Laughing in the victory garden | The Enterprise
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Laughing in the victory garden

Posted on October 11, 2021


DeeAnn Rivera

DeeAnn Rivera

According to Marcus Tullius Cicero, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

I would mostly agree with this statement. But I think a healthy dose of laughter, even if it’s at yourself, needs to go with your garden and library.

Once when I was helping sign my son up for college (he was 17 when he graduated high school) the young lady checking us in took his high school diploma and looked at my son and said very excitedly, “You’re a brat!”

My son laughed and agreed. I noticed that the girl doing the intake next to us almost passed out! Her mouth was opened in shock, and she appeared scared and speechless because of her co-worker’s “brat” statement.

While my son and the “brat” accuser talked, I explained to Shocked Girl that it was OK. Military kids are referred to as brats as a term of endearment.

One of my family’s favorite stories is of me trying to sign in for a 4D ultrasound in Okinawa. Four of my friends and I were all pregnant with due dates very close together. One of the fun things we were doing was getting a picture of our incubating baby. At the time, my daughter was 16 and wanted to come with me to get the ultrasound. As I was checking in, she sat down on a couch that looked like a big, yellow hand.

I wrote my name on the sign-in sheet and a lovely young Japanese lady pointed to it and said, “Ding-Dong?”

I smiled and said, “no-no, DeeAnn.” I was hearing my daughter giggling behind me.

The lovely lady said, “Ohhhhh, yes, Ding DONG.” Now laughter was coming from the daughter at whom I refused to look.

So, I tried again, “no – not Ding Dong it’s DEE ANN.” I was sure I had enunciated clearly.

The lovely lady smiled so sweetly and said, “Ahh, yes. DING Dong.”

I was stunned that she was still getting it wrong, so I tried one more time, “No, it’s DEEEEEE ANNNNN.” I was sure we had an understanding now.

Lovely lady repeated to me, “DIIIING DONG,” and smiled.

I look over my shoulder to see my daughter howling with laughter. Not only was she laughing, but she was rolling around across the fingers of the hand couch about to fall on the floor. Tears were streaming down her face. I definitely had a witness.

The lovely lady was so confused with me looking stricken and my daughter crying and laughing that when it was time for me to go back, she just waved at us. My daughter said as we were headed to our room, “Can I call you Ding Dong?”

I replied, “Never.”

Even though the season has officially turned to autumn and Christmas decorations are starting to make appearances in stores, I am still harvesting. I have a ton of tomatoes and jalapeño peppers. I also have a couple of watermelons and too much okra. My basil is large and lush as well as other herbs like my oregano and rosemary.

Just an FYI — there are 11 more Fridays until Christmas, y’all.

Recently, my middle daughter took my prolific jalapeño peppers home with her. She is in college and was going to a tailgate party and decided to make pepper poppers. Her boyfriend was helping. She forgot to wear gloves while slicing the peppers (she had about 40 peppers to prepare) and her hands began to burn and felt like they were on fire.

She decided that yogurt was a good extinguisher and put her stinging hands into the yogurt for a bit.

After she resumed cooking, her sweet boyfriend asked, “Are you going to eat the yogurt?”

My daughter thought he was joking and said, “No, I’m not hungry.”

To which Boyfriend said, “Do you mind if I eat it?”

She was still thinking he was joking, because who would willingly eat yogurt that had jalapeño hands submerged in it? “It’s all yours,” she said.

After a few bites, Boyfriend announces, “This is spicy yogurt.”

I laughed while she retold the story and said, “I can’t believe he ate that!”

To which my daughter answered, “We’re college students, we don’t waste food — but I wouldn’t have eaten that.”

So, if you are harvesting peppers like I am, you may want to try tailgate pepper poppers. Be aware: if you haven’t cut jalapeños before, you will need to wear gloves or your hands will burn for a few days! This is a super-simple crowd pleaser that is easy and quick to make and take.

DeeAnn Rivera is a Spring Hope resident who blogs at Email her at

Tailgate Pepper Poppers


Jalapeños cut in half, seeds removed – I usually do 10, but this is great for a few or a lot. To raise the heat level, you can leave in some seeds. More seeds equal more heat!

Cream cheese, softened



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse jalapeño peppers, cut in half and remove most seeds (again, unless you like more heat, then leave more seeds in). Fill inside with cream cheese, level to the jalapeño half and wrap with half a piece of bacon. Place on a cooking sheet covered with aluminum foil (a silicone mat will work as well). Bake for 25 minutes or until bacon is browned and crispy. Don’t expect leftovers!

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