I am linking to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe~Thursday. This week is about the letter "G".
If you haven't already done so, you can stop by Jenny's blog and read some fun stories here:
"G" is for GRITS
Some of you may be thinking this post is about grits. You know the kind you boil in water, slather in butter, season with salt and pepper? Mm! Mm! Good! Oh yeah I eat them. And I love them! I even fry them up like fritters for dinner or breakfast the next day if there are any leftovers. They are grrrreat! The first time I cooked them for my husband he tried to put butter, sugar and milk on them. Such a Yankee.
But No, I’m talking about Girl Raised in the South (G.R.I.T.S.) I am truly a girl raised in the south. I am what you would call “Bona fide.” I was born here, raised here, gave birth here, and I’ll probably die here too!
I live in a small town. The house I grew up in didn’t have air conditioning. Most homes had jalousie windows that allowed for the most spectacular breezes, along with the mosquitoes too. My Jr. High school didn’t have air conditioning either. But the main thing I hated about jalousie windows was having to clean them, one at a time. It was a good chore for punishment!
Our family existed on a lot of wild game or seafood that my father brought home. I have eaten some pretty weird and wild stuff. Like:
Alligator. It’s actually quite tasty when fried.
Armadillo. I ate this with yellow rice. Not something I’m quite proud of. But hey, how many people can say they ate one of those ugly suckers?
Wild Hog. One Christmas, when I was a little girl, my dad brought home a wild baby piglet in a burlap sack. He said the momma had been killed. When my father opened the sack, that baby pig hightailed it under our bed. Squealing and slipping and sliding on our 1950”s asbestos tile floor my mom kept polished with good ole caustic (when heated) paste wax. I guess it must have been entertaining to our father to see four little butts sticking out from under the bed while trying to catch a squealing piglet. We didn’t get to keep him.
Swamp cabbage. Basically it’s just Cole slaw made from the hearts of cabbage palms. Very delicious with fried Mullet. Yum-O! Florida even has a Swamp Cabbage Festival in La Belle Florida, and Swamp Cabbage Wrestling during Bike Week in Daytona. So I’m told. I’ve never been to either. Hey I’m not Rita the Redneck ya know! I just eat the stuff!
Cattails. I remember my dad cutting them when they were green and boiling them. He served them to us with butter (a southern staple) and salt and pepper. You know I once ate a whole stick of butter when I was a kid. I wonder why I did that.
Elderberries. Mom made a lot of Elderberry jam and wine. I don’t care for either. It has a…..funky taste. And believe me I know FUNKY!
My sister ate some Possum (Opossum) once when dad was cooking it for his hunting dogs. Eewaaah! She even ate squirrel brains. I guess they are called sweet breads today, but these lips will never touch them. Shiver!! I don't eat weird stuff. Well, maybe I did in the past but I don't now! Honestly. I don't!
My dad read a lot of Euell Gibbons. Gibbons was an authority on wild edible plants. Now I’m thinking maybe my dad used us as his guinea pigs? What the hay, I slept in a crib painted with lead based paint and drank from our garden hose, so what's the harm in feeding your child unknown plant stuff? :OWe grew a lot of edible stuff of our own and raised a few animals too. One in particular was a mean Shetland pony named Traveler. He came by that name honestly too. He bit and ran away at the drop of a hat. Little s**t!
One Easter Dad bought each of us girls a colored baby chick, a fad in the 50’s. Little did we know he would serve them to us on a platter one Sunday for dinner? Four crying little girls and one pissed off Mamaw. Our Mamaw Lena laid into mom and dad both for killing our pets and none of us ate fried chicken that Sunday!
When our little town turned 100 years old, all the men in town grew beards. Men, women and children dressed up in period clothes and celebrated the Centennial with a big parade. It was a big to do. Now that was community pride. Why everybody who was anybody was there!
But then things change. I'm not so crazy anymore about that word “Change”. I can look back and remember our friends losing their homes when the government pulled Eminent Domain to build Kennedy Space Center. Many people didn’t get near what their businesses, homes or land was worth. Entire communities were wiped out. All that is left are a couple of cemeteries and a few signs indicating where the communities used to be.
That change brought memories of playing in my the back yard and looking up to see unmanned rockets launch and fall back to earth and even explode when the Space program was just taking off. Now, I can look up and see the Space Station float through the sky at night or look across the river and watch Shuttle launches. As a matter of fact one is going up this evening. You have to be here to experience the rumbling of your china and windows when launches leave our atmosphere.
Change does bring about change, and all things come to an end, like this story and the Space Program. Perhaps what’s left of my little town will end as well. But this “Bona fide” Girl Raised in the South will still be here.
Photographs credits: Wikipedia.com/ G.Bortle