Mama’s Whimsical Stories
February 25, 2014
Through the years of many nightly phone conversations with my mother I’ve heard some wild and crazy stories. She may not remember where she laid her keys last but she never forgets her stories of growing up.
My favorite is about the alligator named Clyde. After she moved back to the farm with her father she took a job as a bartender at the Holiday Inn. She’s always had the gift of gab – isn’t that a true Southern trait – storytelling! As she worked the bar telling stories she saved this one for whomever was the most bothersome.
My favorite story begins…”did I ever tell you about Clyde the alligator?” I vaguely remembered, but she began telling me the whole story. “When I worked at the Holiday Inn I told the men this story, especially the ones who tried to ask me out. I told them that I had a pet alligator named Clyde who lived in the pond on the farm – and how Clyde loved when men came to visit. There were many who really believed this tall tale! Whenever someone tried to ask me out and wanted to come to the farm, I’d say, “sure come on down, we’ll walk out to the pond and I’ll show you Clyde – then when you put your arms around me you’ll hear a big thump, and I’ll walk away saying, “another man gone!” That story of what Clyde did to my dates who dared come to the farm was my favorite; how I came up with that story I have no idea. Often in conversation as I served drinks the guys would ask, “how’s Clyde doing?” And if someone new walked in, they loved to egg me on into telling the tale – to see who would bite.”
My mother had quite the story telling in her from a young girl as she went to school and convinced her teachers of this one. She told them that she was really adopted and how her father found her as a baby in a capsule in the woods on the back forty. If she told this tale today, the teachers would have the DCYS at their door. She really insisted that she was from another world – quite the imagination she had in dreaming up these stories.
Besides the story telling, she was quite inventive in amusing herself all alone on the farm. One of her activities involved creating a ring of circled bricks to hold her fighting ants – red against black. If your from the South, you know what red ants are. She’d place a bench across the area and lay overhead to watch them battle each other.
These stories are from a journal I write called Conversations with Mama.They are from my many scribbles on paper as we chat nightly. Reading back through her musings and family history stories never ceases to entertain me – they are treasures that might have been forgotten if I hadn’t took the time to write them down.
February 23, 2014
My favorite cookie is from my Christmas collection I make once a year – Cherry Winks. It’s not a cookie I grew up eating as I have no memory of my mother baking cookies. She was not a sweet baker except for her famous Lemon Pie; I am craving one now that it’s popped in my mind. Her expertise was just Southern cooking. There is no better fried chicken and home-made biscuits than my mama’s anywhere! But back to cookies…
When I married Steve and moved to Connecticut, after having lived in Georgia all my life, I discovered all about baking cookies. Every occasion they baked cookies and I soon acquired a box of over-flowing of recipes.
Through the years there has been one cookie that stuck with me, and as I bake less and less, its become my one left to bake at Christmas – for myself; sometimes I share with my daughter:) Nothing better than a cup of coffee and a few Cherry Winks to dunk. Yes I’m a Dunker!
My husband brought home a small cookbook the other night he found in his mother’s basement. He thought I’d enjoy looking through it as it was produced by the Kellogg company; probably one of those send-a-way for type deals. Years ago you saved box tops or UPC’s from the box and they in return would send you a free cookbook of their recipes. I don’t seem to see those offers anymore.
As I flipped through the pages I noticed how smooth and glossy the paper was. I laughed at some of the recipe names like Martha Washington Pie and the side-bar perforated coupons for 7 cents they offered for their Kellogg products. By the way, all the coupons were still intact so that told me my mother in law hadn’t been a coupon clipper!
I wondered if she had baked any of these recipes, but the smooth touch of the pages told me she probably hadn’t. I soon answered my question on one of the last few pages I turned. My eyes quickly caught the title – Cherry Winks – on the top of page 55. I now know from where her recipe came from. The book showed wear and creases of being folded several times – and you know the feel of your cookbook page when you have it too close to your mixing bowl! My personal cookbook, that my daughter has laid claim to, wears all my recipes DNA on them. She says it adds character:) Cherry Wink DNA is definitely all over this page!
Just the mention of a bath had my 20 month old granddaughter McKinley plopping down on the floor, pulling shoes and socks off. That was easy! Next was the run to gather up as much as her little arms could carry to the bathroom – what’s a bath without toys!
She’s amazing at how she tries and maneuvers to undress, anxiously waiting to go in the tub. Saying no to a bath is never in her vocabulary – her mother could just spell the word and it’d send her running to the bathroom.
Pop was put in charge of water temperature and decided to make it a bubble bath. She danced around as she watched the bubbles appear under the streaming water – higher and higher.
Pop plunked her in the bath among the mounding bubbles and you now saw the bubbles through her eyes – magical water toys! Her little fingers gently began touching them as she said a new word – bubbles. There were many bubbles in that tub!
And what was her word when I said “it’s time to get out.” A word she tells you with no hesitation – No!
It’s amazing as I watch my grandchildren grow, each and every one with a different personality. As a parent you don’t have the time or wisdom to sometimes enjoy just the simple things, such as a bubble bath.