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Grannies Grits 'n Gravy 

God must have truly loved my ancestors, or else none of them or me would have ever survived.

We ate from the country hillbilly dishes of life's recipes back when gun-toters were still considered hunters. Barefoot pregnant housewives ran amuck chasing unruly, non-disciplined children that lacked cultural upbringings. And housed cleaning and backyard clotheslines and clothespins that hung with the clothes fresh from the washing board washes was still the norm.

Yes, my childhood memories come from way back yonder years of when we got our first modern washing machine. It was an electrical contraption that swished back and forth. Only it didn't spin the water out in a spin cycle like the modern machines. It only drained. There was a two-roller device mounted on top of it that had a handle that got cranked round and round like the old-time ice cream and butter churns. Some things were still manually driven, so we had to use one hand to feed it, use the other to crank, and it squeezed the water out before going into the sun dryer. A line strung between two trees that the clothes got threw over.

Meals on Wheels didn’t mean food actually got delivered. Meals on Wheels was considered hitting the closest fast-food restaurant, on the rare, occasional trip into town where most of the city folk congregated and lived near. It meant ordering at a speaker box, picking the food up from an attendant around the corner standing in a window, then eating the food in the car. It meant you consumed your meal wherever you sat in the automobile. Now, for those who still had the all-natural transportation of horse pulled buggies and carriages, theirs was a different experience. They'd have to contend with being behind unsolicited gas expulsions from their animals. Not having windows to roll up made this quite hard to control the atmosphere of fine dining. Aside from the rare occasional animal spooking that caused their animal team to take into full striding gallops. They didn't fare so well trying to eat their meals on wheels. Kinda hard to master hand to mouth orientations being bounced around on wooden wagon wheels hitting pot holes or running off into ditches while trying to steer a moving object that has no shocks with only leather straps attached to power that doesn't obey human commands while in a frantic state.

Having good health meant you still had a body and as long as it wasn’t dead, it still functioned regardless of aches/pains or how many prescription meds or famous rock candy pieces you have to ingest, and was still able to walk, you got dressed and went to work at your employment. Rock candy wasn’t given to children under ten. They used moonshine as its main ingredient, so the older folks was always complaining about some health issues that needed addressing with rock candy consumption.

I remember one day my mom was all frantic and worried because my dad was so sick. He’d been at a medical facility all day and night, having to be treated intravenously with a rock candy mixture. They sent him home early, before he was well. Upon his arrival, one of his friends had driven him home because he was too sick to drive his own auto. My mom met him at the door, wanting to know why he was coming home half drunk. He told her he didn’t get to finish his treatments because he’d run out of money. And they didn’t provide services to those who couldn’t pay. Half well or not, from the drunk sickness.

Needless to say, after my dad got home, he tried going to bed like most sick folk do when they feel bad, but my mom wanted to help him, so she took it upon herself to find a reason for the medical facility to keep treating my dad. She made up a new use for her cast-iron skillet to fix. Like my grand-mammy always said, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” So she decided to cook him a meal and feed him in bed. Sure enough, after she spent a few minutes with her skillet in the bedroom along with my dad. He was back off to be treated at the medical office again. This time, for several other reasons he didn’t have the first time he was there. As now, for some strange unknown reason he is suffering from an unexplained blood loss and some unsightly bruises and swollen bumps on his head.

Back then the medical facilities also offered arts and craft classes to their patients. My dad learned to sew and put patches on like the Raggedy Ann dolls used to have. He got professional training in how to stitch up and close the seams of his boo-boos to keep his stuffings from coming out. And how to use tape and scissors to make patches for dresses. Of course, being the manly man he was, didn’t appreciate these types of skills, ‘cause he told my mom often that he wore the pants in the family. Guess he didn't like the thought of learning to make female dresses that would fit him to wear. But it must have worked in curing his ill’s because he never had to stay overnight at the medical facility getting intravenous treatments of moonshine to treat the drunken sickness again.


Tamison Harmon, upper middle-aged, closer to and closing in fast on the retirement years. Born and sired in the Southeast. Currently residing (have always lived) in the state of SC. Armature attempting to write poetry, short stories and poems. Yet, do so just for fun of it.

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