Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paraprosdokians and other fun stuff

7/27/11 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Frivolous reading for a summer day

I’m always learning things from reader emails. But my email buddy in Newport, Oregon, really had me stumped with a missive title "Paraprosdokian." That was a new word to me. So I looked it up and my compiled sources define it as follows:

"Paraprosdokians are a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. It’s basically, wordplay where the second part of the statement changes the entire meaning of the sentence in a humorous way.”

"Where there's a will, I want to be in it," is a type of paraprosdokian. Reading through these really tickled my fancy and I hope they will yours too. After all, it’s summer! So sit back and enjoy a moment of mindless humor and fun:

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right — only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good Evening,' and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, 'In case of emergency, notify …' I put 'DOCTOR.'

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

She got her good looks from her father; he’s a plastic surgeon.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

If I could just say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker. (Attributed to Homer Simpson)

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

Now, if these “paraprosdokians” aren’t to your liking, readers have also been sending me “dumb criminal” anecdotes. Check out the following scenarios. I double dog dare you not to at least smirk!

1. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from.

2. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 am, flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

3. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

And finally, if you’re feeling discouraged today, another reader sent me this the following morsel of encouragement. Check out how little Jamie Scott responded to tryouts for the school play.

Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother knew that he had his set his heart on being in it but she was afraid that he wouldn’t be chosen.

On the day the parts were awarded, mom went to pick him up from school, dreading what she was going to hear. But Jamie rushed up to her, beaming with pride and excitement. “Guess what, Mom,” he shouted, “I've been chosen to clap and cheer!'

A wise teacher said, “and a little child will lead them.” I think Jamie’s a leader we ought to follow.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

A plethora of pasta salads

7/20/11 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

Pasta salads are a perennial summertime favorite in most households. But gone are the days of the same old macaroni salad dressed with the same old mayonnaise dressing. Today, the sky’s the limit when it comes to combining pastas with fruits, vegetables, meats and a variety of dressings.

We’ll start off today’s recipe assortment with a basic corkscrew pasta salad that can be served as a side salad or fortified with some chicken, tuna or shrimp as a main dish. This is my go-to summer salad that I can prepare in advance for dinner the next day. It’s very versatile. You can add and subtract ingredients according to what you have on hand or your family’s likes and dislikes.

Recently, in a search for a light luncheon salad for guests, I came across an elegant and unusual shrimp, fruit and pasta combination. The creative cooks at Southern Living added a juicy nectarine, ripe red raspberries and cool cucumber chunks to this salad. They bind it together with a zippy lemon dressing that has just a hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes. Prepare this salad just before serving.

One thing to remember about pasta salads: they soak up dressing. If you’re serving the salad immediately, it’s not a problem. But if you’re serving it the next day, it’s a problem! I have gotten into the habit of marinating my ingredients overnight in just a small amount of dressing. The next day I stir and taste and add extra dressing and whatever else is needed. Enjoy!

Corkscrew Pasta Salad

16 ounces corkscrew pasta
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2-3 stalks celery, sliced in ‘moons’
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise and diced
1 small zucchini, sliced as above
1-2 carrots, cleaned, shredded, rinsed and squeezed dry
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1-2 jars artichoke hearts, drained and reserved
1 can black or Kalamata olives, drained and reserved
1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
Vinaigrette style dressing recipe follows

The day before serving, cook the corkscrew pasta in boiling water, drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Cover and refrigerate the artichoke hearts, olives and cheese cubes

 Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl and add the cooled pasta. Mix with a large spoonful of dressing until barely coated. Cover and marinate overnight. At serving time, add the reserved items and stir. Add more dressing as needed. Serve on a lettuce leaf and garnish with whatever’s handy.

All-purpose Vinaigrette

1/2 cup Canola oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Shrimp, fruit and Pasta Salad

Southern Living, August 2009

8 ounces uncooked medium-size shell pasta
1 pound peeled, medium-size cooked shrimp (31/40 count)
1 large nectarine, cut into thin wedges
1 cup chopped seedless cucumber
Dressing recipe follows
Garnishes: fresh raspberries, arugula

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and place in a large bowl.
Add 1/2 cup dressing, tossing to coat. Stir in shrimp, nectarine, and cucumber. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup dressing. Garnish, if desired.

Lemon-Herb Dressing

1/3 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Whisk together all ingredients until blended.

Chicken Tortellini Salad

1 (19-oz.) package frozen cheese tortellini
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence/Italian seasoning
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt to taste
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and place in large bowl. Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.

Whisk together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and herbes de Provence. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour over tortellini mixture, tossing to coat. Stir in salt to taste. Cover and chill at least 25 minutes. Garnish, if desired.

Note I: The recipe calls for frozen tortellini. I see no reason why you can’t use boxed or bagged pasta.
Note II: For Tuna Tortellini, substitute 1 (12-oz.) can albacore tuna, rinsed and drained well. Prepare recipe as above.

Confetti Pasta Salad

Southern Living, October 2005

8 ounces uncooked small shell pasta
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette (any dressing recipe above)
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Toss pasta with tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.

Peppery Chicken Pasta Salad

Cooking Light, June 2004

3 cups uncooked farfalle (about 8 ounces bow tie pasta) 
2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 pound)
 2 cups chopped cooked, skinless, boneless chicken breast
2/3 cup (1/8-inch-thick) diagonally cut celery
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Italian Herbs

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Add green beans during final 5 min. of cooking. Drain and rinse pasta and beans under cold water. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine. Drizzle dressing (recipe follows) over pasta mixture to just coat.

2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons commercial pesto
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until needed.

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal! 
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes 
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

Seniors pioneered the green movement

7/13/11 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

“Green” senior citizens are trendsetters

This summer my email inbox has been chock-full of senior humor. Today’s column was inspired by one of those missives titled “We didn’t have that green thing back then.” The story began with the assumption that senior citizens aren’t concerned about preservation of the environment. A little reminiscing sets things straight.

“An older woman standing in line at the market was asked by the cashier if she had brought her grocery bags with her. Startled, she said, “No, I didn’t.” The cashier then informed her that she needed to think ‘green’ and she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. 

“The poor woman just wanted to get her groceries bagged and paid for. She was bewildered. She looked at him, apologized and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
“The clerk responded,  "That's the whole problem today. Former generations weren’t concerned about the future and didn’t care about saving our environment. We’ve got to change that."

Well, this fellow was rather shortsighted (an affliction of the young). On the one hand, of course, he was right. Things do need to change. We live in a throw-away society. Consumerism is out of control.

But then again, he was also very wrong.  Our generation was green before green was cool. Oh, we didn't have a national green campaign going. But make no mistake about it — we were ‘green.’

Back in the day, our milk and dairy products were in re-usable glass bottles. Glass, not plastic. At my house they were delivered early in the morning fresh from Adohr Farms. When finished, we returned the containers to the milkman. He took them back to the plant where they were washed, sterilized and refilled for us to enjoy another day.

Soda bottles and beer bottles were returned to the store for the same purpose. Deposits were paid and refunded with the return of each container. The same bottles were used over and over; more than material recycling. In 1959, a soda pop bottle made about 21 trips through the refilling system. That doesn’t happen anymore.

Yeah, we were green but people have forgotten.

In the kitchen, mother and grandmother wore aprons and used wooden spoons to mix and stir most baked goods by hand — no electric mixers. They grew and canned fresh fruits and vegetables in grandpa’s Victory Garden and they re-used the jars the next year. And those aprons? They wore them to keep their dresses clean (no jeans!) and cut down on laundry costs.

Grandmother loved to sew and she made almost all of our clothes. Fabric was inexpensive and patterns were cheap. The scraps made doll clothes and pot holders. She made my senior prom dress out of green taffeta and I was styling! Grandmother’s labor was priceless.
In our day, we walked up stairs, down stairs, to and from school.  Most stores and office buildings didn't have an escalator. Weekends, my girlfriend and I rode our bikes down the hill (a couple of miles) to sit and giggle in the neighborhood drugstore soda fountain over a 6-ounce Coca Cola. Then we headed home again to help with dinner.

Later, when we married and had babies they wore cloth diapers like the generations before them. All of their diapers and our clothes were washed and hung to dry on a clothesline because we didn’t have a dryer. It was labor intensive but we didn’t fill up the landfills with plastic that doesn’t decompose.

Now let me tell you, I was thrilled when we could finally afford a clothes dryer. But for many years, ours was a very average but green household. We had one car, no garbage disposal, no dishwasher and no freezer. We got along fine. And didn’t worry about the electric bill.

Looking back, I suppose that our parents were still living with a Depression mentality. We made do with what we had, or we did  without it. Tin foil was wiped clean and plastic bags washed and reused. Very little was thrown away.

The new television invention of the 1940s would not be recognizable today. Initially there was one per household with a small screen the size of a handkerchief. The picture was fuzzy and the sound worse. But we were enthralled. Today the screens have a designated wall and the sound system will run you out of the house (and money).

We didn’t have that green thing but we could afford what we bought.

Back then, no one exercised at a health club. We got our exercise the old-fashioned way. Mom scrubbed clothes on a washboard. Dad and the boys mowed the lawn with a people-powered push mower.  We kids exercised on roller skates, bikes, played hide ‘n seek after dark and ran up the street to see our friends several times a day.

We were healthy but we didn’t have that ‘green thing’ back then.

We drank from a public water fountain when we were thirsty (no plastic bottles). We refilled our writing pens with ink (no ballpoint pens) and we replaced the dull blades in a razor not the entire razor.

By today’s standards, our lives were simple. We did fine with one telephone per household, a record player and one bathroom for the whole family, We survived without CNN, the Golden Arches, iPods and Oprah. We did not find it a burden to care about our environment or each other. Hard work was not a burden. It was our reward.

What happened? You and I didn’t change. The system did. Drinking fountains were turned off. Everything edible and inedible was encased in plastic. Our clothes come from China along with disposable telephones and machinery parts.

‘Disposable’ is the operative word now but living green is as natural to us old-timers as breathing. Spread the word!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

Meaty Summer Salads

7/13/11 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

It's summertime and the cooking is easy! Outdoor grilling means that we eat lighter fare that is easy to prepare and good for us at the same time. And at least a couple of times a week I plan some kind of main dish salad that fills us up but not out!
Taco salad is a favorite of almost everyone in our family. And it can be easily made using leftover (or even canned) chili. Sometimes I make taco shells to house the salad and sometimes not. Often, I put together a plate of salad greens, and top it with a simple ground meat and chili bean mixture. Then I let everyone choose his or her choice of garnishes: cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado or salsa. Corn chips are the final touch.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a great meat to have on hand for quick meals. And grilled chicken goes well with most kinds of salads. It’s great for topping off a Caesar, Asian Chicken or Cobb salad. It takes a little planning but marinating it for several hours in your choice of dressing really makes a flavorful difference. It can then be cooked on the grill or even roasted in the oven.

Chinese Chicken Salad is another favorite of mine. Finding the right balance of ingredients for dressing the ingredients is my biggest challenge. There are many sweet and tangy recipes to choose from but I still haven’t found one to my liking so sometimes I cheat and use a bottled poppy seed dressing.

Seafood salads are also very tasty. They’re a little spendy but if you watch the sales, you can pick up bags of nice frozen shrimp for a reasonable price. They are especially pretty threaded on a skewer, grilled and placed atop your greens. The recipe below calls for a bottled dressing and swordfish along with shrimp but you can substitute any grilled firm white fish.

Try one or try all of these this week and enjoy!


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
1 cup garlic croutons

In large bag, combine chicken and 1/4 cup salad dressing. Seal bag, turn to coat, and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

Combine lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and cheese in large bowl and refrigerate

When ready to eat, remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade, and grill chicken 4-6 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken from grill and slice crosswise.

Place on top of salad mixture. Top with croutons and drizzle with 1/2 cup salad dressing. Serve immediately. 4 servings


1/4 cup soy sauce (low-sodium), divided
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly shredded (about 6 cups)
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 2 cups)
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1/2 cup)
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
1 can Chinese fried noodles
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges in water, drained
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Prepare dressing in advance:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and brush onto chicken breasts. Grill or arrange in a baking dish and bake until juices run clear, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely, and cut into 1/4-inch slices.

In a large bowl, combine Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, scallions, water chestnuts, Mandarin orange and sliced chicken.

Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, brown sugar and chili sauce. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Divide among bowls and top each serving with 2 teaspoons toasted almonds


4 cups leftover chili or canned chili (season with cumin)
Pre-made tostada or taco salad shells OR 4 cups corn chips
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
4 cups torn green lettuce

2 cups shredded Cheddar or Cojack cheese
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
Fresh chopped cilantro
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa

In medium saucepan, heat leftover or canned chili until bubbling. Heat tostada shells as directed on package. Pile lettuce in each heated shell and top with hot chili. Top with remaining ingredients as desired. Serves 4

Grilled Seafood Salad

12 raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. swordfish steaks
1 bulb fennel, cut into wedges
10 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup honey Dijon mustard vinaigrette (divided)
1 cup garlic croutons

Place shrimp and swordfish in a heavy duty plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette (which then becomes a marinade), and mix to coat. Seal bag, place in glass dish and in refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Prepare and heat grill. Remove shrimp and fish from marinade, reserving marinade. Place swordfish and fennel on grill 5-6" from coals. Cover and grill for 5 minutes. Brush with marinade. Add shrimp to grill. Cover and grill 5 minutes longer, turning and brushing fish, shrimp and fennel with marinade 2-3 times, until shrimp are pink and fish flakes easily with fork. Discard any remaining marinade.

Arrange salad greens on platter. Cut fish into bite sized pieces. Top greens with fish, shrimp, fennel, red onion, and tomatoes. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Serves 6

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal!
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Independence Day in the USA

6/29/11 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser
Independence Day in the USA

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, 
that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable Rights, 
that among these are Life, Liberty 
and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence, the most important document in American history, begins with the above words. On July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress approved the document, the original 13 colonies embarked on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. Government, as the world knew it, was forever changed.

But that was 235 years ago. A lot has happened since then. So, today, I thought it would be a good idea to jog our historical memories with a short timeline and some trivia. Let’s look back at some events of the past that made us who we are and take a minute to savor all that we know about what we are celebrating.

First, it’s important to remember that the road to independence from England was a journey not a single event.

There were three sides in the colonist’s war for freedom against England: About 1/3 of the colonists were Patriots who wanted Independence. Another third were called Loyalists or Tories. They wanted to remain English and loyal to King George III. The remainder of the colonists were neutral.

The Colonists were an independent bunch and they had no say in the decisions of English Parliament over their affairs. Their major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. Sound familiar?

In May 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. That June, after many meetings, they decided that their efforts at reconciliation were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. On June 28, 1776, Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress.

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not all sign the document at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it, nearly a month after the initial event. Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January 1777.

The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.

Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.

Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. That same day, the Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, looking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The final battle of the American Revolutionary War was the Battle of Yorktown, 1781. Gen. George Washington’s resounding defeat of Lord Cornwallis’s British army caused the British to surrender and ended the war, five years after independence was declared.

The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804. The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.

And here’s an interesting piece of trivia: The Fourth of July was traditionally the most miserable day of the year for horses. They were tormented by all the noise from boys and girls who threw firecrackers at them! Some things never change.

The origin of Uncle Sam probably began in 1812, when Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who provided meat to the US Army. The meat shipments were stamped with the initials, U.S. Someone joked that the initials stood for “Uncle Sam”. This joke eventually led to the idea of Uncle Sam symbolizing the United States government.

On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson declined an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote. Both Jefferson and John Adams died that Independence Day, July 4, 1826.

In 1941, Congress declared the 4th of July a federal legal holiday. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.

Nationwide, there are 30 towns with “liberty” in their name. Liberty, Missouri (26,232) boasts the highest population of the 30 at 26,232. Iowa has more of these places than any other state at four: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these (113,288 residents) is Independence, Missouri, former home of President Harry S. Truman, and now part of the National Park System. The town is also home to the Truman Presidential Library and Museum.

Five places around the country have adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, California, with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these. There is one place named “patriot” — Patriot, Indiana, with a population of 202.

And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents.

Today, this most important of American holidays is traditionally celebrated with parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country. Now that you’re armed with some facts and trivia, share it with your friends and neighbors to really celebrate the day.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.