Evergreen - Memories Letters
Riche Molan - November 20, 2006
I also remember the lint from the cotton all over our little pants and shirts that Mama made us brush off before we came into the house. Oh, what wonderful days those were and those memories surely tug at my heart strings and bring a tear to my eye for missing those who are no longer with us. I suppose today of all days, the eve of All Saints Day, is a proper day to remember a sweet time and the wonderful family God shared with us for a while before taking them home to be with Him.
This time of the year also stirs up wonderful memories of waking up to the sound of a squealing hog as it was butchered on cold winter mornings and our pleading with Daddy to let us miss school to stay home for the enjoyment of being with family as they worked side by side to prepare the meat for the winter months. On rare occasions, he would let us miss school, but more often than not, he made us get on the bus and go on to school, only to come home that afternoon and find that he had cooked the tenderloin (stuck on a stick on the edge of the fire where the cracklins were cooking) and had carefully wrapped It in aluminum foil and kept it for us to eat after school. I want to always remember the smells and atmosphere of those days. God Bless You! Debbie
Additional memories by Debbie May 9, 2007
I recall a more simple time in life, one in which I grew up – the 50s. Looking back, winters seem to have been harsher than today, but the warmth of immediate and extended family was nearer. I recall cold, rainy days when Daddy would get us all into his truck and park at the end of the driveway to wait for the school bus in the morning so that we would not get chilled or wet. Mama was left to clean up after a breakfast of bacon sandwiches that we all loved.
Springtime offered the aroma of freshly cut grass laden with lots of clover from which we made clover bracelets and necklaces. Not to be outdone in particular earthly fragrances was the pungent, newly plowed fields, just awaiting little bare feet to sink toes and heels into the finely ground soil, still cool from the winter.
Summer days seemed to just slowly pace themselves, sort of like watching a movie in slow motion. One of my favorite things to do on those lazy summer days was to carry an old quilt outside, lay on my back and look up for special clouds that formed shapes of a variety of animals and sometimes even people.
Autumn days brought the eagerness of harvesting crops nurtured for months by the capable hands of my farmer daddy and our backyard carpeted with pecans from the many pecan trees that provided not only their fruit, but cool shade. After the crops were in, boucheries were anticipated by the families in the neighborhood, when all could gather, celebrate the harvest’s end, and enjoy the bounty of the delicious meals provided by the not-so-willing swine.
The four seasons brought about different food groups, too, unlike the norm for the cooks of today. Winter food that comes to mind is another “aroma reminder”. I don’t think anything made me feel the warmth and security of home more than cold, rainy, wintry days when I jumped off the school bus as it arrived at my home, feeling chilled to the bone, and racing to the comfort of indoors, but not before inhaling the delightful molasses enhanced cloud that drifted from Mom’s kitchen – homemade gingerbread! In no time at all, my three younger siblings and I were warming up to the hot, fluffy pieces of gingerbread Mama had so thoughtfully taken time to prepare.
Springs bring to mind the rows of Irish potatoes growing and growing – soon to be dug up, washed, scraped, and cooked with a mess of fresh green beans and bacon.
Summer days, mostly Saturdays, yielded Mama’s crusty fried chicken, fried outdoors, of course. And, it wasn’t a “funeral home” chicken as Daddy described a store-bought chicken, but one he raised, killed, dressed and put on the table for his family. I also have such fond memories of sitting under an old mulberry tree in our backyard with Mama and MaMa (my maternal grandmother) and peeling and slicing fresh peaches to be canned for the winter days ahead.
The first north wind in Autumn was welcomed with a chicken and sausage gumbo, started of course with a homemade roux made by rendering the fat from the chicken. No Savoie’s in our house! The four of us loved to “doctor” up our bowls of steaming gumbo with hot pepper vinegar, which was a staple on our table, and many times used so much of it that the gumbo looked rather white. We also loved dill pickles and I really liked to chop mine up and add it to my gumbo. I remember to this day the first time my maternal grandmother told me at a boucherie that I was old enough now to help make the “blood” boudin. I thought it was a great idea and a rite of passage into adulthood that I would be included in this laborious task,. I quickly had a change of heart as the cold wind and the foul smells emitted from the pig’s intestines attacked my sensitive (and rather spoiled) 16 year old person. I also remember being teased and picked on quite a bit by the adult women, all in fun and in a spirit of family and unity.
Debbie Riche' Molan