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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Get Your Breakfast While It's Hot

Well, I have gotten some comments lately because I haven't written any stories on my blog like I used to....all I can say is once you are out of the habit sometimes it is hard to get going again.

It wasn't hard to think of something to write about when I woke up this morning and the outside temperature was 12 degrees, fresh snow on the ground and icicles hanging off every eave of the house. Inside the house it was 72 degrees and if I wanted it warmer all I had to do was turn up the thermostat a notch or two. On to breakfast - I stick a precooked sausage link in the microwave, throw a slice of bread in the toaster open the refrigerator, grab the juice and pour the eggbeaters in a skillet - five minutes flat I have a hot breakfast.

It wasn't like that in the days when I was growing up....Let me pour a cup of coffee and tell you all about it....oh, the coffee was done before I got up - I set the timer last night.

My dad always made sure we had enough wood inside to build a big roaring fire and for my mother to cook breakfast the next morning. His job was to cut it and we kids had to carry it in the house. There were two wood boxes and they had to be full along with a bucket of coal. My dad was always the first one up at our house. The first thing he would do was start a fire in the old Buckeye stove that sat in the living room, then he would take his shavings and kindling to the kitchen to start the fire in the cookstove. Shavings were the small sticks of wood he had cut and then shaved down lengthwise of the wood so the fire would catch easier. As soon as the fire was started he would awake my mother and she would get up and dress, yell at all of us to get up and she would go immediately to the kitchen to start preparing breakfast. Dragging out the old bread pan which was approximately 12 inches wide and 18 inches long and would hold about 18-20 biscuits. She would grease it up and set it on the back of the stove, then take the bread bowl (she had a certain bowl she used from day to day to make her biscuits) dump the flour and the lard in the bowl and a little buttermilk along with some baking powder, soda and salt. She never measured ingredients she did it by feel.

When she had stirred her dough to the right consistency she would dump it on the dough board and knead it and cut out the biscuits placing them on the pan in straight rows almost but not quite touching. While the biscuits were baking she would be frying up whatever meat she had, some side meat or bacon, cooking a pan of apples she had peeled the night before, making a pan of gravy, and frying a skillet or two of eggs. She knew how we each liked our eggs and that's how she cooked them . My dad liked his real runny, I liked mine over hard with the yolks broken, my mom liked hers not quite so runny, my brother would have his scrambled. How she ever got all those eggs in the same skillet cooked to order I will never know. I didn't gain that knack of knowledge from her.

When the eggs were done and on the same plate she would pull the biscuits out of the oven and slather a few of them with butter to eat with our apples. By this time we had better be up and have our faces washed and be ready to sit down to eat. Along with all the food I have mentioned above there would be two or three different kinds of jelly, jam and apple butter on the table. It was quite a spread. With eight hungry mouths to feed it took a lot of food.

Nobody touched the plate of biscuits until my father had taken his and passed the plate to my mother. . My dad was very strict about the table manners, no laughing, no joking, and there was no reaching across the table either. I remember one time my brother reached across the table for a biscuit, my dad slapped his hand, realized what he had done and jumped up from the table, ran out the door, with my mother right behind him with a butcher knife. They settled their differences out in the yard and we just kept on eating.

I did not like getting up out of the warm bed on those cold mornings. Sometimes the single pane windows would be iced over and there would be snow around them and if it was a blowing snow there might be snow across the covers on your bed.There was no warm carpet to slide your feet across and you can imagine how cold your feet got running across the linoleum. By the time we were up the Ol' Buckeye stove was heating up the living room so we would take our clothes in by the fire to dress. We always sat our shoes and socks by the stove so they would be warm in the morning. In those days it seemed like you were always cold on one side or the other.

It was the best of times and the worst of times but together we made it through and my parents made sure we were loved, warm, clean and never hungry. It may be cold outside but I have love and warm memories to last a lifetime and that's it for a cold snowy January day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Buzzards and Polecats

My first try at writing in 10--

10 minutes to write - Prompt word - Buzzard

Buzzards and Polecats

I was driving down the road just at dusk when out of the weeds at the side of the road marched mama polecat (skunk) followed by her six little ones. Swerving to miss them, the left front tire caught mama by the tail and before i knew it I had run over the mama and three of her babies..the other three managed to make it to safety and quickly scampered down the bank. I stopped the car and as I looked in the rearview mirror what a sight in the middle of the road! Black and white fur everywhere! I kept waiting for the smell but there was none. Oh well, I thought, i just helped out the polecat population explosion by eliminating four of them.

A couple days later I was driving down the same country road on my way to church when I saw a buzzard perched on a fence post, then I saw another and another. Maybe it was time for the local buzzard convention I thought.... Then my sense of smell kicked in and the stench was unbearable. It permeated ever inch of the car. I then remembered about the polecats that had met their demise as a result of my erratic driving. As I rounded the corner six more buzzards sat in the middle of the road feasting upon a plateful of dead polecat. Each one of them had a white streak that covered half their face and down their breasts. They looked a little strange and out of place. I wondered how they could eat something that smelled so badly. The closer I got the worse the smell got and it was then i discovered the buzzards were wearing their dinner napkins "cowboy style" and that's how they were able to avoid the smell.

Moral of the story: where there is a will there is a way!!!   and that 's it for today.