As a junior in college in 1946, I was embarrassed to watch my friends play tennis, because I had never learned how to play. I had grown up in the country during the Depression years, and I hardly knew a tennis court from a pigpen.
Finally I summoned up courage to try to learn, and I checked out equipment from the athletic department. A friend gave me a pair of white tennis shorts, and I found another friend to teach me. Soon I was whacking away, and caught on quickly.
Then I saw a handsome fellow standing nearby, watching my every move. I became nervous because for all I knew, he was a tennis pro. I kept at it, however, and tried to ignore my audience.
As we were walking off the court, the good-looking fellow introduced himself and said that he had just enrolled for his senior year, having just come back from the Army. We talked, and my friend excused herself. It seemed love at first sight for both of us. To my relief, I learned that he had never played tennis.
We were married in a ridiculously short time, and we were close to our 58th anniversary when he died in 2004. We never played tennis again, but we developed many more interests for a great life.
During our 50th wedding anniversary party 10 years ago, someone asked how my husband and I met.
My husband endeared himself to me further by his answer, 'You could say we met by accident. She fell for me, and I made a lucky catch!' And that's exactly what happened.
I was playing Tarzan and up in a tree when my older sister's boyfriend made an unexpected visit. He brought his brother, Bob, and she was eager to make a good impression on the visitors.
When she spotted me in the tree, she was sure I was spying on her and demanded that I come down immediately. I grabbed a branch of the tree, gave my imitation of the famous Tarzan yell, and swung down clumsily, almost hitting Bob.
Fortunately, he managed to catch me before I hit the ground. My sister was very embarrassed, but I must have made a good impression. Ten years later, Bob asked me to marry him, and I made a lucky catch, too.
It may not have been love at first sight, but it was sure 'like.'
He walked into my beauty shop because I had asked the local electric company to send a representative to check my house to see if I could put in electric heat. When he came in the door, I thought, 'Well, he is a tall, dark and handsome guy!' At that time, I had just had it with men, having gone through a divorce, and I didn't want anything to do with men again, I thought.
I gave him my keys, since my house was right across the street, and he went to check it out. He came back and said he would need to meet with me to tell me what he had found out about the heat. When he laid my keys down, he said 'I want to compliment you on what a nice house you have. I know you have some small children and how hard that would be to keep everything so neat.' After he left, I thought, 'Wow, what a nice compliment!'
Since his workplace was in another town, he would need to come back for a meeting the next week. I had my dad come, too, because I knew nothing about electric heat. As we were talking, he mentioned that he had a son who came to visit him most of the summer. So, I thought, 'Aha, he must be divorced, too.'
We kept running into each other when he came to town once a week, and after a few weeks, he called and asked me out. We went to dinner and a movie, and talked most of the night. I found out that the people at the company that had sent him to check my house (we lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone) had told him about me ahead of time.
So he was checking me out when he came in my shop, and he knew everything about me, but I didn't know a thing about him. I was so surprised! After that, he would come to visit me on his lunchtime when he was in town, and we started going out on Friday nights.
We had so much in common and fell in love right away. I guess he changed my mind about not wanting anything to do with men ever again. We've been married for 30 years. He adopted my two boys, and now he's getting ready to retire, and we'll enjoy another phase in our lives.
I always tell women who say, 'I will never find a guy,' to not give up, because you never know who will just walk into your life someday - even if you are not looking for someone.
Almost everyone loves a party. They give us a chance to celebrate special occasions and get together with family and friends.
What is the best party you've ever been to? Was it one you hosted or attended? What made the party so special? Was it the occasion, the decorations, the guests or something else? Tell us your favorite party stories.
Send your letters to Kate Marchbanks, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.
Delight family and friends this Valentine's Day with festive desserts and treats. Cherries are perfect for luscious pies, cheesecakes and cookies. Their cheery red color and sweet taste make them a favorite ingredient when making sweets for your sweetheart.
Cherries can be used in many different kinds of homemade specialties. Maraschino cherries are readily available at your local supermarket, and sweet cherries are available all year, either canned or frozen. Keep a supply of frozen sweet cherries on hand for yummy desserts, as well as salads and sauces.
This heavenly dessert is perfect for Valentine's Day.
18 graham crackers, finely crushed
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter OR margarine, melted
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
5 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 package (8 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted, slightly, cooled
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups thawed prepared whipped topping
Heat oven to 325°F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan.
Mix cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, reserve 3/4 cup cherry pie filling; set aside. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended. Add melted chocolate and sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour half of the cream cheese batter over crust; top with the remaining cherry pie filling. Cover with remaining cream cheese batter.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until center is almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Top with the reserved pie filling and whipped topping just before serving. Remove cheesecake from pan using foil handles. Cut into 16 pieces to serve.
Pears and almonds team up with cherries for a delightful treat.
1 jar (10 oz.) (or 24) maraschino cherries with stems
1 can (15.25 oz.) pears in heavy syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter OR margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Sliced almonds for garnish, optional
Drain maraschino cherries. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
Drain pears and chop fine. Put chopped pears on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, butter, egg and almond extract in a mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in flour; mix well. Fold in pears and 1/3 cup almonds. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into 24 paper-lined miniature muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar. Place a maraschino cherry on top of each muffin.
Bake at 375°F. for 25 to 27 minutes, or until light golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes in pans. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Garnish each with a sliced almond, if desired. Store in a single layer in an airtight container. Yields 24 mini-muffins.
These cookies have a sweet cherry filling in a rich cream cheese pastry.
1 cup butter OR margarine, softened
1/3 cup (1/3 of an 8 oz. package) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 package (16 oz.) frozen sweet cherries (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Egg Wash (1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons cold milk OR water)
To make pastry: Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour and sugar; beat on low speed until crumbly. Turn mixture onto a floured board; knead until dough forms. Cover and set aside while preparing filling.
To make filling: Coarsely chop frozen cherries. Combine sugar and cornstarch; mix well. Combine chopped cherries and sugar mixture in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts. Let cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one-third of dough into a 10-inch circle. Spread dough with about 1/2 cup cherry filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cut circle into 8 wedge-shape pieces. Roll up dough, beginning at wide end of each wedge.
Place cookies, tip side down, about 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush each cookie lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake at 350°F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Yields 24 cookies.
This easy-to-prepare recipe makes two pies.
1 package (16 oz.) frozen sweet cherries (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (8-inch) chocolate crumb pie crusts
Chop cherries while frozen. Keep frozen until ready to use.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; mix well. Add chopped cherries, lemon juice and almond extract; stir just until combined. Fold in whipped topping.
Pour cherry mixture evenly into pie crusts. Freeze for 8 hours, or overnight. Cut into serving-size pieces. Garnish as desired; serve immediately. Store leftovers, covered, in freezer. Yields 2 pies; 12 servings.
Bill and I met 30 years ago through an ad in the paper. I had just started a direct-selling distributorship, and I thought it a good idea to advertise for interested parties. I focused on the possible demand for shoe spray at the local Marine base in Quantico, Va.
My future husband had recently returned from a tour overseas and was stationed at the base where I placed the ad. I called my business Susie's Workshop, and the ad sought part-time employees. Bill answered the ad. He was looking for something to do in his new location in order to avoid sitting around the base during off-hours.
When he arrived for the interview, he stepped into the room, and someone whispered in my ear, 'That's the man you're going to marry.' I was enthralled with him from the start. He spoke about the town in Kansas he called home, and all I could think about was how wonderful it would be to live in such a place. We were married three months later. Some folks would argue that there is no such thing as love at first sight, and even though I did indeed feel just that, I think it was much more. Bill and I were always meant to find each other, and I feel truly blessed.
Father, thank You for the loves of our lives, and all the blessings You bestow on our unions. May we always recognize this wonderful gift You have given us in the ability to love. Help us share that gift with all we meet. Amen.
I am fascinated by stories of how couples met, and it's usually one of the first questions I ask when I meet a couple I don't know. I almost always hear an interesting story, and it's a good conversation-starter. The story of how my husband, Jay, and I met isn't all that unusual, but it's still special to us.
We both worked at a bookstore while we attended different colleges, and we'd never met until his first day of work. I'd already been working there for two years, and I was a customer service manager. When I first saw his name on the schedule, I mispronounced his last name, only to be quickly corrected, because he was standing right behind me.
As we continued to work together, he and I found we shared a similar sense of humor, and we enjoyed talking. When the store closed for the night, managers were required to have another associate stay with them while we counted the money and made up the bank deposit. I often chose Jay because he never complained, and I enjoyed his company. The longer we worked together, we realized how much we were beginning to like each other.
However, it was against the rules for a manager to date an associate, so at first we met secretly, where we wouldn't see anyone who knew us. We had to be very careful at work, and not treat each other differently; somehow, no one suspected anything. Soon after, I quit working at the store, and our secret was out. Two years later, we got married, and I have never regretted bending the rules.
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