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Gingerbread and a Sergeant 
Dec. 29, 2010 6:11 pm 
Updated: Apr. 19, 2011 12:06 am
Let’s share our hope and joy of this holiday season. Send your holiday cheers to Dan and Cindy Lepp at Caring Bridge. They have been fighting cancer desperately for a year, now and could sure use some encouragement from the AR crowd. This thread will get you to their guest book and you can enter your prayers and good wishes there.<
Cindy has a journal of the struggle and you can view the good wishes of other folks, as well.

I enjoyed the posts of gingerbread houses this year. Trishie, Nicolette, Maui Girl and Carrie all had some great and beautiful projects. Makes me want to try but, being a guy, I’d be scoffed at and called sissy by my playground pals. I did think of a manly way to express my talent in a similar manner, though. Instead of a gingerbread house it would be an Irish Pub made of saltine crackers. There could be bear heads and giant fish on the walls and moose antlers over the door. Instead of icing for glue, I could use bar cheese to hold it together. It would be in season eleven months each year instead of just one month. Instead of a Christmas theme, it could be a football or Rugby game. Maybe I should think of some more ideas. This could be the hottest thing since electric socks!

You remember my Thanksgiving post when I wrote of the Sergeant that fixed us an absolutely fantastic meal? Well, this post is to let you know he was rewarded at Christmastime.

I don’t know how the commander found out but he called a general meeting of the detachment- excluding the sergeant. He told us the sergeants wife had wrecked their car. Everybody was alright but they were without the much needed car. The wife had a replacement lined up but had no money to buy it. The commander said if each of us could give up 14% of one payday, the car would be paid for. He said he would accept our donations in his office on payday and that the bar would remain closed until he had enough money to buy the car. He would then send the money to his wife who would then pick up the sergeants wife and both of them would buy the car. The commander had plenty of money before payday.

Shortly after payday, another general meeting was called and the commander announced that there was enough money to buy the car and wanted our input as for what to do with the surplus. He suggested that we give the surplus to the sergeants family to do as they pleased. Because Christmas was near, the money could certainly be used. The whole detachment went along with that idea.

Just before New Year’s Day, the sergeant called a meeting in the bar. He told two guys make sure the commander was there. When everybody was present, he thanked us all for the sacrifice we made for him and his family. He concluded by saying he did not use the extra money that was included. Instead, he and his wife agreed to donate it to the Red Cross in the name of our detachment.

By the way, the bar was never closed.
Dec. 29, 2010 9:00 pm
Well mike another terrific blog! Well done. I have to say that what Goes around, Comes around. You and your buds will be rewarded in life for your True Kindness in a time of need of another human being.Bless all of you and what an Awesome thing to do for the Sergent and his wife. In return, he helped people he doesn't even Know through your generosity. High 5 to all involved and once again Mike Thanks for letting the rest of us know that there are Angels among us:) HAPPY NEW YEAR MIKE!!
Dec. 29, 2010 9:04 pm
And what about those Fancy ginger houses? Yes, the Ladies did out do themselves, I agree! BTW, I did go to Cindy's site and left my wishes for a better new year.Thanks again for the reminder. You Rock:)
Dec. 29, 2010 9:09 pm
Great story about the Sarge, Mike. P.S. Can't wait to see Irish Pub kits on Walmart shelves next Christmas!
Dec. 30, 2010 5:04 am
What an amazing story! Thank you for posting the Lepp's site - I have visited the sitee. Your Irish Pub idea sounds great, too! I think you need to get moving on that - maybe have one done and picture posted by St. Patrick's Day??!!
Dec. 30, 2010 8:20 am
Happy New Year, Patty Cakes! Back then, we didn't have the communication to get things done at home. The U.S. Mail was the principal communicator in anything that wasn't life and death. The Red Cross would provide a grapevine style of telephone communication in some emergencies. We were so isolated that we had to be self sufficient. In this instance, a native was hired to make sure the mail got to an American Consulate to be mailed. Our best resourse was ourselves and each other. In those situations, you become very attached to your fellow GI's.
Dec. 30, 2010 8:30 am
Thank you, Magnolia Blossom and Happy New Year! Kits? On a Wal Mart shelf? Hmmm.
Dec. 30, 2010 8:35 am
Happy New Year, Mother Ann! Have a project completed by St, Patricks Day? Is making a schedule a wife thing? Before a man does anything he must first put it off for another time- that's right after he decides to check into it. Sheesh! Shedules, yech!
Dec. 30, 2010 6:22 pm
I have a list thanks to you that I think about daily and wish well. I really like the idea of your version of a "gingerbread" house! Happy New Year, Mike! Thanks for being in my old year! The best to you and yours.
Dec. 30, 2010 7:16 pm
How wonderful...thank you for sharing this story and have a peaceful and healthy 2011!
Dec. 31, 2010 5:28 am
Mike - it is a wife thing, and this putting things off must be a husband thing?! About 4 years ago in June) my husband ordered up cases of duck "bodies" -that is decoy bodies, heads, various materials to make his own decoys with. I'd guess there are about 15-20 huge boxes in the garage! He spent all the money he made on a carpentry side job he had done on these various duck body-parts.I asked him if they were going to be done and ready to use that duck hunting season in October. He exclaimed "Oh Yes!"..... Oh No, I think he has about 8-10 ducks completed only at this point in time! I just asked him about a month ago if he was saving the rest for our son as an inheritance thing?
Mrs. C 
Dec. 31, 2010 10:27 am
Happy New Year! I am inspired by your blogs, just caught up on a few. I am so glad that most folks I know are eager to begin a new year. How about you? Thank you for sharing your life stories with AR, Mike.
Dec. 31, 2010 12:30 pm
Thank you, Cat! A safe and happy New Year to you and you family!
Dec. 31, 2010 12:33 pm
Happy New Year, roxiegirl! This and other stories are only able to be told now because the attitude of American civilians has become a positive one. This story relates how your soldiers interact and care for each others well being regardless of rank.
Dec. 31, 2010 12:36 pm
OK, Mother Ann. A schedule is a wife thing, agreed. If your hubby has had the decoy parts for only four years, then he's still in the planning stage. The only reason he couldn't make them that season must be that he discovered he was rushing the project and needed to think about it some more. He'll do it... sometime.
Dec. 31, 2010 12:40 pm
And a Happy New Year to you, Mrs. C! I am unwilling to let 2010 go away. It has been a wonderful year, for us, in spite of a few unwelcome issues. But, time isn't measured by emotions and we welcome 2011.
Apr. 19, 2011 12:06 am
Oh my Gosh, Mike! I had no....seriously NO clue you wrote this bac then...we were in Fargo for 10 days with his Mom and Stepdad ...IN A BLIZZARD!
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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