Gunsmoke

 
In 1955 CBS introduced a western called Gunsmoke to its weekly format which not only immediately took television audiences by storm , but also quickly became one of the network’s highest rated television programs . Miss Kitty, Doc, Festus and  Marshall Matt Dillon, along with the regular townsfolk of Dodge City, Kansas, kept people entertained and faithfully watching for a gratifying twenty long years. The show was staged in the early 1870’s and portrayed a small frontier town where most men carried a gun , the streets were made of boards and dirt, women were always seen in long dresses, and the local gathering place was The Longbranch Saloon.  My grandfather watched this western each week and if you visited him on the particular night that Gunsmoke was on it then became a part of your entertainment for the evening as well. I liked it then and I like it now. Each evening at a prompt 7:05 p.m. an episode of the ever- popular series is shown on Encore’s western channel. I hardly ever miss it. The attraction is  partly due to nostalgic reasons, I suppose ,however, I still find it very entertaining. It takes me  to a different time and allows me an escape from the hustle and bustle of our rat race world. Times were slow paced and senselessness was not tolerated ( or at least not for very long). Some of the later episodes that aired were in color, but strangely enough, I prefer the ones in black and white. 
In the  episode that was aired this evening a trouble making cowboy graced the doors of the Longbranch, and after a few displays of some very damaging shenanigans Matt soon took his gun and ordered him to be out of town in the morning. That’s what they did when anyone started trouble in the little town of Dodge City. They kicked you out of town and took your gun until it was time for you to leave. No gathering of the head honchos, no voting on whether or not the stranger had “rights”,  just a good strong nudging and pick your gun up on the way out! Who needs troublemakers anyway? I won’t go into what happens when the cowboy doesn’t follow instructions very well. It was a simpler time when the marshal ruled and the bad guy knew the consequences. Plain and simple.
Sometimes judges were called upon but they only came around every few months so usually  enforcing the law and making the decisions was entirely on the shoulders of the local marshall or sheriff. And I might add that dinner at the cafe was 10 cents, children got a “whupping” for acting up, and the local doctor was often paid in live chickens or whatever fresh vegetables were available from a patient’s garden.
Would I like to go to that era? Absolutely not.. I hate the thought of all men  being allowed to carry a gun on their hip( not all are as wise and level headed as Marshall Dillon.) Nor getting my drinking water from a well out back in a huge wooden bucket or hanging my clothes on a line dripping wet over a grassless, bare and dusty lawn. I am quite satisfied, thank you very much, with settling myself in front of my television and watching Matt and Kitty flirting but never touching, Doc and Festus arguing over another game of checkers and the bad guy locked up in jail .
Time for a commercial. How about a snack?
 
Cowboy Coffee Cake
 
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter or shortening ( I like butter) 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
 
Combine flour, sugar, salt& shortening- mix until crumbly.
Reserve 1/2 cup of crumbs.
To remaining crumbs add baking powder, soda& spices- mix thoroughly.
Add milk& eggs- mix well.
Pour into 2 greased& floured 8x8x2″ baking pans.
Sprinkle with reserved crumbs, nuts& cinnamon to taste
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes 
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Torture of an Orange Juice Can

 
When I was a teenager there were four basic things that I needed to make my hair look good. A comb, a brush, LOTS of hair spray and brush rollers. If you are under the age of 45 and have never had the “wonderful” privilege of sleeping on brush rollers, then you haven’t lived. Well, maybe you have lived, but you haven’t experienced one of the greatest of all self-inflicted pains. It wasn’t fun, so I won’t try to kid you. The rollers came in different sizes ( for a tight curl or a loose curl) and you would wind each small section of wet hair around them, then secure that roller with a small plastic pick down through the center until it hit your scalp and the brush roller became unmovable. (I promise I am telling you the truth!) Then you slept on them, or at least tried to. I can remember rolling my hair every evening and at bedtime propping my head upon pillows, and even leaning my head over the side of the bed a little, to find the best position to be able to get some sleep. Some nights I had a very hard time finding that position. In the daytime it was not uncommon to see a woman with a head full of brush rollers covered by a colorful scarf as she made a quick trip to the store or post office. Ladies of the older generation, you know exactly what I am talking about.
 
I can remember my grandmother having my aunts curl her hair when she got older and couldn’t do it herself. They would wet her head and then take small sections of her hair and curl it into a circle and lay it close to her head securing with 2 crossed bobbie pins. No brush roller or anything hard and plastic to be troubled by, but nevertheless still a tad bit uncomfortable. Oh the things we girls did to be gorgeous! 
 
I went through this process of winding and securing these brush rollers each and every night throughout the school year, and  I attended church every Sunday, so Friday nights were the only nights that I got to sleep ” plastic pick and wire brush” free. Can you imagine?  A couple of years after graduation from high school and beginning my marriage I tried a new method that I  had seen in a magazine. Women were using emptied frozen orange juice cans for a non-curly, full, bouncy look. This idea was not successful for me because my hair wasn’t long enough to go several times around the can, and the follicles were thin, so I had a difficult time securing my hair around the can. The larger 4 inch bobbie pins did not work and after much meditation and experimentation I ended up purchasing a bag of spring loaded  clip clothes pins. This would be the solution, or so I thought. I must tell you that these clothes pins were very successful in two explicite ways. 1.) It was impossible to lay your head on a pillow without the clothes pins springing off and 2.) The sight of me ( according to my new husband) gave him the best laugh he had ever had in his life. The following Christmas he bought me my first hot rollers, and they were my salvation!!!!
They say that Lady Gaga uses coke cans, but I researched  her and she empties the can, yet leaves the ends of the can intact. She needs to take those ends out and go to the dollar store and buy some clip clothes pins. I really don’t think anyone would be “freaked out” by the sight of her in them . Maybe I will write her an e-mail with the suggestion.
 
Since many of you will be headed out to buy those orange juice cans, I thought a recipe for a delicious orange nut bread might be in order.
 
Orange Nut Bread
 
•1 cup orange juice ( plus 1 tbls.) 
•1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
 
Put orange juice in saucepan and bring to a boil. Finely chop or grind raisins and add to orange juice mixture with orange peel. Cool slightly. Stir in butter, vanilla, and egg. Add orange peel. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, soda and sugar; add to the first mixture. Beat well; stir in chopped nuts. Bake in greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan at 350° for 45 min.-55 min
Test with toothpick for doneness.
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Being Prepared

 
 
 
 
 At 4:30 P.M. last Friday I made a quick trip to the grocery store. I had been cleaning my basement and my appearance somewhat resembled that of the cleaning lady in the old Carol Burnett skits. Although I didn’t want to leave home, I had a wild desire for a nice, ice- cold glass of milk. Having more work to do when I returned, I decided that changing clothes wasn’t going to happen and instead of fixing my hair I would just throw on a hat. I wouldn’t be gone for more than twenty minutes tops, so what were the chances of running into anyone seeing me that I knew? As I drove to the grocery, I made the decision to go to one I don’t frequent all that much so my chances of being spotted would be narrowed even more. Right? Well, you’d think so, but not the case. I ran into a lady who recognized me( was I really recognizable?) and she proceeded to tell me how much she enjoyed reading my column. I was deeply appreciative and smiled as I walked away but couldn’t help wondering if she wondered where in the world they had dug me up from? I wasn’t prepared. If you think you shouldn’t go out because you look too bad, maybe you shouldn’t go out.
I had mentioned in an earlier column that one of the “rules” that saves one a lot of anguish and frustration (and possibly a few choice words) is to ALWAYS go over your recipes before starting and make sure that you have all of the ingredients. I have taught this to my granddaughters. They were here recently and before we started making some cookies they said, “Let’s make sure we have everything Mamaw.” Right! Good girls. Yesterday I decided to make an old familiar and loved recipe of a no-bake cookie, Chocolate Sams.  I put the milk, sugar, cocoa, and butter in the sauce pan and proceeded to bring it to a boil. I decided to get the rest of the ingredients out while waiting, which was peanut butter, coconut, and quick oats.Where were those quick oats? After moving everything around in my pretty-much organized cupboard there were no quick oats to be found. So, as you might have guessed, I had to run to the store, aggravated with myself for not being prepared.
Grocery shopping hasn’t been much fun for me lately. Prices, for whatever reason, (weather, economy, flooding, hurricanes,) have gone up. I understand the reasoning, but it makes shopping less enjoyable.So I have gone back to a method I used when I owned my restaurant that is practical and makes the money spent on food part of a “business” decision. Make out a weekly menu. Check your pantry for things you already have that you will need, or that you need to use up, and utilize sales. If chicken is on sale, make chicken and noodles one night and possibly a chicken stir-fry another, to use up that package of frozen veggies in your freezer.
             If ground beef is on sale, make up patties and layer between sheets of waxed paper and freeze. Much cheaper than buying already portioned patties. I gasped when I saw the price of frozen onion rings ( which my sister loves)..so I bought two whole onions and will cut my own and make a little homemade batter to dip them in. Less than half the cost!!!!! Green beans on sale? Have green beans with those chicken and noodles and then with the ones that are left over add  some cheese and a little milk along with salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Now you have a  cheesy green bean casserole to go with your pork tenderloin. There are ways to stretch your budget and still eat well, and I have found some of those ways and am willing to share. Stay tuned.
  The cookie recipe that I am sharing is for a night when you want a little dessert but don’t want the cost of extra things on your grocery list. Everything needed is probably already in your pantry. Well, maybe not the quick oats.
       
          No-Bake Chocolate Sams
 
‎2 cups sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups quick oats
2/3 cup coconut
2 heaping Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk…boil 1 minute. Add to the rest of the ingredients and drop on wax paper.Refrigerate for at least 5 hours for best results….
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Homegrown Tomatoes

 
 
 
 
 
 
Last Sunday the pastor at the church where I am attending, during a verbal illustration of the importance of love and a good root system offered this proclamation to the congregation… “ There are two things that money can’t buy. Love and home-grown tomatoes.” I laughed  along with the others but I couldn’t tell him that wasn’t exactly true.. Although it is a fact that there is nothing that can compare with a red, juicy ripe home-grown tomato,  they can be bought. While I was out and about Saturday afternoon I ran across three different places where folks had set up a table and had made a cardboard sign that said they indeed had  home-grown tomatoes for sale.
Slice those tomatoes up, add salt and pepper and serve alongside any summer menu and it’s delicious enough to make the strongest of men go weak in the knees. For years I have had tomatoes in the garden and always enough left over to can and even to give some away. Now that I no longer have room to have a vegetable garden of any size, I usually have to seek out those places that have vegetables for sale, or rely on the good nature of friends and relatives who ask if I want some.
Early this spring while visiting my daughter in Kentucky and browsing at a local garden center there, we both purchased a tomato plant. I had decided I could easily plant it in a large container and sit it on my patio and enjoy watching it grow while contemplating the taste of that  first succulent red tomato on a big ole bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
I watered, fertilized, pinched off unwanted leaves, and daily looked for any sign of a little green bulging tomato. Soon one appeared. And then another and another, and then there were five. I was in tall cotton.
I called my daughter and asked her how her plant was doing. “The plant’s doing o.k., but no tomatoes.” she said. “ None?” I replied. “ Not one.” Thank you Lord for giving me the fertile tomato plant. Do I need to feel guilty?
When we were kids a salt shaker went to the garden with us many times. Pull the tomato off the vine ( especially the cherry tomatoes) rub it around a little bit on your shirt to “clean” it, sprinkle on some salt and enjoy some good ole country  eatin‘. No need in my dad’s garden to worry about chemicals or anything hurting you. Maybe some manure in the dirt, but I wasn’t going to let it touch the ground. It would be gone soon!
My sister Mary Lou  has threatened to “harvest” these green  tomatoes when I go on a small trip soon. She loves fried green tomatoes. The one thing she doesn’t realize here is that we are not talking about acres of this wonderful vegetable, but a single plant on which I know the count and the daily progress of each one. I sure would hate to have a falling out over my entire “crop” of tomatoes.
So, is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Oxford’s Online Dictionary has this online explanation:
 
The confusion about ‘fruit’ and ‘vegetable’ arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless). Blueberries, raspberries, and oranges are true fruits, and so are many kinds of nut. Some plants have a soft part which supports the seeds and is also called a ‘fruit’, though it is not developed from the ovary: the strawberry is an example.
As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called ‘vegetables’ because they are used in savory rather than sweet cooking. The term ‘vegetable’ is more generally used of other edible parts of plants, such as cabbage leaves, celery stalks, and potato tubers, which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. Occasionally the term ‘fruit’ may be used to refer to a part of a plant which is not a fruit, but which is used in sweet cooking: rhubarb, for example.
So, the answer to the question is that a tomato is technically the fruit of the tomato plant, but it’s used as a vegetable in cooking. 
No matter what you call it, fruit or vegetable, in Madison County  there seem to be plenty of places to buy home-grown tomatoes, if you don’t happen to have them in your own garden. So head on out to that tomato patch with a salt shaker in hand.( Just make sure you have permission)
Below is just a little different take on a tomato side dish.
 
Roasted Home-grown tomatoes
 
Slice tomatoes and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Top with Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Roast 15-20 minutes
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Grandma’s Fragrance

***********************************************************************************
 
I wish that I could tell you the name of the perfume that my Grandmother Radabaugh wore if, indeed, it was perfume. Maybe it was just a powder or a fragrant oil ,but whatever it was she smelled the closest thing to heaven as I could imagine when I was growing up. A hug from her was two-folded. You were embraced with a strong and secure energy of love and you were comforted by an undeniable sweet and clean fragrance that was distinctly all hers.
Before I got too far along into this writing I decided to call my Aunt Anna Lou ( Grandma’s daughter) and  ask  what the name of the fragrance was. “ Oh Mom never wore perfume,” she said. “ She didn’t care for it. She always used Camay soap.”
Proctor and Gamble introduced Camay soap in 1926. The original packaging of the bar of soap, which many of you will recall, was a soft pink paper wrapper with the black silhouette of an elegant-looking woman on it. They attributed the success of their  product to the “clean and feminine smell of a true lady.”
Being 60, ( you can forget that number, I am only including it to show you the span of time) I can remember that distinctive fragrance as if it were yesterday. That is a long time to remember a smell. Yesterday at church one of the  a ladies who hugged me as I was leaving  smelled just like my Grandmother. I have only been attending this  church for a couple of weeks, so I didn’t think it proper to ask her what perfume she was wearing.  But I will. And it got me to thinking. So I did some research on Camay soap and found out it is now almost impossible to find in a store. I contacted Kroger, Wal-Mart and CVS, to no avail. To my delight however, I have found it can be bought online and my order is now in. If I were wealthy I would buy each and every woman who reads this column a bar of Camay soap so that you could at least,if you haven’t already,enjoy this mesmerizing smell. I can not convey its power any more in words than I could explain the beauty of a blooming pink hibiscus to a person with no sight, or the contagious giggle of a tickled baby to a person who can not hear. I guess the difference is that in most perfumes you smell what it wants you to smell like. With this wonderful Camay soap, it enhances you and makes you smell fresh, clean and memorable. Priceless.
 
I told someone recently that I felt like there were three things I have been successful with in my life. I have been a good mother, a good cook, and a good gardener. Some of my happiest times are when my daughter or son calls me up and ask me how to make something. My chest sort of puffs out a little and I willingly share my recipe and instructions. Once my son called and asked about lasagna. After giving him the recipe I said to remember and put a sheet of waxed paper down on the lasagna before you put the foil on. “ Why?” he asked.  Well, this keeps the acid that is in the tomato base from eating at the foil. (I am sure some of you have noticed those little pieces of foil on your casserole when you take it off) A hint graciously shared by a friend.
My grandmother was a success at many things. I will always fall short of her grandeur.She encouraged me, taught and loved me and was a factor in the woman I have become.  I am sharing a recipe for some good old fashioned apple crisp that will also make a delicious aroma in your kitchen while it is baking. What’s more American than apple pie? This apple crisp.
 
Country Apple Crisp
 
6 cups Granny Smith diced apples
1 T  Lemon juice
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ t ground cinnamon
¼ t. Nutmeg
1/8 t. Salt
6 T butter
1/3 cup old fashioned oats ( optional)
 
Preheat oven to 375
Toss the apples with the lemon juice then place a in 8x8x2 greased baking dish
Mix remaining ingredients until like coarse meal
Top apples with this mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.
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I Care Casserole

Before I retired there were days when I came home from work, took my shoes off ,  plopped into my easy chair and didn’t want to get up. But I knew that I had to. Especially in the days when I had children at home. Days off work were mine to claim except for supper time when  I had to feed a husband and my always hungry children. We were never a “take out” type family, so our meals were usually  something I had spent some time in the kitchen preparing. My husband was a good cook , but his hours often  were crazier than mine . So I was usually the one to plan, organize and serve supper.. Owning a restaurant we did have the luxury of eating whatever we wanted, when we wanted, but on days off or days we were closed, I cooked.
 One of my friends from church pulled up into my driveway early one Sunday afternoon, left her car running and hurried up to my door with a large casserole dish wrapped in a kitchen towel. “ I heard at church this morning that you weren’t feeling well,” she said, “ so I made your supper. It‘s ready to eat, just reheat when you want it.”  She didn’t give me a chance to feel humble, or to decline, instead she just waved her hand over her head in the air as she rushed back to her car. “ Just make sure I get my dish back. Hope you feel better.” And away she went.
The aroma from the casserole as I carried it to the kitchen was tantalizing to say the least. . As I unfolded the towel, took the aluminum wrap off  the top and revealed one of the most gorgeous “cheesy” bubbly tomato sauce dishes that I had ever seen, I realized what a precious and thoughtful friend that I was fortunate to have. Not being able to resist temptation, I retrieved  a spoon from the kitchen drawer and took a small portion from the corner of the dish. We had just made ham sandwiches a couple of hours prior for a quick lunch and this tiny bite let me know we were in for a real treat for supper. I put it in the refrigerator. Then later that evening,  after  re-heating and making  a quick salad, my family sat down to a delicious and much appreciated meal.
I wrote her a thank you note a few days later and told her the love that she  had shown us in a 9×13 baking dish really spoke more  than any words could say.
It gave me a good idea to use for years to come.
History and tradition have always offered us the opportunity to take food to help out when there is a tragedy such as a death in the family. It’s just what we do in those type of situations. But how about that senior citizen that you know who lives alone, or that neighbor that just mowed your yard, or maybe even just a friend that has had a rough week? Remembering a co-worker who helped you out at the job, or possibly for absolutely no specific reason at all other than saying, “I care.”  Gratitude, my friends, can still come in a 9×13. Here’s the recipe to help you get started.
 
I Care Casserole
 
6     10-inch burrito shells
2  lbs. Of ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion ,finely diced
1 green, yellow or red pepper, finely diced
1  cup of mushrooms
1 26.6 oz. Can of Hunt’s spaghetti sauce (with meat)
1 8 0z. Bag of mixed blend shredded cheese
1 small box of frozen spinach ( thawed and drained) optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees
In a skillet sauté  ground meat with the onion and the pepper. Drain off any excess grease. Put in bowl and add mushrooms and spinach. Take each individual burrito shell and add some of the  mixture down the center then fold two of the sides over just enough to keep mixture in, then roll up the burrito. Place all six side by side in the 9×13 baking dish.
Pour the spaghetti sauce over the top, covering all of the burritos .Sprinkle the entire package of  cheese over the top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. ( My son likes these the next day right out of the fridge, much like pizza)
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Dad’s Garden

 
 
A labor of love. That’s what they call gardening. Although it definitely is hard work to
have and maintain a garden, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
My father always put out a sizable garden every spring. Spring was when he actually put
the seeds in the ground, but winter was when he did his planning. I can remember him
sitting in his easy chair, pencil and notebook in hand, planning what he was going to
purchase and where in the garden it would go. On the end table alongside him would be a
stack of seed catalogs that he had subscribed to through the mail. He literally spent hours
of his time looking through these catalogs and tirelessly planning. As a child I never saw
the attraction of the catalogs, however I did pick them up and enjoy the pretty pictures.
What came to my mind mostly, though, when I saw Dad going through these catalogs
were not only visions of big healthy plants but also big healthy weeds, and a longhandled
hoe with me on the other end of it! I did my fair share of hoeing and pulling weeds,
but so did the others. I have to admit that it wasn’t a labor of love for me at that time but
rather a chore that my dad expected me to do. So I did. Like most every unpleasant task I
tackled as a child, I made a game out of it to make it more endurable. I pretended that I
was in a contest and I had to grow the biggest and best vegetables to win. It helped to
give the sweat and the sore back a purpose. One year Dad decided to give a huge portion
of our garden lot over to the production of potatoes. It was an enormous patch which did
very well. When the potato plants “died down “and began to turn yellow, it was then time
to dig them up. Grandpa came over with his small tractor and turned the soil, producing
an absolutely stunning amount of dirty, yet beautiful, big round potatoes. I can remember
dredging through the big clumps of overturned earth and filling a burlap bag as full as I
could carry. Mom then washed some of the potatoes with a garden hose and took them
into the house in big washtubs and buckets. The rest of the potatoes went into the truck
and into my Grandfather’s cellar, where they would keep cool and dark until we were
ready for them.
I never see a dirty potato anymore. All of mine come from the grocery, but what I would
give to feel and smell that fresh cool dirt on a homegrown potato once again!
I belong to a couple of garden clubs and there has been much talk lately, because of the
economy and the higher prices of food, of a renewed interest in vegetable gardening. It
makes sense to me. It’s hard work, but just like a child that you have raised and spent
valuable time on to ensure a good foundation, the reaping is worth the sowing.
The recipe I would like to share is a little different take on a salad than you may be used
to, but you must give it a try. It includes those wonderful and tasty potatoes.
Fresh Garden Vegetable Salad
2 medium size potatoes
1 large stalk of Romaine lettuce (you could use Iceberg)
1 large yellow sweet onion (sliced in ¼ inch slices)
1 red pepper or yellow pepper, cut in thin strips
1 large handful of snow peas (optional)
½ stalk of celery
1 cup of whole kernel corn
1 cup of feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
 
 
Boil the potatoes and let cool. Dice like you would if you were making potato salad.
Fry the corn in a skillet with butter just long enough to gently brown. Let cool.
On 2 cookie sheets place the onions, red pepper, celery, and snow peas. Drizzle with
Olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper, then oven roast at 375 degrees for at least 10 minutes
Or until they are browned just a little, but not soggy. They still should be crisp.
Tear the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and add vegetables, potatoes, corn, and feta
Cheese. Coat with your favorite dressing.
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