Sleigh and pony from past once de­liv­ered Post-Tri­bune

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News -

A col­umn I wrote ear­lier this month about Dutch tra­di­tions re­minded Kon­nie Kuiper of some of his fa­vorite fam­ily mem­o­ries.

After decades of serv­ing fam­i­lies at Kuiper Fu­neral Home in High­land, which opened in 1969, Kuiper, 79, part­nered with col­league Kevin Nordyke in 2017 to launch the fam­ily-owned Hill­side Fu­neral Home & Cre­ma­tion Cen­ter at 8941 Kleinman Road in High­land.

But it’s his first job that Kuiper, a High­land town coun­cil­man, loves to rem­i­nisce about to his wife of 52 years, Karen, and the cou­ple’s chil­dren, Laura and Julie, as well as to four grand­chil­dren, all shar­ing fam­ily pride about mem­o­ries of yes­ter­year.

Kuiper told me his first em­ploy­ment came at age 12 de­liv­er­ing what was then called The Gary Post-Tri­bune news­pa­per.

“Along with my broth­ers, I learned the im­por­tance of hard work at an early age,” Kuiper said.

“We had a Gary ad­dress, but we lived in the area that was far­ther out as part of the town­ship. Our par­ents, Case and Marie, owned a farm rais­ing and sell­ing horses, cows and pigs.”

While do­ing his news­pa­per route, he said he had the ad­van­tage of be­ing able to ride a pony to make the route eas­ier, rather than walk­ing.

“I had one pony named Di­a­mond, who lived un­til age 40, and another pony named Lady, who lived to be 44,” he said.

“My route area was rather large, cov­er­ing 45th Street and Col­fax, as well as Elm Street and then 41st Street to Cal­houn. And when it was in the mid­dle of win­ter, my un­cle would hitch horses up to the sleigh and that’s how I de­liv­ered my news­pa­pers in the cold and snowy weather. I still have our fam­ily sleigh, and it brings back so many mem­o­ries.”

Kuiper said he was so suc­cess­ful with his news­pa­per route, he won a trip to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

To­day, it’s Kuiper’s only grand­son, Michael KuiperVass, 25, who is fol­low­ing in his grand­fa­ther’s ca­reer path.

“My daugh­ter Laura works with me here at our fu­neral home, and her son Michael will grad­u­ate this spring from Wor­sham Col­lege of Mor­tu­ary Sci­ence in Wheel­ing, Ill., on March 6, which hap­pens to also be Ash Wed­nes­day,” Kuiper said.

“And my 80th birth­day is on March 10th, so his grad­u­a­tion is an early birth­day gift for me.”

Be­fore wel­com­ing 2019, my last recipe for 2018 will be a nod to the past courtesy of Kevin Pazour, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Porter County Mu­seum in Valpa- raiso.

“For more than 150 years, this cookie recipe has been handed down through gen­er­a­tions of women in one Porter County fam­ily,” Pazour said.

“Our mu­seum is housed in what was the for­mer home of the Porter County sher­iff. The home was built in 1860 and is at­tached to what was the orig­i­nal Porter County Jail. While her hus­band was sher­iff in the early 1900s, we know from records that Della Green pre­pared food as a ma­tron of the Porter County Jail. So it’s pos­si­ble that this cookie recipe might have been made in the kitchen of what is now our mu­seum. We have in­cluded ad­di­tional in­struc­tions and mea­sure­ments to aid to­day’s baker.”

Colum­nist Philip Potempa has pub­lished three cook­books and is the di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing at The­atre at the Cen­ter. He can be reached at pm­[email protected] or mail your ques­tions to: From the Farm, P.O. Box 68, San Pierre, IN, 46374.

Philip Potempa 1⁄ 2

2 cups white gran­u­lated sugar1 cup short­en­ing4 eggstea­spoon saltcup milktea­spoon bak­ing sodatea­spoon vanilla6 cups flour1. Heat oven to 400 de­grees.2. In a bowl, cream to­gether sugar and short­en­ing un­til light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix un­til smooth.3. Mix in salt, milk, bak­ing soda and vanilla.4. Add flour 1 cup at a time un­til a soft dough forms. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl.5. Roll dough inch thick on a floured sur­face and cut out de­sired cookie shapes.6. Trans­fer cook­ies to an un­greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 min­utes in “a quick oven.”

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