Now, the date's all wrong up there, and I'm fighting with the Google people about it, but just remember that it's wrong. Today is Friday, January 2, 2009! As big as the Google is, you'd think they could keep a thing like the date straight!
That might be a picture of me the one night in my life I tied one on back in 1940 something, or it might not be. You don't know if it's me or not, and you don't know if whoever it is, is tipsy or just tickled, and I'm not going to tell. I don't tell y'all everything, you know.
But I guess I have to confess what I did to Delores on New Year's Eve, and since the guilty dog will bark sooner or later, I might as well unload it on you all as anybody.
New Year's Eve I was bored with all that's on TV--all that music blasting and young people swinging their hips--and I thought I'd play with my neighbor Delores Ledbetter a little bit. I called her up, and I said, "Delores, come on over here tonight and we'll go somewhere and tie one on."
Now I did that knowing good and well she'd say "Oh, Trixie, you know we won't do that kind of thing, never have!"
To which I thought speak for yourself, but to which I said, "Yeah, but we're never too old to dream."
"Just listen to you!" she said, and I told her to just come on over and have a cup of coffee and we'd just talk about going out and tying one on, and she said all right, which I knew she would because Delores loves to go to meetings and talk about doing things more than doing anything, which is why she's at the top of the list when anybody wants to nab somebody for a committee over at the church, and I'm not.
So I made us each a cup of Eight O'Clock so we'd stay awake til midnight, and I put out some rum balls left over from Christmas, knowing Delores was one to pop rum balls like pills, and we sat at the kitchen table and talked about where we might go to have a little nip, maybe cut a rug, bat our eyes at some old men. She laughed--Delores has this hen-cackling little laugh--and said, "Now, Miss Trixie, you know there's nowhere in Spindale where two old women can go, you know, without giving the men the wrong idea."
To which I said, "What's so wrong with giving the men the wrong idea?" Then I slid my eyes toward the pantry door where I always keep my big pocketbook hanging, and I didn't need to say another word: She knows I carry a crowbar in it and would know how to use it if any men we met up with crossed the line.
"Trixie! What if people from the church were to see us?" And I said, "You've got a point, since a whole lot of them are bound to be there, but they'll be three sheets to the wind, anyhow, and won't be able to tell us from spots in front of their eyes," to which she said, "Trixie!" again and smacked my hand.
And then we took to reminiscing, the way old women will do, about our young days. I talked about how I kept the dance floor hot down at a local club while my first husband Frank was in the war, but then my Aunt Ollie Pearl, who I was living with at the time, called me down for it and made me stay home nights, but I told her I wasn't doing half what Frank was doing, truth be told. But that's as wild as I ever got in my life.
And Delores said she'd never even stepped inside the door of a bar, and admitted she wished she'd gone just once for a chance to tell the kind of lies little barflies tell, such as that her name was Tequilla and she was from Spain instead of from Spartanburg, South Carolina.
And I said I always wanted to go to a bar--a really wronchy, old-fashioned beer joint--and tell a strange man with beery breath that my name was Trixie Roebuck and my daddy was the Roebuck half of Sears, and I could order anything my friends wanted from the catalog for half price.
We watched TV until the big ball came down at Times Square, and then we sang that song about all the old acquaintances we should soon forget.
And then we had one last good chuckle, and I talked her into having a glass of store-bought eggnog with me, and she said that would be fine, but what she still doesn't know is I sneaked and put some rum in it. Turns out that on top of all those rum balls, the eggnog was more than she could handle, and when she walked across my yard to her house, she stumbled in the dark across a hoe I left laying by the boxwoods and twisted her ankle and spent New Year's Day laid up in bed, and I'm so guilty I feel like I could just lay down and die.
But I'm not planning on doing that anytime soon.
So y'all stay tuned.
Well, Christmas 2008 is finally over, and I did get a few things I wanted: a big bucket of birdseed and a case of toilet paper from Sam's Club, but the only reason I got it is my kids have learned I'll give 'em hell if I don't.
They think they ought to give me something "gifty" like perfume with matching dusting powder, but I say leave that stuff at the store or give it to somebody who wants to smell like a streetwalker. If I'm going to bother to take a bath every single day which I do, I don't want that good, clean soap smell to get confused with something that costs an arm and a leg and has a name like "Passion."
It's time for the big letdown that always comes after Christmas. After all those weeks of saying "it's around the corner," and "it's almost here," we've finally arrived at "it's all over for another year."
And I say "Hooray" to that.
Now, a lot of you feel let down because Christmas is over, but I don't because I never did build it up anyway. I tell it as I see it, and I'm telling you now: I wish we'd cut the whole thing out, all but the eating and getting together and maybe the candlelight service over at the church and the kids coming by caroling to us oldsters.
I do have some good news to report: After years of hearing people say, "I'm going to cut back a lot this year," knowing that's a lie, it really happened this year, best I can tell.
I can speak for myself, anyway: I'm tickled to say I got less stuff which means I got less stuff I didn't want.
For the first time I'm not having to clean out the the bottom drawer in the old bureau in the back room where I put almost everything they ever give me which is always something I don't need or even want or know what in the world to do with like another vinyl tablecloth that I won't even take out of the package and they know it.
I always tell my kids: "I don't want anything, but I especially don't want things I don't need or even want. I just don't." Then, depending on my mood and who all's around, I affix a cuss word at the end of it.
Penny where I get my hair fixed says, "I know what you mean, Trix. You really do wish they wouldn't do it, you appreciate it, but---" and right about then I interrupt her and tell her not to put words in my mouth: I don't appreciate it. I mean it when I tell them they ought to cut it all out and save their money. At least leave me out of it.
And for all you who say that's bad for the economy, I say well maybe we need a new economy.
So I'm sorry y'all feel let down that "it's" over for another year, but I'm tickled to death I can finally get back to sharing with y'all all the little everyday ways an old woman who's supposed to be on her last leg is taking vinegar and making vinegar pie.
So when those gray skies get to you over all the weeks before the birds start bleepin' and the blooms are all a-bustin', just remember ole Trixie's here to pass along a brand of cheer you can't buy in a box at the store.
There's some old business to get out of the way and some monkey business coming up. There's still the prize to give away for the winner in the Parade of Pans, and the Truth Revealed about the difference between a sweet potato and a yam.
Me and Delores are thinking about going somewhere New Year's Eve and tying one on, and I know you'll want to hear all about that, then I have to deal with my daughter Lou Ann who swears she sees a bug-eyed alien at the foot of her bed two to three times a week, which I owe to her going through the menopause but she don't.
So if you're down in the dumps over Christmas being over, remember that here at Trixie's playhouse, the fun has just begun.
I found this picture rummaging through a box of old pictures of my great aunt Ollie Pearl's. This was back in the 1930s but I remember it like it was last week. It's from when she took me to see Santa Claus.
Now, to undertand what's going on here, picture me down in the left-hand corner where his shiny old eyes are sliding. I told him I didn't want to hop on his lap, and I'd have to tell him what I wanted from right there where I stood on the floor.
So he starts his routine: "Were you a good little girl this year?" and I said "no," which was the truth. (That was the year I'd snuck into Effie's room at the boarding house where we were staying and stole her big bloomers and stepped into one leg of them and stumbled down the stairs and got my little behind smacked with a broom.) I wasn't above telling a little white one even back then, but I thought it would be more fun to tell the truth in that case.
Since he'd never heard that reply, he went on and followed the script. He said "Well what do you want for Christmas?" and I said "a little tin of Tubrose snuff," and the photographer took the picture right then.
Anyhow, that's one of my what you call precious memories, and I hope you're busy right about now making your own here in what my favorite singer Andy Williams calls "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," though with all the cooking I'm having to do, I've got my doubts about that.
Some of y'all might think this post is too long, but it had to be and I'm just sorry! If you do, just hurry down to the one below I call "You Danged Ole Fusspot!"!!!
Okay, everybody. Before I pick up the Parade of Pans and tell all what I've found out about our good friend O'Clara who has turned green and has gone potty, I have to hurry up and tell you all that there is a whole lot more to come about the yam/sweet potato controversy that those two California people got started--the ones who sent me an email and asked the question "what's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?"--and didn't stay around for the answer.
For all we know, those two disappeared into one of those parallel planes you hear about. Or else they got saved and went home with God like Enoch in the Bible, and if they did, I hope they hopped a camel with plenty of water in its hump and sturdy legs because the journey from here to there is long and hard and uncertain.
Now, back to the pans. And pots. This one's about a pot. I know I started out saying this was all about pans, but then y'all started sending me some pictures of pots you seemed mighty partial to, so here we are. O'Clara's who sent the picture in to be in running for the prize.
(And if anybody is jumping in on my blog right about here, I need to tell you that I've invited everybody to send in a picture of their crummiest, crustiest, blackest, and most disgusting pan they still cook with, and the winner will get a prize.)
First off, take a good look at that pot up there. If it wasn't sitting on a white Frigidaire gas stove, I'd think it was the prized possession of a witch, wouldn't you? Go on and lift the lid, pretend to, I mean. Be sure and grab a pot holder! Looks like something's been simmering for a while. What do you see in there? Little newt eyes swimming around in some disgusting broth, a chicken head, little curled up chicken feet? Put the lid down and go on! You've got way too much imagination. You don't know what's in that pot, and O'Clara's not a witch, anyhow.
The truth is that the truth of the situation is worse than anything you can imagine. Here's the story:
If y'all recall, O'Clara was the one who jumped my tail when I put up that picture down there of my daughter Lou Ann's oven and made the simple suggestion--though I never went right out and said it because y'all know how delicate I try to be-that Lou Ann ought to add a little bit of elbow grease to the baked-on grease in her oven. All this took place in the comments under the previous pan posts.
Well, O'Clara took up for Lou Ann! O'Clara said maybe Lou Ann, unlike me, Lou Ann's mama, cared too much about what she calls "the fate of the earth" to use Easy-Off.
As if Lou Ann's not using Easy Off will keep the earth from warming like a meatball in sauce the way they say it is. As if I burn too many lights and take too many trips to the store and like to keep a clean oven and that's why ski slopes are shutting down due to lack of snow and bears are floating around on ice rafts at the North Pole and why that Vice President we had that time, that Al Gore, has to spend all his life flying all over the world in jets to show that movie he made instead of getting to stay home all snug and warm in his 100,000 square foot house.
I have said it here on this blog before, and I'll say it here again:
I come from people who come from people who believe the earth is the Lord's, and every single one of us is obliged to trash it up according to the dictates of our own personal conscience.
But I was moved to try to understand O'Clara when that girl who wrote that book about my life and helps me out some told me that O'Clara was talking that way only because she had gone and turned green!
I've got a sneaking suspiscion she's always been green. But now I have found out O'Clara has"gone potty." She's standing in the need of prayer.
"Gone potty" is what they call it on those TV shows from over in England where they have butlers and maids going up and down stairs, talking through their nostrils.
She's"gone off her head." That's another way they say it over there. That's the way the Queen of England would say it. She'd say O'Clara had "gone off her head," or she could say "Off with her head!" which is what I felt like saying when O'Clara jumped me about my Easy Off oven cleaner.
They'd say she's gone potty. I'd say she took off her head and left it in the pantry.
What else would you say about a woman who confesses to the whole world that she's fond of fondling her pot?
And she did say that. She did. I want y'all to know that O'Clara has called her pot, that Dutch Oven in the picture up there, "my main squeeze."
When I read that, I ran over to the recliner and near about passed out but that girl who helps me out came running with the smelling salts and told me O'Clara didn't mean it exactly like I took it.
"Trixie," she said to me, "O'Clara has anthropomorphized that pot."
I hollered out when she said that. I didn't want to even think about what that meant, but then that girl explained to me that "anthropomorphize" is what you do when you talk about something like it's a man or a woman.
I'm trying to cut back on my cussing, but can you tell me why in the hell anybody would want to do that?
And that was worse than anything I could have thought of, so I kicked off my slippers and lay in the recliner for a good while with a cold cloth across my head, wondering how O'Clara was brought up, that she could come to such a pass.
Then I jumped up and came back here to read what else O'Clara said about her pot. O'Clara says that she (that damn pot!) doesn't like to take a bath and is not a snob.
It gets worse, y'all. You ready? Lock up the kids. They ought not to hear this:
She says that pot has a three-legged cousin who likes to lay out in the backyard under a pile of burning coals.
I've heard there're drugs you can take to fix that kind of thinking. And drugs you can take that'll get you thinking that way. Don't know much about either one, but you're never too old to learn, I guess.
It takes all kinds. If love is the answer, the way the hippies and the liberals say, then I reckon you might as well snuggle up to a kitchen utensil as to a hairy old man with B.O. and dirty feet.
But the long and the short of it is this: The more I opened up my mind to the relationship between O'Clara and her pot, the more I became partial to that pot, which O'Clara says cooks onions, garlic, spaghetti sauce, stir-fry, stroganoff, mushrooms, brocooli, chili peppers, tortillas, roasts, chickens, and beef and pork roasts with rosemary, yams with garlic and red sweet peppers, sweet potatoes with kale and ginger, African-Pineapple-Peanut stew and curries, chicken and dumplings, pot pie, every kind of bean you can think of, squashes, and just about anything else you can think of except canned soup.
Now, y'all can call the men with the white coats on O'Clara, but I feel like I'd like to get to know that pot better, myself. I might could go potty myself over a pot like that. I might get misty-eyed over it, like I did over that cut-glass bowl of Ollie Pearl's the day I dropped and broke it. She always served up her potato salad in it, and I'm not ashamed to say I bawled my fool eyes out when I swept up the broken up pieces of that bowl.
It was as if I was sweeping up Ollie Pearl.
A thing is hardly ever just a thing, like I've said.
I bet when they lock up O'Clara, her two sons'll get in a knock-down, drag-out over who gets that pot, or maybe since they've got O'Clara for a mama, they'll shake hands and one'll take the pot and the other the lid. Wouldn't surprise me. Since their mama's green and potty, she might as well be one of those peace nuts, too.
Now, whether that pot's up for the prize is another story, and one I might have to tell when I've got Christmas over with and have shoved all my kids out the door, cleaned out the refrigerator, and thrown away all those presents they'll give me that I don't want.
I can't wait til then, truth be told. I'll see you back here at the end of the most wonderful time of year, if not before, and we'll keep on with our parade of pans and helping the world realize the benefits of general dirt and disorder.
We'll keep on spreading the filth around.
First, about the pan. For a woman who eats out all the time, which Hendersonville Epicurean surely must do, as many write-ups about restaurants as she does, which would make you think she wasn't in the kitchen all day, I'd say this is a pretty good and filfthy pan.
Is it dirty enough to make a winner? Well, the jury is still out on that one, since it's the first of the pans in the running I've put up. I'm wrestling with how to choose a winner, anyway.
Should I give the pans points for dinks, dints, and grunge spots, or just shoot from the hip and holler it as I see it.
I don't know yet, and if I did I wouldn't tell a one of y'all.
I can't wrap my mind around square pizzas, or I figure that's a rectangle, but I guess how something tastes isn't all tied up with how it's shaped, like the raviolis and tortellinis you see in the store which I never cook because once they're cooked I can't tell the difference one from the other and would just as soon have spaghetti, and half the time Kraft or Chef Boyardee out of a box, truth be told.
You must not have much else to do.
I can just hear some of you saying "you call THAT dirty?" Well, all I can say is the picture doesn't really do it justice. The sides were worse, but with my bursitis I couldn't twist myself around to get a good picture of the dirt there. Besides, if her oven had been much dirtier, I'd of been ashamed to show it.
Since my blog is broadcast the world over, I guess I ought not to be surprised that I've already heard words of protest from some of those who swing so hard and far to the left they've gone into a spin.
O'Clara said (you can read her words exactly as she wrote them down in the comments) "If Lou Ann has a filfthy oven it could be that she is frugal enough NOT to have bought a self-cleaning oven."
Well, O'Clara, Lou Ann does have a self-cleaning oven. Do I need to say more about that?
"Or she might be environmentally aware enough that she rightly refuses to use spray cans of poison oven cleanser..."
Well, Lou Ann would never use those oven cleaners you are talking about. She was a young girl when we had a neighbor who had the cleanest oven I've ever seen, for someone who used her oven all the time. I know because when I was over there at her Tupperware parties, I'd sneak into the kitchen and open up her oven to take a look. (I'd peep behind her shower curtain too, to see how on top of the soap scum she was.)
It came to pass that this woman started acting kind of strange, doing the kinds of things a lot of us women do when we've had too much of home and family. She took to spending too much time in the attic, standing in the front yard beating pots and pans and telling everybody she'd started a little band and did they want to buy a ticket?
She finally went AWOL and they found her in the woods somewhere in Florida swinging through some big honeysuckle vines like a jungle monkey.
And then O'Clara said: "The dirty oven concept is fabricated by various neat freaks and markets to shame unwitting cooks into buying their product."
Still, I have to allow she's got a point which is why I started putting up pictures of dirty ovens and beat up pots and pans. (Y'all didn't think somebody was paying me to do this did you?) Or maybe let's all quit cooking and just eat Twinkies. (But be sure to take the package to the recycle, now.)
I say it's annual because it will be if we do it next year, which we'll do if I'm living which I may or may not be, and if I don't forget about it by next year, which I will or I won't.
Our Parade of Pans is short for two reasons that I know of: one, some people couldn't get off their behinds to put up a picture or else they didn't have one because they were in the habit of throwing their old, ugly pans away, or so they say.
When thinking of you all, I'm reminded of the place in Bible where it says "the race is not to the swift," but it is to those who bothered to put up pictures of their old pots and pans.
Okay. We'll get back to the yams in a minute! Y'all are flooding me with comments and opinions about what makes a yam a yam, and seeing as I yam what I yam, as the pop-eyed sailor said, I'm loving it, but now it's time for the Parade of Pans. We now have some comments and entries in the contest, but mostly comments not entries because some of ya'll either don't want to or don't know how to put up pictures of your pans.
Amanda wrote me and said she was lame (her exact words, "Trixie, I am so lame") because she threw away her old pans and got new ones, but now she regretted it. I regret it too, Amanda, because I'm sure that you, like most everybody I've ever known, including me, have had some crummy pans in your past, which have now lost their chance for fame and glory. But most of all, I hate to think doing that has made you lame, honey. I'll let you borrow my walking stick any time.
Amanda didn't have a picture of a cast iron skillet clock, but there's one at the top. See? Amanda wrote me to tell me that it looks exactly like the clocks she was talking about. That particular clock is sold "with accessories" which means an iron spoon and fork, which might be hard to see in the picture. Since we all have times when we want to set our clocks without touching the hands, that fork and spoon would come in might handy for moving the hands around, I guess. Since that girl that helps me out stole the picture, I'll tell you that somebody I don't know or even ever heard of is selling that whole set for $20 and you can find that somebody right here: http://charlottesville.craigslist.org/hsh/954441874.html.
And then Karen wrote to tell me that she didn't have anything for our contest because she just had one little narrow shelf for her pots and pans, which told me she had her heart in the right place and not in a cabinet, and I praised her for it, and promised to withhold my stick from her behind for now.
You can read all about that in the comments in my first Parade of Pans post.
And then along came Jon who also had a tale to tell of once having pots and pans that he'd found a home for after he cleaned out his cabinets. He's a boy who claims he has never used his oven. He says other people don't believe him, but I've got a daughter-in-law who's never used her oven--or a dishrag--either, so I'll believe anything.
So thank all of y'all for the comments, but since you did not send me a picture you are not eligible for the prize, and I'm just sorry.
Next up: the pans in the running for the prize. I can't wait and neither can you.
Now Lou Ann and Terry Wayne are hauling me off to Piggy's and Harry's up in Hendersonville for the barbecue special, like we do every Friday. It would tickle me to run into some of you there.
I interrupt this talk about beat up and busted up baking pans and roasters because somebody all the way from California--a couple of sinners in want of savin', by the way, so y'all who've got good joints in your knees, get down and do your duty--has asked me what's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam.
Go on. I'm listening.
May your prayers be such that before the jury comes in, those two dear ones will get blinded by the light and will swoon and buckle before the Lord.
And I just found out that a real distingushed professor specializing in plants got ahold of the yam question and has offered to give us all his official definition about the difference between a sweet potato and a yam.
Hey everybody. The Parade of Pans is a little contest I've been running once a year ever since I've been doing this blog, which has been going on almost two weeks now. That's my way of saying I've never done it but I think it would be a fun thing to do once a year. Everybody sends in pictures of their beat up cooking pans (that they still cook with) and whosever's is the worse gets a prize. If you can tell a good tale along with it, about who cooked what in it and when, well, that'll get you points, too.
I thought I'd get the ball rolling with a pan of my own. Here's a picture of an iron skillet that I fried chicken, pork chops, and chicken-fried steak in for six centuries.
Once a year I seasoned it with fat back. If you are from somewhere else, you might know it as salt pork.
A lot of chickens have laid in state in that iron skillet, and nobody in my family was ever low on iron.
Some of my baking pans and what not are really cruddy, but I didn't have one that was good and beat up enough to put in the Parade of Pans so I thought about getting one that was just grungy and going at it with a hammer, but then I thought why go to that much trouble at this time of night when I'm the one running the contest and can't win anyhow?
So I took a picture of this iron skillet that I used so many years, and I also took a picture of my daughter Lou Ann's grungy oven. It's not in the same category (the oven), but it's in the same spirit, and I'll share that with you soon as Lou Ann's husband gets back from bowling and shows me how to it put it up here on the internet. It's a special case.
Meanwhile, if you don't know what this is all about, go down to where I wrote about when I found Betty Feezor on the YouTube. Watch that little video of her and take a good, long look at the pan she roasted her turkey in, then showed it to WBTV viewers all across Metrolina and now the world.
Send in your pictures of your worst pans and you could win a prize. You can read all you need to know about the prize down there below the cat.
And we can all look forward to tomorrow when hopefully we'll see a whole lot of entries and also we'll at last see Arlene's husband's grandmother's magic garbage bowl.
Big day tomorrow! I'm going to run and get to bed right now to rest up for it.
See you in the morning, glories.
This is Delores next door's cat, and all I've got to do is walk into her kitchen door from her garage, and that cat cuts loose to cackling. I've studied over what it is, and I can only say it remains a mystery.
You just can't tell what it is that will move a cat to action.
Speaking of Karen, she wrote that she recognized that old beat up pan that Betty Feezor used thirty years ago to cook her turkey in. If you're curious about the pan--which I hope you are-- because there might be a little something in it for you--you go down below to where I wrote about Betty Feezor on the YouTube. You look at that little video and you'll see what I'm talking about.
I told Karen and I said honey, you've brought to my attention that now is the time for my Parade of Pans. And since you are such an all-fired good picture taker, (which y'all out there can see for yourself at http://acreekintheback.blogspot.com/) you ought to be in the running. The way it works is you all take a picture of the crustiest, most beat-up pan that you still use and send it (the picture, not the pan) to me and whichever one of you has the ugliest one and the best-told memories of what you cook with it, I'll reward you with what that girl that wrote that book about my life called THE DAYS BETWEEN THE YEARS, calls an "Advance Reader Copy."
It's not the real nice, solid hardcover book you can hold onto for years to come or use for a doorstop or knock your rambling man upside the head with, but it'll give you a peep inside my soul and tell you how when my kids pushed me too hard and laid down the law about me driving, I sneaked off on Christmas Eve and high-tailed it up the Saluda Grade in a snowstorm to the Laurel Terrace Assisted Living and got chased down the halls by a man.
So come on, y'all, and bring on the pans!
I'm still waiting on that picture of Arlene's magic garbage bowl, by the way.
Good morning, glories! It's pouring rain here, and I hope with all my heart if it is raining where you are, you still have some sunshine in your soul. I'm tickled that Blog Hendersonville has plastered my name all over Henderson County by telling everybody out in blogland to "Goforth and Crack Up." If you don't believe me, look for yourself. Right here's where she said it, and I say bring on the fame to the both of us:
I'll get back to myself in a minute, but I just wanted to say one more thing before I leave off talking about Betty Feezor, who I said a bunch about yesterday. She had a home-maker show on WBTV out of Charlotte for something like 25 years before she stepped out the kitchen door and walked away to Glory at the tender age of 53.
Just look at this picture of her, and you will see a woman who was not me. My hair never laid back in waves like that, no matter whether I used sponge rollers or spit curls. I never dressed up that nice to go to church, a wedding or a funeral, much less to beat up eggs in a bowl in the kitchen, and my kitchen didn't look that clean when the house was new and we hadn't moved in yet. Of course, that's not a picture of Betty Feezor at home. That's Betty Feezor on TV, and maybe her own kitchen was a mess. Maybe at home you could catch her with her hair looking like a Brillo soap pad. But what you see in that picture ought to give you an idea of what was the ideal woman of that time, and if you're young and think that doesn't matter to you, you just don't have much sense.
That was in the 1950s, when the saying "a woman's place is in the home" wasn't an insult but just a fact. Well, it might have been an insult, depending on who was saying it. Making a home was an art form, and Betty Feezor herself called it "home-making arts." If a woman was good at it--which I was in my own way, I guess--she was praised for it. And if she wasn't, she was ranked one notch above a street walker.
So young girls were brought up that how good you were was all tied up in how good of a home-maker you were. In my place and time, if a girl was called "smart" that meant she had eight arms. She could cook good and kept her house so clean a roach wouldn't even come looking. Girls my age--for most of you that would be your grandmother or great-grandmother--would put all she had in being what I've lately heard called "a domestic diva."
You had a commode so sparkling white you'd want to stand and stare in it. Your floor was so clean and waxed so smooth a fly would bust its A double S skidding across it. You could bake a cake that didn't sag in the middle, cookies that didn't burn. You could cut up a whole chicken and you could fry up that chicken with a crispy crust. You could wipe snotty noses and help your kids with their arithmetic.
And what was known but seldom said, was that you could do all that and still hop in bed and ride your man all night.
You were glad to do it. You were glad for your little house with its two or three little bedrooms and one bathroom with pink and black tile that was out of date. You were glad for your one station wagon that belonged to the whole family, and you didn't know anybody who didn't have to ask her husband if she could borrow the car to go to the store.
Then came the time when being a good home-maker was looked down on, all but the part about riding your man, anyhow. All of a sudden, women like me were supposed to "do something." "What do you do?" you got asked everywhere you went. Made you feel like a toad. And, truth be told, a lot of us wanted to do something. We'd had to take the men's jobs during WW II and we got a taste of what making our own money was like. I tell about this in that story of my life called The Days Between the Years. I tell how I learned to play Rosie the Riveter during the war only to get hustled right back to playing Betty Crocker after the war was over, stuck in the house all day long with Mr. Clean.
And some of us had to go out and work pitiful little jobs because we were married to bums or the good men we'd married had turned to scum. That was me. Also, right about that time, they started coming out with these new appliances that made housework easier. A lot of things changed right about then. You can do the Google and find out more than you'd ever want to know about that time.
But the main thing is women like me fell through the cracks. A lot of us didn't know what to do with ourselves and all those new freedoms and expectations.
I've two minds about all of this, not that anybody's asking.
For one thing, if you are a young woman and you aren't on your way to doing something where you can make your own living and take care of yourself, don't let me find out about it or I'll chase you down and beat you with a stick. You need to get to where a man is a nice thing to have, but optional, like an alligator pocketbook. Women back in my time didn't have that and a lot of them would have cut loose if they could.
But then again, I look back on the days when making a casserole or sewing up a scarf was looked at as an art, not because it gave me the big head, but because you can get a lot of pleasure out of doing those little things that might not make the headlines. Now, I'm always picking on Martha Stewart here on this blog thing. I do in that book, too. But even if you think she's a regular B-word and ought to have lived out her life in prison, you have to say she did a lot to make us think better of the little things in life.
When I look back on my life now, one of the things that stands out is the time I was into taking little packages of chewing gum and making little trains, using toothpicks and Lifesavers for the wheels and chocolate Kisses for the smokestacks. When I was all finished, I had the most darling little name card holders for the residents of the nursing homes. You could put one by the place where each resident was supposed to sit in the dining room. And the really good thing was when it got old or the wheels fell off you could eat it. Now, even though that stands out in my mind as a good memory, I've all but forgotten how to do it so if any of you know the recipe, write me, and I'll try to put it up here to share with others.
I'm real disappointed in Arlene for not sending me a picture of her husband's grandma's magic garbage bowl. I can't help but wonder how she'd feel if she came here one day and found that I'd flown to Glory. I've got a new friend, though, who collects mermaids. Her name is Marty, and I hope real soon to get her to share pictures with me. If she'll let me, I'll put up a little album of her pictures and call it "Marty's Mermaids," but maybe that's just a dream.
Until next time, "that's all folks," as the bunny said.
Well, Good Morning, glories!
I was going to call this one "The Internet is of the Devil, Part Three," but then a little something happened to throw a monkey wrench in that plan: I figured out that this thing called cyberspace isn't just a cesspool of temptation. I figured out how you can use the blog thing to raise the dead!
More on that in a minute!
I've got to tell you I'm proud of this fact: I haven't even been doing this internet thing a week, and I already know how to do the YouTube! Calm down, now, Trixie. Don't get the big head over it!
Now, I did have some help. Here's how it all got started: Delores next door came over for our Eight O'Clock Cup of Eight O'Clock Coffee, and we started in on the usual gossip, which keeps us going just as sure as Lipitor keeps the blood flowing.
Just so you won't think too bad about us, it's not usually real viscious gossip that we do. Not usually. Whenever we slip into that, I always remind Delores of what Ollie Pearl used to tell me: "Trixie," she used to say, "Don't speak unkindly about somebody, because when you are pointing a finger at somebody, you've got three fingers pointing back at yourself."
I remember the first time I ever heard her say that was when I was just a knee-high girl staying with her at Laurel Terrace in Saluda--that was back during the Great Depression--and I'd figured out already that Frank, who lived there, and who would end up my first husband, was the devil. (Frank's mama owned the inn and I stayed there some Christmases with my Aunt Ollie Pearl because I was an orphan--long story for another day, but you can read all about it in that book called The Days Between the Years.)
After Ollie Pearl said that to me about one finger pointing to somebody made three fingers pointing back at yourself, I got to thinking and wandered into the kitchen and asked the cook Naomi about it and she said that yes, she'd heard that, too, and she reckoned there was something to it, but knowing that hadn't kept her tongue from wagging too much over the years. (She let out a big whoop! when she said it.)
I remember sitting on that stool she always kept for me by the big butcher block for when I helped her with the baking, when Frank, who was older than me--a teenager then--walked across the yard on the way to the shed where he was always tinkering on the old car. I pointed my finger at Frank and went, "Pow! Pow! Pow!" making out like I had a gun, you know, and noticed, sure enough, three fingers pointed right back at me. I guess it didn't take a genius to figure that out, but I'd never noticed it before.
Well, Frank's mama, Edna Templeton--who'd become my old mother-in-law some years later--heard me and saw me pretending to shoot at her precious Frankie. She came after me, ran me off my stool and down the hall and smacked at my bottom, hollering that I was the reason she had to take so much Anacin, which had made a hole in her stomach. So there's a little history for you.
Well, anyway, back to the present day: This morning, Delores and I were just on the tail-end of speculating whether or not it was true what was being said about that new preacher over at the church, when her grandson pulled up in her driveway next door. I'm talking about Delores's grandson, the one whose shoulder I was looking over just the other day when he was over at her house trying to show her how to do the blog thing. (For the past few days he'd been dropping by her house in the mornings before he went to his job at Sam's Club, trying to teach Delores to do what soon-to-be-ex-President George W. Bush called "do the Google," which lead to his (her grandson, Bush) trying to show her how to do a blog.)
If you read what I wrote about that the other day, you'll remember she wasn't paying much attention because her little dog, Tippy, was dancing with her leg, but I sure was (paying attention, not dancing with her leg) and I took it all in and came home and wrestled with the computer and cussed the Google people until I learned how to do it. And I'll go ahead and admit right here that it wasn't until Delores decided she wanted to learn to Google and blog that I got the itch to give it a try. More on why that is a little later, but you can guess there's a little bit of the green-eyed monster in there somewhere.
Well, Delores's grandson's name is Annis. I've thought again and again how sad it was that his parents named him Annis which sounds to my ears, for all the world, like Anus, though I never breathed a work to that to Delores. She's surely thought the same herself, but it's one thing to think it and another to have your friend to say it. Delores didn't like that name--she admitted that much--and told her son to name him John or David or Matthew or something, but you can't tell young people a thing.
Now, I haven't said this to Delores, but I think his being burdened with that name is how come he walks stoop-shouldered, hair plastered to his head like stewed spinach, face like he's been doing chin-ups on the curb, and doesn't have a girlfriend, at least not one he's willing to show.
I've also wondered if that's why he lets his britches sag below the divide in his behind, but Delores says that's just the way young men are dressing these days, and from what I've seen on Main Street, I'll have to say that's a fact. And Delores said when she told her son to say something to Annis about the way he looked, her son told Delores, "Mama, you can't tell young people a thing." So you see how history repeats.
Okay. So Delores and I were having our coffee when Annis pulled up in Delores's driveway next door, and she jumped up to leave. Well, I laid my arm on Delores's and told her to just stay, and to ask him to come over here, for a change. I had a couple of reasons for doing that, neither one of them especially holy. One was because I didn't want Delores to get ahead of me on doing the Google and the blog thing, which she surely would if she kept getting regular lessons from Annis, and the other reason was I thought if I could break the ice with Annis, get him comfortable with me, I might one day convince him to hike his britches up above that divide in his behind because I was sick and tired of looking at it every time he walked up the driveway next door.
So, Delores took the bait, in part because she wasn't in the mood to Google, she said, she was so worked up over what was going on with the preacher. So, up jumped Delores from where we were both sitting at my kitchen table. She'd ripped the kercheif off her head when she'd come over, but she tied it back around her head before she stuck it outside the door, for fear that poking her sweaty noggin out in the cold, damp air would aggravate her neuralgia, which I agreed it might. "Annis!" she called out, "Annis!" And I cringed just like I do everytime she said that poor boy's name which sounds like what I've already said.
And over walked Annis. But I see I've gone on too long here. I'll be back with the rest of the story. Just hold on to your hats, as Uncle Jarvis used to say.
Okay, I'm back. Betty says I ought to watch out for that Wolfgang Zailskas, the man who read this blog thing and sent me an email from a foreign country. She's feels just like me when it comes to the men. We've lived a while, and we've both got two simple words of warning, for young and old alike, when it comes to the men: Watch Out. Especially if you get a strange one from a foreign country, groping at you over the internet!
Now. I believe it was yesterday--seems like a week ago!--that I promised a recipe for a Christmas sweet that I don't believe many people make these days, and that is sugar plums.
You might remember that Night Before Christmas book where it says something about children snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. I remember being little and Ollie Pearl reading that to me, and I would wonder what in the world a sugar plum was. She said she recalled her grandmother talking about sugar plums, but couldn't remember the details of just what they were. Anyhow, I grew up thinking a sugar plum was some kind of a fairy. You'd naturally get that idea if you grow up hearing that book read and having the thought of sugar plums dancing in your head at night drilled into you.
And you'd think after all those years of baking cakes and cookies and what not, I would have thought to find out about sugar plums, but making them just wasn't what my grandkids call "on my radar" because you didn't see them in those cookie exchanges the women have this time of year, or see Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray or Paula Deen making them on TV. At least, I didn't.
So, yesterday, I found in the Hendersonville-Times News a whole article about sugar plums from somebody called J.M. Hirsch. The article started out "Sugar plums may dance in your dreams, but chances are you couldn't identify one if it hit you on the head." Well, I thought that was a clever way of putting it, and it sure hit the nail square on the head for me.
She says what you need is this: a half of cup of granulated sugar; 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom; 1/2 teaspoon of cinammon; 1/2 cup of pecans; 1/4 cup pistachios; 1 cup pitted dates; 1/2 cup dried apricots; 1/2 cup dried figs; 1/4 cup golden raisins; 1/2 cup dried cherries; and 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or rum.
In a big bowl, mix up the sugar, cardamom, and cinammon. Mix it up good and set it aside. Then rough chop the pecans in a food processor, if you use one of those. Add the pistachios and chop some more. Then set that bowl aside. Then throw into the processor the dates, the apricots, and the figs. Give them a quick chop. Then add the raisins and cherries and give everything a good chop until it gets all clumpy. Then add the nuts and the rum or liqueur. I guess then you stir that up good in it. Then roll the stuff into little balls about a teaspoon at a time, then roll it in the sugar until each one is good and coated. Now you've got sugar plums. Put them in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. You can keep them in there for a month.
Now, see, you don't even have to turn on the oven to make some.
Well, would you believe that after I found that recipe I went looking in one of my very old cookbooks and found a recipe? I must have overlooked it all those years ago. It was a little simpler, too. Went like this:
2 cups whole almonds; 1/4 cup honey; 2 tsp grated orange zest; 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/2 tsp ground allspice; 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg; 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots; 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates; 1 cup confectioners' sugar.
Preheat oven to 400. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for ten minutes. Set aside to cool and then finely chop. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds, apricots, and dates and mix well. Pinch off rounded teaspoon sized pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and refrigerate in single layers between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers for up to one month.
I guess from those two recipes you can figure out your own way of making sugar plums. I'm that way with recipes. I'll look at one to start with, them my contrariness sets in, and I end up doing it my own way. What I end up with might not taste as good, but I get the satisfaction out of singing that Frank Sinatra song in my head: "...I did it my way..."
Bye for now. I'll check on y'all later.
I tell you what, if this internet is of the Devil, I just about don't care because I've having a ball. Reminds me of that old song that goes, "If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right."
And to think, not one week ago, if I'd had a hammer (now, there's another song that'll be echoing through my head all day long, now that I've thought of it!) I would have laid into this computer and smashed it into smithereens.
It just goes to show that every now and again, in certain rare circumstances, I can be wrong, a fact which my kids Lou Ann and Terry Wayne think they have to remind me of two or three times a week.
Well, just to show you how much I've got into this: Delores stepped over here this morning for our eight o'clock cup of Eight O'Clock coffee, walked right in the side door to the kitchen, and hollered out to me and I didn't even hear, so busy was I peck peck pecking here at this keyboard and staring into this screen.
Oh, wait a minute, now the phone's ringing off the hook! Hello! It's Betty from over at the church. I'll get back to this soon as the two of us chew each others' ears for a few minutes. I promised a recipe, and I don't make a promise I can't keep. Try not to, anyhow. Stay tuned.
But I took these with the little teeny camera (no bigger than the palm of my hand!) some of the kids got me for my birthday back in August, and I'm kind of proud. I took them at the zoo in Asheboro, NC. Or maybe it was Greenville, SC. What difference does it make? I never did get any medals for memory.
The one on the top is of a gorilla. The one on the bottom is what I reckon you'd call a regular monkey, which I guess you can tell. My second husband, Buck Goforth, was big on monkeys. We'd go to the zoo, and he'd want to hang all day at the monkey section. He'd say to me, "Trixie, tell me how a man with half a brain could doubt we're kin to them?"
Or so they say! Here I am back for my third time doing the blog thing, so I guess that means I'm in it for life--however long that is. I don't know how long that will be, but neither do you, no matter how young and hale and hearty you are, so don't go and get cocky on me about it. Take every minute and every hour of every day and get what you can out of it, and take heart that there just might be more to come, the likes of which neither you nor me can even start to imagine. If you keep your nose clean, that is. "Eye has not seen nor ear heard," and if you don't know where that saying comes from, then you just don't have much sense.
I'm tickled to death that I'm hearing from people from all over western North Carolina. And that's not all, folks, as the bunny used to say. Though it would have bowled me over just to hear from as far away as Shelby or Charlotte, I just heard from somebody clear on the other side of the world, and he was a man.
Now, THAT I've got to watch. He didn't say anything out of line, but what little bit I know about men with something on their minds is they like to start slow. They'll tip their hat and offer to buy you a sandwich. Next thing you know, they're suggesting something ugly.
Plus, he talks funny, like that man in that Borat movie the kids were all watching a couple of years back. Here's part of what he wrote about what I've said so far on this blog thing (and he's the one who can't spell, not me):
"I am puzzled when reading what you have wrote. It sounds very strange to our Europe understanding from the continental point of view. What you say is so colourful and positive orientated. What you say is very funny. I tink you are the kind of woman nobody can understand in my surrounding....But I like that."
That last part's what's got me worried. I've heard people say the Internet is of the devil, and maybe this is why. I can see plenty of opportunity for shennanigans, for those inclined to participate. But not Trixie Goforth. If ever I'm tempted, which I have not been since I was, say, about 70 years old, I say "get behind me, Satan!"
He (that man who wrote me on here, not Satan--well, maybe him too) might keep on writing and even send me a picture. Then what do I do? And I've never been over there to Europe, but I've seen on TV some of what women are like in his "surrounding." Especially those women in Paris, France. They just look at things different over there. And if that don't beat all, his name is Wolfgang Zailskas. I don't know if I want to hear from the likes of him again or not. I'm itching to run next door and tell Delores, but I better hold off, and I've got my reasons for that.
Now, talking about people with oddball names: I just heard from somebody with the name "Blog Hendersonville" and I sure do hope I'll hear from her again. Whenever I can sneak off (the kids won't let me drive--long story) I'm going to make a run up to their Main Street up there in Hendersonville, do a little shopping, and hunt up something good to eat. I sure do hope Blog Hendersonville (I won't hold her name against her) will check in here from time to time with some suggestions. I sure would appreciate that. And I've heard a lot about their Flat Rock Playhouse. They've got real actors there, some of them they lured down all the way from New York City, and they've even snagged Santa Claus for that show they're doing now. Lou Ann's going, and I'm hoping she'll surprise her old mama here with a ticket to a show and the barbecue special over at Piggy's and Harry's.
Now, speaking of Hendersonville, one more thing before I go--lordy, my tongue is loose at both ends today! I get their newspaper from up there--it's called the Hendersonville Times News and it's owned by the New York Times, but don't hold that against it. Well, I found a recipe in there today for something I haven't even heard about since I lived with Ollie Pearl way back when I was just a girl. And Ollie Pearl, who was my great aunt, now, had heard about it from her grandmother! We're talking way back. And it's not fruitcake, either.
So, next time I do this blog thing, I'm going to write that recipe down here so you can make it, too. Maybe we'll get something new started. Maybe it'll sweep the country. Maybe the world. And maybe the world will come right here to this blog thing which is like my doorstep and we can all visit.
Here I am again.
I guess I ought not to give myself a pat on the back for keeping up with this blog thing after I've just done it twice, but truth be told I didn't think I'd get this far. One thing I wished I had done was go to King's Business College in Charlotte after the war.
Then I could have told my first husband Frank to hit the road.
I could have learned stenography and ten-key adding machine, skills nobody needs anymore and anybody much younger than me has never heard of, but they would have come in mighty handy back then.
I did learn to type, though, and here I am right now just typing up a storm. I can type fast, too, for an old woman with arthritis in her fingers. It feels good to let your thoughts flow right out of your brain down your arms and out your fingers.
Some of your thoughts, that is.
There're others you best keep to yourself, if you can. Only time will tell if I keep this up or quit like Delores's grandson said most people do. Most people who start up one of these blogs lose interest after about a week, they say, so this internet thing is plain saturated with Pure T. Crap.
We'll see. And time will tell just how much I'll let fly that I ought to keep to myself. Stay tuned for that.
Well, it feels good anyway, this typing straight onto the computer screen. I'm admitting that to myself but don't tell them I said it--my kids, I mean. I'm in this stand-off with them because I won't learn the new technology.
Every time they force one of those cell phones on me, I throw it away--accidentally on purpose stick it in a trash bag of clothes I've set aside to give to the Goodwill, then tell them I lost it. Yes, this feels right good, typing away like this. If I could have done this way back when I smoked, I might have found it easier to quit.
Having something to do with your fingers is important in life. You write that down.
I think I'm supposed to put a picture of me up here. So far I haven't found one that looks like me yet doesn't drive home the hard truth of what I look like in my old age. We'll see. I'll put some pictures of how I looked back during the war, though, and some pictures of my good friend Esther and some of my grands, maybe even one or two of Frank, that jerk. And how about my recipe for fruitcake?
I'm doing this thing they call blog because I've just got so much I have to get out of my system.
So much of what, I won't say.
They say everybody's doing the blogs but hardly anybody ever reads them, and I say that's a good thing because some of what I have to tell just might knock some socks off.
I have to say I never in this world thought I'd be caught dead doing such a thing because I hate computers. I hate cell phones, video players, all the little gadgets that blink and cut loose chiming when you're at church or the mall. I hate most of what's on TV and at the movie theaters, too, and those big screens they use at the church now, where the new preacher--he's a big ole preacher boy, too, with a baby face and a massive gut--looks like he's spread all over the walls, but I've got arthritis in my fingers and it's just too hard to write things out in that little notebook the kids got me.
My daughter Lou Ann gave me that notebook after those people in Asheville made that documentary film about my life called The Days Between the Years, and she said: "Mama, I know you've got more to tell. You ought to write down more of your memories."
And I said to her, "Lou Ann, for years--YEARS! --I tried like Hell to tell you all how it was back in the Great Depression and not a one of you paid it a bit of mind." And she said, "Mother, don't talk that way."
And I said, "And why not? Whoever made the word "Hell" into a cussword, anyhow? The Bible itself is full of that kind of talk, and if anybody who claimed they ever read it really did, they'd know that.
And besides, you know I try my damndest to be a good Christian," I said.
And she said, "Mother, what am I going to do with you?"
And I said, "You know exactly what you're going to do with me: You're going to visit me now that I'm old, baby me when I'm sick, and bury me under the clods when I croak." What is it about me that makes me want to pick at her like that? She's a good girl. She swallowed hard and tried to smile and tried not to say anything, but I knew she was thinking that I was talking like that in association with my dementia. But she was wrong about that.
I do what I do and say what I say with a clear-cut purpose in my mind. I want to be known as the kind of good Christian woman whose heart is in the right place but who's not afraid to let a "damn" fly when she gets worked up. The Lord did, didn't he? He'd take a little nip every once in a while, too.
Back to the blog. I learned to do it over at Delores's. That's my neighbor, Delores Ledbetter. I was over there when one of her grandkids was doing this blog thing, trying to show her how, and I looked over his shoulder and figured out it wasn't too awful hard to do.
I heard him tell Delores, "Grammaw, you can do this. If you can type, you can do this."
Well, Delores wasn't paying a bit of attention because Tippy was doing that thing a dog does when it gets too affectionate with your leg, and Delores was saying "Tippy, now stop that, honey! You're too old for that!"
And you can be too old for it, I say, no matter what kind of gizmos you find in Dr. Leonard's catalog.
But anyway, I figured if Delores's grandson even thought she could do a blog, I figured I could, too. So I came back home--Delores just lives right next door--and started in on it without telling a soul. I have to say it wasn't exactly as easy as it looked and a time or two I cussed at the Google people and wished the computer would blow up like that other one I had did that time, but I kept on until I got it to the way it is now.
So, I guess now I'm set to pour out my guts.