By Otis Griffin
My fellow Southern country Americans love to eat. Just a fact. Rednecks are known for being friendly, neighborly, loving and hungry.
Foreign countries way up North ask us why are we that way and the answer is simple. Country folks work hard which instills hunger and our neighbors are friendly. Rednecks learned at birth if you are friendly, that is better at supper time ’cause you’ll be invited in for a ‘bite’. No one wants a grump at the table partakin’ of grub at a delightful, pleasurable moment.
Take a little walk down memory lane if you are old enough or better still, take a blissful invigorating stroll. If someone has been wedged under the smokehouse for a few hun’ert years, they have no clue what I’m speaking of.
Friends, the language of fast food eatin’ places did not occur when I was comin’ up. If you wanted sumpin’ fast then hack off a thick slice of rag baloney and slap some mayonnaise on a couple of slices of Wonder light bread. Depending on how fast you wanted to indulge and if in a big hurry, don’t take time to whittle yo’ ’mater.
Momma would remind us to splash it in a pan of water to get the worm killin’ seven dust or arsenic washed off. A little seasoning, with a sprinkle of salt and take a Berkshire hog bite. Every family had cookies, cakes or pies laying on a counter covered with ancient dish rags so the flies couldn’t escape. In the South this is called a snack.
Neighbor, if several of us were to visit another comrade no doubt their Momma would invite us in for a snack. Arvis’ Momma was famous for her fried chocolate pies and a cold glass of sweet milk.
Phil’s house had plenty of cookies as did Tommy’s. The Jameson’s had a big litter as the stove was always fired up and followed suit by the House congregation. The neighborhood gully jumpers ain’t gonna’ starve.
Things ain’t like they used to be, especially with the wonderful folks in our community looking out for the future of the United States of our America. One instance that occurred many decades ago that is imbedded in my cranium as Emerson and Lynn reminded me just how fortunate we were.
Several of us not bigger than a bo’ weevil’s hind leg had been fishing in a pond behind the old Stewartville lodge. Back ’en folks let you fish and swim without scolding as long as you didn’t throw cans, bottles or sticks in the water. This would make the fish, snakes, crawdads, mosquitoes and snake doctors mad. Don’t muddy the drinking water for the cows, horses, dogs, cats, goats and buzzards as all shared in the close knit community.
We left the pond heading for home toting our fishing poles on our shoulders. We were having a rough time staying on the blacktop as it was so hot, the tar was bubblin’ and would stick to yo’ toe is you dipped in the pitch. About the time we got in front of the Harber house, Mrs. Harber stepped out on the front porch and called us over.
Cautiously, scared we were in trouble, we stood at attention as she announced, “it’s dinner time and you little boys look you could eat some beans.” All of us were brought up to respect yo’ elders so we washed, dried and sat down at the kitchen table.
Mr. Harber removed his tattered straw hat, returned Thanks and we consumed the best white beans, cornbread and sweet milk.
We thanked them for dinner and skipped home relaying the news to our Mommas.
This little episode don’t mean much to our present generation and then not too much to us. Beloved, now after all these years we realize how great the community adults were and later we even appreciate it even more.
It’s Too Bad This Love and Caring Don’t Still Happen… GLORY!
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