Saturday, June 18, 2016

_The Hancock News_ Column-- June, 15, 2016

A curious thing happens when my in-laws come to visit. My father-in-law sprouts a second shadow. This shadow happens to be a 2-year-old grandson named Peter.

Peter was a little slow to warm up to people who don’t live under our roof, but from early on he seemed to have a special connection to Grandpa. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that Grandpa enjoys taking in the beautiful view out on the front porch.

I love the view. And the clematis. 

You see, Peter loves the front porch. Peter loves the front yard. Peter loves the backyard, the driveway, the woods, and any other place, so long as it’s outside. If there’s a grown-up outside, Peter wants to be there, too.

Grandpa and his little shadow can be found outside nearly any time of day. They greet the new day together from the front porch in their pajamas. Mid-morning you might see Peter “helping” Grandpa in the garden. After nap time, a walk to the playground is a treat. Even after dark, Peter and Grandpa find refuge in the darkness to listen to a baseball game on the radio.

Grandpa’s shadow follows him around inside, too. My heart just melts when I walk past the open bathroom door and see the toddler standing on the wooden bathroom stool and looking in the mirror at his own shaving cream face. Then I hear the giggles as Grandpa scrapes the white stuff off Peter’s face with the back of the razor.

Some lesser men might be a little intimidated or even annoyed by having such a constant tagalong, but not my father-in-law. He takes it all in stride. To be honest, I would guess that, like Peter Pan, he misses his little shadow when it’s not there. 


Because just about the entire state of Ohio is in the way, we won’t be able to celebrate Father’s Day with my father-in-law, but he was able to be here to celebrate a birthday with us on Memorial Day weekend. 

Hotdogs with chili were on the menu. I’d never made the recipe before, but it turned out great. Some of the ingredient amounts are inexact, so it is easily tailored to your own taste. It also serves quite a few-- perfect for your big summer get-togethers.

Hot Dog Chili

5 lbs. hamburger
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
5 Tbsp. sugar (or to taste)
2 med. bottles catsup (72 oz.)
4 Tbsp. prepared mustard
2 Tbsp. vinegar
garlic salt and pepper, to taste
chili powder, to taste
1 dash ground red pepper

Brown hamburger and drain. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer (on stove or in crockpot) for 4-6 hours.

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