~ Supper Is Ready – Penning Fact ~

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Memories of my childhood days bring back the sharp pungent smell of river catfish, the earthy smell of sweet golden corn, the light buttery smell of mashed potatoes, the floury smell of homemade biscuits and the delicious aroma of fresh apples being stewed in sugar and cinnamon. Even though supper was not served until the sun started fading in the sky, my Nanny would start laboring in the kitchen long before.

She always seemed at home in that tiny over-furnished space. Nanny was a big woman of Irish/German descent. She carried her weight in a most dignified manner. And I loved the very essence of her soul. She was a lantern in the dark days of my life, forever reminding me that there were reasons to dream. Even while she shuffled across the old pine floor, her body appeared to waltz…she moved with the fluidity of an artist. In her own right, my Nanny was truly a master chef.

There were no recipes in that old kitchen. Store bought sundries were infrequent at best. Nanny instinctively knew how much salt one dish called for and what amount of tangy spices went into the next. The large fireplace was used for cooking as readily as the old wood stove. And the ice box, was just that…for there was no refrigerator, microwave or dishwasher, in that kitchen of my youth. Above all the pieces in the kitchen, I can so vividly recall the white antique wood stove. It seemed like a behemoth! Its massive doors held scrumptious pies and wonderful cakes made from scratch. When the stove was on, not only did it heat the edibles inside, but the entire house. I recall fondly how proud my Nanny was to own a white wood stove. The kitchen was at the very end of my grandparent’s home. It was a collection of furnishings, mostly handmade, which created workspace and storage. And somehow, my Poppy had managed to create a table that just fit near the farthest wall. This was officially referred to as the dining room.

While Nanny labored over the stove, that was not the only job which required attention in that tiny farm kitchen. There was much more to be done and for that, grand-children were utilized like an infantry unit. There were times I was on table-setting duty, which required pulling out ancient china plates from the cherry storage trunk of my great-great grandfather. I cringe now, as I recall the childhood awkwardness which we displayed. I wonder if we would have been more careful had we known what great treasures those lovely hand-painted Bavarian plates really were. The Irish crystal glasses were also hallmarks of heritage, unrealized at the time. Myriads of shapes and sizes, hand-blown by master craftsmen from my family line…alas, it was very rare that any four glasses ever matched.

Loud boisterous voices could always be heard echoing from the front of the house to the back. Why walk a few steps, when a shout would do? The house was filled to the brim with family. Silence was unknown. Why even the house itself seemed to participate in our symphony. There were front screen doors whose aged wood creaked and whose metal latches clanged each time the old doors slammed shut. Like instruments in an orchestra, each one of us seemed to play a recurring note. There was always a young child crying impatiently for supper which was not quite ready. My Poppy’s low bass tone frantically yelling for someone to bring him the “swatter”…as a determined fly would not be swished away. He rarely visited the kitchen as anything other than a willing participant in a taste test. He would last as long as he could, rocking on the front porch surrounded by hoards of giggling and arguing grandchildren. He would then mumble a few forbidden words, push heartily on the rocker’s arms and head toward the front door. Returning only after he was sufficiently armed with the “swatter” (a burlap feed-sack square attached to a hickory stick). No fly ever had a chance (strangely, the arguing seemed to stop among us children as well).

After a time, my Nanny would slowly pull off her hand stitched mittens. The words she had said so many times, still held a resounding tone of victory. “Supper’s Ready!” The simple statement was called out and passed to everyone like a hot bit of small town gossip. Within minutes kids were weaving their way past adults, to form “the line”. The youthful laughter, the ooh’s and ah’s filled the room as Nanny placed portions on our plates. There were always pleas for more and declarations of chores accomplished to justify the requests. Voices young and old blended together in a culinary symphony.

The grownups (and the babies) sat at the dining table and at the back porch counters. I always felt a bit envious. There were too many grandchildren for us to all have chairs. We were left to our own devices on finding a suitable spot. The best way to achieve success, was to plan early and move fast! But the lamentations of not having a chair, soon ended. The marvelous smells and wonderful sight of our portions pacified the youthful masses. Still there was talking…I cannot comprehend how we managed to eat at all, but we did. And with gusto! There seemed to be no better way to show our appreciation than to help clean the little red kitchen. The house sang with clattering dishes, the squeak of the water pump and the rattle of silver. I can even recall the dish towels and napkins, each with their own texture. Threadbare, they passed over worn surfaces like smooth silken fingers strumming a harp.

We, the cleanup brigade would get a kiss on the cheek from Nanny and a loving pat on the head. Done with a smile that shined like the sun and with eyes that rivaled the twinkle of all heaven’s stars. These memories are mine to hold and cherish. Their sweetness is greater than any dessert.

I so miss her.

 

Pansylee VanMeteren Illustrator, Author, Poet, Songwriter Lyricst, Artist of WV - The Muse - Poetic Pastries - ©™Official Blog Post Signature Banner for Muse of Poetic Pastries - Pansylee VanMeteren

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25 thoughts on “~ Supper Is Ready – Penning Fact ~

  1. oh my does that bring memories to me as well…My great grandma did most of the cooking and as kids we had to go down in the basement to eat while the adults had the tables upstairs…a stomp on the floor to quiet us down during grace…The chairs are now empty and I have made my way up from the basment to eat with the big people. 🙂 i am 35 now…but those times are great memories..thanks for making them come back alive for a moment.. 🙂

  2. Such a joy to hear from you all, and I adore hearing about your memories as well. Isn’t it great to have those treasures?

    I am headed to your blogs!! see you soon 🙂

  3. I have smelled those aromas, tasted those delicious meals, participated in that symphony of sound & have those sweet memories too…..only they were in a different home, with a different Nanny…..but cherished just the same.
    The fragrant smell of a bouquet of lilacs always takes me back there….to the kitchen.
    So happy to see you writing again, I have missed reading your beautiful words…..xo

  4. It’s such a joy to see you writing again. I loved this, it brought back so many memories of summers spent with my grandparents. My favorite was the description of the “house orchestra”. Dead on! Is there any sweeter sound than an old wooden screen door slamming? It just screams carefree summer days to me. Thank you for this dear Muse.

  5. Ah, this brings so many memories. Oh,how I miss my grandmother,her cooking and sewing and just being there. So glad to see you back.

  6. Memories indeed! I can remember it just like yesterday when we all would sit around and sing while grandma and momma would do all the cooking. We weren’t allowed in the kitchen but the smell from the kitchen smelled ever so sweet. Priceless Moments!! Miss That ;0)
    I’m glad to see you writing and sharing your wonderful work and memories with us. Love you!

  7. Dear Muse … memories are a pretty powerful thing. So deeply felt ~ they reflect who we are, where we are .. and how we got there. I loved your “I’m Back” post and anxiously await more.

  8. What a lovely story about your grandmother. My Greek grandmother who we called yaya loved to cook over her black stove. She too did not use a recipe. My English grandmother nana loved to entertain in a very special room she called the parlor. I really do not remember her cooking much. I did remember I didnt dare touch a thing in that room lol. Thank you for taking me back again.

  9. Your words called to mind vivid scenes, memories of my own, and even smells. What wonderful memories and a treasure to have them preserved for others. I am SO glad you are back. You have been missed.

  10. You brought the sights and sounds of your Nanny’s kitchen to life. I felt as though I was a fly on the wall, witnessing the experience firsthand. Not to worry though, I’ll watch out for your Poppy and that swatter.

    So nice to see you back with us. It was a joyful day when I saw in my sidebar that you had moved from the bottom to the top!

  11. Oh…..Muse!! How delightful it was to check my comments for the studio party and see your comment!! Oh, I’m just so happy you are back. I have truly missed you.

    I love the story of Nanny. I had a brief relationship with my Grannie which brought similarities to mind while I read your story. I was just 7 years old when she passed. I do miss all that I would have learned from her and those precious memories.

    Love and Hugs,
    Stephanie ♥

  12. Muse! What a delight…we’ve been checking ever so often for you to come back – so we were tickled to see your name on the email this morning! We have to laugh…at your “eee ghads” because we just watched The Music Man last night 🙂
    Loved reading this today – what in the world would we do without our Grams…Nannas, Grannies & Nannys? What cherished memories we have of them – they’ve touched our lives in more ways than we know! Beautiful words to honor yours today ~ thank you!

  13. Oh, Most Mused One! This is a wonderful story! This sounds a lot like supper at my Granny’s house! You’re a wonderful writer and again – I’m glad you’re back!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  14. I so felt that I was right there with you as you related your memories of your Nanny. It was wonderful to read what you wrote. I’m glad you are back with us once again.
    🙂 Sue

  15. What beautiful recollections and how beautifully written! I loved all of your wonderful descriptions and comparisons of sights and sounds, and I loved what a beautiful tribute this was to a woman who was obviously well loved. I’m so glad you’re back. I’ve missed you. laurie

  16. After several years we realize no matter how much money or time we spend we cant relive those moments, taste those flavours and relive those moments! Well written and we realize how much love can mean and how much we can remember of the moments we loved 🙂

  17. Ah!How wonderfully written.Well,After reading this I am speechless I don’t have much to say.

  18. Missing people sometimes makes them closer to us,we cannot know the value of our loved ones unless they distance themselves from us.Nice composition

  19. Muse, really wonderful memories. And you describe it really well so I feel myself very much involved there. Thanks

  20. everybody have there own memories. i missed many thing in my life but there are alive with me in the form of memories

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