If you have ever started a sentence with “I remember when . . .”, this book will remember with you.
If you grew up in a small town or even just drove through small towns and wondered about the people who lived there, this book will show you around.
If you remember simpler times and long summer nights on the porch swing, you should read this book.
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Small Town USA
Pies Are Not for Breakfast
by George Barrett
Mama and Papa Durrett raised a big family with five girls and seven boys. They were my grandparents, but since everyone called them Papa Joe and Mama Durrett I did too. My youngest aunt, Aunt Glenora, was only four years older than me. When all the school-aged kids went to school, I had to stay home with Mama Durrett. Everyone feared Mama Durrett because she was so strict. She expected, and received, prompt obedience from all her children, believing strongly in the old adage that children should be seen and not heard.
Mama Durrett was very proud of her cooking, and the entire town agreed. This fall morning she had already baked four pies, all crisp now and setting out on the window sill to cool. I walked into the kitchen, immediately drawn to the irresistible smell of the pies.
Mama Durrett only made pies when fruit was in season. Her favorite was apple and cherry, but occasionally she would shake things up with a rhubarb filling or one with crawfish.
“Can I have a piece of pie, Mama Durrett?”
“No, George. The pie is for dinner. You can have breakfast, though. Sit down at the table.”
Breakfast, hmmph. Eggs and toast sounded just plain pitiful to me compared to those warm pies. “Can I have a piece of pie after breakfast?”
“No, and stop asking me questions. I have to watch this roux on the stove so it doesn’t burn. Your grandpa likes his gumbo just right. Now go get your plate for breakfast.”
I headed into the pantry to get a plate. She usually locked the pantry, but it was open this morning since the children had already left for school.
Returning, I handed her the plate, which she filled with the leftover eggs, bacon, and toast from what she had served to the men going out to the field.
I set the plate on the table, hopped up into the chair, and could smell those pies once again. Delicious. How could I eat eggs and bacon with the aroma of pies drifting across the table? I played with the eggs, wondering how to get a slice of pie.
“George, you better eat those eggs. When I finish cleaning up the kitchen, breakfast is over and you won’t have anything more till lunch.” Mama Durrett had no sense of humor, especially with food.
“Yes, ma’am.” Meanwhile, my mouth watered for a pie.
Mama Durrett took that moment to head into the pantry with a load of dishes. Suddenly inspired, I jumped off the chair, pushed the pantry door closed, flipped the latch closed and dropped a fork through the latch. Mama Durrett was now locked in the pantry. The coast was clear for me to get a pie! I was halfway to the pies when the pantry door rattled, hard. I stopped, realizing what I had done.
“George Richard, you open this door right now.” Mama Durrett’s voice cracked out at me like a whip. My hands reached out toward the pie, but my feet started sliding back to the pantry. They were obeying Mama Durrett completely against my will. As I saw the pie slipping away from me, I realized just how much trouble I was in. Fear quickly displaced hunger.
“Mama D-d-durrett, I’ll let you out right now,” I stuttered in a panic. “B-b-but if I let you out, you won’t punish me, will you?” My mouth ran out way ahead of my brain. What was I thinking, trying to dicker with Mama Durrett?
“You open this door right now and let me out. If that roux burns, I’ll climb up your weatherboard and rip off some shingles,” Mama Durrett yelled. While she usually said that as a joke, she was dead serious now. I could not say anything, too scared now even to squeak. The silence drew out while the roux bubbled on the stove.
“All right, George. I won’t say a word to you. You let me out now.” Her worry about the roux burning overpowered her desire to beat the living daylights out of me. I suspect it was a difficult choice for her.
“Yes ma’am,” I whispered, amazed at the sudden reprieve. I pulled the fork out of the latch, then jumped behind the table, just in case. The door opened and her eyes shot lightning bolts at me as she dashed over to stir the roux. I ducked under the table just in time.
Growing Up On Memory Lane is a touchstone that connects us to our small town family, where a story is always waiting on the porch swing, and where stories are renewed and preserved for another generation.
Let us introduce our Authors.
Dorothy Hastings Booth
Lois Dorow Druhan
Kathryn Pfaltzgraff Eller
Heidi AW Kaminski
William E. Marks
Viola Geary Odell
Virginia Anne Point
Janet Elaine Smith
Shirley Dyer Wuchter