What’s in your wallet may be a sign of age

I just learned a new way to tell if you are “officially old.”

This tidbit comes courtesy of an 11-year-old granddaughter. She has no research to back this up, not a single poll or shred of scientific evidence. That said, she is keenly observant.

With exuberance and confidence, she shared her observation around a crowded dinner table: “Old people carry cash!”

There you have it. If you carry cash, you are old. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

“Especially men!” she adds. “Have you looked in their wallets?”

Not lately. Asking anyone to look in their wallet is generally frowned upon.

The girl is immediately challenged with others asking how she knows older men carry cash and where she has seen all this cash.

On the receiving end of doubt, she immediately counters with, “I saw an older man with hundreds in his wallet!”

She didn’t mean hundreds of bills but $100 bills.

It was getting good now.

“Am I related to this man?” I asked.

The answer was no. The answer is always no.

Still trying to figure out where she is seeing all this cash in wallets, someone noted that she had been to a number of ballgames and school sporting events.

“She’s right,” I say. Like the girl, I have no hard evidence, but when I do speaking events followed by book sales, it always amazes me how many older people carry cash. The older the audience, the more cash payments and the fewer the credit card swipes.

In part, I am amazed by this phenomenon because I rarely carry cash. I currently have one $10 bill in my wallet. It is the same $10 that has been in my wallet for the past three months. It’s only there now because my husband put it there. The fact that I don’t carry cash does not mean that I am not old; it means I’m more like the exception to the rule.

My late father-in-law always carried cash. At the end of any family gathering, all the grandkids knew that Grandpa would get out his wallet and give each of them a $1 bill as he said his goodbyes. After he died, my sister-in-law found an envelope in a drawer filled with $1 bills. It was a sweet tradition.

Someone else adds to the conversation that fewer people of all ages have been carrying cash over the last few years. Even fewer since the pandemic.

Another grand, age 9, has been sitting quietly taking in all the talk about paper money. There is a momentary pause and she quietly says, “Grover Cleveland is on the thousand-dollar bill.”

Say what?

I fact checked her. That’s right, I fact checked the grandkids. She’s right. Cleveland is on the thousand-dollar bill, which was last printed in 1945.

We don’t know how they know what they know, but we’re glad they know. They keep us young, even though we’re old.

What’s in your wallet?


If you’d like a peek at the Outdoor Thanksgiving, click here https://loriborgman.com/2021/11/28/thanksgiving-in-the-woods/

Book signing Thursday, Dec. 2nd at Spencer Farm Winery, 7015 E. 161st, Noblesville, Indiana, 7-9 p.m.  I’ll be there with books along with Amy K. Sorrells and Vince Flecker.


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Thanksgiving in the woods

We celebrated Thanksgiving outside on Saturday at our son’s place. The sun darted in and out behind clouds, the temperature held at a comfortable 48 F with no wind. You could easily go without a jacket. We could not have asked for a more pleasant day.

Tables were set up on a small clearing, plastic folding tables covered with canvas paint tarps. Our son had constructed benches made from wood recently milled on their property.

The First Thanksgiving was 400 years ago. It is highly unlikely they had a charcuterie board with olive oil infused mozzarella balls, bread sticks, fresh broccoli, carrot sticks, cheese, grapes, cashews, dark chocolate, crackers and a pecan covered cheeseball.

It was demolished within minutes.

We live lives of ease and luxury compared to the many generations who have gone before.

Food stayed hot in our pie tins on the walk from the house to the table. Eating itself didn’t last long, as kids peeled off to play, poke sticks in the fire ring and explore the woods. The day’s total for interesting finds was: one tufted titmouse, one downy woodpecker, two buzzards, one bald eagle, two chicken eggs in the brush, one very old brown glass bottle and an empty turtle shell.

Cayuga ducks raced through the pond to feast on mealworms thrown in the water.

Soon the ducks returned to nipping at the chickens, chickens scratched through piles of leaves hunting for insects, and many of the chickens boldly approached the table, several hopping up on a bench for a closer look.

When the kids reappeared, a crockpot filled with hot chocolate disappeared as fast as it could be ladled into cups.

Dusk fell and we were the last car to load up and pull away, perhaps reluctant to see a wonderful and memorable day draw to a close. I hope you had a wonderful celebration, too, and hold onto thankfulness all the year through.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving with authentic flavor

Everyone has a dream, right? Some dreams are so big, you dare not think them out loud. But I did. I thought my dream out loud and now it is about to come true.

We are having our Thanksgiving celebration outdoors. In the woods. Branches overhead and leaves underfoot.

The forecast says partly cloudy with a high of 38, but you know how quickly the weather can change. It could be snow and a high of 20.

Who cares. We will celebrate outdoors like the first Thanksgiving.

Our son’s family is hosting. Their house is surrounded by woods and their kids live outside. Sometimes without shirts. They’ll be the ones who tough it out and make it all the way to the pumpkin pie.

There will be a wooden table made of long planks. It won’t be as sturdy as a Pilgrim table—it will be supported by sawhorses. The smart ones will aim for a seat in the middle. Our son asked if we wanted to sit on benches or stumps.

I told him to surprise us.

We are forgoing elaborate table settings with chargers, dinner plates, salad plates, dessert plates and stemware in favor of metal pie tins and mason jars. We’re taking rustic to a new high. Or a new low.

If this works out, I may have everyone write their name with a Sharpie on the bottom of their pie tin and use them for every get-together.

The table setting won’t be entirely void of frills. I’m bringing cloth napkins in a variety of fall colors. It is a myth that the Pilgrims were without vibrant colors. William Bradford’s journal describes “estates” which included clothing passed down to others. Colors of red, deep red and green are mentioned. I’m bringing napkins in those colors as well as mustard yellow and pumpkin orange. It will still be very first Thanksgivingish, although my napkins all have annoying polyester tags.

How our cooks bring their hot dishes is up to them but, in a concession to creature comforts, there will be power outlets in a carport for crockpots. Not to gloat, but I have a good collection of cast iron. Cast iron will save the day. Some of the food should still be slightly warm by the time we get it to our mouths.

I’m also bringing Jiffy Pop. That was at the first Thanksgiving; they just hadn’t branded it yet.

Our youngest sent a text with a factoid saying corn on the cob at the first Thanksgiving was tiny, about the size of a thumb. She wants to know if I’ll be bringing some. There was also fresh kill at the first Thanksgiving. I won’t be bringing that either.

There will probably be some grumbling about the cold, but I’m prepared to meet it head on – with a basket full of hand warmers.

Did I mention that I am sometimes alone in my ideas of what constitutes fun?

I may be eating alone, too.

Even if I am, I will be happy. And thankful.

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Top 5 Turkey Day Cooking Tips

I have personally prepared, or helped prepare, more than 40 Thanksgiving turkeys over the years, several of which were entirely edible.

Drawing on my vast experience, and occasional use of fire extinguishers, I wish to address frequently asked questions concerning how to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving feast.

My thinking behind this offering is simple: Don’t Make Thanksgiving Cooking Mistakes—Let Me Make Them For You!

The most obvious concerns are about the proper length of time for cooking a turkey.

“Exactly how long does it take to roast a turkey?”

Traditionally, for an oven-roasted bird, you multiply the number of pounds the turkey weighs by 15 (15 minutes per pound). Being leery of undercooked poultry, I suggest taking the product of the turkey weight times 15, then multiplying that number by the sum of all the numbers in your cell phone number (including area code). Not once has anyone complained that my turkey was undercooked. My turkeys may taste like the bottom of your shoe, but they are never undercooked.

“Does a splash of white wine in the gravy help?”

It has been my experience that wine doesn’t do all that much for the gravy, but it can have a calming influence on the cook.

 “What do you consider an essential kitchen tool for preparing a turkey?”

Experts say that a waterproof digital thermometer is essential. The best ones are available at high-end home goods stores and are very expensive. The essential kitchen tool I cannot do without is a small DeWalt drill (comes in an adorable yellow carrying case) with a masonry bit able to penetrate concrete. You may use a thermometer once or twice cooking a large bird, but you will use a drill multiple times trying to determine what is going on deep inside the still frozen beast.

“How do you remove the bag of internal organs, bits of intestines and waddle buried deep inside the bird?”

For many years, I wore plastic gloves and wrestled the bag out with a wrench. Eventually, I discovered that I am mentally healthier, and more able to enjoy the holiday, by leaving the disgusting little bag inside and letting it explode. Make sure you have a self-cleaning oven. Oh, and work on looking surprised.

The best turkeys ever were the ones my grandma made—golden brown on the outside and pure deliciousness on the inside. Unfortunately, I have no idea how she made them because I was a kid, one of 23 first cousins on my mother’s side, all of whom were routinely told to “Get outside and stay outside!”

“What is the best turkey you have ever served?”

Hands down, the best turkey I ever served was a tender turkey breast, smoked, thinly sliced, and purchased at Honey Baked Ham.

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Relaxing puts her on pins and needles

Everybody and their mother are knitting. They’re making fabulous, textured scarves, adorable baby hats and ultra-durable dishcloths. They all claim it is a marvelous way to unwind and relax.

When I announce that I am thinking of taking up knitting to unwind and relax, family members look at me like I said I am going skydiving.

The color drains out of our oldest daughter’s face. “Are you sure knitting is for you, Mom?”

“Why wouldn’t it be?” I ask.

“A lot of people who knit are, well, maybe a little more laid-back than you are.”

“Are you saying I can’t be laid back? Watch me,” I say. “I’m going to be laid back right now. Go ahead, get a stopwatch. Time me!”

“It’s just that most people sit when they knit, and you’re not really known for sitting.”

“Then I can knit standing up,” I snap.

Someone else says, “Doesn’t knitting involve long needles? Who in this room thinks that Mom should have long needles when she’s relaxing?”

The entire mob yells, “Never!”

So maybe I’ve had a few bad experiences when it comes to relaxing.

The last time I tried relaxing involved making jewelry. The creative expression was supposed to help me unwind, relax and find satisfaction in creating something with my hands.

Every time I was finally about to get a small charm threaded on a small chain, someone would barge in and ask if my new hobby was relaxing.

“How would this be relaxing?” I responded through clenched teeth. “I’m working with teeny, tiny tweezers, trying to hook a teeny, tiny charm on a teeny, tiny chain. What I have here is a great big teeny, tiny mess.”

I lost sleep, had eye strain and a dull headache. I gathered up all my tools of relaxation and sent them to my sister-in-law, who actually knows what she’s doing and enjoys it.

I’ve tried baking for relaxation, but it comes with a cost. About five pounds.

I even attempted yoga. The instructor recommended pants that were incredibly expensive. I just don’t have it in me to buy expensive pants then roll around on the floor in them. I was tense before my first downward dog.

Friends of ours bought a big RV to travel around the country in for the ultimate in relaxation. Their first trip out, the husband forgot to do all the pre-trip inspection and adjustments on the vehicle, and they wound up waiting by the side of the road for a mechanic from 2 until 4 a.m.

They drove 120 miles not speaking to one another.

Maybe the quiet was relaxing.

I briefly toyed with a Cricut, a machine that die cuts stencils you can use on big slabs of wood to create lovely signs.

One of the kids spotted a Cricut advertisement on the kitchen counter and said, “Walk away, Mom, just walk away.”

Some people simply weren’t made for relaxing.

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Goin’ to the grocery, buying less, paying more

With the rising cost of groceries, bacon may become a luxury we can live without. I just saw a pack at the store for more than $10. Granted, it was thick slice, but still. On returning home, I announced to my hubby that we will now ration bacon.

I could have said I was pregnant and the man would have looked less dazed.

Once he was back on his feet, he mentioned we are out of paper towels.

“Sit down,” I said. “I’m no longer buying paper towels.”

Using a paper towel is like ripping a dollar bill from a roll and throwing it in the trash. The price of paper towels has gone up and toilet paper is right behind.

I recently priced steaks, thinking we could grill outside one last time before the weather turns cold. We could, but we’d need to take out a home equity loan first.

Salmon has gone up so much that some wonder if they gave up swimming in exchange for hiring Uber drivers.

The sound of parents gasping at the grocery is shock registering as they stand before empty racks that once held Lunchables and deli meat.

It’s a similar story in the dairy aisle. Maybe there is reason to cry over spilt milk after all.

One of the large groceries I frequent has been using refrigerated cases that previously held meat to now hold fruit. It makes the sparseness of stock a little less evident. Every cook knows that trick. It’s called thinning the soup.

The shortage of chips has lingered since summer. Can a nation survive without Hint of Lime Tostitos? Yes. It can and it will. That said, I recently spotted two bags on a top shelf beyond reach. Another woman, a much taller woman, was able to reach them both and gave one to me. She might literally be the salt of the earth.

Pretzels have also become spotty. The only thing worse than a ball game without pretzels is the World Series without pretzels. Somehow, we will survive.

We booked a hotel room recently. It appeared the website had made an error, as we only wanted one room, not an entire block. Turned out the price quote was for one room.

Not long ago, people began saying 60 was the new 50, and 50 was the new 40, referring to age. With today’s new math, 8 is the new 5, and 5 is the new 3—in money, not years.

I went to fill up the car and was shocked at another bump in price for gasoline. Of course, it can always be worse. We could live in California.

When meat gets expensive, you can pack peanut butter sandwiches for lunches and cook more pasta —but there’s not a vehicle in the world that will run on Ragu or Skippy.

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