Posted by: jility | July 20, 2013

A Celebration of Life

Jane & Ernie Treiber have been our closest and most wonderful friends for 40 years. We have been through pretty much everything together. Last winter Ernie died after a 16 year battle with lymphoma. After he died, I wrote a blog about our friendship.

Travel buddies

Travel buddies at the Old North Bridge in Concord,  Massachusetts

Ernie loved summer, so Jane waited to have his celebration of life ceremony until the chances of the sun shining down on the Curtis Valley were pretty good. Today we celebrated all that was Ernie. We spread his ashes on the farm he loved so much, ate lots of food and shared wonderful stories. It was sad, funny and cathartic.

Ernie was Mel’s best friend. Mel doesn’t open up to many, but he felt comfortable around Ernie and Ernie knew Mel better than anyone. Jane asked Mel to do a video to celebrate Ernie’s life. Mel worked on it for months and months. It was very difficult for him but he adored Ernie and wanted it to be great. No matter how many times we watched it, we cried.

Life goes on but there is a HUGE hole in our heats. We will miss Ernie forever.

Here is the video Mel made.


Corn and Bean Salad for a Crowd


This is a dish I came up with for Ernie’s Celebration of Life. You can cut down on the amount but the leftovers are very good. There were close to two hundred people there for the pot luck and this went fast. I was competing with a roasted pig and lots of other great but not vegan pot luck dishes too J.


6 cups frozen or fresh corn

2 – 15 oz cans black beans (drained and rinsed)

4 large or 6 smaller tomatoes or more if you prefer (chopped- I used the hand cranked salsa maker to prepare all the veggies )

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1 green pepper (diced)

1 bunch green onions or 1 red or white onion (diced)

3 or 4 cloves garlic (minced)

4 stalks celery (sliced)

1 jalapeno pepper (minced)

1 bunch cilantro (finely chopped _ I did it in the salsa maker too)

3 or 4 limes depending on size (juiced)

1 – 15 oz can black olives (pitted and chopped)

1 – 4 oz can diced green chilies

1 TBL chili powder

1 TBL cumin

Salt & pepper to taste


First chop the garlic in the salsa maker, then add the jalapeno pepper to the garlic and continue grinding then add the green onion (cut up into smaller piece first) and grind. Empty into a large bowl.

Then chop all the veggies in the salsa maker or hand cut into small pieces.

Add all the ingredients to the large bowl and stir well. Make sure the spices are evenly distributed. Chill until ready to serve.

Here is what my salsa maker looks like. Amazon has it cheap.


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  2. What a loving tribute from you both to your dear friend. You captured the fun and joy of Ernie and Jane in your video. Especially how Ernie and Jane always had each other in their arms in just about every picture. What a love story! Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute.

  3. Wonderful video! Thanks Mel

  4. An amazing tribute to a person who touched many.

  5. A wonderful tribute to Ernie, A true friend.

  6. That video was truly a labor of love.

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