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Dear Friends,

My Christmas visit to the Old People's Home was the highlight of Christmas Day. Like children awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, the residents were gathered around the entrance to welcome us with unusual eagerness. When we placed the meal of ham, rice and beans and cold slaw in front of them, they went to work on the food as if they had not received a meal in ages.

Serving Christmas Dinner.
Preparing the meal for the residents of the Old Folks Home.

I palled up with Lidia Pena, who at 96 reminded me of Mom, though Mom at that age was still playing the piano at our barn receptions. Like Mom, Lidia is a positive influence within the home. She told me of her life. She grew up and married in Costa Rica. She was 34 when her husband died, leaving her and her four children without a means of support. Lidia packed up the family and made her way to Bocas where she set herself up as a steamstress. In those days, Bocas was a thriving banana town and Lidia found plenty of work making shirts and trousers. Lidia's children are now scattered and none live in Bocas. I was tempted to adopt her but then remembered how many hours of painting would be lost in looking after her.

Christmas Dinner at the nursing home.
Time to tuck in. Lidia is seated to Pat's right.

After lunch with the old folks, I visited the home of Virginia Vasquez, whom some of you have met at our conventions. I exchanged gifts with her and her mother, Joanne. Virginia was starting a cold and sore throat so I took her to my house and administered some of my daughter Patti's herbal remedy. It worked because the cold has not developed.

Medicine for Virginia.
Herbal medicine administered to Virginia while her friend Janibeth looks on.

Later in the evening I attended a party of some forty fellow North Americans, taking broccoli salad as my contribution. For broccoli salad, I use the recipe that comes from the Good Friends Cookbook. The salad disappears quickly when I put it on the table so I recommend you give it a try. I will copy the recipe below.

Well, we are at the end the year. I do not think I will be staying up until midnight though this town will be alive with music and fireworks. Happy New Year to you all!


Broccoli Salad

1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tb. wine vinegar
1 tb. dijon mustard
3 tb. honey
1/2 c. raisins

2 bunches broccoli (tips only) cut in florets
I red onion, chopped
1 c. sunflower seeds or pine nuts
1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

To make dressing, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard and honey. Add raisins and let stand for at least 30 minutes. The flavors blend even better if allowed to stand, refrigerated, overnight. Just before serving, combine salad ingredients, toss with dressing so that broccoli is lightly coated, saving any extra dressing for another use. Serves 8. Source: Good Friends Cookbook.

The Moss Portfolio
HC 69 Box 17118 Poplar Grove Lane
Mathews, VA 23109
(800) 430-1320
©P. Buckley Moss 2002