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Man outlives nicknames

In 1927, we lived on the edge of town, where there were a lot of open spaces between the houses. We were all singers in our family, so whenever we had a chance, we would gather around my aunt's player piano or our Victrola and sing.

As a kid, I used to run through the fields hopping, skipping, running and singing at the top of my lungs. Thus, I became known in my neighborhood as 'Hop John.'

As a teenager, after a sudden growth spurt, I had long arms and legs. Soon, I became known as 'Ichabod Crane.'

At 80, I have outlived both of my nicknames. No one calls me by any nickname now - at least to my face.

Rusk, Texas


Girl gives teacher lasting nickname

When I was younger, I had many nicknames, but the one that stuck is the one I got when I was older.

A little girl in the Sunday school class I taught told her mother and the other kids my name was 'No-no.'

My name is Wynona, and my folks called me 'Nona.' However, now I'm known as No-no.

Wichita , Kan.


Dad and uncle give child a lifelong nickname

My favorite uncle and my dad gave me my nickname. They said I learned to walk on my first birthday and that I was short, chubby and kind of stubby.

Therefore, they started calling me 'Stubby,' and that name has stuck with me for 84 years!

I thought Stubby was my name. In fact, when I started school, I didn't even know I had a different name. Everyone called me Stubby, including the teachers.

Today, almost everyone I know still calls me Stubby.

About 15 years ago, two of our daughters gave me money for my birthday for a personalized license plate. So, I have '1Stubby' on both the front and rear of my car.

Those license plates have helped me find my car many times, as there are so many cars that look alike in large parking lots.

The name 'Stubby' has caused me some embarrassment many times in my life, however. I've often thought people have to wonder what kind of parent would put a name like that on a child?

When my husband and I started our family, I told my husband that there would be absolutely no nicknames for any of our children.

I'm very happy to say that none of our children has a nickname!

Bottineau , N.D.


Peanut butter story brings about a nutty nickname

Sixteen years ago, my son began training as a prison guard. At the very first session, the warden asked each person to stand, state their name, tell where they were from, and explain to everyone where they planned on being in 10 years.

My son said it was a boring orientation. He said that by the time the second person took his turn, he had already forgotten the first guy's name, so he decided that nobody would forget his name if he could help it.

After stating his name to the group, he told them that he used to work at Safeway as a relocation manager.

He continued, saying that one day, a little old lady came in to shop and picked up a jar of Skippy peanut butter. As she continued to shop, she came upon the generic products. When she saw that the generic peanut butter was cheaper, she put the Skippy brand back on the shelf and picked up the generic brand.

Being the relocation manager, he explained, his job was to pick up the Skippy and relocate it to its proper place in the store.

Then he looked at the warden and said, 'Oh, and in 10 years, I plan to be sitting behind your desk.'

Everyone in the class laughed, and he came to be known as 'Skippy' at the prison.

Not long ago, I was repeating a funny prison story my son had told.

One of the fellows listening happened to work in the same prison as my son. He said he thought he knew everyone in the prison, but he didn't recall knowing my son. Even after telling him what area he worked in, the fellow still couldn't place him, and he was quite puzzled.

Suddenly, I remembered my son telling me about his first day in training, and I said, 'Oh, yes, they call him Skippy out there.'

'Oh, of course,' he said. 'I know him. Everybody knows Skippy!'

Hartshorne , Okla.


Favorite things about winter

What are your favorite things about winter? Do you enjoy the beautiful scenery - the snow and ice glistening on tree branches and fences? Maybe you like to watch the youngsters build snowmen or ride sleds down big hills.

Do you enjoy starting a fire and wrapping up in a cozy blanket to enjoy a good book and a cup of hot cocoa? Maybe you like to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the flame in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Or perhaps the holidays - being with friends and family, giving thanks and being merry - are your favorite part of winter.

By winter's end, are you ready for warmer spring days or do you miss the crisp days of winter when they're gone?

Tell us what your favorite things are about the winter season. Send your letters (and photos) by Nov. 7 to CAPPER'S, Kate Marchbanks, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.


Food Feature: Enjoy Breakfast for Dinner with Your Family Tonight

Looking for new and enjoyable meal ideas? Why not serve breakfast for dinner? With evaporated milk on hand in the pantry, you can transform your family's favorite breakfasts into delicious and savory dinners.

From creamy sauces to mouth-watering casseroles, evaporated milk is the key to serving special, yet easy, meals. These recipes feature convenient ingredients that don't require a lot of preparation or measuring.

Best of all, they taste great, which means your family will love eating them. So, experience the difference evaporated milk can make, and at the same time bring a little fun to a typical weeknight.


Weeknight Waffle-wiches

These 'sandwiches' are perfect for busy cooks who don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk, divided
1 package (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose baking mix, divided
3/4 cup water
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
12 slices turkey bacon, cooked, divided
6 slices thin deli ham, divided

In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup evaporated milk with 1 1/2 cups cheese and 1 teaspoon baking mix. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and sauce has slightly thickened to a creamy cheese sauce consistency. Remove from heat; cover saucepan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining evaporated milk, water, remaining cheese, egg and mustard. Stir in remaining baking mix until well-blended.

Preheat a Belgian waffle maker according to manufacturer's directions. Pour about 1 1/4 cups batter onto waffle grid. Cook according to manufacturer's directions. Repeat with remaining batter, while keeping cooked waffles warm in the oven.

When all waffles are done, spread 2 tablespoons prepared cheese sauce evenly over one side of 6 waffle squares or rounds. Top each with 2 slices bacon and 1 slice ham; cover with remaining waffles squares or rounds to make waffle-wiches. Yields 6 servings.

Editor's note: A standard waffle maker can also be used, but it will make about 18 standard-size waffles instead of 12 Belgian-size waffles. The amount of batter poured onto the waffle maker will need to be adjusted if using a standard waffle maker.


French Toast with Creamy Maple Syrup

This delicious dish features freshly made syrup that can be served either hot or cold.

3/4 cup sugar
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk, divided
1/3 cup maple-flavored pancake syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
5 tablespoons butter, divided
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 slices whole wheat or white bread, divided

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved; remove pan from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and set Creamy Maple Syrup aside.

Whisk together eggs, remaining evaporated milk, remaining vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dip 4 slices bread in egg mixture; place in skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom side of bread is golden. Flip and cook for 2 additional minutes, or until golden. Remove from skillet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat dipping and skillet methods twice more with remaining butter and remaining bread slices.

Serve warm with Creamy Maple Syrup. Refrigerate any leftover syrup for another use. Yields 6 servings.


Southwestern Scramble

This one-skillet meal transforms traditional scrambled eggs into a South-of-the-border meal.

8 large eggs, well-beaten
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
2 tablespoons diced green chiles
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 medium corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
Mild salsa, chopped avocado and sliced green onions, optional
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained, optional

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup cheese, chiles and black pepper. Set aside.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Place tortilla strips in skillet; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until strips are lightly browned.

Pour egg mixture into skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are cooked through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Top with salsa, avocado and/or green onions. Serve with black beans, if desired. Yields 4 servings.


Suppertime Sausage Bake

This casserole takes less than an hour to prepare and bake, and it tastes simply wonderful.

1 pound hot bulk pork sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 cans (12 oz. each) evaporated milk
8 large eggs, beaten
1 package (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 green onions (green parts only), sliced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
9 to 10 slices Italian or French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (enough to make 8 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Combine sausage, evaporated milk, eggs, cheese, red pepper, green onions, onion powder and garlic powder in a large bowl; mix well. Add bread cubes, stirring gently to moisten bread.

Pour mixture into prepared dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Serve warm. Yields 10 to 12 servings.


Together with God

It used to be a sign of friendship or kinship to have a nickname. Mine was 'Sissy,' as I was the only girl, with three brothers. For me, the name Sissy was a badge of honor, of family. I belonged to a special group, and they were allowed to refer to me by that name.

That's not necessarily the case anymore. For some, nicknames have become ugly. They focus on a person's looks or lack there of. Some are even cruel ways of identifying the worse aspects of our personalities.

Strange isn't it, how social interactions have changed over the years? It really is a different world now, and our perceptions of others around us have changed, too. Teasing used to be a lighthearted way of showing that a person cares. Now it's a way of attacking for no other reason than to make the attacker feel superior.

Are we learning to hate more than love? I hope not. I hope the world does not change so much that we learn cruelty as a way of communicating with one another. I hope technology does not separate us to the point that we can no longer reach each other on a personal level.

Father, thank You for this wonderful world we live in, and the common bond we all share. May we never forget where we come from and how to bestow kindness upon others. Help us feel empathy for one another, knowing that our lives and the world we live in are what we make of them. Amen.

- D. Susan Rutz


A Letter from Kate

Dear Readers,

Like most families, my family has had its share of nicknames. Some of the nicknames were so common that the real names were lost to most of the other relatives.

My dad was always talking about his 'Aunt Saunce.' When I started researching my family's history, I discovered that her real name was Cynthia. I once asked Dad why she was called Saunce, and he said he didn't know.

I always thought my paternal grandmother's name was 'Hattie.' I found out later, though, that her given name was Henrietta. Hattie was a nickname.

My mom had a relative whose real name was Sarah, but she was called 'Sally.'

One of my uncles always called my mom 'Sis.' I never once heard him call her by her given name. It must have been a family trait, because I found a postcard written to my maternal grandmother from one of her brothers and in the salutation, my grandmother was referred to as 'Sis.'

Through the years, I have had a variety of nicknames given to me by family and friends. Most of them I'm thankful to not be called anymore. Only one nickname has survived, which is a shortened version of my given name.

Most people receive nicknames from relatives or friends as a term of endearment.

A nickname my dad gave me when I was younger, although not a flattering one, made me feel special, because it was his name for me. No one else called me that. Dad's gone now, and what I wouldn't give to hear him call me that again.

Kate Marchbanks