Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jiggs and Maggie

ABC Wednesday
March 18th, 2015

The letter is J

I JOG your memory with a bit about JIGGS and Maggie and some of the information Mr. Wikipedia provides, and some of my own remembrances about this cartoon that ran in the local paper all the days of my youth - and beyond!!

Particularly relevent as I write on St. Patrick's Day, and Jiggs was a typical Irish Shanty immigrant, a former hod carrier who won a Million Dollars in the Irish Sweep Stakes, but clung desperately to his old life and his old friends at Dinty Moore's Tavern, despite the social ambitions of his harridan wife, Maggie!

Cartoonist George McManus (1884-1954) started writing the series in 1913 and it ran until the year 2000 in newspaper's and in comic book form.

Younger enthusiasts will remember Jiggs and Maggie as the inspiration for the movie "Bringing up Father".

"The strip deals with 'lace-curtain Irish', with Maggie as the middle-class American desiring assimilation into mainstream society, in counterpoint to an older, more raffish "shanty Irish" sensibility represented by Jiggs".

Through the character of JIGGS McManus' humour gave voice to the anxieties and aspirations of Irish Catholic ethnics during the early 20th century, and took the middle position in the conflicts over assimilation and social mobility which aided readers in becoming accepted in American society without losing their identity.

Jiggs and Maggie was a great success and made McManus a rich man. He generally drew his characters with circles for eyes, and had a bold, clean-cut cartooning line.  'His strong sense of composition and Art Deco design made the strip a stand-out' (Wikipedia).

Do you remember Maggie with her rolling pin, and Jiggs with his fondness for corned beef and cabbage!!!!

If you want to make your own Jigg's dinner put a four pound (or thereabouts) corned beef brisket into 3 cups of broth (and water to cover) into a Dutch Oven.  Add one large onion cut into six or eight wedges, and a medium clove of garlic, minced.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for two hours.  Remove the corned beef to a platter, cover with foil and keep warm.

Skim the fat from the broth and add about six potatoes, peeled and quartered, four large carrots, halved and cut into three inch lengths, one small head of cabbage, cored and cut into six to eight wedges and one medium turnip, cut into two inch chunks. Cook until vegetables are tender.

Slice the corned beef and serve with veggies.

Pretend you're Jiggs, or Maggie, - sitting down to a traditional Sunday dinner in Irish America and enjoy!

More Js here at ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Denise and Roger and all jolly helpers.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A little of THIS and a small bit of THAT make a busy week

It is raining!  Has been for some hours, - a perfectly delightful drizzle bringing complete satisfaction to the thirsty bulbs, turning the lawn green for St. Patrick's Day and making small puddles in the back lane.

All week is has been threatening - or promising, depending upon how you feel about rain and gardens.  Cloudy skies in the mornings, partially clearing in the afternoons, making way for sunshine and lovely warm temperatures.  But the rain is so welcome....

Busy week - some of the days spent in the loom room winding the linen warp for a quartet of fine linen huck finger towels.  Less practical than kitchen towels, but I have this left over linen, and it is partially to prove to myself that I can still manage this strong, stiff, wiry, inelastic thread that ends up being so lustrous and beautiful.  For a while I wondered when the end of one section of the warp somehow turned into what looked like a bird's nest of delicate white threads, thoroughly entangled. Patience and a large strong comb saved the day, - no, that's not really what saved the day.  It was the wound-in cross that it is essential to all warps to keep the threads in order and separated.  It behaved beautifully, and now the threads hang docilely from the back beam, waiting to be threaded.

Wednesday I left the loom to go singing, and then came home to make a chicken and honey casserole and a peach pie for dinner with a son and daughter-in-law, -  and then we watched The Strange Case of Benjamin Button, and I was totally engrossed in his adventures, growing young backwards....

It was nice to cook for someone else too, - I miss this on evenings when I open the cupboards and the fridge and find something easy to put together for a watching-the-news supper.

Three meetings and a Thursday morning spent watching a Philharmonic concert (Martha Argerich, pianist, playing some Mendelsohn and Robert Schuman's Piano Concerto in A Minor with Ricardo Chailly conducting, filled in the week quite nicely and brought me to Saturday and the Catholic Women's League annual St. Patrick's Day Tea....

They go all out,  - it is a crowded affair with wonderful Irish decorations, a few men dressed up as Leprachauns or Irish gentlemen with bright green pork pie hats.  And one man who was not prepared to declare his allegiance in a tie striped with orange and green....  Wonderful fancy sandwiches and little cakes, - and to round it all off a Looney Auction - which I must explain because if you aren't a Canadian you probably aren't familiar with the Looney - a one dollar coin.  (the two dollar coin is a Tooney).

Looney Auctions don't stir me as they once did.  When we were raising funds for our Parish Hall we had them regularly, serving coffee and Exotic Desserts.  They are great fund raisers, and that was how I viewed Saturday's, - hoping that I would not end up with any of the objects I bid on.  Very nice, - but more STUFF, if you know what I mean...

Here are a few pictures from the week - the beautiful golden forsythia was brought to me as 'sticks' by my granddaughter, who now lives in our House on the Hill with her men and tends the garden there.  The men include two sweet great grandsons!  The forsythia comes from the same bush that used to provide the blooms that  Charles looked askance at when they inhabited our big bathtub to bring a little early spring to dreary winter...

I miss his gentle grumbling.....