In some ways, I was a late bloomer. Coffee drinking is a good example. My parents both drank coffee. As a child, I was never interested in drinking it or even tasting it. My parents never encouraged me to give it a try by offering me a cup with a lot of milk and a tablespoon or two of coffee. But I loved hot tea. Only my Nannie drank hot tea. She used Lipton tea bags–that was all. She would pour hot water from the big whistling tea kettle over the bag and pull the bag up and down until the color of the tea pleased her. Then she would put in a little bit of white sugar and a drop or two of canned milk. It smelled wonderful to me and she encouraged me to like tea by giving me a little taste every time she made a cup. I loved hot tea thanks to her.
When I became a grown-up, the no coffee drinking became more of an issue. For example in my Bible study group, I was the only tea drinker. Everyone else drank coffee. So generally I just carried a tea bag with me and it was no problem.
Then I met JoAnn. She was a great lady and taught me a number of things. Her husband was a banker but a member of the Cattleman’s Association in our town. Really, almost every man was a member. Either they had boys in 4-H or their father had farmed or they farmed. JoAnn had the best recipes for everything. She shared her pickled beets with me. She played tennis with me. She let my kids play in her creek. Her poundcake was TO DIE FOR.
When she found that I didn’t drink coffee, she said–“You are an adult and you need to know how to drink coffee. I will teach you.” I had no idea what she meant but the gleam in her eye make me agree with her. Several days passed and I forgot what she said. Life moves on-you know. One day right after lunch, she called and said to be at her house at 1:30. And she hung up. I arrived at her house and went in through the kitchen door. She was taking a pound cake out of the oven. It smelled marvelous! She sat me down at her kitchen table and cut me a slice. Then she poured me a cup of coffee-black. She said—Take a bite of cake, drink a sip of coffee. Keep doing that until both the cake and coffee are gone.
And just like that, I became a coffee drinker! Over the years I have refined my coffee drinking a little. I add a dab of creamer to mine and a little sugar. And I rarely start my day with coffee and hot pound cake!
We have a friend who has a rather large farm in a small community near where we live. We became acquainted many years ago when we became amateur radio operators. He was a single man who still lived with his parents on the farm. And he was a ham, too.
Amateur radio operators, or hams for short, are big on helping others. The Rome group put up antennas together, raised money to help others and had a lot of pot luck dinners together. When we built our house, our farmer friend brought his tractor to our house to lift the shingles up on the roof. If you have ever tried to carry shingles up a ladder, you know how hard that is. We owed him big time.
Several months went by before he “called in” this favor. He always baled hay and stored it for his cattle to eat during the winter. He also sold hay to other farmers. The thing about hay is that it is cut and has to lay for a bit before it is baled. It can’t get wet. So sometimes you end up baling a lot of hay right before storms move in to the area. So he asked for our help with the picking up of the bales. In those days, the bales were those square hay bales like those you can purchase at the big box stores. He did not have those gigantic round bales. We set a time for the next afternoon about 5. That meant that my husband would be done with work, I would be done with my 5th grade teaching for the day and both our kids would be done. This sounded like a good plan to us.
So the next afternoon we put on our jeans and long sleeved shirts and boots and headed to the farm. I was going to drive the tractor that pulled the long hay wagon. Everyone else would pick up bales and toss them up on the wagon. After we got a bunch on the wagon, one of the men would start stacking them up higher. Sounded ok to us. Then we realized that our daughter was too short to get the hay bale up on the wagon. So our friend gave our daughter a short lesson in tractor driving and she became the driver. She was SO excited. After all she was only in the 5th grade and got to drive! I became a bale tosser. It was hard work. You would run ahead and grab a bale and throw it up over your shoulder to the wagon. Then you ran ahead and grabbed another. And threw. And ran. And grabbed. And threw. You couldn’t miss a bale. I must say that I have never done such a physically demanding job in my life.
We finished about dark with that field. Exhausted is not the word I would use to describe how I felt. Then our friend had a surprise for us. His dad had made ice cream for us! Yum! Somehow everything just equaled out…………..
Another installment of “Life on the farm” coming soon!
I recently framed an original “canvas” that I had received many years ago. It is not your “normal” artwork. My granddaughter was at my house tonight and I told her how I came to have it. It’s a rather funny story so I am sharing it with you tonight.
Probably. fifteen or so years ago when I was still working, I attended a conference in Savannah. I felt really lucky to have this chance to go there. Savannah is a lovely city with so much history-so much art-such good food! Two others from my area attended and we traveled together and stayed together in a hotel. The last day of our conference was only a half day. We planned to eat at a really nice restaurant and then head out of town for the long drive home.
We decided to eat at the Lady and Her Sons Restaurant. We had heard that the restaurant was a renovated cotton building and the food was great. Sounded good to the three of us! We were seated on the second floor. We couldn’t help but look around at everything. Then a waitress came up and offered us an appetizer while we were still trying to decide what to eat. She was serving Hoe Cakes. For those of you who have no idea what that is, it’s a fried cornmeal pancake. We told her we were going to stick to real food. She told us she had cooked them for us and to have one. We did! HMMM! It was fantastic. So we had a few more and looked around some more. Then we saw “her.” And “them.” It was Paula Deen and her sons with aprons sitting in a booth nearby and eating. We all tried to look at her while pretending not to look at her. Have you ever tried that? It’s pretty hard to do. Generally you look like you are having some sort of neck seizure!
Then our food arrived. YUM! As we were chowing down, we noticed a man setting up an easel in the corner and starting to paint. He noticed us and turned so we could watch. It turned out to be a watercolor of a live oak with Spanish moss. It was gorgeous. Then he put it down and started another. He used different colors and a different setting. And he painted the scene on a paper doily. Yep-a paper doily!! In a manner of 30 or so minutes, he had done three of these small pictures. He then asked us if we wanted one. Of course, we said, “Yes!” He gave each of us one and started another. He said he comes to the restaurant and eats lunch and does watercolors for the guests. By this time he had turned another direction and was talking to another guest at the restaurant. SO the three of us began to discuss whether we should give him a tip. Did he do this for a living? How much should we offer him? I think we only had like $5 in cash between the three of us. We didn’t know what to do.
Then we saw him pack up his stuff and walk toward our table. We had sweaty palms with a few bills in it. He gave us his card, wished us safe travels home and turned to leave. So we didn’t give him anything. But we did notice that he was an artist with his own gallery! We drove by it as we left town. We realized we had a darling scene from a well-known artist for nothing. I am SO glad we didn’t insult him with our $5!
I have had mine rolled up in a container for years. I recently ran across it and found a frame for it. Why didn’t I do this sooner?
Today many parents are greatly concerned with the food that they make or purchase for their children. Even children know the words sugar-free, gluten free and organic-just to name a few. In reality, these words are fairly new “inventions.” When I was a child, they had not even been invented. I had a blissful childhood, stuffing myself with good, home-cooked foods. I also enjoyed some grocery items that today would be considered hazardous to my health. Yikes!
For example, Coca-Cola had been invented and no one thought that consuming a Coke as being bad for you. They came in glass bottles and you had to use a “church-key” to pop off the top. They were pretty strong and would almost take your breath away. My doctor actually encouraged the drinking of a Coke by giving his “good” children patients a wooden nickel that could be used in the Coke machine in the lobby for a “free” Coke. I was always a good patient!
Moon Pies were very popular when I was a child. They were chocolate and had a cracker and marshmallow inside. I loved them and my mother thought they were a good snack. Yippee!
Bologna was pretty popular when I was a child. I ate it on Colonial white bread with some Duke’s mayonnaise. It was yummy with some red Kool-aid, dill pickles and Charles Potato Chips. It was the “perfect” lunch and SO GOOD FOR YOU! Everyone ate this. And when you took this for your lunch to school, it sat in your desk with mayonnaise and no refrigeration. I was not a fan of this but I knew kids who loved mayonnaise sandwiches. Or mayonnaise and Kraft American cheese slices on white Colonial bread. It had additional “nutrients” added to make it healthier for you! Yeah-right!!!
It was a real treat to eat some Vienna Sausages. They were best to pop off the lid, pour off the fatty liquid and then pull one out and pop it into your mouth. Heavenly! My grandchildren have even eaten these! But it was their other grandmother who provided them! Ha-Ha!
One final item that everyone ate in those days was Spam. You could pull of the lid, drain off the fatty liquid, and fry it in a skillet on the range top. It took the place of a “meat” for the family. It is also excellent with scrambled eggs. It’s almost like ham and eggs. I never thought about what pieces and parts were ground together to form this meat.
If you come to my house today, you will not find these foods in my house. Well, except for Duke’s mayonnaise…..it’s required in my famous potato salad!