This week Lisa-Jo has been inviting friends to recount the lasting memories of their mamas. I cheated and wrote my memory ahead of time and in a little more than five minutes. I’ve thought of this often since Monday. What would I say, what wouldn’t I say?
My momma (the word we use) worked hard! She was a machine operator in a sewing factory that made women’s underwear. The din and fiber dust wore at her daily, but she did it to provide for us along with our daddy. We weren’t latchkey kids, our granny (her mother-in-law) moved in with us around my 3rd birthday. So while my granny stayed at home, my momma went to work every day on the first shift.
Each day around 3:30 she’d come in and sit on the sofa to catch her breath and release the noise as The Guiding Light spun its tales. Some days we’d head off to the grocery store or she’d go alone and we’d help unload. These Mondays to Fridays were like clockwork, generally the same routine. Then, the question of the day: what are we going to have for dinner?
Fast food or carryout wasn’t an option. Eating out was reserved for the weekends and normally meant Western Steer after church with other families, if we didn’t head over to my other granny’s house for dinner. We ate simple country food, a lot of it from our own garden. The rest came from the Piggly Wiggly or A&P. We were Cracker Barrel before Cracker Barrel was a thing.
Whatever the meal, excluding spaghetti or tacos and the like, we had bread. I’m not talking about yeasty bread that had risen, been kneaded and turning golden brown in a pan. We had biscuits or cornbread. Momma never measured. She used the same bowl and knew what it should look like in that bowl. I got to help, but never new how to do it on my own. Any biscuit I ever ate was compared to my momma’s. Any piece of cornbread had to meet that same bar. Heaven forbid cornbread had sugar in it! How could you eat that stuff crumbled in a cup with cold buttermilk poured on top?
I measure my biscuits by hers, I come close now. Cornbread has been a different story. I finally thought to ask again a few months ago what she does different and got her secret – flour. I’m not there yet, but I have a high standard to meet. My iron skillet glistens black from the shortening that coats it with each new attempt.
So many other things my momma did: chicken & dumplings, snow cream, badminton, sewing for us… but one of her bests and my first thought is that…
Momma made bread!
What will my son remember about me? What Memory comes to mind of your own Momma?