Aprons to not make the cook, or do they? When I was a child, my family vacationed in North Carolina. Not to see the sites, no, it was not that kind of vacation. North Carolina was where most of our relatives lived and that was what vacation was to me. It was magical. I remember it so many things about those times and incredibly, one of the things I remember fondly was grandmother’s apron. It was a full coverage apron… do you know what I mean? The kind that can cover a large portion of a prized garment. The apron was worn thin from many washings and wearings. Covered in a small brown flower print, it had a long sash that she could bring around and tie in the front. She kept it hanging a closet type pantry at the side of her large kitchen. I only saw Grandmother wear it as she cooked dinner after church when she did not want to take time to change out of her “church” clothes.
Grandmother. That would be my Mom’s mom. She was born in Virginia, married at a young age to my grandfather, had five kids and all but the last one was born at home. As far as I know, she never held a paying job but devoted her life to being a housewife and mom. I took all of this for granted growing up. It wasn’t until long after she was dead I realized I should have asked her more about some of this. What I do have are my own memories.
But, I digress. Back to dinner and the apron. Mind you, dinner was at a time we now commonly call lunch. Supper was served in the evening, during the time we now commonly call dinner. I may have told you about my grandmother’s cooking before. About how she cooked everything to death and the canned biscuits she fancied were as hard as hockey pucks. I remember pan-fried and floured pork chops that were thoroughly browned and all of the vegetables were made limp with long cooking times. (Even if the vegetable started out as fresh lima beans from Granddaddy’s garden) However, the home grown tomatoes were served sliced raw, peeled and cool. Many people do not really know what a tomato tastes like if they have never had one of these. I really do not know why I remember so much about those meals. My grandmother used frozen pies for heaven sakes! What Southerner does that? She called them MOWTON pies instead of Morton pies. She did that because being from, Virginia, she dropped most of her mid word R’s. My grandmother ate supper (dinner) at 4:30 p.m. I suppose this was because she wanted to get the dishes over and done with in time to enjoy her evening in a rocking chair on the front porch. You know, someone might walk by.
Maybe I remember those meals because they were surrounded by good memories and happened during our summer vacations in North Carolina. One day, when I was 16, my grandmother took my hand in hers and stated, “this is something no boy has even done yet and sweet 16 and never been kissed.” I stood there speechless as I had recently received my first kiss from a boy. I couldn’t tell her that! At that moment I began to realize that my grandmother’s past was probably very different from my present. At just that moment, I felt the gulf of the generation gap starting to build. “Mowton pies,” who would have thought?
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