Shirley McMurtrie

Abnormal Psych Instructor

At the beginning of my first class in college, the instructor drew two circles on the chalkboard; one huge one and a tiny circle above it. He explained that most of humanity fits in the large circle. College educated people were in the small circle. We were in the small one, he said. Ok, but there are some mighty strange ones on our circle. let me explain.

Shooting pool

In the past, there were movies about pool sharks. They all seemed to be dubious characters on the fringe of society. I haven't seen such a movie lately. Pool halls were a thing of the past, located on side streets in the poorer section of town. The men knew where they were.

"Far over the waves"

"Far over the waves. I hear his sweet voice calling me." I first heard this old hymn when I took Hawaiian guitar lessons back in 1940. As I have said before, we were not church-going people. The words were so peaceful with a simple melody. Yeah right. But not when I tried to play it on my student guitar. The "waves" were generally choppy then.


My father, Owen Stimer, grew up in a rural farm community in the early twentieth century. Dad's beloved mother was of the Wesleyan Methodist faith. She was in church every time the doors opened, so to speak. In Dad's early years, he was, too. Dad came to resent sitting on the hard wooden pews during the long boring church services. He decided church was not for him. His father's attitude probably confirmed his decision, but went too far.

28/93 - 93//28

That is a strange title. I will explain. Skin cancer is the basis for this story. Last August, I noticed a small lump on my face. I didn’t think much about it. After all, I have had my share of lumps over my 93 years. I would just keep an eye on it. It didn’t go away. It didn’t get any bigger, either, as the season changed to cooler weather. That was unusual. By Christmas, it was crusty but no bigger. My yearly appointment with the dermatologist would be coming up in March. I would have it checked then.

Baked bacon

Picture this: You take a package of bacon from the fridge, open it and work to separate the slices (That is not easy to do since the bacon is cold..) Then you carefully lay each slice in the skillet and set the heat to medium. Do the slices remain flat? Of course not. You fuss over them until you have cooked them to the desired crispness.

Searchlight Rice Cakes

I found this recipe years ago in a cookbook my husband bought from a traveling salesman, when he worked at a lumber yard. Back in the day, men came through selling just about everything from encyclopedias to cookbooks. A huge dictionary came with it. That is long gone, but I still have the cookbook. I think it was published in 1946. This is an easy way to make rice cakes.

Pork Sausage Patties

I like pork sausage as you can tell by the number of recipes I have that include it. Just making patties and frying them can make a rock-like nugget if you get them too brown.
This recipe is nice and tender. The extra time it takes to mix it up is worth it. I like to get my hands in there to do that. I understand that not everyone is inclined. Mix them any way you want. They will be delicious.

Captain Kangaroo? Nope

Kangaroos are not native to Union county, Tennessee. It is usually too big of a hop from Australia to this neck of the woods. I have never seen a live one. The zoos of my childhood didn't stray much from the lion, tiger and monkey varieties. No Kangaroos.