Kalona Cooks: Tracy, if you and Bob can’t play nice, I’ll tell your mother

By Mary Marek
Posted 3/25/99

I did it again. I printed some pictures of my brother and his friends teased him about it. Now, he’s mad at me. The only thing I can do to make it up to him, short of promising never to do it again …

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Kalona Cooks: Tracy, if you and Bob can’t play nice, I’ll tell your mother


I did it again. I printed some pictures of my brother and his friends teased him about it. Now, he’s mad at me. The only thing I can do to make it up to him, short of promising never to do it again (which we all know is a promise I wouldn’t be able to keep), is to print some pictures of his chief tormentor, Tracy Britton.

I wish I had some really embarrassing pictures of Tracy, but all I could come up with were these. You lucked out, Trace, but maybe I could call your mom and ask for a baby picture or two. Do you think she’d help me out?


I had occasion to stop in at Sharon Center Cabinets last weekend to talk to Jerry Schrock. While there, as an added bonus, I was able to visit with his wife, Magdalena (Borntrager), who is an old Middleburg friend of mine.

While we were talking, Magdalena asked if I ever hear from our former teachers, Allie and Glen Guengerich. I told her that, yes, I do hear from them on occasion.

Well, after leaving the Schrocks, I decided to stop in at the Kalona News office and you’ll never guess what I found lying on my desk. Yep, you guessed it. There was a postcard from Allie.

Jerry Schrock told me that Magdalena often talks about Middleburg, and one of his favorite stories is about a time when my sister, Pat (or “Patty”, as everyone called her back then), was kneeling on the floor picking up some crayons. Benny Yoder (most of you know Benny; he and his wife, Nancy, run the lunchroom at the Kalona Sales Barn – that’s Ben L. Yoder Jr., just to make sure you know who I’m talking about) had gone to the library at the back of the room and, just to show off, was walking backwards to return to his desk (as I remember it, Benny always was just a little rambunctious).

Since Benny never did have eyes in the back of his head, he didn’t see Pat kneeling on the floor, and she didn’t see him walking backwards up the aisle. Just as she picked up the last crayon, CRASH!!!, he fell right over her. Benny ended up flat on the floor and Pat ended up starting over with her pick-up-the-crayons job.


Speaking of Middleburg, don’t forget the reunion July 31. Magdalena said she was going to try to be there, and I know I will be. We both hope to see a good turn-out of Middleburg alumni and their families.


I’m in trouble at home again. This just hasn’t been my week. First my brother gets mad at me, now I’ve got my husband irritated. Several months ago, he removed some screws from the tailgate on the Blazer and now he can’t find them. This is my fault because I evidently moved them from wherever he put them (probably on the kitchen table – that’s where he and Cody leave everything), and I can’t remember where I put them. I don’t even remember seeing them, but they’re gone, so I must have moved them.

Are all men like that? They think they can set something down and it will still be there when they want it again. Even if they set it in the middle of the kitchen table and don’t come looking for it for at least six months.

Actually, you might find things on my kitchen table that have been there for six months. I’ve given up trying to keep my house straightened up. Not that I was ever a very good housekeeper; there’s always something better to do than clean house. But, I might be inclined to keep things a little neater if I got any cooperation whatsoever from the men I live with.

I’ve learned over the years that if I clean off a counter, one of them will fill it up again in short order. If I scrub the kitchen floor, one of them will come clomping in with muddy shoes (if it’s Cody, they’ll be really BIG, muddy shoes). If I straighten up the living room, the couch will soon be full of coats and other items of clothing (some of which, I swear, no one has worn for at least a year – where do these things come from?). I’m beginning to think only women know how to use a clothes hanger.

And then, there’s cupboard doors. Why don’t men close a cupboard door? Is it because they might want to get something out of that cupboard again someday? It’s certainly not so they can put something away in the cupboard. Although, to be fair, Jim did empty and refill the dishwasher for me one night last week, but only because I was running a fever of 102.

Okay, in a further effort to be fair, Jim helps out as much as he can around the house. The long hours he works doesn’t give him much time for domestic duties. Cody, on the other hand, is a teenager, and I suppose that’s all the excuse he needs for being a slob.

To be absolutely honest, I could care less what my house looks like. I just wish it wasn’t my job to keep track of every little screw in the place. I’m getting a little “screw-loose” myself, and I have enough trouble keeping track of me.


My Aunt Nancy, one of Mom’s sister-in-laws, sent me the following story. I thought it was funny and hope you do, too.


A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town, the two young boys were in some way involved. The parents were at their wits’ end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior.

The mother heard about a clergyman in their town who had been successful at disciplining children, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman. The husband said, “We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!”

The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8-year-old went to meet with him first.

The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?”

The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God?”

Again the boy made no attempt to answer, so the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face, “WHERE IS GOD?”

At that, the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet.

His older brother followed him into the closet and said, “What happened?”

The younger brother replied, “We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it.”


Kathy Jepson, Cody’s confirmation teacher, requested some crockpot recipes. I know I’ve got several around here somewhere, but I haven’t the faintest idea where. Someday, in my spare time, I’ll get all my recipe books organized and indexed so I can find things. Yeah, right. Right after I clean my house. In the meantime, here’s a few I found on the Internet.


Cheese and Potato Casserole

2 lb. pkg. frozen hashed brown potatoes (partly thawed)

2 can (10 oz) cheddar cheese soup

1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk, undiluted

1 can french onion rings

salt and pepper

Combine frozen vegetables, soup, milk, and half the onion rings. Pour into greased crockpot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours (high 4 hours). Sprinkle remaining onion rings over top before serving.


Stuffed Green Peppers

6 small green peppers, tops removed and seeded

1 lb. ground ham (approx. 3 cups)

1/3 c. rice

2/3 c. water

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. ketchup

1 c. ketchup

1/2 c. water

4 carrots, peeled and cut in 3 inch pieces

Wash green peppers; drain well. Salt cavity lightly. Combine in a medium bowl ground ham, rice, water, onion, salt and 1/4 cup ketchup. Mix well. Stuff green peppers 2/3 full. Arrange stuffed peppers in crockpot (can be stacked) with carrot pieces to help support green peppers. Pour in ketchup and water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (High 3 hours). Serve on a bed of rice and pour tomato sauce over top.


Beef Stew

3 carrots cut up

3 potatoes cut up

2 lb. beef chuck or stew meat, cut in 1-1/2 inch cubes

1 c. water or beef stock

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. paprika

3 onions, quartered

1 stalk celery with tops, cut up

Put all ingredients in crockpot in order listed. Stir just enough to mix spices. Cover and set to low for 10-12 hours (high 5-6 hours). Serve.


Crockpot Barbecue

1 1/2 lb. boneless chuck steak, 1 1/2 inch thick

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 c. wine vinegar

1 tsp. brown sugar substitute

1 tsp. paprika

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c. ketchup

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dry or prepared mustard

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Cut the beef on a diagonal, across the grain, into slices 1-inch wide. Place these in the crockpot. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over the meat, and mix. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours.