Being a retired senior citizen has its advantages. We no longer have to spend most of our mornings getting ready for work. Now we can have a leisurely breakfast, take time to read the entire morning paper, get dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, and play a game of Scrabble.
Some may think that 7 a.m. is not the ideal time to play Scrabble. They would be wrong. It's the best time. Our brains are free and open and not yet filled with a day's thoughts.
It is much easier to think of good Scrabble words in the early morning. Trust me on that.
My husband and I have been playing Scrabble after breakfast for most of our married life. We even keep score. We can tell you who won the month and who won the year. Is that competitive or anal or both?
When we started playing, we didn't know that it would become such a habit. Most days, we also play two games of Yahtzee. The entire game-playing scenario takes about an hour. We have become quite adept at speedy games.
When we have visiting company, we usually invite them to play with us, but most folks decline. They usually say "I can't play games this early in the morning." So, we leave them to their coffee and newspaper and we play ourselves.
Some of our friends have taken up morning Scrabble games. They tell us that it has started their days with a "bang" and given new meaning to the morning routine. Some have told us that instead of Scrabble they play gin rummy or hand and foot (a game that is similar to Canasta).
Honestly, it doesn't matter which game you choose. Morning game time can consist of anything. Sometimes we like to replace the Yahtzee games with a game of Farkle. If you are not familiar with Farkle, it is a dice game and you can find it on the shelf in the Wal-Mart toy section. It's a great game.
In addition to morning game time, Jim and I have also started to cook together. He has always been a good cook, but until recently (when my BET reared its ugly head) I did most of the kitchen work.
Now, Jim has taken over a lot of the slicing and dicing probably saving me from losing a few fingers.
On one of my volunteer days at our development's library, I discovered a copy of "Pennsylvania Cooking." It is a small pamphlet, produced by the state of PA and distributed in their Welcome Centers on major interstate highways.
I brought the cookbook home and we were both thrilled to find recipes for some of our favorite PA foods.
The first recipe we tried was Hot Bacon Dressing. True, it is much more labor-intensive than opening a jar of Wos-Wit (which we cannot find here in Florida), but the taste was good and it froze well.
Sometimes we really miss PA foods. When our friends and relatives visit, they will bring us things like ring bologna, scrapple, liver pudding, and bacon dressing. Trouble is, it takes some real dedication to pack up a cooler with all that good stuff and cart it all the way to Florida so that someone else can enjoy it.
So, when we saw the recipe for scrapple in the little PA cookbook, we were excited. Perhaps we could make our own and have a regular supply.
Making scrapple is not easy. It takes time in the grocery store to find all the spices. It takes time to prepare the pork butt correctly, and it takes time to allow the scrapple loaves to set before you can cut and cook them.
But, as hard as it was, we persevered and ended up with three loaves of excellent scrapple. For those of you who may be lovers of that messed-up meat, I will gladly share the recipe with you. Just let me know.
Every time we fry up some scrapple with our 'dippy' eggs, we congratulate ourselves.
Our lives as retired senior citizens have been enriched by Scrabble and by scrapple. All is good.
If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her e mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or in care of this newspaper.