Falconer’s ‘Sunshine’ Always Finds A Silver Lining
After Cindy Lees had a serious accident as a teen that left her body altered, she has overcome and is a vibrant, happy, productive adult. The accident happened when she was 15 years old after she and a group of friends met at a park. One of the friends showed up with his father’s van. Cindy cannot remember how many, but knows that some of the teenagers climbed onto the roof of the vehicle, including her. She had her radio to her ear and did not hear the driver when he told the group to move off of the roof, because he was going to move the van.
“I love music and that is why I had the radio up to my ear when I had the accident.”
She fell from the roof, fracturing her skull in two places. The young girl was hospitalized from mid-October until sometime in January and was unconscious during much of her hospitalization.
“My right side was paralyzed, but God put me all back together again. Yay!”
After returning to school, she attended the morning session and was tutored at her home in the afternoons. She was permitted to skip one year of high school since she had enough credits enabling her to graduate with her Class of 1970.
“I got a standing ovation.”
The injury caused plans for her future to change. Originally she had thought she would teach English in Spain.
“I really enjoyed Spanish and thought I was doing very well with the language, but God had other plans.”
She feels she has gradually gotten better over the years and is very thankful for her blessings.
“It’s a long, slow process, but I’m getting there.”
The Falconer resident went to Jamestown Community College in 1975 and to Houghton College from 1979 to 1982, where she earned a BA in psychology.
“I was 25 and I felt like a den mother,” she says of her years at Houghton.
Over the years she has volunteered at the Audubon Society and at a children’s and adult day care, where she remained for ten years. She served as an ombudsman at Heritage Park Skilled Nursing Facility.
“I love to write. When I lived at home and at my last apartment I used to write a lot, but the last time I wrote a poem was after 9-11.”
She believes God gave her words to the following poem:
America’s Been Shaken
America’s been shaken,
But our God’s still in control.
With so many loved ones taken,
Pain goes far beyond the soul,
past the mind, will and emotions,
to the center of the heart.
How to find a new beginning,
How to make a brand new start,
is the question of ten thousand.
When they see the wreckage left,
when they feel the loss of many,
it’s America bereft.
A plot planned to divide us,
had the opposite effect.
We have finally come together,
and our pathway is direct.
Unsaved recognize your Father!
Never turn away again!
He’s the answer to each question,
and knows right where to begin.
She has written several short stories, but could not generate interest, so she self-published. Some of the books were sold and some were given away.
“I like to watch Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer. I feel I have come to know God a lot more and have learned to trust Him for everything. I love to sew, but when I moved in here it was too small so I sold my (sewing) machine. I’ve sewed a blazer, a skirt, slacks and a dress.”
She speaks of a peach-colored A-line dress and a three-tiered skirt she once made. She tells about how she loves calico material.”
“One of the most important things to me is making people happy. I like having people enjoy being with me. Cindy means light. Some people call me Sunshine and when they do I say I am living up to my name. I received a card from my pastor’s wife with a note that said ‘When I think of you, I can’t keep from smiling.'”
She tells about her life growing up in a loving family on Jamestown’s west side. Her mother is Barbara Anderson who now resides in West Ellicott.
“I love to cook and feed people. My mom comes every Sunday for lunch. I started cooking when I was at Houghton College. They were selling cook books and I said to myself, ‘Self, if I’m going to cook, I’m going to have to teach myself.'”
She follows recipes and can’t understand the people who can’t follow them, but admits after trying to bake every kind of cookie recipe, she gave up on baking. Having guests for dinner is a favorite past time with her. Weekly lunch guests are the norm. It was not unusual to host 4-5 people for lunch when she had more room and a larger table at her previous residence.
The happy, upbeat woman reminisces of times when she entertained on Thanksgiving Day. Once after buying several ingredients to make lasagna for a dinner guest, her freshly baked lasagna slid onto the floor, because the oven rack was not property installed. When she told her male guest that she had scooped up what she could save, the man said, “It was delicious with the touch of carpet.”
She has contributed some of her favorite recipes, including two for quiche.
“I like to make quiche.”
The Shrimp and Macaroni Salad recipe was given to her by her step-father’s sister and her pastor’s wife sent her the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole.
“My mother and I went to a neighbor’s picnic one summer and she had the corn pudding and we really loved it and got the recipe. It is really simple to make. My grandma gave the Sloppy Joe recipe to my mom and my mom gave it to me. It’s the only Sloppy Joe we know. It is the best in the world.”
1 lb ground beef
1 can chicken gumbo soup
2 T mustard
2 T ketchup
Cook and drain beef. Stir in soup, ketchup and mustard. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Serve, open or closed, on hamburger rolls.
1 can cream-style corn
2 beaten eggs
1 ¢ T flour
1 c evaporated milk
3 T sugar
Combine in bowl. Pour into buttered casserole dish and top with small butter pieces. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Shrimp and Macaroni Salad
1 c of uncooked macaroni
§ – 1 c mayonnaise
3 T Catalina dressing
salt and pepper
¢lb cooked shrimp
Cook macaroni. Drain and rinse in cold water. Combine mayonnaise, dressing, salt and pepper, Stir in macaroni. Thin with a little milk, if necessary. Fold in shrimp. Refrigerate. Serves 3-4 people
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 c cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
§ c brown sugar
¢ c milk
1/3 c melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans
¢ c flour
1/3 c melted butter
¢ c – 1 c coconut, optional
Combine potatoes, brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and eggs. Pour into 8“x 12” buttered dish. Combine 1 cup brown sugar, pecans, flour, butter and coconut with a fork or your hands. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
1 unbaked pie crust
3 T onion
2 T margarine
1-10 oz. pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
™ c Parmesan cheese
4oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
4 T flour
1 c half and half
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
™ tsp marjoram
™ tsp basil
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Saute onion in margarine. Combine spinach, cheeses and flour in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix half and half, eggs, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Stir in onion. Pour into spinach mixture into crust, followed by Egg mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
Deep Dish Crab Quiche
1 deep dish crust
5 ¢ oz can crab meat, drained and flaked
1 c shredded Swiss cheese
¢ c grated parmesan cheese
3 T flour
1 ¢ c milk
™ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Pre-heat oven and cookie sheet to 425 degrees. Toss together cheese and flour. Combine milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add crab, cheese mixture and spinach to milk mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake on pre-heated cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30-35 minutes. Serves 6.