Today I’m bringing you what is, in my mind, the perfect summer salad for a picnic or barbecue. It’s cool, refreshing, has a blend of great flavors that work together perfectly, and is a cinch to make. Don’t you just love recipes like that? I sure do!
But y’all know it is a rare thing for me to just go headlong right into a recipe. I like to take ya on a few trips around the block first and then we get down to the cooking biz.
Today’s post is no different.
Recently, Ricky and I went away for a weekend together. Without kids. Away from home. For two whole nights! We have been married thirteen years next month and this is the first time we’ve been able to do something like that. We went to the WinShape retreat center in Rome, Georgia, on the campus of Berry College. This is a beautiful place staffed by truly wonderful people – no surprise then that it is owned by the Cathy family (the folks who own Chick Fil A). Our retreat was relaxing and wonderful but I may get around to going into that more in a future post. My purpose here is to tell you about a woman I learned of there, that I had never heard of before, who literally changed the world.
Martha Berry was an amazing woman, born to wealth in the old South. One Sunday, while reading her bible in a little log cabin on her parent’s property, she noticed some children looking in her window. She invited them in and said that they should be in school or Sunday School and they replied that there wasn’t one. So, she spent the afternoon telling them bible stories and before sending them on their way. Before they left though, she told them that if they came back the following Sunday and brought their siblings, she’d tell them some more stories.
They returned with more children each Sunday thereafter and soon her little cabin was overflowing with families. Martha’s father gave her some land and they began meeting weekly in a whitewashed cabin built just for them. Martha saw the need for education for the poorer families and set out to make a difference. She started her school by offering free education to the children in exchange for them providing neccesary labor to advance the school. Boys studying carpentry built buildings and furniture, those studying agriculture provided labor to produce products to feed and bring an income into the school, etc. Martha used common sense and called on the community to help build up the community, eventually founding Berry College.
Berry College is still a thriving and beautiful campus today in Rome, Georgia. Benefactors have included United States Presidents, Henry Ford, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies. Martha’s story spans a great deal of time and is so inspiring that I could never do it justice in a single blog post, or even a single blog, but I wanted to introduce you to her and hope that you’ll take the time to get to know this woman who went on to dedicate her life entirely to these children and their families. You can read a fuller version of Martha Berry’s story by clicking here, and trust me, my version was highly condensed!
She dedicated her entire life to these children, never marrying or having children of her own, and there is simply no telling how the world has been affected by this single person and her acts of selfless dedication to others.
We’ve been very fortunate in the past few years to be able to travel a little bit as a family and learn about amazing people in our country’s history. I’ve realized the importance of educating our kids on people like this, historical figures who changed the course of the world with their own honor and integrity. Even though school touches on a few of them, I think today’s history books tend to focus far more on events and far less on character. Events fill our kids minds with dates and data, but character education equips them with the tools to navigate life – so leaving out these great examples has proven to be a terrible loss.
The other night Ricky and I were talking about reality television and it’s effects on our society. We flipped through channels and saw a beautiful and wealthy young woman with an entire show based around x-raying part of her body to prove to her fans that it was real. An entire thirty minutes of national network time devoted to that. I have also seen shows entitled “Real housewives” that follow well-to-do women as they shop, have gossip sessions, and pick public (and loud) fights with one another. I’m sure these are lovely ladies but what we see portrayed on television is such a far cry from the selfless, loving, women I know who sacrifice each day to look after their families, some of them even working outside the home to boot. Now those are REAL housewives.
I’m glad they didn’t have television in Martha Berry’s time. We would’ve been a whole other country entirely. Nah, come to think of it, I doubt that would have effected Miss Berry. She was too busy looking after the needs of others to worry about whether someone she’d never met had all real body parts. When our hearts are on things of substance, we don’t have time to covet silicone.
Today I just wanted to tell you about Martha and assure you that people like this still exist. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that you’re one of them. People of honor, integrity, and selflessness by far outnumber selfminded folks you can see on television every day. They just don’t get the air time. But you know, they really should. You really should.
While you may not have your fifteen minutes of fame for looking after your parents, sacrificing to raise your kids, giving to your neighbor even when things may be tight for your family, letting that stressed out mom go ahead of you in the grocery store line, or just holding the door for whatever stranger happens to be entering the building behind you, I want you to know that you are seen and you are appreciated and you are making the world a better place.
And we don’t need x-ray proof to show that your heart is big, and it is most certainly real.
So thank you for what you are doing to make this world better for all of us. Yes, you. Reading this. You are appreciated. Stop blinking because I see you looking at the computer and you know I’m speaking directly to you.
I’m certain that Miss Martha Berry herself would be proud to call you friend.
Now go find someone to give you a hug for me and then come back here and make this corn salad!
You’ll need: Bottle Italian Dressing (you only need a cup), 2 cans whole kernel corn, small onion, bell pepper, and two tomatoes.
Note: Size of tomato or onion doesn’t really matter here.
You can use fresh or frozen corn but you’ll need to cook it in water until tender first.
Drain your corn, chop all your veggies, and toss it all in a bowl with a cup of that Italian dressing.
Isn’t this a beautiful bowl? It is pyrex and called “Sunflower”.
Now cover that and refrigerate it for several hours before serving.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Submitted by Traci Watson. Submit your quote by clicking here.