Way down south, in Clay County's southern regions, lives a blended family that I know exceptionally well, my sister Glenna and her husband Rob.
Their family is kind of like the 1968 classic movie "Yours, Mine and Ours."
My sister echoes the motherly nuttiness of Lucille Ball, while Rob has the straight-faced comedic fatherly style of Henry Fonda.
They each have two children from separate relationships. And, although there aren't 18 children in the household, I'm sure it feels like it with the four children they share having hectic schedules and participating in so many activities.
Marleah, 17, (Marly to those who know her best) and Bretton, 14, who are Glenna's children, and Jeremy, 18, and Emille, 15, who are Rob's children, all have open hearts that helped them become loving siblings and best friends with rights to engage in "psychological warfare" from time to time.
Each has numerous friends and they all hang out at the Cheesman house.
"We love to get together and watch movies. The more the merrier," my sister told me after reading my prior blog. "Doesn't matter, old or new, it's a great way to have family time and to get to know our children's friends."
Matter of fact, I don't think there's much difference between my house and my sister's. Only the numbers slightly differ.
Some of their classic movie selections include:
* Wagon Train,
* The Looking Glass,
* Bruce Lee movies,
* Dracula, the original one,
* The Inspector General,
* The Night Of The Living Dead,
* The Fly,
* The Hounds Of Baskerville,
* To Catch A Thief,
* Citizen Cane
* Oliver twist
* Jaws, and
* any movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
"We love to eat celery salt on popcorn," she said. "Yeah, I know, 'yuck.' But it's really good."
They also have another tradition on their movie nights.
"We always have what we call a 'junk food night,'" she said. "Everyone gets to pick their favorite kind of finger food to have, and then we make it. It might be weird, but everyone gets to eat until they are stuffed."
The smorgasbord often includes various tasty dips and lots of crackers, pretzels, chips, fruits and veggies to dive in with.
One of the dips to always hit the table at my sister's house is meaty nacho dip.
Brown one roll Jimmy Dean hot or original sausage until fully cooked.
There should be very little grease, but my sister usually rinses sausage with warm water to make sure as much as she can get rid of is gone. Return meat to the skillet and stir constantly while returning it to its cooking temperature.
Meanwhile, cut one-pound of Velveeta into small cubes and slowly add them to the pan until melted. Turn down the heat at this time to low.
Stir in one can of tomatoes with green chilies to the cheese and meat mixture until mixed well.
Rotel is the brand we like because it adds some heat without being too hot. However, you can begin to add those jalapeños and Tabasco sauce to your preferred heat level.
There is also the highlight of "Rob's spicy hot wings."
Now I've heard they range from mild, which slightly tingles your taste buds, to firehouse, which just leaves your taste buds charred for about a day.
(I didn't ask for the recipe from Rob, because I know he's very proud of that culinary success, but maybe blog readers can encourage him to let loose with the technique he uses. They are very good and I know he peeks in here from time to time.)
"There's some great movies out there before the 1970s," Glenna told me, while questioning the movie critic credentials of my fellow co-worker. "We grew up on them, many people did. Just because a movie was made before color was available, or before you were born, doesn't mean it's not worth watching. When you have a family, especially a young family, those old movies might be the only ones you can really watch with young children around."
Sis, I couldn't have said it better myself.
To the readers of my blog, please accept my apologies for being late with this. I have been under the weather the last few days. Seems my body decided it was time for a little break, and it forced me take one.
Next time, I will be writing about a wonderful mother/daughter tradition I recently learned about that involves the movie "Breakfast At Tiffany's."