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More Notes From a Country Kitchen....


By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Jan 18th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

My desk at the bank sits right next to the big glass windows. I can see who walks by and they can see me - some even wave! In the mornings I can see car after car of high school kids on their way to school.

No one ever drove to school in my day. Some of the older boys had old souped-up hot rods and they drove them whenever they ran, but the rest of us just rode the bus. The high school was in Mabel so all the Canton kids rode the bus to school. If you had to stay after school for some reason there was a “late” bus that took you back to Canton around 5:00 p.m. Then if you were a boy and out for sports there was another late bus that left around 6:30 p.m. (No girl sports back then). Even on football and basketball game nights the bus would run from Canton to Mabel so we could attend all the home games.

If the games were away, there was always a fan bus that took everyone from both towns to the games. Most of the kids didn’t have their own cars - had to rely on the “family” car if you really needed to go somewhere. And those family cars were big ole boats! Big Buicks, 4-door Chevys, and a few station wagons. Any one of them could easily hold 6-8 passengers. Sometimes on Saturday night one of us girls would get to use the “family” car and we would pick up about five other girls and head to Mabel. That was where all the action was! Cruising the main drag and eating at the Red Barn right on main street (I think that it was called that???). It had a great Juke box and pool tables and was always packed with kids.

I remember taking Driver Education class from Mr. Zimmer. He taught that for many, many years! During the winter months when Mr. Zimmer taught Sophomore/Junior history he would take six weeks out of the normal class schedule and teach classroom driver’s training to all that were there. Once the book learning part was done and we went and got our permits, he would take whoever was the closest to turning 16 and teach “behind the wheel” class. Couldn’t wait for that day!! Usually there were three kids at a time who took the behind the wheel training. We would drive from Mabel to Spring Grove or Mabel to Canton. Our big final test was driving all the way to Decorah! We did a lot of practicing by driving on country roads as that was where most of us lived (actually the gravel roads are where most people went “parking” or those roads led to the fields where parties were held- I wouldn’t know a whole lot about either of those things!!).

Since there was a lot of dairy farmers at that time, milk trucks were a very common sight on those gravel roads. Every time we came to a knoll or hill Mr. Zimmer insisted we say “milk truck milk truck” and we had to hug the right side of the road. It was to remind us that at any given time there could be a big ole milk truck coming up the other side of that hill and we had better give him plenty of room! If you didn’t say it he would put on the brake, stop the car and wait for you to say it. To this day every time I come over a hill I get a little closer to the right side and still think to myself “milk truck milk truck.” You have to admit that saying that phrase over and over definitely sticks in your head!





1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup butter

¼ cup water

24 oz. or 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

4 eggs

2 tsps. Vanilla

1 ½ cups flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Combine the sugar, butter and water. Bring all to a boil; add 2 cups of the chocolate chips and let melt. Cool slightly. Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a bowl; stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Mix the flour, soda and salt together in another bowl; add this to the chocolate/egg mixture. Stir well and add the remaining 2 cups chocolate chips. Spread this into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes. (Use the toothpick test to make sure the bars are done). Can frost if you want.

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