Marlene Stapelton

Role in Story: Eugene’s wife, Tom’s mother, Sam’s Grandmother
Occupation: Homemaker/Farm wife

“A balanced diet is a biscuit in one hand and a gravy ladle in the other.” -Marlene Stapelton

I have never met a kitchen I couldn’t conquer nor a feller I couldn’t charm with a batch of my hot cinnamon rolls or a perfectly glazed ham. I know this is a super power that some women like my self have. Coupled with a little magic spell book of secret family recipes I sometimes even surprise myself.

Now we are far from it, but lets make a ‘Billionaire Salad’.

I think even a young college student could figure this one out. My young grandson Mackey said this would be good for progressive marijuana smokers too who get these ‘munchies’.

1 can pie filling                                      1 sm. tub Cool Whip

1 can pineapple chunks, drained      1 C. miniature marshmallows

1 can Eagle brand milk                       1 C. nuts

Mix and put in refrigerator overnight. This can be frozen. Now wasn’t that easy?

Here is a recipe for anyone who has to feed a lot of kids, or maybe a hungry farm crew coming in for the evening.

How about a Potato-Pork Chop -Corn Bake? 350 degrees, 40 minutes 6 servings

6 lean pork chops

5 c. thinly sliced raw potatoes

1-1 lb. can cream style corn

3/4. milk

1/4 c. chopped onion, celery

salt and pepper to taste

handful of rolled cracker crumbs

Brown pork chops; place in well-greased 2-quart casserole. Put potatoes on top of meat. mix corn, milk, onion, celery, seasoning well. pour over meat and potatoes; spread a few cracker crumbs on top. Bake.

You will get the hang of it. Distract and attack with a belly full of comfort food to fuel the troops and reinforce your relationships. It is always important to gather around the table together and connect no matter what is being served. In our home our meals are taken together so that we can reach out and share, laugh, hope and dream as a family. We have suffered great losses and it has only been around that well-worn wooden table that I have managed to survive and find hope in those tragedies. I have cried with friends as we ate pie and reminisced my sons lives. I have thrown plates of food against the walls of the kitchen with rage and then collapsed into the supportive arms of my husband and grandson as I struggled to understand my pain. I have made hundreds of christmas cookies and cakes for school parties and church events, funerals, and weddings on that old table. There is as much life in that table and kitchen as there is in me. I am so thankful for my home and for the sacrifices my sons made for this country so that I can sit at that table with my family and enjoy our supper.


Favorite food: “Well I don’t eat it as much as I love to cook it. My favorite meal to prepare is a turkey, sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, and lots of pie. That would be a typical Friday around here, why wait for Thanksgiving?”

Favorite weapon: “Oh geez, I don’t need a weapon when I have Eugene and Sam around. I do sometimes have to get out the shot gun and shoo off the coyotes. I don’t know what kind it is, a 12 something or other.”

Relaxation: “I try not to do that too much. I like to stay busy. Two of my sons were killed, if you stop for too long, you have to think about that.”

Favorite movies: “I don’t want to admit it but I think Bridges of Madison County is my favorite, not that I would want some stranger showing up at my farm and frisking me like that….well it was just a movie, and Clint Eastwood is a good actor. Plus I liked her kitchen.”

Favorite music: “People are generally surprised by my modern taste for music. I may seem old and conservative; but put a good Barbara Streisand or Anne Murray tape on and I am dancing up a storm.”

For Survivors Helping Survivors Heal Click Here to visit the TAPS website and get connected. (from the TAPS ‘About Us page: TAPS offers help, hope, and healing to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in America’s Armed Forces.)