Susan Stamberg

For more years than I like to put in print, I've been sharing my late mother-in-law Marjorie Stamberg's delicious Thanksgiving side dish recipe with NPR listeners. (And more recently, readers like you, though this tradition was two decades old by the time NPR.org was born.)

It's become a tradition, a taste delight, and yes, at times, a source of groans and grimaces. Before I go into all that, here are the ingredients:

2 cups raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs horseradish (!!!)

My grandfathers (a tailor and a carpenter) came to America from Lithuania in the late 1800s. I've been thinking about their journeys lately, as immigrants from Central and South America dare to dream of futures here. These days, immigrants from Asia make up the largest share of new U.S. arrivals. And a Korean American artist in Los Angeles is capturing the experience of immigration in works that capture my attention and admiration.

Do you have a shrine? Religious, maybe, but not necessarily. A place where you are filled with awe?

I have several. One (you won't believe this) was the former Liberace Museum. Liberace, who died in 1987, was a fabulous musician with a collection of pianos, including one that once belonged to George Gershwin. (You must take a moment to watch this video of the understated, dignified Wladziu Valentino Liberace playing Gershwin on another piano in his collection.)

In 1939, anticipating the German invasion of Paris in World War II, designer Coco Chanel closed up shop. "This is no time for fashion," she said. And, to put it delicately, she shacked up at the Ritz with her lover — a Nazi intelligence officer.

In World War I, however, Chanel was selling hats, and kept selling them throughout that war.

Years back, a friend visited the Barnes Foundation, a wonderland of Cezannes, Matisses, and zaftig Renoir gals. After going through the galleries she observed, "All those naked women! What's with that?!"

In the Old Normal, you bought a new shirt, wore it to work and people noticed. "Oh, new blouse!" Or, "Mmmm, new shirt." These Now Normal pandemic days, working at home means wearing the same thing (in my case an old T-shirt and ancient huge blue shorts that are fitting better day after imprisonment day). The only thing people comment on when you go out — if you go out — is your face mask. And if the comment is positive, they can't even see you smile.

Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the towering figures of the 20th century: A five-star general, he led the D-Day invasion and helped defeat the Nazis. A two-term president, he brought stability to postwar America.

Since his death in 1969, memories of the man called Ike have faded. But this week, the dedication of an Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., will bring him vividly back to mind.

This memorial is not like any other presidential monument in Washington. No sky-piercing white obelisk (George Washington), no massive, looming statue (Abraham Lincoln.)

I begged her. But Ann Hoenigswald was resolute. The National Gallery of Art's Senior Conservator of Paintings (now retired) is a dedicated museum professional. Also she knew I'd blab it to everyone. So, firmly and very sweetly, she smiled and said, "No."

A guy in his 30s, handsome behind his mask (this is pre-pandemic), carries a chisel, drills, jigsaws, sometimes explosives, and walks up to a dilapidated wall. Looks like trouble. What's going on? Is he on a march toward destruction? Yup. Sorta. About to create graffiti? Nope. Make something beautiful? Yup.

I'm a New Yorker. Trees in Manhattan grow with little metal fences around their bottoms. So I didn't learn about lying under trees until I had a backyard in Washington, D.C. That delay surely stunted my growth. But this tree, at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb., has recuperative powers for anything that ails you.

Click the video below and watch what happens when the tree moves. (Just watch. Turn off the sound. I'll tell you what the curator says after you ... just ... look.)

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