NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Make a Wish – It Is National Plum Pudding Day

Posted on February 12, 2017


From National Day Calendar.

By Jacqueline Bennett


A message from National Day Calendar declaring today – February 12 – as National Plum Pudding Day was waiting in my e-mail inbox this morning. Immediately I thought of a post I had written which featured my Great-Grandmother Reeve’s recipe for Plum Pudding. That post was part of my Mom’s Recipe Box Family Series from two years ago.


Here’s the link to that story


Photo from the Food Network.

Photo from the Food Network.


As is true of so many recipes they represent much more. In this case, my great- grandmother’s plum pudding recipe provides a direct connection to the Bennett’s English heritage, which was talked about among the family over the years as we poured through old family photo albums, and has since been traced by one of my nephews. In fact, among my mother’s nicknames for my father was “Johnnybull” – once a “personification” of the United Kingdom that became a moniker for the English.


I recall when I was a child, Plum Pudding was always served as a dessert at Christmas – it is known too as Christmas Pudding or Plum Duff, notes National Day Calendar. Though I must admit I did not try it. As a youngster, the dark, thick cake chockfull of dried fruit did not appeal to me. About the only appealing aspect was the white frosting drizzled on top – but that was not enough to get me to indulge. Now, I wish I had tasted the recipe as prepared by elder family members, who have since passed.


In researching Plum Pudding, I discovered it dates back to 17th Century England and Ireland and was brought to American shores by British emigrants. An especially fun discovery is that there are superstitions associated with this dessert. My favorite is a version of one reiterated by National Day Calendar …

In England traditionally every person in the home holds onto the wooden spoon together to help stir the batter. While they are stirring they also have to make a wish.”


Who would not want another chance to make a dream come true? So why not adapt this superstition and make a wish today – after all, it is National Plum Pudding Day!

Winter Storm Chris To Drop Up To 18″- Precedes Snow Moon

Posted on February 9, 2017


Snow from Winter Storm Chris began falling around 6 a.m. in suburban Hartford, CT leaving a gentle coating.

005By Jacqueline Bennett


Anyone who thought Connecticut might escape the winter of 2017 without a major snowstorm was wrong. A so-called “nor’easter” named Winter Storm Chris is upon us and is expected to drop between 10 to 18 inches across the state by nightfall.


Snow got underway around 6 a.m. this morning in suburbs just outside of Hartford. An hour later, what had been a gentle coating showed rapid accumulation.


Gov. Dannel Malloy had already partially opened State Emergency Operations then provided an update at a 9 a.m. televised press conference. As of last report to him, Malloy said Connecticut State Police had responded to 200 calls and of those 30 were accidents, a few had minor injuries but none involved fatalities. The state has some 634 plow trucks on tap and 700 National Guard men and women who stand ready to help if necessary, Malloy said. Municipalities as well have their own trucks, plus contractors. On Wednesday Malloy had put 1st and 2nd shift non essential state employees on notice not to report for work Thursday, January 9. He noted some other large employers followed suit.


“I think everyone did the right thing,” he added.


That will likely keep high numbers of travelers off the roads, Malloy said. However, stores like delis and convenience stores have remained opened, he noted. The governor said too he is keeping in touch with surrounding states – so far none have closed roads. Heavy snow is expected to taper off around 2 p.m.

By 7:00 a.m the sky remained misty and rapid snowfall was accumulating.

By 7:00 a.m the sky remained misty and rapid snowfall was accumulating.


Eversource and United Illuminating, Connecticut’s two major electrical utilities, have their teams ready for response in case of power outages. The larger of the two, Eversource, is said to have 99 response crews and 44 trees crews available. Because very cold temperatures – single digits brought to below zero by the wind chill factor – are anticipated to arrive with the evening, “cold weather protocol” has been put into place, the governor stated. That means officials will be visiting places where the homeless are known to congregate in order to bring them indoors.


In addition to snow and wind, the state is experiencing thunder snow.


“I’ve seen it myself on the Hartford/West Hartford line,” Malloy said.


Although Winter Storm Chris is a major storm, said Malloy, it is not expected to bring amounts like 30 inches of snow. The governor pointed out he had dealt with such excessive high snowfall in the past.


Schools began posting closings last night. The University of Connecticut today cancelled classes on campuses in Avery Point, Greater Hartford, at the School of Law, in Stamford, Storrs and Waterbury. For information about UConn Health classes call 860-679-2001. Heads of public works departments throughout the state were advising it would be best for those who do not have to drive today to stay home, and for those who must, to exercise caution.

At 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m.

At 9 a.m.

At 9 a.m.



The NBC Connecticut weather team is reporting snowfall will be heavy at times accompanied by strong winds from 15 to 40 MPH which could impact travel and public transportation. Accumulation amounts will likely vary in different parts of the state.


Meanwhile, the snow has to be great news for Connecticut’s ski areas. Mount Southington, Ski Sundown in New Hartford, Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, and Powder Ridge in Middlefield are all reportedly open today.


Interestingly, this “major storm” comes one day before the February Snow Moon tomorrow night. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the February full moon was named a “Snow Moon” by American Indians/Native Americans because although January tended to be the coldest of winter moons, February tended to be the snowiest. In fact, look for what an online source describes as an “unusual celestial trifecta” in the night sky on February 10, 2017 – a Snow Moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse and a comet.


Historic Victory for Tom Brady, Patriots & Super Bowl Return to Sadler’s Ordinary

Posted on February 6, 2017


Tom Brady is “Lord of the Rings.”

Commentary by Jacqueline Bennett

The Patriots t-shirt I bought after out first Super Bowl victory and wore last night..

The t-shirt I bought after the Patriots first Super Bowl victory and wore last night.


“The G.O.A.T.” took New England Patriots fans on a wild ride last night. Ultimately, quarterback Tom Brady and his teammates delivered a 34-28  comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51.

It was historic on so many levels, from the historic seventh appearance in a Super Bowl of a head coach-quarterback combination, to their historic fifth win, to Brady’s fourth MVP trophy to the five Super Bowl rings our New England ‘Lord of the Rings’ can now wear, to the first overtime win in a Super Bowl. Last but far from least, the Patriots victory delivered some sweet justice in the aftermath of the NFL commissioner whom -in connection to allegations without evidence- wrongfully punished our QB.

As former Patriots player Vince Wilfork put it, “That should shut up all the doubters about who the greatest QB of all time is!! Congrats to patriot nation #tommieboy!”








A Return to Sadler’s Ordinary On Super Bowl Sunday – February 5, 2017


Photo by Jacqueline Bennett



Sadler’s Ordinary in Marlborough, Connecticut was lovely as ever on Sunday, February 5. Its quintessential New England setting and decor made it an ideal spot to kick off the day in anticipation of the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl match-up, as we had done in 2015.


Our 9:30 a.m. breakfast reservation for five began beautifully, a pleasant harbinger of what was ahead. We were greeted by a “Go Pats” sign on the specials board along with a smiling hostess and immediate seating. 


Melane, me, Dixie, Mike and Candy. Hooray Pats!


Check out the specials board in the background.

Check out the GoPats! specials board in the background behind my nephew Mike and his wife Melane .

Decked out in our Patriots team gear, plenty of Patriots love surrounded us at a table by the window which was across from a lit fireplace. On the bakery counter sat a large basket of homemade breads, a teaser for the taste buds. My personal favorite is Sadler’s Raisin Bread. Meanwhile, tables and chairs stacked together on the outdoor patio amidst patches of snow seemed to beckon springtime visitors.



Mike and me outside the Windham Elks.

Mike and me outside the Windham Elks.

As is typical of Sadler’s, the food was delicious – Cinnamon Raisin French toast, scrambled and over easy eggs, home-fried red potatoes, sausage, bacon and a gluten free roll option, all got good reviews.  


Mike and Melane met a former classmate at the Windham Elks Tom spector, he helped make the grinders for the Bigg Play fundraisers.

Mike and Melane met friend Tom Spector at the Windham Elks . He had helped to make the grinders for the Bigg Play Super Bowl fundraiser.

 Windham Elks is just west of the Frog Bridge where the famous creatures were still clad in winter scarves.

Windham Elks is just west of the Frog Bridge where the famous creatures are perched clad in winter scarves.


Oh those “Remy’s Grinders!”





From Marlborough we drove in a two SUV caravan to Windham and picked up our “Remy’s Grinders.” Seasoned with nostalgia, they are sold to benefit a good cause – Bigg Play’s youth baseball program.



All in all, a very good day. Hooray Pats!

Coast to Coast New England Patriots Family Unity

Posted on February 3, 2017

Elizabeth & Elizabeth Patriots spirit from Falmouth Maine

From Maine, Elizabeth  & her granddaughter Elizabeth show their Patriots spirit!

My neice Jillian and her husband Doyle, LA Rams fans, sending love from California to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

Jillian and her husband Doyle, LA Rams fans, sending love from California to the Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

By Jacqueline Bennett


From coast to coast my family is united with New England Patriots spirit! Like the country in which we live, our family spans from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans. Also like the country in which we live our roots are in New England.


A number of relatives now call other regions of the country home and have affiliations to different teams. Nonetheless, ever the idealist I wondered – even if that were the case – could we come together behind the National Football League Pats as they head to Super Bowl 51?


A tall order I suppose, one easier for me residing in Connecticut, Patriots territory. As it turns out, I learned New England and family loyalty runs deep for us.


Dixie, Candy, Mike, Melane and me outside Sadler's Ordinary Marlborough CT our traditional meeting spot for breakfast when the Pats are in the Super Bowl.

Go Pats! Dixie, Candy, Mike, Melane and me in beautiful Marlborough, Connecticut.


Let’s follow the Patriots spirit east to west: from Connecticut, north to Maine, with an honorary mention for New Hampshire where so many of our happy memories were shared on what once was the Bennett Family Farm, to New York, down south to Florida, over to Colorado, we also have a Texas connection, and then ‘go west’ to the Golden State of California.



Bob Bennett Florida

Bob in Florida


Joining the fun from Florida is my cousin Robert E. Bennett, “Bob”. In Bob’s photo take notice of the Clemson hat (congrats to Clemson University Football on the recent national championship) yet he has fighting words on behalf of the Pats as they take on the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. That’s to be expected because Bob describes himself as a “lifelong Patriots fan.”

A.K.A. - The GOAT - the greatest of all time.

A.K.A. – The G.O.A.T. – the greatest of all time.


Patriots Strong back here in Connecticut, my sisters Dixie Larned and Candy Bennett along with my nephew Mike Larned, his wife Melane and I, decked out in our Patriots gear will kick off Super Bowl Sunday by meeting February 5 for breakfast.


From there we will drive to pick up our “Remy’s Grinders” before the game, which is scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m. eastern standard time on FOX TV. We plan to keep our fingers crossed that his teammates protect our Hall-of-Fame bound, multiple Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady, nicknamed “Tom Terrific” or “The G.O.A.T.” – greatest of all time. Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick, dubbed by CNN reporter Jill Martin as “the greatest NFL head coach-quarterback combination”, will make an historic seventh return to the Super Bowl.


Iinside their Connecticut home, my brother John Jr. and sister-in-law Jane (dual Cowboys and Patriots fans) will be cheering for the Pats in Super Bowl 51.

Inside their Connecticut home, my brother John Jr. and sister-in-law Jane (dual Cowboys and Patriots fans) will be cheering for the Pats in Super Bowl 51.







My brother John Jr. and my sister-in-law Jane will be cheering for a Patriots victory nestled inside their lovely Connecticut cape. Here’s the Texas connection – John met Jane, his bride-to-be, while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Texas. He recalls fondly watching the Dallas Cowboys on television with Jane’s brother-in-law Wesley. Having returned to Connecticut to live, John and Jane have a “dual affection” for the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, my brother noted. (Of course, UConn Women’s Basketball rivals their affection for any team!)


Start spreading the news … from New York another of my nephews will join us in cheering for the Pats.


 Bennett Family Farm - my uncle, aunt and cousins lived here.

Bennett Family Farm – my grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins lived here.

Stalwart Patriots fans Elizabeth & Elizabeth.

Stalwart Patriots fans !


Ayuh, up in Maine, my cousin Elizabeth Schofield “Betty Jane” and her granddaughter Elizabeth Cyr are showing their Patriots spirit. From Maine, Betty Jane will head to Colorado to watch the Super Bowl with fellow Pats fans, her son Brad Pope, his wife Kathleen and their sons Kieran, 14, and Gabe, 13. Originally from New Hampshire, Brad grew up skiing the snowcapped mountains of New England.



From Denver Colorado my second cousin Brad Pope with his

From Colorado, Patriots fans, Brad with his wife Kathleen and their sons Kieran, 14 (standing) and Gabe, 13.


“The fever is rising. Hope Tom is more than terrific,” said Betty Jane. (In addition to “Tom Terrific”, my cousin has a soft spot for – how dare she mention the name – Giants QB Eli Manning.)





We’ve made it to the West Coast where from sunny California, my niece Jillian and her husband Doyle, Los Angeles Rams fans, are sending love to the Patriots. As we’re known to say here in New England – that’s WICKED great!!






How amazing and gratifying to realize our family not only represents support for the Patriots – across the United States – but as well across three generations. Thanks everyone. Come Sunday – Go Pats!

Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon Tapped to Head Small Business Administration – Remember When She Stopped by the Peach Festival?

Posted on January 25, 2017

Republican candidate from Connecticut fro U.S. senate, Linda McMahon shakes hands with firefighter Ernest Jones during the Peach Festival August 24 in Manchester, CT.

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett  Then Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Greenwich, Connecticut, Linda McMahon, shakes hands with firefighter Ernest Jones during the Peach Festival August 24, 2012 in Manchester, CT.

By Jacqueline Bennett


Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon has been tapped to head the Small Business Administration by President Donald Trump. In a show of bi-partisan support, she was introduced at her confirmation hearing on Capital Hill January 24 by two former political opponents, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, both Connecticut Democrats.


“I think she would be an excellent fit for this agency, “Blumenthal said at the hearing, “She knows, as I do, that small businesses are the backbone of the economy.” Blumenthal went on to say that McMahon has utilized her expertise to help veterans and women realize their dreams.


Various news organizations featured a side-by-side photo of McMahon, Blumenthal and Murphy at the confirmation hearing. A visual which Murphy acknowledged would be “a little amusing and surprising’ to voters in Connecticut who watched them “duke it out” for a senate seat.


It was a hot summer evening in August of 2012 when then candidate Linda McMahon make a campaign stop at the Peach Festival in Manchester, Connecticut. This annual fundraiser put on by volunteer firefighters from the Eighth Utilities District attracts a large turnout of Manchester residents plus a good number of folks from surrounding towns. An upbeat event it is known to draw politicians – both those in office and those seeking office.


McMahon, of Greenwich, a former wrestling entertainment executive for the WWE, said it was a return stop noting she had visited the Peach Festival two years earlier. During that interview at the festival, McMahon said that she was planning to work hard every day to get her message out. McMahon stepped onto the statewide political stage becoming the GOP nominee to run for United States senate in races she subsequently lost to Blumenthal in 2010 then Murphy in 2012.


On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in December 2016, Murphy backed McMahon to head the SBA. “She turned a small business into a big multinational business which is what a lot of small businesses want to become,” said Murphy, adding, “She is a Connecticut Republican … she’s bringing some important moderate values to the administration.”

New England Patriots Make Magic – Magician in the House, Yes Really

Posted on January 22, 2017

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com033


(Magic: Use of special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible; a special, exciting quality that makes something or someone different and better than others – Cambridge English Dictionary)


Fans will be hoping for a little more magic when Hall of Fame-bound New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Head Coach Bill Belichick and an array of talented receivers enter Gillette Stadium tonight in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Fans will be hoping Brady’s and Belichick’s seemingly special powers beat the Steelers in the AFC title game and once again bring the Pats to the Super Bowl. For more than a decade Brady and Belichick have provided New England Patriots fans with magical memories, including multiple Super Bowl championships setting them apart as better than all the rest.


Now, abstract Patriots magic has become real.  The Patriots have hired a magician – yes an actual magician.


John Logan is the New England Patriots staff magician, profiled in a piece written by Ryan Hannable titled, “You are Reading This Correctly: The Patriots Have a Team Magician Here’s the Story” posted on January 9, 2017. After being graduated from Bryant University in May, 2016, Logan applied for a job with the Pats as a digital content associate. Researched by the Pats organization Logan was quickly hired, however, he was asked to do more.


Logan grew up in Hanover, according to Hannable’s article, studied entrepreneurship, marketing and communications in college, appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and has written two books – “The Perfect Illusion: Life” and “The Magic Behind Success: What Business Leaders Can Learn from Entertainers Regarding Creativity”, the latter was turned into a documentary. At the request of the Pats organization, Logan is putting together a weekly video series called “Magic Moments” in which he performs magic tricks for interested players the likes of Martellus Bennett, Shaq Mason, Matt Lengel and Malcolm Butler. In one segment, Logan even guessed defensive back Justin Coleman’s first kiss. Reportedly, Brady’s take on the whole magician stint is that it’s “pretty cool.” Hum….. wonder if Tom Terrific remembers his first kiss?


Thus far, 12 episodes of “Magic Moments” have been recorded. They can be viewed on with a new one posted each Friday. Logan says football is the priority but that he sees his tricks as a stress reliever and as motivational.


“Obviously football is first but I think it’s a nice stress reliever and my theory on magic is I perform to prove that impossible is just a word. That’s my slogan: impossible is just a word.” Logan was quoted as saying by Hannable.


Different – yes. However, Patriots fans (recently voted number one in the NFL) would likely agree it is not different for team Patriots to expand the boundaries of what is possible, to create magic on the playing field. A few hours from now Pats fans will find out if that ole’ Brady/Belichick magic is in the air – and, if the game will be charmed by a few magical New England snowflakes.

Inheriting the Dream – Simsbury Honors Martin Luther King Day

Posted on January 17, 2017


The 7th Annual MLK Day in Simsbury Celebration was held at First Church in Simsbury, Connecticut January 16, 2017 – the Henry James Memorial Select Choir performs.


State Representative John Hampton and vocalist Jolie Rocke Brown join hands to sing.




Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Inside the Simsbury, Connecticut church where a young Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice stood out, town leaders spoke of pride in their place in American history. People filled the pews flowing upstairs into the balconies at the First Church of Christ Monday, January 16, for the 7th Annual MLK Day in Simsbury Celebration.

First Selectman Lisa Heavner.

Simsbury, Connecticut’s First Selectman Lisa Heavner.


“A great man once graced Simsbury with his presence,” said First Selectman Lisa Heavner.


First Church of Christ Pastor the Rev. George Harris recounted a story, by now well-known, about Martin Luther King Jr. working on a Simsbury tobacco farm in the summers of 1944 and 1947 to earn money to attend Morehead College. While attending a Sunday service at First Church with other young black men working on the farm King’s voice was said to have resonated as parishioners sang hymns, noted Harris. After the service, King was approached and welcomed by the pastor at the time.


First Church of Christ in Simsbury, CT.

First Church of Christ in Simsbury, Connecticut.

“What story will be told about us 70 years from now and will it make us proud?” Harris said.


Differing so immensely from life in the era of the segregated South, it was King’s experience of social inclusion and being welcomed in Simsbury that helped to shape his vision for his life – his calling – as evidenced by recollections later written by King, noted State Representative John Hampton. King’s time in Simsbury “crystallized” for him, what he wanted to do with his life said Hampton, who chairs the MLK Day in Simsbury Celebration Committee.


Keynote speaker Greg Jones.

Keynote Speaker Greg Jones.

Keynote speaker Greg Jones reflected upon “The Responsibility of Inheriting the Dream.” The founder and chairman of the Legacy Foundation of Hartford, a venture philanthropy focused on addressing disparities in education and health, Jones quoted the speech given by King during the March on Washington in 1963 when he talked about “the fierce urgency of now.” Jones said King’s words still apply today.


African-Americans who have benefited from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, in which King was instrumental, as well as supporters who believe in those ideals, have a responsibility to carry the movement forward or risk “bankrupting” it, he said.


Jones fought back tears recalling an incident in his hometown when he was a child, which came to be called the “Orangeburg Massacre.” Inspired by King, 200 African-American students from South Carolina State University on February 8, 1968 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, sought to end racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Their efforts were met by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers.


“Three students were killed and 27 injured. It was one of the deadliest, bloodiest shootings by authorities on a college campus,” said Jones as he regained his composure, “I was just a kid but it is brandished in my memory forever.”


“We do not want to go back to the 1960’s,” said Jones.


Action is the answer, he continued. It is all right to see colors, “we all see colors”, but the key is to respect all colors, said Jones. And action can run the gamut in everyday life from speaking out against injustice to simple kindnesses shown to others – saying hello, holding a door – each can make a world of difference, he added.


Musical selections were offered by Jolie Rocke Brown, a soprano who has a long list of credits such as singing at Canegie Weill Recital Hall and with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She was introduced by her friend, Angela Griffin, Director, Simsbury Public Schools Music & Performing Arts. From the town’s middle school, the Henry James Memorial Select choir sang “Sit Down Servant” under the direction of Scott Semanski and the Simsbury Intonations Chorus performed led by Greg Babal, director.


Jolie Rocke Brown.


Henry James Memorial Select Choir under the direction of Scott Semanski, choral director.


The Simsbury Intonations Chorus, Greg Babal, director.


















As the ceremony closed, many locked hands. Everyone was asked to sing, “We Shall Overcome.”

Angela Griffin and T. J. Donohue share a hymn book and sing together "We Shall Overcome."

Angela Griffin and T. J. Donohue .

A mother and daughter join in.

Mother and daughter.


Locking hands in song, “We Shall Overcome.”