Giblets and Sugar Cubes

510q6lxovwl-_sx356_bo1204203200_As I read Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin [review] I was reminded of a year when my family had a houseful of guests for Thanksgiving.  My cousins and I still talk and laugh about that gravy! It was also the year that my dear momma gave me some freedom in the kitchen to make a recipe feel pretty special to me.  As you read, I hope that you will remember some interesting times your family has shared during Thanksgiving, and be inspired to write your own . . .

Mary Byrne Kline
aka “Button”

Heritage 2 Legacy

a Chasing Fireflies’ storytelling project

Giblets and Sugar Cubes


With my little apron tied around me, I climbed up on the kitchen chair and began to measure flour in the large crock bowl.  Helping momma bake was one of my favorite things to do and I never tired of trying new recipes with her.

The year I was 9 at Thanksgiving, our Aunt, Uncle, and cousins were coming from Illinois so we had a  lot of baking to do.  This was the first year that momma was letting me  make a pumpkin pie all by myself – start to finish.  After pouring it into my crust, I used a turkey cookie cutter and with a little extra pie crust placed a little turkey in the center of my pie.


Momma’s & my childhood apron…

Thanksgiving Day our home was filled with laughter, love, and a great amount of food.  As we began eating, we kids noticed something rather unusual. My mom’s gravy had strange lumps in it. We didn’t know what they were. Our parents explained what “giblets” were and we couldn’t pick them out of our gravy fast enough! It was pretty comical to see seven kids reaching for the fancy little sugar cubes Mom had placed on the table for coffee. Anything to get the “giblet” taste out of our mouths! Had it not been Thanksgiving Day we might have all been in trouble.  I remember being so proud when everyone “gobbled” down my turkey pumpkin pie.

This year I’ll again be making many pies, and yes, my pumpkin pie will have a turkey on top.  But I will not put giblets in my gravy.

Love, Button



Love, “Button” (1/10)

Sunday afternooPicture-14-18pywvdn provided an opportunity for me to read, That Book Woman by Heather Henson and David Small to some of my grandchildren.   As I turned the pages, I found myself in That Book Woman, in the boy’s sister, Lark.  He says, “Lark plays teacher,” which I always did. And one illustration has Lark sitting up in a tree reading, which I loved doing as a kid!

In the book The Boy who was Raised by Librarians, I can’t help but think that Melvin may have gone to the very same library I had gone to a long, long time ago.  Leeola looked awfully familiar . . .

See a video reading of That Book Woman below, if you would like to know more about this book.

I found myself inspired to share a story of my own, so:

Heritage 2 Legacy

a Fireflies’ storytelling project

My “Leeola’s” Lovely Lesson

Dad and Mom’s instructions were clear.  “After school walk to the library, it’s only a block from your new school.  Some friends are picking up several kids in our neighborhood about 4:00.  Just keep an eye out, okay?”  I agreed.

I couldn’t wait for school to be out.  The library was so much bigger than the one where we used to live.  When I walked in, my heart began to race.  My eyes could hardly take it in.  What a  glorious sight.  The smell of freshly waxed wooden floors just added to my joy.  I slowly made my way to the desk where an elderly lady with springy gray hair sat reading.  She peered down at me.  “May I help you?”  I asked where the children’s books were.  She slid the glasses off her nose, stood and with a twinkle in her eye whispered, “How about if I show you?”  We came to a large paneled room.  I’d never seen so many books.  Finding a spot on the carpet where the sun was streaming in, I curled up with Nancy Drew and was soon deep in an adventure.

After some time, the library lady came in, startling me.  “Oh, you’re still here,” she said, “I was just locking up.”

Once again my heart began to race, only this time in panic.  I knew I’d gotten lost in reading and missed my ride home.  I began to cry.

“Why, whatever is the matter , child?”  she gently asked me. As I poured out my woeful mistake between sobs, she just shook her head, saying, “Oh dear, not to worry, it’s going to be fine.”  Watching her springy gray curls bouncing as she spoke, I somehow knew I could believe her.  She took my hand and marched me to the front desk where we called my parents.  The library lady said she’d wait on the front steps with me until they arrived.

While we waited she talked.  She told me that she often got so absorbed in a book that she lost track of time too; and we smiled.  She said she’d been at the library so long she’d probably read most of the books inside; and FullSizeRender (1)we laughed.  Then she asked me if I had my own library at home.  She explained that it was easy to begin one; just start collecting your favorite books, arrange them on a shelf, take care of them, and keep adding to them.  She said everyone should have their own personal library.  I was fascinated.

Over the next years, I spent a lot of time in that library. And had many special visits with that dear library lady.  Because of her I went home that night, gathered up my few books and began my own personal library. I still have those books.  They are some of my most precious possessions.

Love, Button


Mary Byrne Kline Otherwise known as “Button” to her grandchildren.








Create a Storytelling Legacy

Now it’s your turn.  If you are a grandparent, we invite you to share a memory and begin your own storytelling legacy!   If you have a special someone in your family that you want to encourage to become a legacy storyteller, download this FLYER, and invite them to join us on our storytelling adventure.


Button reading to her children on any given Sunday afternoon…

Here are some prompts that go along with this month’s theme.   Read one of the books on our BOOK LIST and then think about a story from your past that you can write down and/or record for this year’s Chasing Fireflies Storytelling Classic.     These questions will help you get started:

  • What is a favorite book you remember from your childhood?
  • Did you have someone special read to you as a child?
  • Have you ever found a book that reminded you of yourself?  Or someone you knew?
  • When you read a book about a library or librarian, does a special place come to mind?  Do you have a picture of that library or special reading place?  Tell about what made that building so special in your life? [think: your 5 senses]

Be sure to let us know if you are joining us.  We are creating a closed FB group for all family storytellers, so that we may encourage and communicate more personally with each of you.  Simply send an email to and request to be included in future emails concerning this project.  We will also tell you how to join our closed FB group so that you can join in on the discussions and fun with Gil Moegerle, Mary Byrne Kline, and Deni Corbett.

The Book Woman by Heather Henson

Picnic Peril

July Reflections

I have no real recollections of windmills, but my memory of watermelons are, well, less than stellar.

Actually, when Deni suggested this “W – Windmills and Watermelon” theme for July, I thought of many other choices: water, waffles, wagons, wasps, water-skiing, whistles . . . well, you get the idea. But I’m stuck with watermelons – so . . .



Our backyard and the site of The Great Watermelon Hurl of 1958.

It all began at a 4th of July family picnic. A really big family picnic. Our Illinois relatives drove up, which meant four lively cousins; my Aunt and Uncle in town came over with their five kids, and of course a few friends from church were invited.  Our back yard looked like a carnival had been set up.  There were lawn chairs, folding card tables, metal TV trays, and old frayed blankets were spread out on the grass for all us kids.  Potato salad, jello salad, baked beans, chips, fried chicken, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes from Aunt Sally’s garden, lemonade – food was piled everywhere. Grumpy Uncle Roger complained about the flies and walked around swatting and mumbling to himself.

After we ate we played croquet, badminton, and tag.  Then it was time for dessert. There were homemade cookies , an assortment of pies, and of course, watermelon. My cousins, sisters, and I were all chowing down on cookies and watermelon until . . . I happened to glance over at my younger sister Barb.  She did not look good. In fact, she looked rather odd.  All of a sudden, you guessed it, she hurled watermelon like I had never seen. Once she started, I started. It was just a chain reaction.

Well, to this day I can hardly even look at a watermelon. Thank you, sister Barb! (Although when we’re together we howl with laughter retelling this story!)

So, if I may briefly choose an alternative “W,” I’d like to choose “WISH.”  July is my birthday month and I’m a firm believer in making wishes.  I will have candles on my cake and will delight in wishing and blowing.


My wish for you this month is that you may enjoy finding a special book to read, delight in eating a juicy watermelon (in spite of my sharing), and please make some wishes come true!

Mary Byrne Kline


Reflections: “Tents and Trees”

My name should never be associated with the term “roughing it!” So you’ll understand when I tell you that our family vacations while growing up were not my favorite thing.  We camped – yup! Camped – every year! When I say camped, I mean out in the Badlands of North Dakota; a tent, sleeping bags, a small cook-stove, Coleman lanterns, and a campfire at night to keep “critters” away. Annie Oakley, I was not.  I was constantly on the lookout for any bugs that may have gotten on or even near me.  Being sent to gather wood for our campfire was a nightmare – how could I carry a bundle of wood when anything could be crawling in the pile?

My memories, however, weren’t all bad.  I can close my eyes and almost taste my sweet momma’s griddle pancakes she made each morning. Thinking about those at night made sleeping in the tent almost bearable.  And no one could make me laugh like daddy. Sitting around the campfire at night he’d sing the same two songs: “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” and “Home on the Range.” To this day I can sing every word to both of those songs.


My quiet place.

During the day I’d often sneak away to my quiet place, where I felt safe from creepy crawlies.  Up in a big  pine tree was the perfect sitting branch, where I could lean against the tree and lose myself in book or children’s magazine.  Instantly I was transported to anywhere I wanted to be and feel safe.  I loved being up in my tree, just reading with the breeze blowing.

I’ve never outgrown my dislike for camping and tents, but for some reason I’ve hung onto that same old Coleman lantern.  I just can’t seem to part with it . . . kind of find myself humming “Home on the Range” when I stop and look at it.   As for reading, that’s always been a love that has stayed with me. Except for still climbing a tree to do it!

This month I’d like to share several of my favorite children’s books that I loved to read to my classes while teaching.  They always bring back some wonderful memories; both of dear children I taught as well as some adventures we had with these incredible books!

Enjoy “Summers Past” with us!

Mary Byrne Kline