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Milli Gilbaugh

Body parts

Food for Thought

For years, I’ve enjoyed reading and rereading my collection of Agatha Christie mystery stories. I’ve never bothered to count them, but they completely fill three 30-inch shelves in my bookcase, and it takes months to work my way through the entire collection. At the time they were written, mostly during the first half of the last century, they represented upper-class life in England fairly accurately. This was the world that Agatha Christie lived in and knew best. There were country manor houses with butlers, housemaids, valets and chauffeurs.

Gearing up for summer

Food for Thought

It was usually well past Memorial Day (and often after Independence Day) before I settled into the mind-set that nearly everybody else had enjoyed since the last day of school. By that, I mean that, as a child, it took me a while to change gears, to get out of my school-mode and into vacation-mode. I don’t know why I needed that transitional interval, but I still tend to pause, look around at my new circumstances and mentally switch gears before embarking on a new phase of my life.

No gifts, please

Food for Thought

By the time you reach age 75 or 80, you probably have enough fancy guest soaps, golf balls, pretty stationery, fishing lures, or useless what-nots to last for another decade at least. So, you’d really like to have that birthday party your kids and grandkids are planning for you, but the idea of receiving, acknowledging, and making use of so much additional stuff is discouraging, to say the least.

Lawn mowing

Food for Thought

I remember the lawns surrounding the houses where we lived when I was a child. The grass was sparse and interspersed with dandelions and assorted other non-grass things that, at least, were green for most of the summer. My dad mowed with a push mower with a whirling cylinder of curved blades that he kept razor sharp. As far as I could tell, everybody mowed their own lawns, even Dr. Stone who lived at the end of our block, and Henry Reem, who had the biggest insurance agency in town and could afford to take his family to mountain dude ranches and seaside resorts every year.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking...

Food For Thought

How many amateur orators have started out a nerve-wracked speech with those words. They warn the audience that they are not used to public speaking, but don’t quite explain why they agreed to do so in the first place. They seem to think that the disclaimer will earn forgiveness and sympathy should their words fail to live up to expectations– in fact, the opening statement itself automatically lowers expectations by about 50 percent and may, in some way, help to ease the pressure and discomfort for the speaker.

Facial hair and other problems

Food for Thought

Again, it was time to get my driver’s license renewed. I couldn’t wait to see what novel requirements they had dreamed up since the last time I partook of this adventure. Even though (because of my age, I suppose) I am now required to renew my license every two years, there are always new innovations to the process.

On finding people

Food for Thought

I recently had cause to contact, by mail, several old friends whose addresses I no longer had handy in my head or my little address book. Accustomed to a lifetime of being able to simply look in the phone book for that information, I was dismayed when I found that a good many of them were no longer listed. Now, if they were no longer listed, that meant that they had either moved without my knowledge, changed their phone numbers to unpublished ones, or gone completely cellular. I found it difficult indeed to track down their mailing addresses. Some, I never did manage to find.

Ouch! My ears!

Food for Thought

For the past year or two, I’ve been receiving frequent offers of reduced cost or free hearing evaluations from a company in Cedar Rapids. They seem to be under the impression that I am losing my hearing and need a hearing aid. Now, I will confess to complaining that I sometimes miss a few of the words people say at meetings and social gatherings, but I don’t think it is my auditory faculties that are the reason.

Do you say what you mean ?

There’s a medicine being advertised frequently on television that instructs anyone considering its use to, “Ask your doctor if you live in or have traveled to an area where certain fungal infections are common.” Each time I hear this, I wonder how many people wonder why their doctor would know where they’ve traveled recently. While I’m wondering about that, I forget to listen to the commercial, so I can never remember what the name of the medicine is, but I don’t think it’s anything my doctor prescribes for me.

Springtime treats and tricks

Food for Thought

However you pronounce it (mor-els or mor-els), they’re a flavorful treasure to be found only in spring and only under specific conditions. Whatever those conditions are (and the expert hunters don’t all agree) once you’re discovered them, the next step is to figure out just how to get the most from them. Having enjoyed them as a child and nearly every year since, I’ve learned a few things about finding them, cleaning them, storing them, and the best ways to cook them for the most flavor.

Morels, morals, and asparagus

Food for Thought

At this time of year, we often see people patrolling the ditches along highways and county roads. They are not picking up trash or searching for returnable aluminum cans. They are hunting for mushrooms and asparagus, but they prefer that you think they’re just taking a pleasant stroll in the country. As your car approaches, they look up and surreptitiously drop that plastic bag into the grass at their feet– often pretending to watch a meadowlark on a nearby fence post, or count the new calves in a pasture.

The inevitable has happened

Food for Thought

I knew that, sooner or later, I’d have to consider myself a member of that group known as “little old ladies.” Somehow, I had convinced myself that that time lay well in the future. No matter what my age or condition, I always felt there was still plenty of time before I had to consider myself part of that category. It just wasn’t going to happen– not while I still felt pretty much the same as I did last year, and the year before that, and...