Memories Sweet Memories

Although I do enjoy Christmas, I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I, better than anyone, like a great gift on December 25.  I’m even buying myself a few things this year since Lisa isn’t here to spoil me. But to some extent, the presents have become a detractor to me. I’m getting to the age that simple time with family and friends is the only gift I care much about.

When I was a boy, we always drove to Florence, SC, for Thanksgiving. Both sets of grandparents lived down there.

A perfect Day started at Grandmamma and Granddaddy Ham’s house. The woman was the best cook south of the Mason Dixon line.

She would shuck ears of white corn and cut the kernels off the cob. She’d add butter, salt and who knows what else. When you put the stuff in your mouth, it was like tasting heaven.

Her hand cut slaw had onions that would make the hair on your arms stand up straight – I get gas just thinking about it. Boy was it tasty.

My other grandmother, we called her Idee, never saw a vegetable that didn’t come from a can; but she was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

One Thanksgiving afternoon she talked Spurgeon, my grandfather, into driving my brother and me back into the 100 acres of woods behind their house. There was a dirt road that led to a pond on the land which had been in their family for decades.

After a twenty-minute drive and a few stops to move branches, we arrived at our destination – picture a scene from the Andy Griffith show. As we got out of the car and headed to the small basin, my brother yelled out: “Snake!!”

It was not a snake at all – it was a frickin’ anaconda. At least six feet long, this diamond back rattler was meandering along the shore line. Two senior citizens and a couple of grade school kids weren’t going to interrupt his Thanksgiving stroll.

Papa ran to the car, opened the trunk and grabbed a shovel. Yeah, this 70 something year old man was going to whack this beast in the head with a garden tool. It was like fighting a dragon with a frying pan.

As the serpent saw him nearing, he coiled up and began shaking his tail. It sounded like a Cuban maraca band.

I immediately ran my behind to the car and locked the doors in the event my family was eaten and the slimy varmint decided my skinny brother didn’t fill ’em up. My grandfather was not deterred by my departure.

“Spurgeon, you are not going after that snake with a shovel,” my grandma yelled.

“Oh Ivy,” I’d heard that response before on many occasions. It meant, Don’t spoil my fun again lady.

“Spurgeon, you’ll get killed! Chad, so something.”

As Papa, who was a bit clumsy to say the least, charged toward Sir Hiss, my sixth grade older brother knelt in front of him causing him to stumble and fall to the ground.

My grandmother grabbed the shovel, “If anything gets beaten to death today, it’ll be you old man.”

He sheepishly stood up, a bit rattled but alive. Both the snake and my grandfather survived. Although Spurgeon had to go home with Idee, which for a few days must have seemed worse than a little venom in his blood stream.

Not all of my Thanksgivings have a memory so vivid. But some of the warmest internal feelings I own are of sitting at two formica tables in Florence, SC – one tan on the top with a black ring around the side, the other white speckled with chrome legs and uncomfortable chairs.

We drank a lot of coffee in those two kitchens, and I learned a lot about being a man.

Boy what I’d give to go back for just one more Thursday.

Here Little Chickie Chick…

Posted by Danny

What in the heck is inside of this chicken?  I bought it at Harris Teeter the other day.  It was on sale for $5.  I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do with it, but it seemed like a lot of meat for a little money – so I nabbed it.

I knew I had a chicken, but I didn’t know it came with a prize in the middle.  Sort of like a cereal box but wet and squishy.  I personally prefer a Hot Wheel.

I remember the first time Lisa cooked a turkey – it was Thanksgiving and we decided we’d host that year.  Someone warned Lisa to look between the turkey’s legs before putting it in the oven.  She gasped when she opened him.  I came running.

“What’s wrong baby?”

“There’s a bunch of gross stuff inside the turkey.”

“What?”

I had to see for myself.  I spread his legs and thought he was excited to see me.  My mom later told me it was his neck bone. 

How disturbing – you kill the poor fella and then stuff his neck between his legs.  That’s just not right.

But that wasn’t a neck in this chicken.  It was a ball of bloody muck.  I started to leave it in there but was afraid it would get mixed up with the rest of the bird, and I’d end up with a mouth full of chicken innards.  When I put my hand in to get it, I was shocked at the chill.  My digits nearly froze off.  If I ever bruise something, forget the ice pack.  I’m just gonna stick my wound inside of a $5 chicken.  It’s economical, and I’m certain it would stop the swelling.

I didn’t know how to cook this dude so I asked some women at the office.  I told them I wanted a chicken like they sold at the grocery store deli. 

“What do you call those whole little chickens they sell over by the good cheese?” I asked.

“Rotisserie?”

“Yeah.  That’s it.  Can I make one of those?”

“Do you have a rotisserie?” one woman inquired.

“I don’t think so.”

“Then no.”  Apparently she had work to do and didn’t want to be bothered with my poultry problems.

Who knew you had to have a special appliance to roast a chicken like that?  Harris Teeter is so lucky.

Thankfully a nice lady who works in accounts receivable quietly called me to her cubical.  She told me a secret way to get nearly the same taste, and all you had to have was an oven and a pan!

I’ll have to admit that it turned out pretty good, but that’s my last time cooking one of those things.  I don’t like sticking my hand in there.  If I wanted to be a urologist, I’d have gone to med school.

I’m sticking with the boneless breast of chicken – nothing in there but good ole white meat.

Lost in a World of Utensils

Posted by Danny

I forgot how to cook.  We were gone so much this summer that I just didn’t – we ate out.

So tonight, I decided I had to get back on the wagon.  School started a couple of weeks ago and we had several meals in the freezer.  Tomorrow, I may have to pull out the pots and pans.

I began hanging out in the kitchen about midnight – trying to rebuild some kharma with the place.  I wiped the stove top off with the sponge and ran my hands across the countertop.  I counted my knives, they all seem present.  I’m coming back baby!  Together we’ll make this happen!

I then opened a random, down low, utensil drawer and I was surprised at what I found.  There are things in there that are unidentifiable to me.

What is this?

It looks sort of like a spoon but there’s a big hole in the bottom.  Actually, I’m pretty sure my urologist used a similar instrument when he gave me my vasectomy – only his was made of cold stainless steel.

And this?

I thought it was a thermometer but there are no numbers.  It’s rough around the sides like a cat’s tongue.  Actually felt good when I used it to scratch my back.  Too big for a skewer.  I’m gonna move it to the bedroom.

This one is clearly for cutting – it has really sharp teeth.  It looks like it could peel the skin off a tiger – nearly cut my finger off when I grabbed it for closer observation.  It too may have been used in a same day surgery procedure or by Anthony Hopkins in the thriller Psycho.  I’m just going to put it back in the drawer, face down.

And this contraption?

If it had more parts I’d think it could be used to mold playdough.  A telescope?  It actually came from The Pampered Chef, says so on the side.  I can almost hear Lisa –

I just had a Longaberger Basket party last week and now the Pampered Chef.  I don’t cook!  Why would they invite me to this?  And I’m going to have to buy something that we will never use!

And clearly, she did.

And this little man is cute – up on three little legs.  But what is his purpose?  Maybe he’s a cake topper.

Wouldn’t want that on my birthday cake.

I feel so inadequate.  How have I made it the past 18 months without these utensils?  What am I missing?  I bet if I could figure out what these things did my cooking abilities would increase three-fold.

One thing I loved about Lisa – I’d bet my life savings that she couldn’t identify any of these gadgets either.  We were kitchen clueless together.

If you’ve got a clue, let me know!

  • Tanner Tweets

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11,935 other followers

  • Past Posts

  • Contact Us