Pioneer Potluck: When Dad left Ginger at the church

Chicken lasagna, rice, Hungarian mushroom soup, cornmeal biscuits

  • By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:31pm
  • Life
Photo courtesy Ann Berg                                Grannie Annie’s sister, Ginger, can be seen holding her teddy bear in this photo taken in June, 1945.

Photo courtesy Ann Berg Grannie Annie’s sister, Ginger, can be seen holding her teddy bear in this photo taken in June, 1945.

These are memories of my sister Ginger, who is having serious medical issues — Prayers are appreciated!

Fort Collins, Colorado, about 1945 or ’46 at the Presbyterian church

After church we all piled back into the pea green four-door Dodge. There must have been about 14 of us in the car this particular Sunday. For some reason, I think Dad needed to get gas in the car. He always got gas at the Boxelder Gas Station about 4 miles east of town on our way home. He skipped the trip to the Poudre Valley Creamery and told us we could have an ice cream cone at the gas station that carried the Poudre Valley dairy products and the same hand-scooped ice cream. Like all gas stations in that era, it was a meeting place for gossip and the latest news or to get a jug of milk, a package of gum, a sucker or soda pop (Orange Crush was my favorite). One of my brothers liked Grape Crush. Root Beer was Dad’s favorite.

We all piled out of the car and Dad was counting how many cones he was going to pay for and he came up missing one kid — Ginger! He turned a “pale shade of white.” (Dad’s terminology — kinda like dark black!) He half shouted, “Anyone seen Ginger?”

“No …” we all said. He shouted to all of us “GET BACK IN THE CAR!”

There was such urgency in his voice, we all rushed back to the car and piled in. Dad started the car, put it in gear and (another terminology) “turned on a dime in the middle of the road and left some change” and we roared back into town.

Dad was muttering under his breathe over and over, “I musta’ left her — OH MY GOSH!”

He stared intently at the road with his hands gripped on the steering wheel, which caused all his passengers to do the same. No one uttered a word, as Dad barely stopping at stop signs, sometimes not at all, taking short cuts and careening around corners.

We were all holding our breath as he pulled up the big church. At the very top of the stairs was Ginger, crying and sobbing. She was sitting beside Dad’s good friend Reverend Grether. Dad jumped out of the car and ran up the stairs. Ginger stood up and with all her 5-year-old might, said “Daddy! YOU left me! You, you left me!”

It broke Dad’s heart! He picked her up and gave her a big hug. He told her over and over again how sorry he was. He shook Reverend Grether’s hand, walked down the stairs with Ginger clinging to his neck, head on his shoulder, sobbing and sobbing.

He opened the car door and told whoever was sitting in the front seat to “scoot over!” He put Ginger in and slipped in behind the wheel. He patted her on the head and drove off with his arm around her — all the way back to the ice cream place.

Dad, the great storyteller, NEVER EVER told this story! So we told it time and time again.

“Dad, remember when you left Ginger at the church?” He would hang his head and say “Yes, yes, I know.”

The worst part of the story was, HE had to tell Mom! Ginger’s place, from then on, was in the front seat, next to Dad. We never, ever, complained about it, because we all knew why!


I have a favorite picture of Ginger and her teddy bear near my computer. She was never ever without her teddy bear. It went everywhere with her! If it was temporarily lost everyone stopped what they were doing to find Ginger’s teddy bear. In my memory’s eye I never think of Ginger unless I see the teddy bear in her arms. NO one touched Ginger’s Teddy Bear!


Ginger sent this to me a long time ago — it is a great recipe! She sure has an eye for good stuff!

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 envelope hollandaise sauce mix, or 1 can cream of mushroom soup — undiluted

8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked

1 pound chicken cooked and thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon each basil and oregano

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese

½ cup Parmesan cheese

1 can of asparagus spears — drained — or 1 ½ cups of steamed broccoli in small pieces

Sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter. Prepare hollandaise sauce as directed.

Spread small amount of sauce in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Layer one half of the noodles and chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with half of basil and oregano.

Sprinkle half the cheese. Arrange the asparagus or broccoli over the cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes until bubbles.

NOTE: this can be made the day before and ham or combination of ham and chicken can be used.



Ginger’s recipe and our favorite! It real quick and I usually fix most of it in the microwave.

1 pound of kielbasa sausage cut in ½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ cups each diced onions, celery and red and green pepper combination

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 ½ cups uncooked long grain rice

2 cups of chicken broth

½ can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup parsley

Cook sausage in oil in large heavy pot over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until browned on all sides.

Remove to bowl and set aside.

Add the onions, celery, peppers and cook over medium low heat about 20 minutes until tender soft.

Add garlic.

This is when I transfer everything to a microwave bowl.

Add the uncooked rice and microwave 1 minute. (Or on top of stove for 5 minutes)

Add the reserved sausage, diced tomatoes, broth and bay leaf. Bring to boil about 10 minutes in microwave — covered. (Or on top of stove for 20 minutes)

Stop to stir at 5 minutes. Cook another 5 minutes and test rice to see if it’s tender.

Season with salt if needed and pepper. Stir in parsley and remove the bay leaf.

Serves 6. Green salad and hard rolls go well with this.


This is from Susan’s Recipe Box.

12 mushroom, cleaned and sliced

2 cups onions chopped

4 tablespoons butter — divided

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 cup broccoli chopped

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt – or to taste

2 cups beef broth – divided

2 teaspoon lemon juice

1⁄4 cup parsley chopped

1⁄2 cup sour cream

Pepper to taste.

Sauté onions in 2 tablespoon butter. Salt and add mushrooms, dill, 1⁄2 cup of beef broth, broccoli and paprika. Cover and simmer 10 minutes

Melt remaining butter in saucepan, whisk in flour and cook a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly add milk and cook stirring over low heat until thickened – about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushroom, onion mixture and add the remaining beef stock. Simmer slowly 15 minutes covered.

Add lemon juice, sour cream and correct taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve this delicious soup with a small dollop of sour cream on top.


Mom’s recipe from Susan’s Recipe Box

3⁄4 cup flour

1⁄2 cup cornmeal

1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons butter — cold

6 tablespoons milk or buttermilk (preferred)

Gently cut butter into the dry ingredients — Mom used table knives.

Add the 6 tablespoons buttermilk or milk.

Gently stir and form into a ball. Knead just 5 times. Pat out and cut in rounds.

Or do it the easy way — butter and sprinkle with cornmeal, a 8- x 8-inch pan.

Pat dough into the pan and score 9 squares. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes.

A Note about Mom and her biscuits:

She loved biscuits with honey or maple syrup or jam on them. Us kids loved them swimming in maple syrup. Uncle Guy lived with us for several years and he liked gravy on his. He would wait until the last biscuit was left on the plate and the last dab of gravy in the bowl, then he would say to Mom, “L-L-L-Loretta, could I have that l-l-last biscuit and gravy?”

We all knew to leave the last one for Uncle Guy and Mom always waited until he asked for it!

• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

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