, develop a hobby, enjoying a painting, and to remember that most folks in this world are pushing up hill. During these times, we need to offer our fellow neighbors an extra push.
The poem reprinted at right, "What Do We Plant?" was one of Maxine's favorites. She also enjoyed this cooked salad dressing. This was served at her funeral in the macaroni salad.
Old Fashioned Cooked Salad Dressing
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1-1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
Mix flour, sugar, salt and mustard in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Stir into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and butter. Cover and refrigerate.
This will make about 2 cups of dressing. Add 1 cup of Miracle Whip and 3/4 cup light cream and pour over macaroni salad, to which you have added your favorites such as peas, celery, cheese and onions.