It was a typical summer day in southern Kansas—hot and dry and windy. Jerri’s oldest brother and his wife live a couple of miles west of a small city with a beautiful view of the Gyp Hills. On that day, Theron was 225 miles away at a bank meeting and Phyllis was home with three of their four daughters. The oldest daughter, Lynne, had driven the old Hudson to her job.
People in Kansas are alert for severe weather. When Phyllis heard the tornado warning, she herded the three girls into the basement. After the four of them were safely underground, she remembered the puppies upstairs and started to go back up to get them.
“There’s not much you can do except follow tornado precaution instructions and pray,” she said, explaining why she stopped at the foot of the steps. At that moment the cellar door blew off and “things got exciting.”
Lynne heard about the storm and headed home. Her fears of what might have happened intensified when she found the road blocked by a tree about a half mile from their house. A neighbor came along and managed to get around the tree and take her home.
When Phyllis and the girls climbed out of the basement, they first saw that their seventy foot tall antenna tower had been bent and blown over a building behind the house and that equipment and feed bunks were scattered across the yard and destroyed. Walking around the house, they saw that the top half of the big cedar tree in the front yard was gone.
Debris was everywhere, but at least their house was only slightly damaged. The house belonging to Mrs. Bauman, their neighbor across the road, had been blown four inches off its foundation.
As they surveyed the mess, four-year-old Leslie announced, “This never would have happened if daddy had been home.”
The whole family, especially Theron, loves the story. No one was hurt, the puppies survived and Theron’s old pickup didn’t even get scratched.
I don’t know whether they had electricity after the storm, but I’m sure Phyllis managed to put a good supper on the table. She might have made her Bar-B-Que Burgers which she could cook outside on the grill.
Many years ago, Lynne compiled The Krehbiel Family Cookbook to preserve some of the recipes and wisdom she and her siblings learned while growing up. Most of the recipes are from Phyllis, but a few originated with Theron and some were contributed by the girls themselves.
Phyllis found the recipe for Bar-B-Que Burgers in a Carnation milk advertisement. You can find an ad with the recipe here. Lynne noted that this was a “a favorite hamburger, nice and moist!” It might well become one of your family favorites too.
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 large egg
2/3 cup evaporated milk
Put the meat in a large mixing bowl. Crush the crackers, making sure no pieces are bigger than a quarter inch. Peel the onion and wash the pepper. Chop both into a fine dice. Mix the salt, pepper, crackers and vegetables with the meat. Add an unbeaten egg and the milk
and stir with a mixing fork until you have a smooth meat mixture.
Divide the meat into six equal parts and form the patties. Broil them for five to seven minutes.
NOTES: You might want to use just a little more salt, but diners can add salt if they want. You can use a red or yellow bell pepper if you don’t have a green one in your refrigerator.