I can still smell the fried chicken. The pear preserves run sticky off the side of my warm buttermilk biscuit. I used to love to eat the raw biscuit dough and she would always save me a pinch. The tea so sweet that the sugar doesn’t completely dissolve. The brown love-worn wooden bench creaking under our weight after licking the warm banana pudding off our spoons. And her asking, “Did you get enough to eat?”
The smell of cured tobacco and the not so fun warm chicken poop oozing between my played-barefooted-all-day-long brown toes. Cousins and endless games of hide-and-seek. Switches plucked fresh from the tree in the backyard. Playing cowboys and indians under the patchwork quilts the older ladies were stitching while listening to the latest “community news”. Swinging under the old oak tree that was the best hiding place for cicadas who needed a home for their hard outer shells. Her calling, “Come in the house. It’s getting dark.”
Fastforward 25 years…
Life has a way of reminding you of things in the most surprising way sometimes. My nanny had no more than a 4th or 5th grade education, but as I have gotten older, she was one of the smartest people that I have ever met. You never left her house hungry. And my heart was always full, too.
Raising your own food was so important to my grandparents. They both worked hard to put food on the table. None of that processed chemical soup. Real good food.
The kind you had to process on your own by preparing, planting, praying, and picking. Then cleaning, canning, and creating.
This week, life has reminded me once again that I miss my nanny. If she were still here, I would have burned up her phone line this week. See, we acquired these little beauties last week:
And, my nanny was a chicken expert. One of my fondest memories is watching her care for 8 or 9 baby chicks (or biddies as she called them) in her kitchen. They would chirp so heartily when she talked to them that I thought they were going to start talking back to her. She would feed them bits of biscuit out of her hand and rigged up a light bulb so they would stay warm. And you didn’t dare think about putting them outside in the cold. No, their place was on the kitchen floor by the pantry in a cardboard box. But when they were older, she had no problem bringing them back in the house again…on the stovetop that is, to flavor a pot of chicken pastry. The circle of life unending as we go round.
This new addition to our family has brought back many memories for me. It has also been a reminder of how love lingers on beyond death. She is still feeding me and calling me from the other side. I really haven’t lost her. She is waiting on our reunion day. As am I.
And, I can tell her all about my chicks and she can laugh with me about reading “Raising Chickens For Dummies”.