Dishing up creativity, history and goodwill
Things are shaping up once again for the Rugby Lions Club fundraiser, “Tables Envisioned.” This fundraiser is turning out to be a fascinating chapter in our club’s history. Several years ago, Wanda Nielsen, who was serving on the library board, approached me about helping to fundraise for a much needed elevator in the Heart of America Library.
My approach to invigorating the tired scene of fundraising has always been to present something of which you have ample knowledge or talent. The three dewdrops of blessing bestowed on yours truly include: a love of cooking, and the ability to make a respectable lemon meringue pie; a keen interest in using the hula hoop while collecting stamps at the same time; and a sincere interest in collecting glassware, china, pottery, and textiles. The latter won out. My parents, relatives and many friends had a passionate interest in these items, and it created an ardent curiosity in me.
This is how it started and continues to work. Area folks are asked to donate money to be able to present a table of their choice. Items are presented on a tabletop-this is their canvas of expression. They can present it any way they desire. The show is open to the public, who pays an admission fee to view these tables and have a taste of delectable goodies. (Served as home economics teachers taught the art of serving a reception, whereby the bars and cookies do not touch each other on the serving trays!)
I am most pleased that this project has been a success from the start. To date, we have not hit the sophomore slump. The willingness of our Club, as well as the Rugby community and beyond, has been amazing. These are the souls who have made this a splendid fundraiser. Because of them, viewers have had the delight of seeing fine china, linens, and silverware from all over the world. They have also been exposed to the everyday table, which has ranged from Melmac to meals in the field during harvest.
From the very start it was established that not only would this fundraiser benefit a local project, it would also benefit a Lions Clubs International sight project. For our club, that has been the Lions Eye Bank of North Dakota. Monies raised from this project, in addition to those mentioned above, have also been used to aid in the purchase of large print books for the library, a magnified reading machine, as well as to establish a fund for the restoration of the fountain at Ellery Park. Lions Clubs International focuses on work for the blind and visually impaired. This point of service began when Helen Keller addressed the International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio on June 25, 1925, and christened the Lions to be Knights of the Blind.
Another staple in chairing any fundraising project is to support your dreams. Therefore the Repnows have had numerous table displays. Jan and I have chaired this as a couple, and I can say that Jan is a fine team player with attention to every detail. Miss Lydia has been presenting a table since the age of two, and this year she recently informed us that her table theme would be “Nancy Drew.” I am delighted because she has seen what volunteering can do and also how much fun it can be. She is solving the mystery of how to enjoy life and that comes by giving of yourself.
Arriving from the west this year to be part of Tables Envisioned will be Elaine Larson of Minot. Elaine has been an avid collector of dishes over the years. Will she display her “Button and Bows” or will it be her “Moderntone?” Perhaps she will spirit her creation with her favorite color, peach. Laurie Odden of Rugby will present “Lunch with the Lunchbox.” It will include memories of her late dad, Roger. In honor of our 25th wedding anniversary, my table will present a set of dishes my mother china painted as a wedding gift. All are trimmed in a lovely water-green border and will be displayed on a tatted tablecloth. LaNeta Pieterick will be staging a table that is certainly fishy, but I can assure you, it will lure you in. Also coming to the show with great class will be Ely Elementary teacher, Khloe Sobolik with her theme of “Back to School.”
So much of Tables Envisioned is about the stories and how the items displayed reflect the history and influence in our lives. Jan will present a table in tribute to her home church, Rainbow Valley Lutheran Church of rural Ray, which closed after 100+ years of service. Did I mention that Marilyn Niewoehner will present a flower patch you will “sew” enjoy? Janelle Tuchscherer’s exhibit is a silver tribute to her parents, Basil and Ellen (Reierson) Truax.
It’s the little things that make this show-a smidge of lace, a unique spoon, or a garden scene. The French call it “lagniappe”-the little extras that make life interesting. I wonder, will there be paisley present? You are invited to come to the Heart of America Library on August 22, 23 or 24 and view the Rugby Lions Club’s Tables Envisioned and see how we are dishing out a bit of good for humanity.
These are two recipes that always look good on the serving trays of any fundraiser.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
This recipe is from my mom’s collection; she often made these cookies. I recently discovered she had two recipes for Mexican wedding cookies and this is number two from her file.
cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (When my mom baked these, she did not use parchment paper. However, I have discovered they turn out excellent if you do. I would recommend doing so. )
Cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add flour a little at a time and mix well. Add walnuts and mix. Roll into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on cookies sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. I like to bake them for the first six minutes on the bottom rack and then moving them to the middle rack for the additional baking. This is a cookie that should have slight cracks, and the bottom edges should be just barely golden brown. Roll cookies in powdered sugar while very warm, and you may need to repeat this process to get cookies with great texture. The first coat will be a darker shade of ivory, and when rolled again in powdered sugar they will have a white lace texture like that of a bridal gown. Let cool completely on racks before layering them between wax paper.
Cherry Almond Squares
This is a very easy recipe when you need a pan of bars. They not only look attractive, but they can be made a day ahead as they even taste better. This will make 36 bars.
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 (18-ounce) box sour cream cake mix
1 (20-ounce) can cherry pie filling
to cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk or cream
Combine powdered sugar and with milk or cream in a medium bowl, stirring until a smooth glaze forms.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan.
Mix sour cream, water, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in dry cake mix until moistened. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spread into prepared pan. Drop pie filling by generous spoonfuls onto batter. Bake 25 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly. Cool. Drizzle glaze on top. Sprinkle with almonds. Cut into bars.