Saturday, December 31, 2011

Polk Salad Granny's New Year's resolution


“What’s your New Year’s resolution, Granny?” Ben asked.  And I wonder how many folks are making those resolutions today, forgetting the promises we make to ourselves are as important as the ones we make to others.

I tells Ben, “Those resolutions you make don’t make no sense if you don’t keep the promises you make to yourself, so make them few and simple, so you don’t forget.  A promise is your word, and keeping it is being honest with yourself and often other folks.

Granny’s promise is to never forget the Man Upstairs and give thanks for life and friends and family, wherever they may be, not just in Cloutierville, Louisiana.   I don’t need change my promises each year because the one I make  is hard enough to keep, just as it is for everyone.  But in keeping it I honor what I do and try to do what’s right for me and everybody else.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

Granny’s advice on grief and loss of loved ones


“He died almost twenty years ago,” Linda told me, her voice breaking.  “I still miss him, but Kenny says I should forget since it was a long time ago.  But every year at Christmas I remember, and it makes me very sad.”  Linda’s tears are real, for sure; and Granny hears her pain and offers this advice.

“Tears are good for us, a blessing from the Man Upstairs who really knows our hearts.  Just like your body needs a bath, your heart and soul do too.   At times when there is joy around, when seasons start to change, when holidays come or special times appear, we remember those we knew before.  We think about the good times when we knew those folks and can’t recall the bad.  It’s that part that’s like the birth of babies, where pain is part of giving life and hurts us when it comes.   But soon the pain of having that baby becomes what we remember less than the child who lives and plays and becomes that part of living, loving, growing, and the life that lies ahead.  It’s natural to think about the people who have gone, and tears give us the way to feel our hearts, while memories keep the lives of those we loved still part of who we are.”

“My Mama, she was special.  Her life was very hard in Cloutierville.  And every holiday this Granny thinks about her as well as babies I have lost.  It hurts to think they won’t be here with me again.  But they are part of me forever, as they are part of every living creature that has ever walked the earth, which is my joy today, forever, as they are for you as well.”

Linda saw the pictures this Granny has upon the wall and said, “I see so many people here, I do not recognize.  I have some pictures too and some stay in my mind.  Maybe that’s what it means to live forever, because I have the love and memories I can always feel inside.”

The gift of life we understand; the gift of death we don’t; and Granny knows that feeling well, as years keep flying by.  But wisdom comes with things we do not understand, as even Granny’s memories cause pain at the holidays.  Yet most of us, if we could live our lives again, would choose suffering the pain of loss that comes when people leave us to have had them in our lives to think about and remember now with love.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Granny warns folks not to throw rocks


“Get down from there!  Didn’t  Granny teach you any better? You up there throwing rocks and all.  And just because you’re a girl, Michele,  doesn’t mean you ain’t gonna get your scoldings like Newt and Ronnie and the other boys.  Don’t think I won’t grab Barry by the nap of the neck if he gets out of line too, lik some of his friends been doing."

Them boys, and that girl Michele.  I taught them better manners.  And they promised this old Granny here in Cloutierville, they’d behave and not say bad things about each other even Ronnie who promised and promised he was different.  Then I says to Mitt, “No, I don’t care who started it first.  Nobody’s gonna listen to you if you keep changing your mind and don't get at what's really bothering people and instead just sit there with a rock in your hand.”'

And parties?  Those political ones?  Granny sure don't understand.  These folks all come from Cloutierville where we don't have all this stuff.  Kids would put up signs in the hall, or wear a little button around sayin' "vote for me," and that was sure enough.  But these folks in Washington, none of those parties look like they'd be fun.  So Granny just won't choose, since callin' names and throwin' rocks just ain't what running things ought to be about.

Wish my babies would have stayed out of politics, like I told them, or kept their promises like the Good Book says and not say bad things just to get even.   That’s why they all got coal in their stockingss at Christmas and Newt, he says, “Look what Granny gave us.  We oughta burn the stuff and save on energy this year.” Shows he doesn’t learn from his mistakes any better than what he says other folks do.”

Granny's gonna get Leroy to cut off those tree branches and take them all to the woodshed so those young'uns won't be climbing in this yard again. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Granny's advice on breastfeeding while shopping


Molly dropped by my house this morning all upset cause she was at a store shopping, then sat down to nurse her baby, and the folks that worked there started making fun and saying things that made Molly feel bad.  So I has to speak up to help folks understand about feeding babies and all.

So I tells her, “First thing people got to remember is baby needs that milk.  It helps give them a good start in life.    And those breasts the Man Upstairs done gave you and me, well they’re for feeding babies.  So no one should act foolish when a mother is just doing what comes naturally for that.”

“But babies also need a nice warm place to cuddle close and quiet so they sleep.  I kept my babies in my house for feeding and did my shopping after that.  Besides when there is a bunch of folks shopping,  well there is more germs too; and little babies they get sick,  so I never took them out like that, especially in the winter.

Babies, they come first, you see, not shopping.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poke Salad Granny's night before Christmas in Cloutierville


It was the night before Christmas, and in Granny's shack
Not a sound could be heard 'cept Elmer snorin' in back
The family had nailed up their socks on my wall
With so many goodies, I hoped they won't fall.

The children were all tucked straight away in their beds,
While I finished the knitting of caps for their heads.
And I wrapped up the yarn never makin' a peep
While waitin' for Elmer to just go to sleep.

Then out in the backyard I hears such a noise
And jumped from my chair, to find neighborhood boys
Were in a big hurry to get home that night,
No drinkin' or foolin' around or a fight.

The moon it shone bright, and it lit up the sky.
Well, it was so pretty, I almost could cry.
When suddenly there came down the road a surprise.
It brought bunches of tears comin' down from these sleepy old eyes.

I could see an old bus comin' up my driveway
Bringin' my babies from everywhere for Christmas day.
They climbed on the porch, and they laughed and they sang,
And woe is me, all of the good things they brang.

And then, from a ruckus we heard from the barn
Came our Cloutierville Santa, just like that old yarn.
He was dressed in some blue jeans all tight round his rear
And his red shirt was drippin' with mustard and beer.

A bundle of toys he had put in a sack
That old Nick bringin' Christmas for all in his pack.
He didn't say nothin', but went straight to his work
And lay out the goodies, then turned with a jerk

And burpin' a bit, he smiled, and he said,
"I gotta get goin'.   Now you get to bed."
He got in his car, to the folks gave a smile
'Cause we wouldn't be seein old Nick for awhile.

But we heard him exclaim, when he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all.  Now have a good night."


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Granny offers pecan pie recipe, but not her real secret

Where I live pecan pie is part of what makes us Southern, but you other folks, well you can be as good as us folk if you learn how to make pecan pie.  I'll leave that poke salad recipe for your coming to visit in Cloutierville, but here's the pie recipe y'all been asking about.

I make up my own pie crust for my pecan pie, but you can get it already done at the store, at least that’s what my uptown friends tell me. Me, I just figure it out with a pinch of this and a pinch of that. But here’s what you can try. Take some flour, maybe a couple cups, and some salt, just a wee bit, about 2/3 cup of butter and enough cold water to get it mixing good. I add a little vanilla flavor too, just a tad to make that crust all tasty like. Now stir that up, and then roll it out and put it in your pie pan and make sure them corners is smooth. Then bake it up for about 20 minutes, depends on your oven, but mine is old and takes time to warm up, so I just watch it until it gets just golden brown. Then I take it out when it’s ready, so I can put in that good pecan pie filling.

In your bowl put in some pecans, a couple cups or maybe three,  and mix them up with about ¾ cup of maple syrup and about a half cup of brown sugar. Add some melted butter to it, along with either more of that vanilla flavor or maple (my Leroy likes the maple stuff, but the rest of the family likes vanilla). Stir that up with a couple of eggs, and put it into that pie shell, and then into the oven for a little less than an hour at about 400 degrees, give or take. Me, I just check it after about 40 minutes or so, cause burning a pecan pie is a really sorry sin for a good Southern granny like me.

Now Leroy is already in my kitchen, and he’s telling me I shouldn’t be sharing our family secrets. But you aren’t gonna get my poke salad recipe, cause that's the secret Granny will never tell.

Newt Gingrich tells Granny, "I'm too big to fail."

"Well, I know he's busy, but he shouldn't be too busy to talk to Granny.  Put him on the phone."  I tell you that boy just keeps getting too big for his britches, and it's gonna get him trouble one day, I was thinking as I waited for my grandbaby to get around to talk with me since he's been looking to be President.

"Oh, granny, it's been so busy for me since I started my campaign for President. You know I got these interviewers from the media, you know those left-wing radicals trying to do me in.  But I tell them I'm too big to fail.", and I have to wonder if that child ever listened to me back in Cloutierville.

"Newtie (I calls him by his baby name cause he's always gonna be my baby no matter how big those britches get) nobody is too big to fail.  In fact, that's where our lessons come.  You betcha you can fail.  You have failed already by not taking care of some of that business right in your own family.  You been making with all that talk about Obama and bailing out those banks and all, but that's all talk when your neighbors they is suffering; and you ain't looking at your own mistakes.

 I remind my grandson of all those times we talked about this, walking down the streets of Cloutierville when he was still knee high to a grasshopper.  Guess some folks, they don't listen when you tell them you need to learn from your mistakes.

I hear him talking to someone, and I wonder where his mind is, where his heart is, when he ain't listening anymore to what his Granny says.  I shakes my head and wait awhile, then hang up that darn phone, wondering how politicians ever get to heaven when they can't figure out those who think they are too big to fail are the ones who will keep failing most.