After living 10 years in Iraq, Selby is a ‘return to normal’

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By Sandy Bond

Gordon and Devonna Maxey

Gordon and Devonne Maxey

After working as a program manager in Iraq for almost 10 years, Gordon Maxey desired to return to the normal life similar to that he’d grown up in.
The son of Shirley and Roy Maxey, Gordon and his two older sisters and one younger sister grew up in a close-knit family on the West Coast where their dad was employed by Boeing Aircraft as a mechanic.
After graduating from Auburn High School, he began employment in the oil fields on the North Slope installing modular units that control the separation and distribution of oil.
He and wife Devonne recently relocated to Selby when he replaced Rick Eisemann who had retired as head municipal maintenance man.
The middle child of six, Devonne grew up in Salem, Ore. She enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and after completing her service worked for the state as a management analyst. Gordon and Devonne met through a blind date arranged by family members.
Although they both cook, Devonne more or less adheres to the script where Gordon ventures into the unknown, blending and mixing, a little of this, more of that! He once considered attending culinary school.
Results come down to several categories:
• “Even the dog won’t eat it.”
• “Well, it was eatable but we’ll probably never try it again.”
• “We’ll probably try it again in the distant future.”
• “Let’s do that again real soon!”
As they unloaded the big U-Haul truck, one of the most important fixtures to come off the truck was Gordon’s “Big Green Egg” or Kamado, “which can cook virtually anything, from baked good to pizza to meats,” he said. Modeled after the clay and earthern cooking vessels, prototypes were found by archeologists during excavations of primitive cultures including the Chinese Qin Dynasty and later the Japanese. Temperatures can range from 100 to 900 F.
The only real kitchen catastrophe he can recall is a Jell-O cake, where he must have taken the instructions out of sequence. It turned out as a gray, oozy mess!
“If he hunts it, I’ll cook it,” Devonne said, “as long as it looks like something that you’d find in the supermarket with no eyes staring you down!”
While Gordon served in the oil fields of Alaska and also Iraq, Devonne home schooled their two children. She also enjoyed serving as a 4-H and Girl Scout leader and was active in her community as a Community Preparedness Response team member and was busy setting up her own emergency preparedness business when they moved to South Dakota.
Suffering from empty nest syndrome they often cook together as a couple. Their son, Jacob, 29, is working toward owning his own landscaping business, and daughter Kristine is employed part-time with a credit union and is a semi-professional jumper and trainer and hopes to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of making the U.S. Olympic equestrian team as a jumper.

GORDON AND DEVONNE’S RECIPES

Spanish Rice
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chili powder
1 small bay leaf
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well. Spoon into casserole dish. Bake covered for 1-1/2 hours.

Chili Releno Pie
1 unbaked pie shell
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients well and pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 60 minutes or until solid.

Gordon’s Dirty Rice
1 lb. Polish Sausage
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dried basil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 cups prepared beef bouillon
4 cups instant rice
1/4 cup diced onion
Heat oil and sauté onion and garlic and sausage. Add basil and bouillon. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Cover and set aside for five minutes.

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