So much of my Grandparents is lost to me as both sets are gone now since the mid 90s.
I grew up near Arzie and Roxie Martin
So there are countless memories and experiences with them…..
But it was Moms folks that lived so far away for most of my life.
Elic and Beulah Blakey.
I am sorry to say, I am not even sure of the correct spelling of Grandmas name….( but that is stuff for another Blog, another day)
Most of the time I recall, they lived northeast of Little Rock Arkansas.
The earliest memories are of a house made with rock for the siding. For the longest time they had no running water and no inside plumbing.
One house was a pier and beam where Grandma cooked on a huge wood burning stove… and we visited during July every year.
That was one hot kitchen.
I was intrigued by that stove, but was never allowed in the kitchen since getting burned was always a possibility.
(I wonder if that is where I became interested in cooking, and playing with fire….? humm??)
There was always a barn where goats were kept.
Grandpa Elic was always convinced goats milk was a cure for most anything, plus he believed it made the best cornbread.
I discovered one of Grandmas secrets of cooking and baking was using a lot of real butter and goats milk.
At least, that is what I was told.
Grandma always had a very large Garden. She could grow anything, any where.
Her carport was lined on the west side by emptied food cans with flowers planted in the cans, as they were hung with a homemade hook.
They always grew so well. She truly had the ‘Green Thumb’.
It was in her Garden where I was paid a nickle for ‘picking weeds’, one hot vacation in July.
She proudly tolds me she would pay me a nickle to pick the weeds !
With no respect, nor compassion on my part, I told Grandma I didn’t thing a nickle was enough for ‘picking weeds’ in that July Sun and Heat.
My Mom instantly slapped that disrespect out of my face, and I realized the error of my spoiled city boy ways, and went to picking weeds for most that day… and yes, it was still July and no clouds in the sky for shade.
I didn’t dare go to the shade of the carport and ask for a drink of water either since I was sure Mom had the trigger cocked and ready to launch another ‘attitude correction administration’, and she was still pissed for my earlier sassy mouth.
Two things occurred that afternoon though.
Well, three if you count that sunburn the spoiled city boy got…..
But, I remember the first time I liked the taste of a Cherry Tomato, ripe, and sun warmed as I took it off the vine, and enjoyed the ‘wonder’ of a real fresh vine ripe tomato.
It was just before Supper, and I was really hungry.
After I had eaten several, I was afraid I might get caught at the end of the day, and the inventory would be lower than normal.
Plus there was the issue of a stain or two on my t-shirt.
I have loved vine ripe tomatoes ever since.
No, I wasn’t caught, and there was no questions concerning the low number of tomatoes, nor the stains on the t-shirt.
(Well, no wonder since I surely had sweat was all tomato stains off well before any Mother could find reason to open a ‘Tomato Gate Inquiry’.
The other issue was that Grandma somehow found a quarter to pay me, and instructed me to never tell my Momma that I was paid five times what was the original arrangement.
I have never known a sweeter and more tender soul than my Grandma Beulah.
In the fall of 1969 we received a call that Grandma had suffered a stroke.
The Grandma I had grown up with was gone…even though she ‘survived’ the stroke, and didn’t pass till the early 90s.
What was left was the shell of a woman who lost the use her right arm, speech, and much more.
She tried to talk with you but ended up crying at the apparent disappointment of not being able to communicate well at all.
Now, I feel I was a terrible Grandson during those remaining years.
It was too painful to see her that way, and I guess I reverted back to that spoiled little city boy ways when I was more concerned with me and mine, rather than what Grandma needed or wanted.
I didn’t make too many efforts to visit her and Grandpa after that.
Sure I was in High School, getting to drive a car, realizing ….’girls’, making money, football, and college, and …. well…. what I wanted and thought was the most important ….
Grandma died in the early 90s I recall… or was it the late 80s?
I know Grandpa passed in 1990.
I went to Grandmas Funeral, and didn’t go to Grandpas.
I was too busy, and too many other important things were going on….
Ok, that is the way it ‘seemed’ at the time.
Nevertheless, that is water under the bridge now.
It may well be bridges under the water.
In the last years I have been able to discover more of my family and the histories.
Betty has been into the study of genealogy and has found much research already done on the Blakey Family, as well as the Martin side and some of these ‘trees’ going back to almost 1500 or so.
We have one picture of my Great Great Grandpa James Washington Blakey who looks so much like a dear Brother of mine…..
The point is, I have lost so much with their passing.
Well, so much for that.
What I do have, and what I might could have had, are things I ponder often.
Remember I said earlier that Grandma cooked everything in Butter? I also remember she fried so many things too.
I know she had the used Bacon Grease Bucket sitting by the stove, as our Mothers did, and as a mater of fact, I HAVE TOO! Not now though.
“We’ now know that frying anything in any oil causes a change in the structure of the oil, as well as the items being fried…. and none of it is good!
You do realize just driving by a ‘all you can eat’ Chinese Food Place or even Burger King is toxic fumes… … don’t you? Yeah, like those fumes in our kitchens when oil or animal muscle is ‘fried’.
Ok, here is perhaps the toughest truth you could face in your life time ‘merica….. smelling fried BACON is killing you and your family.
I know you can find some Paleo, Keto, Adkins ‘scientific’ research (?) that will tell you ‘good news’ about a toxic addiction/lifestyle that will agree with our bad habits, but folks, I have had both parents, all the Grand Parents, too many friends and family SUFFER NEEDLESSLY to give a DAMN about your desire to justify needless suffering, expense, and terror about your F__KING “BUT BACON” Crap.
I am tired of the suffering.
I am tired of the loss.
There are just some things that can never be regained once they are lost.
Call me crazy, but I really want to live long enough to use time travel and go back and visit with departed family…. there is some stuff I need to know, and want to know.
Plus I would like to know where the six foot single shot ‘goose gun’ went Grandpa Blakey said i could have…. or at least I thought he said that.
I wish I could sit and try to understand why my sweet Grandma Beulah could use the powdered SNUFF and end each day with that awful stuff.
AND I want to know why she thought I wanted to give her a kiss before I went to bed when that stinky snuff was running down that crease at the corner of her mouth.
AND Why! WHY! WHY! did she leave that spit can behind her chair where I could tip it over while playing the next day ….
I really want to know how she could grow all those plants, and WHY the buzzing Dirt Dobbers never scared her when she was in the Out House.
They sure scared me.
I know we all, are going to die.
What I do ‘plan to do’, is choose how I will not die.
I do not plan to die from a self inflicted Chronic Disease caused by my misinformed irresponsible choices.
And folks, while I am NOT DYING from self inflicted Chronic Disease caused by my misinformed irresponsible choices…
I will be never counting calories, never measuring proteins, never fearing carbs.