The newest full time member of the family has actually known this farm the longest.
Meet my mother, the Fulbright scholar, concert pianist, Julliard educated, Army Brat who speaks four languages and who, amazingly, met my Dad and chose to take on the “simple” life of the farm. And she never looked back.
She never picked up a gun, or a fishing rod, or wore camouflage, or drove the four wheelers, or dove off the dock, or drove the boat, or drove a tractor. She didn’t need to. Because nobody embraced every element of the sporting life more than she did. She redefined how to entertain on the plantation…
She decided to combine a barbecue with an oyster roast on the day after Thanksgiving…and it became the tradition that has lasted for over 50 years here on the farm.
She turned hunt breakfasts into yet another way to entertain as many as 50 guests. For Mom, the more the merrier. And she’s still that way today.
She decided that freezing and canning should be more fun than it had been for her grandmother in Texas, so she made it a “fun day” and all the family did it together in our big warm kitchen (too warm in the summertime I might add…).
She showed me how to add style to hunting outfits — even when it was freezing, or swelteringly hot.
She made sure that every kid knew that value of hard work. Sure it was Dad who cracked the whip (I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mother raise her voice at any of us), but she quietly made sure we stayed on the job.
And she smiled at everything we brought into the kitchen (in hindsight, could it have been a grimace? Like when Dad would bring in four MORE bushels of peaches — just when she’d finished putting up four?) — Venison, duck, dove, fish, squirrel (uh huh), mountains of figs, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pecans … you name it. She even giggled when we’d “oops!” drop a couple of blue crabs onto the kitchen floor for a little drama. (There’s more to that story: there was that time when one wandered under the fridge and nobody saw … and several days later there was an unspeakable stench — yes, it was the dog days of summer and we had no AC in the kitchen back then…
So when we finally moved the refrigerator to find an emorphous mass that vaguely resembled a blue crab, mom made a new rule: count the crabs that get “oops!” dropped, and make SURE that number gets into the pot.
She’s slowing now. At 89, she’s buried her second husband and her eyes have greyed a little, but she’s still got the sense of humor and grace she always had. Her memory isn’t what it was even 4 months ago, but she’s still the first up and ready for what the day brings — so there’s no better place for her than home again. It’s like it was for her those years ago when there were screen doors slamming, kids running through the house, and tails wagging in the hallways. The kitchen still welcomes whatever comes in — only now it’s her protege (that’s me) diving into the next project while mom gets to sit back and take it all in. The blue crabs still get “oops!” dropped (and counted, thank you, Mom!), and the bbq/oyster roast is still the tradition the day after Thanksgiving. The hunt breakfasts still have the style Mom put into them, and even coon hunts are now a social event (the more the merrier!).
Welcome home, Mom. You gave us a great life as kids, now it’s our turn to do the same for you. Lord willing, we’ll get plenty of time.