All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!



Are you big on holiday traditions?

My family is on some and not so much on others. For instance, the wife’s side has a pretty decent Christmas Eve tradition. They go to one of the early services at the Lutheran church and then everyone goes out for pizza and beer afterwards in Frankenmuth. Only a bunch of hardheaded Germans would think of going to church and then invading Italy. Of course this isn’t the same as the old days; they only invade an Italian restaurant and pillage the supply of beer. It’s the symbolism that matters.

On my side of the family we enjoy food and the Christmas meal is a big part of the holiday. Tradition requires a whole prime rib roast be ordered, rubbed and allowed to age. (Farmer Tom, this roast is ALWAYS corn fed, hanging beef and well marbled; I can’t swear that its American beef but I hope it is) The side dishes are a big part too. We’ve experimented with having twice baked potatoes, but were pretty well settled on my mother’s rice pilaf. Apple salad, mixed veggies and shrimp cocktail round out the must haves, other dishes get rotated through the mix as the women folk determine necessary. There is always a special dessert of some sort. The real treat is the Christmas cookies of which there are more than a dozen verities; some years up to two dozen depending on how industrious the moms and grandmas are feeling.

Christmas Eve two significant things happen. Dinner is a depression era soup, known as “ground up soup”. Not so kindly referred to by me and my siblings as “gruel”. The soup is made by putting potatoes, carrots, onion, and salt pork through a food grinder and boiling the stuff in a pot of water. In the 30’s in northern Michigan my mother’s family lived on a not so prosperous farm. They had 14 kids and two adults. In order to feed everyone two methods of food preparation were employed. 1. Poaching, I don’t mean boiling either, my grandfather and uncles were normally about 2 minutes ahead of the game warden for most of their life. 2. Not wasting ANYTHING, this meant stretching every last bit of consumable food to the max. When my grandfather finished a bone, there was so little flavor left that the dog turned his nose up at it. Ground up soup is a way of remembering those times and not gorging ourselves before the Christmas feast.

The second significant thing with food is that a big bunch of those Christmas cookies get dished up onto lots of paper plates with holiday scenes on them. Then the plates get delivered to our friends and family. Afterwards tradition dictates that we sample the cookies and wash them down with my mother’s all time favorite beverage, Bigalow’s Fruit and Almond tea.

My friends I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year; may your traditions bring you joy as you remember years gone by, may your children keep them in remembrance of you and their youth, and may the Good Lord bring you happiness this season to you and all you love.

God bless us every one.

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