My Mother, The French Chef

Morrell was my mother’s family name, a surname of French origin. Her given name, Vera, is not French, but rather a Slavic name meaning “Faith.” In Latin it means “Truth.” (A very fitting name for her, I might add.) Had my grandparents been more in touch with their roots, they could have kept the initial, “V” but named her a French name such as Victore, Vivien, or Veronique.

The French in Mom was evidenced by one of her cooking skills, namely, the making of roux. Long before cooking shows and recipes peppered with French vocabulary ruled the world of cookery, Mom made roux. The fact that she didn’t call it roux was no doubt because of her lack of familiarity with the French language. She simply called it, “thickener.”

Mom made all kinds of roux: butter and flour roux for the White Sauce (Béchamel Sauce to the French) used in scalloped potatoes and soups; pan drippings and flour roux for fried chicken or fried pork chop gravy, shortening and flour roux for pot roast gravy; bacon grease and flour roux for gravy to put over our biscuits.

While I was growing up, gravies of all kinds were a regular part of the menu at our house. This has made me wonder why the kids in our family were not extremely obese. I’ve decided that was because Mom cooked with a simple thickener rather than that fattening French roux. Just a theory!

Little Roux kids with their parents in Bladen, Nebraska (1938). Little sis came along nine years later.

Roux kids all grown up (2006). Ilene, David, & Vee


Beautiful Oklahoma Gem

Last week I was privileged to be in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for the Oklahoma Wesleyan University Board of Trustees meeting. After the last session, I got my camera out and took a few pictures.

The campus coffee house, Doc Lacy’s, is named for my father. It includes a fireplace, lounge seating, café tables and chairs, and an internet area. The original design has been expanded to include a patio by the lake and outside seating. The lake and patio can be seen reflected in the windows. This is a very special place for me as it reminds me of a wonderful Dad and the many years he (and my mom) invested in the lives of young people.

Doc Lacy’s is a great place for students to drink coffee, play games, visit, and study. The student government organization plans special activities and contests at Doc Lacy’s throughout the year.

A remarkable Scott Stearman bronze sculpture is located beside the lake next to the library. It depicts the blind man after being healed by Jesus at the pool of Siloam. The lake in the background is spring-fed, hence the beautiful, clear water. Students often fish there. This picture was taken just before chapel, so no one was fishing at the time.

I feel privileged to serve on the OKWU Board of Trustees. This campus is a beautiful “gem” set in Bartlesville.


Still Waiting

No, this is not a picture of snow from this winter. To be reminded of the beautiful fluffy stuff, I had to go back to pictures from the winter of 2010.

With each prediction of a “big snowfall” by giddy television weather people, I become hopeful. But then it snows in a circular pattern around us: Monument, Woodland Park, Fountain, Falcon, Black Forest.

So why not us? Many theories but no answers, and spring is only two weeks away.


However, the Native American legend, “Rabbit’s Wish For Snow,” might serve as a cautionary tale. 

For young children, this story is available as a picture book.


Break Out the Convertibles

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Colorado: sunshine, blue skies, no wind, temps in the 60’s. This day provided a nice respite from the past few weeks of freezing temperatures and wind along our beautiful front range.

While driving to church, I saw that many people had decided spring was here. At one restaurant, all of the outdoor tables were occupied. People arriving for church wore jackets and T-shirts, but not coats. Most “spring-like” of all, tops were down on convertibles.

I’ve never owned a convertible, but I do like them a lot. I’m sure that having one would provide me with loads of fun, but I’ve never been envious of those who have them. Well, not until last week when I received a picture of our great-grandson, Sawyer, in a beautiful, brand new, red convertible. I have an 11-year-old, low-mileage Grand Prix ready to trade. 

Sawyer Brent Walker in one very spiffy convertible.

Reality check: Winter is back today.