Thirty Days of Gratitude-One, and because I’m already behind, Two

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Gentle Reader,

So a lot of folks seem to be doing this and for once, I’m not tragically late for a good meme. I decided I would do it too, on the blog and on the FB. (But I decided to blog AFTER my bedtime so I’m plinking this out on the iPhone rather than trot to the laptop and get my delicate sleeping requirements messed up. Andy, I’ll try for brief.)

I love me some food. (In other news, the earth is round, not flat, and the Pope is still Catholic. What’s your contribution to the Patently Obvious Things discussion?). I have said it before-preparing a meal, serving, sharing, the table, the kitchen, the company? These complete me. When Alton Brown said that while he might consider some foods not worth eating, he would never turn down an honestly and lovingly prepared meal? I fell more in love. We’re totally simpatico there! Except I cannot make his version of hollandaise sauce without making lemon-y scrambled eggs. Blender hollandaise is TOTES the way to go.

Ahem. So naturally my family and friends (read: the people for whom I would give most specific thanks) are usually inextricably linked to food in my mind. So for my thirty days, I’m thankful for different and specific people and I’ll tell you my food “imprint” with which they are associated.

So Day One. Butter milk and crackers. I’m exceedingly thankful for buttermilk and saltine crackers-crushed up and mixed together and eaten from a glass glass (never. plastic. ever. yucky.) with an iced tea spoon. I’m coming out of the closet, people. No longer do I have to drink my buttermilk and crunch my saltines crouched in a dark corner, away from prying eyes. I am Wordie, and I drink buttermilk. In much, MUCH greater quantity than regular “sweet” milk. Because my Papa Jack taught me since I was wee-bitty. (This also adds credence to the already mountainous evidence that my cousin Susan and I were somehow switched at birth, despite the ten year gap in ages. Susan is so very nearly my mama, it’s wacky. And I am my Aunt K. It’s spooky, people.). (My own mama cannot stand the buttermilk, and Aunt K loves the stuff.)

So Papa Jack. Yes, Wordie, but why on the green earth would a soul drink buttermilk? Because there were times when he wouldn’t be able to swallow anything else. Because it soothed his angry stomach. (I also learned various other home remedies from him. And to NEVER EVER NEVER get sick at their house because if I did? I’d have a spoonful of baking soda crammed down my gullet before the bed was fully turned down. And then be awakened in a few hours to have a raw egg in a little juice glass helpfully poured down after it. Be VERY glad it was just the buttermilk that I adopted.). So I’m not sure when or how, but I’ve loved my buttermilk since before I actually remember. It was very much our deal.

It’s still my comfort food because it instantly brings me home to arms that loved me beyond comprehension and hands that would sooner die before they let anybody or anything harm me. To a voice that still rings with happiness upon seeing me. “HeHAAAAY, Ol’ Bud!” And then he’d jog a little faster to get to the hug that much sooner. So tight that nothing could pry it apart.

I miss it and I miss him.

I like to think that the last, “HeHAAAAY, Ol’ Bud!” and ensuing hug is still suspended in the heavens above 4th Street in Ocilla, GA, waiting for us.

Until then, I make do with the buttermilk.

(And now we switch gears and talk about Day Two.)

Day Two. I am thankful for Red Velvet cake. Because my Gamma made it JUST RIGHT. With homemade cream cheese frosting.

Gamma was a baker. I am not. It mystifies me, I burn things, and I figure why bother with all the mixing and the dishwashing and anxiety when God gave us ice cream and Reese’s peanut butter cups? (the full size ones, not those weird mini ones…peanut butter to chocolate ratio in those things is DANGEROUSLY out of whack). Given my flagrant disregard for recipes, I need to focus on cooking more forgiving dishes. Otherwise people could die. And manslaughter has SO MUCH paperwork…

Anyway-Gamma always made red velvet when I came to visit. There are so many other Gamma Food Memories that I have (fried chicken, jello in the “special cups”, home canned green beans, cube steak, little cereal boxes, stop me when I start to sound like the kid in Forest Gump…) but this one is emblematic and is more personally “mine” than the others.’ My Gamma was truly one of the bravest women I know. Because the day after my Papa Jack died suddenly and without warning, she got out of bed. After the center of her world for nearly 54 years was instantly gone, she got out of bed the next day. Surviving that day, that first lonesome day, she earned her bravery badge.

And while I want them both here. Now. With me. It is a muted comfort that they are both Home. Together.


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