Wednesday, May 16, 2007


When I was a kid I loved to go to my grandparents house out on the farm on Sundays. We would go out after church for lunch (we called it dinner). Lunch usually consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, sweet iced tea, and chocolate cake for dessert. The table was large to accommodate a large family. We would gather around and dig in to the piles of delicious food until we were stuffed. There was usually enough left over to take care of supper also.

If I had been fortunate enough to spend the previous night with them, I often helped Grandma to kill the chickens that we had for lunch. I remember her catching them and wringing their neck in one swift motion. She wasn't very tall and she was quick. Then it was a matter of plucking and dressing them before taking them into the house where she completed the cutting up for cooking.

In the afternoons there was always plenty to do. Usually I would take the dog and a gun down in the pasture to hunt something -- anything. I loved the time alone exploring. Usually the only thing that I shot was a tin can or something. There was about a three mile stretch that I knew intimately. It reached from the Old Dugout on the east end to the feedlot on the north end. Now for you that aren't familiar with the place, I followed the Runningwater Draw which made a large curve in the middle of that stretch. Most of the area that I covered was visible from the house which sat on a hill overlooking the mid-point of my path of exploration.

During the afternoon, while I was out exploring, the adults would usually play dominoes. If there were enough, they would play eighty-four (some of you may know it as eighty-eight), if not enough people, they would play forty-two. The games would last until suppertime and then often would resume after the table had been cleaned. That's when I would stand next to my Dad to watch and learn to play.

When I would return from my trek, there would usually be a watermelon cooling in the shade under a large elm tree that stood in the yard. Grandma often would have mixed up some ice cream and have it ready for churning. One of my uncles would usually turn the crank while I sat on the top of the bucket to keep it still. It would get really cold in spite of the folded towels that covered the ice and the 100 degree temperatures. The churning usually took place on the back porch so the salt water that leaked from the hole in the side of the bucket wouldn't get on anything important.

As the evening approached, we would have leftovers for supper, or Grandma would come up with something else if there wasn't enough. Frequently there would be neighbors or family stop in to visit in the evenings. There was always enough food for everyone.

Sometimes, later in the evenings, my uncle and some of his friends would gather in the back room to play music. They would get out the guitars and play late into the night. That was also where I started learning to play the guitar. I would listen until I couldn't hold my eyes open any more.

Those were good times.


Texas Red said...

I miss them. I can't believe it's been over a year.

MotherPie said...

Sounds just like dinner at my grandma's except she made pie and biscuits, not chocolate cake, and the kids sat at the kid's table. I was the 18th or so grandchild. She, too, could kill chickens like that. She had banty chickens and there were always a few horses around for the parades. I have her saddle.

I was only five when she died so I couldn't go off exploring unless one of my cousins took me along.

Times have really changed...families are dispersed...

WomanHonorThyself said...

well dang buddy..youre makin me hungry and it aint even 10AM here onna East a sweet post..Blessed you are to have such a warm family..and hey...killin chickens with yer bare hands?..thats what y'all do in those parts? I a city girl or what?..:)

Panhandle Poet said...

Angel: That was a lot of years ago -- more in fact than I care to admit to. By the way, BWH is correct on the usage of you, y'all and all y'all -- I just didn't want to confuse you, y'all, or all y'all! KISS principle, right?

MomPie: Changing too much. I wish my kids could experience some of those things. Instilling good memories is important for lifelong relationships.

WomanHonorThyself said...

KISS principle indeed!..heh

Incognito said...

You had me 'till the chicken neck wringing. Yikes. Not a pleasant thought for a veggie.. :-)