As often happened, I had taken my mother and five year old daughter Pamela Dawn to Marion Ohio, a twenty mile drive from my farm home, to go shopping.

It was just before Mother’s Day. While I went to another store down the street I left Pamela with my mother. In the meantime as they are looking around Pamela finds a present and gets $5 from my mother to purchase it to give to me for Mother’s Day.

All the way home she is basking in the joy of having a secret gift to give me. On returning home she hangs on tight to that present that is in what looks like a large shoe box. But I know it is not shoes.

Then the school bus drives up to a stop and out come her sisters, Susie, who goes directly to her room, like most teenagers, and her sister Meredythe happily bouncing in the door. Holding her boxed gift, Pamela rushes over to meet her, takes the lid off the box and they both peek in. One good look at the contents, they each raise their head and laugh.

Well………..whatever it is in that box……’s funny.

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A portrait of my granddaughter Sarah Christina Drake I painted in 2014.

A portrait of my granddaughter Sarah Christina Drake I painted in 2014.

Did you know that in France you can get a pilots license to fly an airplane when you are sixteen years old but for a license to drive a car you have to be eighteen years old? Of course that makes sense when you realize France is the world’s top builder of aircraft.

So at age seventeen this French exchange student attending Salem High School had a pilots license but no drivers license.

My granddaughter Sarah Drake a Salem High senior was a life guard evenings at the Salem community center and through the year some times gave this French student a ride back to the home of the American family with whom he was living. Then came the PROM. And he ask her for that date. I present to you my beautiful granddaughter Sarah Christina Drake and her handsome French connection Paul Robin.

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One thing for sure! You have to start with an excellent marbled chuck roast.

I bake it in my small roaster of which I butter the sides and bottom. Place the chuck roast in.

Add 2 cups of beef broth made from hot water and 2 tsps beef bouillon. I add these seasonings sprinkling lightly on top: meat tenderizer, thyme, dill weed, garlic powder and add 1/2 in thick slices of vadalia or sweet onion across the top of the roast.

Place in 275 degree oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and add around the side of the roast, several regular carrots and one, or better yet, 2 boxes of the little fresh white whole mushrooms and place back in the 325 degree oven for 2 hours.

An option for the mushrooms: you can slice fresh ones, brown them in a large skillet with lots of hot butter and add them with the butter to the top of the roast when you serve it. My neighbors like that way best!

When this is finished baking I take out the roast and vegetables, place them in a heating pan, cover with foil and sit over the warming area on my range.

Add a can of Campbell’s dark mushroom soup with the drippings from the roast in a small sauce pan to boil and make a gravy.

While my roast is still baking, I boil cut red potatoes with the skin on to make mashed potatoes, I add of course the salt, a lot of butter and sour cream and chives. I save the water I drain from the boiled potatoes to add some back in to get a good consistency to these delicious mashed potatoes.

Here you now have your delicious roast beef with onions, carrots, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Now just add a tossed salad of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber slices and a couple red onion rings, choice of dressing and top it off with chocolate pie and coffee and you have every one at your table A VERY HAPPY CAMPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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