By Nola Straub of Wauneta
When I was a child the Sunny Side School always had a Christmas tree but my house usually did not. The stores in town sometimes had them in the windows but the great depression of the ’30s was still fresh in the memories of the people who lived through it.
The first time there was a tree in our home was when I was about four years old. My brother, Robert Troxel, spent some of the money he had earned in the summer to buy one, a few ornaments, tinsel, and the string of electric bubble lights that had the fluid that bubbled up the clear candleshaped tube.
He also bought everyone a wrapped present. He would not let me tear the paper and if I did he inspected them daily and re-tapped any little rips. He would tell me, “You do not know which one is yours. You might be opening Dad’s, Mother’s, Norma’s or Gerold’s. You will just have to wait until Christmas.”
About two days before, he did tell me the one that was going to be mine and if I could guess what it was I could open it. It had two pointy spots and a big bump but, for the most part it was round with a soft rubbery feel. It sort of felt like a ball, but when I told him a ball, I had to guess what kind.
Christmas day I finally got to open it. It was a rubber ball painted like a cat with two pointed ears and the nose and mouth were in place of the big bump. My sister Norma and Gerold Bodeman came with a wrapped present for me with bow, card, and all. I do not remember for sure what it was.
Mother always had a big dinner for the family and Norma promised me I would get a wrapped present each Christmas until I got married and she kept her promise. I was 17 when I got married and I hoped she would still bring the once-a-year wrapped present but she did not. I had passed into adulthood and it was up to Harry from now on to make Christmas special.
Robert never bought another tree and the folks thought it was a waste of money, but we always had the big dinner.
We all have memories and recipes to share. When I lived away from Wauneta I loved the “Sharing with Elsie” column in the Wauneta Breeze. I have talked to others on how much they also missed the recipes and little seasonal comments she made. If anyone would like to have the opportunity to share recipes and short memories with the community, please send them to Nola Straub, P. O. Box 303, Wauneta, NE 69045.
Recently I accompanied my friend, Linda, to visit her mother in Cozad’s Meadowlark Point Senior Center. They served a dessert which I asked for the recipe and the cook was happy to write it down for me. She served it with chocolate, strawberry, or caramel toppings in squeeze bottles for the residents to choose their flavor. Thanks for the memories.
Rice Chex Ice Cream Dessert
Marlene Williams, cook
5 c. Chex cereal- crushed
2 c. brown sugar (or sugar sub.)
2 c. cashew pieces
1 c. melted butter
Combine crushed cereal, sugar, cashew pieces and melted butter. Put half on the bottom of a glass baking dish and top with a gallon of vanilla ice cream and top with the rest of the cereal mixture. Freeze. Cut into squares and serve with toppings. The crunchy nutty topping is sort of a nice addition and you could let them top it or you could layer it on the plate and ice cream like the restaurants do.