Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Never Left Her

I wrote this as a prompt from The Red Dress
. Write a short piece 600 words or
less beginning with This was absolutely
the last time
and ending with She was


This was absolutely the last time I would pick her up. I tell myself this every time.  My stomach knotted up the instant I saw her name come across my phone.

She was stranded at a drugstore in Atlanta. I don’t usually drive in Atlanta because it makes me nervous, so many one way streets and people standing on the street corners. Could I call her back and tell her I was lost and just not go this time?

My old 2002 Taurus was on its last leg but it was my only mode of transportation. After getting in I realized there was very little gas. Pumping gas for 3.98 a gallon put a sour taste in my mouth
knowing I was about to waste it driving to Atlanta to pick her up again. I thought about telling her she’d have to pay me for the gas but I knew my sister had already spent her entire, measly little paycheck.

Lina was standing by the doorway of the Eckerd’s smoking a cigarette when I pulled up. I waited in the car and thought she’d come get in but she just stood there in a daze. Getting out of the car frightened me, especially in this part of town, but I did. She offered me a cigarette which I happily took. Somehow a cigarette comforts me, calms the nerves.

“You know you didn’t have to come.”

“Then why did you call?”

“There’s nobody else.”

“What happened to Jared? Isn’t he still living with you?”

“He left me Tuesday. Said he couldn’t stay with me like this anymore.”

We stood outside the Eckerd until they locked the doors a few minutes later.

“You ready to go now. I have to get home and get ready for work.”

“I can’t go home. I can't be alone. I don’t want to be like this anymore.” It sounded as if those words were choking her.

At that point Lina began sobbing. She sat down on the curb and put her face in her hands and cried like I’d never seen her cry. It was as if I was looking at a small, frail, lost child that didn’t know how to get home. Then she said something that broke my heart but gave me hope. “I need help with this. My life sucks. Everybody leaves me. Jared, Cindy, Mom, Dad, you.”

This was the first time she had admitted she needed help, that there was a problem. Until now.

She was so right, she desperately needed help. However I never left her, I was always, have always been there. Maybe not in a physical way because there came a time I had to give her tough love. But I have been with her every day, sometimes every minute, with my thoughts, my tears, my
love and my prayers. Waiting to hear those words. But to say I was one of those who had left her, well she was wrong.

This short story is fiction. I do not have a sister but if I did this would probably be the way I'd respond in this situation.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We Southerners Have A Need to Feed... Everybody!

Here in the south we feed people. A lot. We feed people when a loved one passes on, when a loved one is in the hospital or comes home from the hospital. We feed pregnant moms who need some rest, those who are caring for sick loved ones, and small children. We feed people before church, after church, and during Sunday School. If we get together for any reason the first thing we do is plan the menu and have everybody sign up to bring something. If it’s homemade you get a great big ole star, if you go to Publix like I sometimes do, people will begin saying “Honey why don’t you just bring the ice, plates and cups.” That cut me deep, for just a minute, but once I got to the "get together" I forgot all about it. Although the "F" word came to mind a few times. Family, Friends, and Food.

When I was a little girl my family drove to Pendergrass, Georgia where we visited my Grandmother.  We affectionately referred to her as “Grandmother”  but she wasn't an eloquent, well spoken, elite woman of the community living in a wealthy neighborhood. No not quite, she was large, barefoot most the time, usually dressed in a big baggy house dress, a few whiskers above her lip if she forgot to shave, and a lower lip full of chewing tobacco. However, she had a lap that was a perfect fit for my brother and me and we loved to snuggle with her.

When we walked in Grandmother’s home there was a table full of food. Fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, fresh green beans, butter peas, mashed potatoes, homegrown tomatoes, and fried okra.  Until she got too sick to cook for us my grandmother made sure we ate well.

I’ve lived in Georgia for almost my entire life but have travelled a bit.  I've tasted delicious cuisine while in Germany  to Mexican last summer in Cancun and almost everything in between. But just as Dorothy says,"There's no place like home." I say," There's no food like down here in Georgia."

Recipe for Southern Cornbread
Large bowl
Pour in cornmeal until it fills maybe about 2/3 of the bowl
Pour in 1 cup cooking oil. Use Crisco shortening if you want, my family always did.
Add 2 or 3 eggs and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour in some buttermilk until it's a moist consistency like that when you are making pancakes.
Mix it all together and pour into greased black cast iron skillet that has been seasoned.
Cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
Now enjoy with a good home cooked meal or crumble up in a bowl and pour some buttermilk or sweet milk over it then add a little salt and pepper. Delicious

If you want a more exact recipe read the back of the cornmeal bag.

Have you been the recipient of some good ole southern cooking? Care to share?