Dearly Departed Players to Host Annual Cemetery Tour This Month

Cemetery Tour

The Dearly Departed Players will host their annual cemetery tour on Sundays, Oct. 7 and 14. Tours begin promptly at 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Drew Bubser

The Dearly Departed Players will be at Dunmore Cemetery on Sunday, Oct. 7 and 14 with tours beginning promptly at 2 p.m.  Audience members should arrive early to view exhibits. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested.

Admission is free but we participants are being asked to bring a non-perishable food item as the Players are partnering with Feed-a-Friend again this year.

“We partnered with Feed-a-Friend last year and it was extremely successful,” says Julie Esty, a member of the Dearly Departed Players. “ It was wonderful to see so many people streaming through the cemetery gates and filling those food barrels.  Barrels will be at the cemetery gates before the tour. “

This year the tour was the recipient of a small Lackawanna County Arts and Culture grant, thus the Players will incorporate a few people from the past who are buried in other cemeteries throughout the county.  While the tour is mainly Dunmore Cemetery residents — there are two or three from other cemeteries who have very interesting stories to tell.

According to Esty, “Reoccurring themes on the tour this year are some warnings — things we need to be mindful of today.  Those warnings, or life lessons, are regarding both good and bad things.

“The other theme is that this has all happened before.  We think that we are dealing with things that are new, but that’s not the case at all. It’s all happened before. The people from the past made it through things and we will too. Our people from the past will be sharing incidents and experiences with the people of today.”  

Also in the spotlight the Scranton Public Library’s Scranton Reads.  War of the Worlds is the reading selection this year, so a scene has been dedicated to that event.  

The Players also partnered with Scranton Films, a group of young filmmakers.  

happie“They’ve been with us in the cemetery during rehearsals and they’re doing some fun things in the way of video with the Dearly Departed Players,” says Mrs. Esty That will be represented before the tour.

“The Dearly Departed Players are very excited to be back at it again in the cemetery.  Rehearsals started in July and we’re hardly waiting for October. Last year we were again recipients of Happenings Magazine Happie Award for Best History-Centered Event,” says Julie.

“The crowds — and the distance people are traveling to attend the event — are amazing.  People are joining us from all over the country. Last year we also made the County’s list of Top Five Things to do in the Lackawanna Valley. It’s quite the event. “

Cheryl’s Cuisine: October 2018

butternut-squashLeaves are falling.  There’s a nip in the night air.  It’s getting dark earlier and earlier….all signs of autumn.  

With the changing of seasons, so do our menus need tweaking.  The grill will be replaced by the oven, which also helps to heat our kitchens on chilly evenings.  We can’t avoid it…it’s here.

When you visit the farmer’s market, the summer crops have been replaced by pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash, gourds and bales of hay.   So, this month we’re looking at butternut squash.

Butternut squash is a tasty vegetable, which can be fixed in a matter of minutes in the microwave.  On busy days, I simply cut it in half lengthwise, spoon out the seeds. Pierce with a fork all around and microwave it for about seven minutes, face down on a plate.

Then I simply turn it upright, zap it again for about seven  minutes. Then I fill the cavity where I removed the seeds with butter and brown sugar.  Microwave it again for a minute or two…and there’s your vegetable.

Now, there are other ways to serve this vegetable if you are so motivated.  Here are some wonderful ways to prepare it. Think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

Butternut Cider Bisque from the Red Lion Inn:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed
5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in large pot and saute’ onion, carrot and celery until the carrot and celery are soft and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash and thyme and saute’ until all of the vegetables are coated with the oil, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and the 2 cups of cider and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 30 minutes.  

Remove from heat. Puree mixture in small batches in a blender on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Place pureed mixture into another pot and stir in cream to achieve the desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.  

Heat gently and serve. Serves 6-8.


Whipped Butternut Squash from the Red Lion Inn:

3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Chopped  fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 3 quart baking dish.  Boil squash in salted water to cover until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well. While still hot, combine squash with remaining ingredients, except parsley, in a mixing bowl.  Whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Adjust the seasonings.

Spoon squash mixture into prepared dish, cover, and bake until piping hot, about 15 minutes.  Garnish with parsley and serve. Serves 10-12.


Red Lion InnNOTE:  For those of you unfamiliar with the Red Lion Inn, it’s one of the oldest and most famous country inns in the nation.   It is located in Stockbridge, Mass. and was once home to Country Curtains, which closed last year.

Upon receiving the letter from Country Curtains that it was going out of business, I told my husband we had an emergency trip to take.  So we drove up to Stockbridge on a gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, autumn day where we had a delicious lunch.

The Inn has a huge covered porch with tables and chairs. That’s where my husband sat while I spent over three hours in the store.  Even though Country Curtains has closed, it’s a great day trip in the fall.


New England Autumn Casserole:

2 1/2 cups sliced butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 cups sliced apples
1/4 cup butter, melted
3-4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, broken up
Salt, to taste

Place a layer of squash, then a layer of apples, in a 2 quart casserole.  The squash will not cook as quickly as the apples, so slice it more thinly than the apples.  Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, nuts and salt; drizzle some over apples and squash.  

Continue alternating layers and drizzling with butter and sugar mixture until all ingredients have been used.  Dot with a bit more butter. Cover casserole and bake in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until squash and apples are tender.  Makes 4 servings.


Nutty Creamy Butternut Squash:

1 large butternut squash
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1 cup herb-seasoned bread crumbs

Red Lion Inn dining roomPeel squash and cut into 3/4″ cubes.  Boil in salted water until crisp-tender; drain and place in buttered 13x9x2″ baking dish.  Pour butter over squash. Gently fold in sour cream and fold in 1/2 cup nuts.; season with salt and pepper. 

Top with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bubbly. Cover squash with aluminum foil to reheat.  Makes 10 servings. Great as a side dish for ham, turkey, chicken or roast beef.


Butternut Squash Casserole:

5 cups shredded, peeled butternut squash
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
1 cup  raisins
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1 medium tart apple, cubed
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In large bowl, toss squash with lemon juice and peel.  Place half in a greased 11x7x2″ baking dish. Combine raisins, apricots and apple; sprinkle over squash.  In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, sour cream, cinnamon and nutmeg; spread over fruit mixture. Top with remaining squash.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until squash is tender. Makes 10-12 servings.