My Grandmother Larnell, born November 1910, worked as a sharecropper. She lived a simple life. She offered a smile, cup of coffee and conversation to anyone who stepped on her porch. Grandmother did not own a microwave oven or clothes dryer but never spoke a word of envy towards the blessings of others.
Grandmother used a well seasoned cast iron skillet to make just about everything. I remember the bacon frying, homemade biscuits and cornbread baking. Smells filled the air and traveled from the kitchen through the house. Those smells usually found me sitting on the porch.
She washed her clothes in a wringer washer and hung them out on the line to dry. This job in itself could take an entire day. When I went to bed, I’d pull the sheets up to my nose, sniffing the freshness. Wow, how soft the sheets felt against my skin.
Grandmother would invite you to converse with her, by saying, “Let’s seat here and talk a spell.” She had coffee made early in the morning and throughout the day. No matter who walked on the porch, the man delivering groceries or the lady wanting to share the good news about Jesus, they were told to have a seat and offered a cup of coffee.
Grandmother taught me many things while sitting on the porch. She said, “Poor is a situation you choose to live with or overcome.” “Book smarts might get you a mile or two, but common sense will take you to Heaven.” Once, she even shared with me the story of a man she loved; who was not my grandfather, then said, “Always trust your heart to guide you, it will take you where you need to be.” She said this with regret in her voice. Most importantly she said, “Men won’t marry a woman who can’t cook.” and then told me how to make milk gravy. Grandmother believed there was an art to making good gravy.
My grandma pasted away in November 1981. I am 45 years old, now. I have purchased my first house. It’s a small country house with an inviting front porch. Sometimes, I imagine my grandma with a cup of coffee in her hand and a smile on her face, sitting on the porch swing. She’s just waiting for someone to talk a spell. I have her cast iron skillet. I can make pan gravy that would put a smile on grandma’s face, too. I hope when I have grandchildren, that we will sit on the porch and share, like my grandmother and I once did.