Memories are joy thieves, leaches that suck the life out of you. They consist of things that haunt me. Creepers hanging around in my head and dreams – stirring up guilt, then leaving a feeling of worthlessness.
Now – with the negative shit said, I want to share some of the good stuff…
As a small child I was kind of self-contained, left to get ready for school, entertain myself, and locate something to eat…you get the idea. Happiness came every summer, grandma and grandpa would come to wherever we lived and bring me to their home until school resumed.
We would go fishing, plant a garden, pick fruit, make jelly, and can everything. Meals at grandma’s might be from simple to super heavy. It wasn’t uncommon to have bacon, fresh tomatoes, new potatoes, pole beans, and corn on the cob. Some nights it was fried catfish, and fried potatoes (yes we caught, skinned, and gutted the fish, then dug the taters). I am not a big fan of chicken, the smell of scorched feathers sticks in the nostrils – but I can eat my weight in dumplings, which were granny’s specialty. We rolled out the mixture on newspaper then cut long strips to throw into the boiling broth. I was always eating the raw dough despite the warning that I was gonna get worms. To this day I still roll, cut, and eat some of the dough – old habits are hard to die, with or without worms.
Our Saturday ritual was to take a ride around Horseshoe Lake, have a sandwich from Shemwell’s BQ, then to the Tasty Freeze for a soft serve ice-cream cone (not always in that order..lol). Attending Sunday School and Church every week was a must, as was the afternoon swim at Brownsville Creek or Slimmer’s Pond. Grandma didn’t work on Sunday so it was gramps day for cooking. The meal was about the same every week; fried chicken, buttered taters, sliced tomatoes, corn, beans, and white milk gravy with light bread (also known as puppy mess). I remember one time when he fried the chicken in the fish grease, grandma wasn’t real happy with the outcome – tasted fine to me, but then I just like food.
The best memories I have are from those summers. There was something to do all the time, someone who cared and watched over me. My grandma died in 1977 from a brain tumor, grandpa passed in 1983 also a victim of the big “C”. I didn’t get to say goodbye to either one of them – I loved them with all my heart.