During spring break last week, we took a trip to North Carolina to visit my parents. A cousin from the Maryland area happened to be in town while we there, so it was a good chance to catch up.
At some point during this mini-family reunion, we got to talking about relatives long passed. My mother brought up her childhood visits to her paternal grandparents. She called them Grandbubba and Granddaddy. I was blessed to know them myself for a while. They died when I was in middle school. While my great-grandparents were alive, my family made the trip from our home in North Carolina to theirs in Alabama every summer to spend a few days with them.
One of the memories I have of my Grandbubba is that she was a wonderful cook. Her family “suppers” were the best part of the visit. (For Grandbubba, the evening meal was “supper.” The word “dinner” referred to “lunch.”) Apparently, my mother also thought highly of Grandbubba’s cooking, particularly the fried chicken. “Back then,” she said, “they kept chickens at the house. Granddaddy would go out back and strangle a chicken. Then, Grandbubba cooked it for dinner.”
I stared at her. “Granddaddy did what?”
“He’d kill the chicken, removing the head and skin. Grandbubba would then boil the chicken to get rid of any extra feathers before frying it.”
I sat there in disbelief, but then thought about it. This was years ago. (No, Mom. I’m not telling your age.) My great-grandparents lived in a small town in Alabama. Their actions were likely a common practice. Yet, it provided me with a new image of the sweet old couple I remembered from my childhood. An image that will be with me for awhile.
How about you? What stories have you heard about your grandparents and great-grandparents that totally shocked you?
Chicken picture from www.classroomclipart.com
Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.