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Hancock News week of Feb. 1

Ah-h-h February

The month of love and chocolate. Is there really a difference? Not in our vocabulary. It's also the month of our first born son who was born on Ground Hog Day Feb. 2. He was full of love and loved chocolate anything (like us). He is no longer with us, but all the memories of his 35 years are filled with love, memories and tears of what could have and should have been. He really wasn't concerned if Spring was six weeks away or not. He lived and loved every season (as long as you could fish). He left us children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren, which are a wonderful part of himself. We see him in each of them. Especially in his nephew Huck. It is so wonderful just being near him. I suppose it is why we must stay near the water as long as we can. It is our tribute to him and knowing he would be here with us as much as he could. Parents know this feeling how it never ends, but only eases over time. Many parents have asked how we can deal with losing, not one but two, boys in the prime of their lives. We don't deal with it. We remember and dwell on the good times. The wonderful life long memories and the ache in our heart knowing that you would see them again someday. You shouldn't live longer than your children, but things happen that are meant to be and we are not to question them. People may think you are quiet and strange and may they never know the reason why. The path between your heart, and your brain, changes you forever. May we only try to set an example of what they would like us to be.

And so... Goodies for our "Ground Hog Day son", and love that does not end, for Valentines Day. Thank you for letting me share with you.

How to plant a kiss for Valentines Day

Easy Lava Cake

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and pour into muffin cups. In the center of each muffin cup, place two chocolate kisses. Bake until the edges of the brownies are done and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

Good Fortune

Wrap a kiss in the center of a small wanton wrapper. Moisten edges with water to seal. Deep fry for 2 1/2 minutes in 375 degree oil. Drain, dust with confectioners sugar, let cool and enjoy.

Fudge Truffle Cheesecake


1 1/2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/3 c. baking cocoa

1/3 c. margarine, melted


3 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese,softened

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2 c. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs

Whipped cream and additional chocolate chips (opt.)

Combine all crust ingredients; spread onto bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Chill. Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add milk; beat until smooth. Add melted chips and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Add eggs, one at a time; beat on low after each addition. Spoon over crust. Bake at 300 degrees for 65 minutes. Center will still jiggle. Cool for 15 minutes. Carefully run knife between crust and sides of pan. Cool for 3 hours at room temperature. Chill overnight. Just before serving, remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate chips. if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 12-16.

Ken and Audrey Evink visited with Mark and Ella Mae Noordmans of Raymond on Friday afternoon of last week.

Bruce and Jan Malo drove to Hutchinson on Sunday to meet with Bruce's sisters, Nina and Nita and their spouses for Sunday dinner at a cafe in Hutchinson. They enjoyed a nice visit with them. It was a late Christmas get together.

Stan and Katie Erdman spent the weekend at the home of Jamie and Korrin Erdman. They and Jamie visited Dorothy Erdman several times over the weekend while she was a patient at Abbott Northwestern hospital where she had back surgery. Dorothy returned home on Monday. Stan and Katie brought her supper and spent the evening.

The History of Valentine's Day

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today the Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men, his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first "Valentine" greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been his jailer's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine" an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legend is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial which probably occurred around 270 A.D. Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'Christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt. Throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, Feb. 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, and order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would than sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

The boys then sliced the goats hides into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen women. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Galasius declared Feb. 14 St.Valentines Day around 498 A.D. The roman lottery system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that Feb. 14 was the beginning of birds mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February, Valentine's Day, should be a day for romance.

The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Approximately 85 percent of all Valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, The United Kingdom, France and Australia.