by my friend, Ben
When it come to punkins, Pa thought they were perty much a waste of time. He did. But Ma always had a little patch on the hill not far from the back door. She did.
Come the first frost she’d pick out two or three of the best’ of ‘em. She would. She’d take out the seeds an’ cut the rest up an’ cook it in a big ol’ pot. She would. She’d put the seeds on a cookie sheet an’ bake ‘em in the oven. They made a right good snack. They did.
After that there punkin were cooked up just right, Ma’d let it cool a bit an’ then cut off the rind. She would. Then it were time fer my job. She’d fasten the food grinder on the table top. She would. Put in the right blades an’ I’d turn the crank while she fed in the punkin. She would.
Now when it come to punkin, I reckon Ma were an artist in her own right. She were. Her punkin bread an’ rolls were known all across Hickory Ridge. They were. I’d heard folks were known t’ get a might testy when bidin’ for her punkin goodies at the town Fall Festival. They did. She had some secret ingredient what nobody knowed but her. She did. Since she never wrote no recipes down, the secret went with her when she passed away. It did.
While usin’ punkin were only limited by her imagination, Ma’s punkin pies were right up there with her punkin bread. They was. Along with all them little personal touches she’d get the heaviest cream George Wilson’s Dairy could make an put it in them pies. She would. Them there pies would almost melt in your mouth. They would. The rich, creamy taste would make your whole body feel good. It would.
Ma’s punkin patch is still back there on the hill. It is. I tried to make a pie once or twice after she were gone, but it weren’t the same. It weren’t. I reckon I coulda tried harder, but them pies an’ Thanksgivin’ weren’t about pies an’ turkey. It weren’t. Thanksgivin’ were about Ma. It were. It were about her thankfulness for me’n pa an’ God an’ everything she had in this world. It were.
I can remember wakin’ up early Thanksgivin’ mornin’ to the sound of her workin’ in the kitchen. An’ hearin’ her singin’ “In the sweet by an’ by.” I never knowed nobody more thankful for what they had than Ma. I reckon that’s why she loved Thanksgivin’ so much. That an’ the joy it brung her in helpin’ make Thanksgivin’ good for others.
She had this here little game what caused her eyes to twinkle on Thanksgivin’. She did. Just being’ the three of us, we didn’t need no big turkey an’ four or five pies. We didn’t. But Ma would get a big ol’ bird an’ when it an’ all the trimmin’s was done, she’d sit us down for the feast. She would. Then when we was done, she’d take half of the turkey an the fixin’s an’ two of her pies, an’ load em’ up in two or three boxes. She would.
Well, me’n Pa knowed what were comin’ next. We did. We’d load them boxes into the ol’ truck an’ head out to wherever she said. We would. She never told us where we was goin’. That were all part a the game. It were.
At the hard road she’d tell Pa which way to turn. She would. Now she knowed who were gettin’ that there Thanksgivin dinner. She did. She’d sneaked about findin’ folks what weren’t gonna have no Thanksgivin’ an’ have the preacher go out an’ be sure they’d accept it. She would.
One time she had Pa turn up Conklin’s Holler Road. She did. Now Conklin’s Holler were known as one of them hollers what you stayed out of. It were. Folks back there weren’t known to be the friendly type. They weren’t.
Well the ol’ truck lurched an’ bounced as Pa crossed from one rut to the other tryin’ to keep from gettin’ stuck. He did. Some feller come out on his porch with a shotgun an’ watched us go by. He did. More’n one hound dog run after us. They did. Finally Ma pointed to a house on a hill just up the road. She did. She told Pa to stop there an’ blow the horn twice. She did.
When he did, a thin woman an’ four kids come out on the porch. They did. The kids just stared at us. They did. The woman started to say somethin’, when a large burley man stepped outside. He come down the path an’ I could see a pistol on his hip. I could. He said, “You the one’s what the preacher sent?” Pa said, “yessir.” He looked at me an’ the boxes me an Ma were holdin. He did. Then he turned an’ walked up the hill without sayin’ another word. He did.
When he got to the top he waved his hand an’ the woman an’ kids come down to get the food. They did. The man went in the house an’ when he come back out he come down the hill. He did. He come up to Pa’s winder an handed him what looked like a dollar bill. It did. Pa said it were fine, that we didn’t want no money. The man said, “Take the money or take the food back.” Ma nodded an’ Pa took the money an’ thanked the man. He nodded at the kids an’ they took the boxes up the hill. They did. The woman looked at Ma an’ in almost a whisper, said, “Thank ya.” Ma said. “God bless ya, an’ enjoy the food.” She did.
When I thought about all the love an’ work Ma put in fixin’ the meal, I couldn’d help but say I didn’t think them folks were right grateful for what she’d done. I did. Ma looked at me an’ said, “Benny, them folks are poor, but they also got pride. Their pa accepted help, but didn’t want no charity. Him payin’ what he could let him keep his dignity. It did. It’s important for us to remember that poor folks are just like the rest of us, septin’ they don’t have as much. Fact is, Benny, there’s worse things than bein’ hungry, an’ that’s bein’ made to feel different and ashamed. You know what I mean?”
I told her I did. Cause I remembered when Raleigh Montgomery made fun of me in the schoolyard cause my overalls had a patch on ‘em. He did. I can still remember how I felt even to this day. I can. Nobody should be made to feel like that.
CONCERNS: We are saddened to learn that Deanna McRoy, Debbie and Buster’s daughter-in-law’s cancer has returned. The outlook is not good and our prayers are asked as Alec and the rest of the McRoy’s deal with the days ahead. A friend of Maggie Foy’s, Michala, had back surgery and will be out of school a couple of months. Keep the following people in your prayers: Gary Overstreet, Del Bolin’s mother, Abby Keeting (treated for leukemia), Luke Beach, Judy Hall (eye issues), Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer treatment) Ben Robertson (job hunting), Tolly Nicklas (in hospice care) , Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, Josh Thirston (kidney transplant) Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie (has a very sick child), Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber. Amber is paralyzed from the neck down. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson (MS), Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 20-25
Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 27-DEC. 2
Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Like 15:1-10
Thursday: Galatians 6:1-10
Friday: Psalm 23
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14
THE SERVICE TODAY
Today’s service has been arranged and conducted by Wayne Flora. Our thanks to him for doing this.
Thanks to the Floras, Connie Crites and Holly Wagner for preparing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday.
Today is also Super Sunday. If you haven’t been in the annex lately you have missed seeing Judy McWhorter’s quilt display. She has graciously placed them along the walls, not just for viewing and adding beauty to the room, but to act also as a sound block to help with the acoustics. Plan to enjoy the meal as well as the atmosphere.
There is no scheduled steering committee meeting for today. However, if there is a need which needs to be addressed, one will be called.
For several years we have collected the leftover bread from Panera and delivering it to the Rescue Mission. Those who have been doing it need some help. The pick-up is on Thursday evening at 10:00 PM. Delivery is on Friday Morning. If you can help, see Leena Bolin, or Mike Branch, or one of the others who have been doing it. Thanks.
The lighting in the annex is in need of upgrading and we hope to be able to deal with this soon.