A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


When I was a kid, my family lived on the farm where I live now.  Grandfather died in 1952 and my father, mother, sister and I moved from the “little” house on the sharp corner below the Robbinston Ridge Methodist Church to the farm to take care of Grammie Johnson.  The farm house had always been the vacation home of those Johnsons who escaped to the big city (Needham Heights, Massachusetts) and they came each year to see the folks. Myron Johnson and Tressie Johnson Dewis, the two family members who got away, would bring their families to the farm for their vacations.  The Johnsons stayed for two weeks and the Dewises for four days, then they went to Nova Scotia to visit my uncle’s family and came back for another four days.

The three Dewis children were quite a bit older than I so I missed their days on the farm. They did bring a grandson about my age though and he and I had quite a few farm adventures together. The Johnsons had one son my sister’s age and one about six years older than I so I did get to visit with them.

It was a good time for me because I was able to hop in their car and go with them to visit the relatives. At that time we had many to visit: Uncle Oscar, Uncle Horace, Uncle Hum, Uncle Roland, Aunt Ida, Aunt Lucy, Aunt Addie, Aunt Mabel, Aunt Laura and Aunt Mildred. We would also drive the Moosehorn in the evening looking for deer, get an ice cream in Perry or Calais and sometimes even go deep sea fishing for a half day. We had picnics at the lake out by Aunt Mabel’s and went to Aunt Addie’s for at least one meal.

I had a chance to listen to all of the stories of when my aunts and uncles were kids on the farm and what was going on in the “old days”.  These days were the high point of my summer.

On the farm the women helped get the meals and the men wandered around the farm until they were forced into the manual labor of what was going on. It was a happy time, a time of good spirits and good feelings and a camaraderie that only family members share. I suppose we had some family feuds too left over from the old days, but I was looking for the good feelings of family so I missed all that negative stuff that also only family members can share.

I was, therefore, quite surprised on Thursday when a car with New Hampshire plates came into the yard and out popped my cousin Roland Johnson of Needham Heights, Massachusetts, and his younger brother Jimmy and Jimmy’s son Andrew of New Hampshire. They had come to see the old farm and to visit with some of the cousins. We had a wonderful visit and told some of our “farm” stories.

Roland told of Jim as a young boy had named a small calf “Jimmy”.  One day when he went to the barn, “Jimmy,” the calf, was nowhere to be found.  My cousin was told that “Jimmy” had run away.  Of course, he figured it out when he saw a skinned carcass about “Jimmy’s” size hanging in the shop and again when veal was served for the evening meal. He was heart- broken, but he quickly learned not to name farm animals.

Roland, Jim and Andrew walked to the bottom of the fields and checked out the old shop and barn cellar.  They saw Grandpa’s foundation, which he built in 1923 long before any of us were thought of, and admired the craftsmanship that formed both the house and barn foundations in a way that has lasted for almost 100 years. It was a good visit. Most of all, I was happy to see that Andrew, a member of a whole new generation who have no memories of the farm, enjoyed hearing our history here just the way I enjoyed hearing the history of my aunts and uncles.


This week’s salad recipe comes from “The Fat Free Living Super Cookbook” compiled by Jyl Steinback.  I chose one that is seasonal, easy to prepare and healthy.  Here is the recipe for Chicken-Raspberry Salad.

Chicken-Raspberry Salad


One and one-half cups rotini, uncooked

Six cups salad greens

One and one-half cups fresh raspberries

Two cups fat-free chicken tenders, cooked and cubed

Three-fourths cup shredded carrots

Three-fourths cup chopped celery

One and one-fourth cups fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing


Cook rotini according to package directions: drain and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, combine salad greens, raspberries, chicken, carrots and celery; toss until mixed.


Stir pasta into salad; pour dressing over salad and toss lightly. This recipe serves six.