April 19 – For our third course, here are a couple other food tales while I am thinking way back. First of all, when I was about ten, my mother decided that I should have a surprise birthday party to celebrate the first decade of my life! Just a few of the neighbor kids arrived along with a couple from the school. When they arrived, several other older folks drove up, too. And then out came the food: fresh strawberry shortcake and ice cream, a treat that we hardly ever had!During strawberry season, Mom would get up early and off to the fields we would go. Those trips made it possible to fill our stomachs with nothing but berries. We hardly ever had ice cream because we couldn’t afford it for one thing, and with no refrigerator what we did have would melt before we ate it all. But now back to my birthday!
When the guests arrived, I just couldn’t figure out how they knew it was my special day, and then I began to also wonder how Mom could serve everyone a nice big bowl of fresh shortcake topped with the special ice cream! When I asked my mom later how it all came about, she laughed and said, “Sis, you were sitting right there on the couch reading when I called your Aunt Annie and we planned it together. Lots of fun, wasn’t it?” Yes, it was, and still is as I think about it right now.
You might be surprised that we had a telephone back in those early days. We had just gotten one the year before. When I first called one of my school friends, I just about dropped the phone when she said hello and sounded just as if she were sitting next to me in the classroom! How in the world could she be several miles away and I could still understand every word she said!Had just taken off my apron before I opened up the computer to write these notes. An apron? Nobody even owns an apron these days! Well, I do, not just one but about fifty, each one made by my Mom for me! The ones I am using now are washed, ironed and folded up before putting them back in the drawer. One box in the basement holds the rest of those pretty aprons. When one I use is about ready to die of old age, I toss it out and add one of the new ones to those in the drawer. I just don’t feel fully clothed when I am working in the kitchen without the protection of an apron! Along that line, I have about 100 cloth napkins, most of them made by Dale’s mother, who used a sewing machine so small that she always put it up on the kitchen table to do her work. Such fine straight seams. Oh, I almost forgot this: the material for one special set of napkins was cut from a new bed sheet! Then Mom used the second sheet with the same pattern to fix up a tablecloth to go with the napkins! She always came up with that kind of bright idea, I guess maybe because in Africa she couldn’t find what she needed, so had to make new plans that would fit the situation. Both of our mothers were so special to us, and we knew we were blessed to have them. – CHRIS
Picture credit: Wild Strawberries from www.ryenats.org.uk