Dear Readers:

Recently, as I was signing my name to a credit card purchase, the clerk said, “That is the first signature I was able to read today.  You have lovely handwriting.”  I thanked her for her comment, went on my way, but couldn’t stop thinking about her remark to me.

Not too many years ago, when in my 60’s, I enrolled in college.  Because of my age, I could not find a job and decided to finally acknowledge a suppressed desire…I wanted to attain a college degree.  (My college years will be another note for another day.) However, I remembered a jaw-dropping episode that happened in class one day.  I was to share notes with another student on a project that we were to complete together.  After I gave her my handwritten paperwork, she came back to me and told me she couldn’t read my notes.  Time for jaw-dropping!  I have been paid to write invitations to parties and have always had wonderful comments on my penmanship!  I asked why she could not read my handwriting; she said she was never taught cursive writing.  I was astonished!  Later, I learned penmanship was not being taught in the schools anymore, and a lot of other important subjects were being dropped from the curriculum, too.

This bothers me, along with a lot of other things that are happening today; however, how many of us have saved articles written by loved ones who have passed on?  What about the thrill of seeing a signature from an ancestor of many years ago?   Doesn’t a signature mean as much anymore?  What does this mean legally?  I, for one, would love to see cursive taught in schools again.  Am I alone?

Something that isn’t lost forever is the talent of Gwen at Absolutely You in Inverness.  Again, she worked a miracle and has saved me lots of time in applying eye liner. Gone are the days that I have to spend making certain my eye liner is even and not smudged.  Ladies, you know what I mean.  It is so aggravating, especially when you are in a hurry.  I love the natural look and appreciate her talent.  For me, permanent eye liner has been a blessing.  Why not find out for yourself?  Look for Gwen’s ad in this month’s issue of “The Village Crier.”   And, one last thought, no, it doesn’t hurt to have it done!                                                                        PAT



Dear Pat,

This was a hit with my family.  Serve with Rice Pilaf or buttered egg noodles.  It’s made on the stove stop, and it’s quick and easy!


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Minced fresh parsley, optional

  1. in a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper. Pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet to 1/2-in. thickness. Dip chicken in flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides. Add wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 12-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Drizzle with lemon juice. If desired, sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 4 servings. EASY DOES IT


Hello Pat,

With Memorial Day around the corner, I wanted to share a relish recipe with your readers.  I made this up and took a jar with me when invited over for a barbecue.  The jar was completely emptied.


1 cup cooked beets

1 cup uncooked cabbage

1/4 cup horseradish

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water

Chop beets and shred cabbage.  Combine all ingredients.  Add enough liquid to cover vegetables.  Pour into sterilized jar; seal.  If used within a week or two, just refrigerate.  Allow a few days for flavors to develop.                                                                     FRIEND ANNA



Dear Pat,

This is a slick trick that I used the last time I planted grass.  Have you heard of bluing?  My wife used to use it in a white wash years ago.  I know it can still be found; I used it to color grass seed.  The birds find it unappetizing and the bluing doesn’t hurt the seed. Don’t mow the new grass until it is at least 2 1/2 inches high.  No grass should be mowed less than 1 1/2 inches high.                                                                                                              AN OLD GUY


Dear Pat,

This is so easy to make in the crock pot using a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce! Just throw it together in the morning and you have dinner waiting for you.


4 to 6 pork chops (I used bone in but you could use boneless)
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 green pepper, seeded and cut in rings
1/2 cup chopped green onion (could use regular onion)
1 (4 ounce) can mushroom pieces, drained
1 (24 ounce) bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Heat oil in skillet on top of the stove. Whisk together the flour, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture and brown in the oil. Place chopped cabbage in the bottom of a three quart crock pot with green pepper, onions and mushroom pieces on top. Pour the spaghetti sauce over this and place the pork chops on top. Cook for 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. Makes 6 servings.                LOVES TO COOK


Hi Pat,

This is a recipe that is easy and perfect for Memorial Day…




1 1/4 cup graham cracker or cookie crumbs

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

Combine cracker or cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well.  Press into bottom of cupcake pan.



1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

3/4 cup halved strawberries

3/4 cup blueberries

Combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar and beat on low until well mixed.  Continue beating on high until peaks form.  Fold in sour cream and lemon peel.  Gently fold in berries.  Spoon mixture evenly into crusts and garnish with additional fruit.  Refrigerate one hour before serving.                                                                                                       PARTY LOVER


Hello Pat,

Can anyone tell me where I can find a hand soap that is used in high end restaurants and hotels that clean hands and leaves them nice and smooth?  The soap has grit to it.  I would appreciate any help in locating this product.                                                               JUDE



Hi Pat,

Could your readers share a recipe that is always requested it be brought to barbeques or potluck occasions?  It would be so easy to prepare a dish that I know is great because it appeared in your column!    Thanks!                                                   ANOTHER PAT




There are a number of things I have done to help me lose weight.

  1. I use a smaller plate and put my plate away as soon as I’m done so I am not tempted to nibble while we sit at the table.
  2. Some people say you should only weigh yourself once a week.  I weigh myself every morning before breakfast and think about what I ate the day before.  Maybe if I skipped that candy bar or whatever, I wouldn’t have gained or hey, I did skip it and lost a half a pound.
  3. If, and that’s a big “IF”, I eat watching TV or reading, I put a little of the snack in a small cup and stop when it is gone.  I know if I take a bag of popcorn or anything else it is gone before I think about it.  I hope some of this will help you.





This will work if you are true to yourself and make no excuses if you break the procedure!

I don’t call this a diet but a natural procedure to lose weight.

During basic training in the military, I was thin at 131 pounds and 5’11”. I gained weight to 143 pounds and the overweight guys lost weight. It is a simple procedure but you MUST follow it!

Remember, it took a long time to put the weight on DON’T RUSH TO LOSE IT. One person lost 33 pounds in less than 4 months.

  4. EXERCISE BUT LISTEN TO YOUR BODY NOT YOUR BRAIN (you don’t need to do two more)

If you can’t adhere to this procedure and have to eat between meals, you can try veggies or water. In the military, the PX and soda/candy machines were off limits but we could drink water.

This procedure will help you lose weight naturally and will help your excess skin to adjust naturally.

WISHING you good luck and good health.                                                                   JOE D.


Dear Pat,

My husband made me a raised garden and I plan to grow onions and garlic in it.  Onions and garlic are among the easiest garden vegetables to grow and add some of the best flavors to your kitchen. They’re also some of the most rewarding because they store well. That means you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for months after harvest. I found out the following information, and thought I would share it with your readers.


For Onions:  Onions are cool- season vegetables and some of the first to appear in garden centers in spring. As soon as the soil is workable, you can plant onions. Loosen the soil then plant the individual plants or sets 8 to 10 inches apart and about 2 inches deep. By early to mid- summer depending on where you live and which variety you grow, they unusually ready to harvest. You’ll see the green tops start to fall over and this is a signal that they’re ready to pull up. If the soil is loose, you can just grab the tops and pull. But a little assistance from a spading fork will make it easier. Brush up the soil, then let the onions cure for a week or two in a dry place leaving the tops on. After curing, you can cut off the tops and store the onions.


For Garlic:  Plant garlic in fall rather than spring. Wait until the cool weather laid on them so that the plants won’t send up shoots before winter. Split individual cloves off the bulbs and plant them with the sharp tip pointed upward. The shoots full emergent spring and grow into early summer, if they produce flower buds, cut them off before they bloom so the plants can develop more energy to the bulbs. When the leaves start to turn brown, plants should be nearly ready to harvest. Pull up one bulb to check. If the bulb is full and firm with a slight papery skin, they’re ready. You’ll need a garden fork to help lift the bulbs. Like onions, you should keep the tops on while the garlic cures. After a couple of weeks of drying, cut off the sheets. The garlic is now ready to use and be sure to keep a few bulbs in reserve for planting next fall.

                                                                                                             I’M READY TO PLANT




Contributing is easy. Answer a request for someone who needs assistance, ask for assistance from the readership, share a recipe that brought raves, tell us about something you read about in a magazine that bears repeating, share your summer book author, let us know about a pattern for something you knitted or crocheted, tell us about an idea for an occasion or craft, let us know of a date for a happening… anything that sounds good to you is good for us. Send your contributions to Pat Gratton, Boomtown Media 11928 N. Williams St., Ste.3 Dunnellon, FL 34432 or email me at [email protected]