So, we had the farm life…. the animals were fun. Sarah, the cow, you know about. Harold the goat gave milk and Elmer the pig gave birth to little piglets. Shows you what us kids knew about animals! Well, the farm venture came and went and our mother and father decided to change the barn up. Stories of all of our outdoor ventures and “play time” will be posted later.
They remodeled and put in wooden floors and a “kitchen” area. They started square dances on Saturday nights with food and drink for sale as well! They started a night of dancing for Western dances also. That really took off so they added an extra night of dance and had “teen” dances too. The barn really rocked! So, so many good times were had there. People even came from out of state to dance. All of the music, both for the country dances and the teen dances, were live bands. We really got to meet a lot of interesting people. My mother could really dance, she was always listening to music and dancing everywhere. My father could pick up any instrument and play it. He loved the saxophone and the harmonica. He always had the harmonica in his mouth. He had a piano for a while and he had an accordion. Mom and Dad are probably why we all had such a love for music and dance! They were always trying their hand at different things. They loved people and they loved children which is why they started the teen dances too.
One night at a dance, a huge black snake dangled down from the hayloft and was swinging from the rafter in the middle of the dance floor. My brother and his friend came to the rescue. The friend grabbed the snake and ran outside. The dance went on but some of us ran outside to see what happened with the snake. The friend said “Watch this!” He took the snake by the tail and like a rope he swung the snake around and around and then he jerked on it. The head of the snake came off and a bird flew out! The bird did not fly out as birds fly out, he flew out as in propelled out of the snake. The bird, of course, was dead as snakes swallow their food whole you know. My friend and I were watching the whole thing. As the bird came out, my friend put her hand to her mouth in a gasp and the bird actually hit her right in the arm pit. I will never forget this entire scene. As gross as it was, we all broke into laughter. The dances were great fun for us kids. We had so many children we could play with at the dances.
Mom served sandwiches, chips, coffee, soda and pies. Her pies were so well loved, people would request she make an entire pie just for them to purchase and take home with them! She served this homemade barbecue on Saturday nights and everyone loved it!!
Barbecue — that lead to a couple of other ventures. My next to the oldest brother was drafted and served in Vietnam. Sad, sad day when he left! I will probably talk more about that later. Vietnam was not good for anyone. It not only affected the young men, it affected their entire families. The young men were never the same, in my opinion.
He loved mom’s barbecue. He said he sure wished he could have some. That request was all it took to set mom into action! Dad found a place that would process her food and put it in tin cans like the type vegetables came in. (I hesitated to say she had it canned because to me, I think of people canning things in mason jars and preserving foods.This was actually in a can.) They mailed him about 7 cans and some buns. My brother said they warmed it with some sort of torch or lighter while it was in the can. He shared it with his friends and said it was the best ever. That lead to mom and dad starting a barbecue drive. There were articles in the paper and mom called various businesses and people and got monetary donations as well as ingredients donated. What was not donated, mom and dad gave. She took names of other soldiers in the area so that she could send them some too. They got it canned and shipped it overseas to the boys! Mom and dad had such good hearts!
Mom’s great cooking lead to the opening of a restaurant with home cooked meals and baked goods. My father always, always encouraged her to do these things. He was her greatest fan, he believed in her and they did these ventures together. They were always supportive of each other. Granny’s Kitchen and Bakery was opened and it was a success. My little brother remodeled the building they rented up on the town square. He built the booths and tables. It was beautiful! He was the grill cook and she cooked the main entrees and sides and did the baking. Dad did whatever was needed from him. Dad, however, was a retired railroader. He was now working across the street at the courthouse as a bailiff. He was at the restaurant all that he could be, though. My wonderful aunt did the dishes and helped in all areas that she could. My sister-in-law was the waitress along with some others who were hired. Some of our cousins were waitresses, (mom and dad’s nieces). A lot of family was involved at Granny’s. I later moved home and helped waitress as well. Actually everyone pitched in wherever they may have been needed.
All of the dinners were home made too. I do not remember the exact hours but I know they were opened for breakfast, perhaps 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m.. I know we were there working at 4:00 a.m. The “coffee drinkers” came every morning and we always had such good times with the customers. Breakfast was served all day. I thought the biscuits and gravy were the best! I remember that the lunch special was $1.90. What a deal, too! You were served more than enough. Lasagne was served every Wednesday and bright and early Wednesday mornings the calls would start coming in for pick up orders. The lasagne was a huge hit and several pans were made of it. My favorite was swiss steak. I have yet to be able to make it taste like hers, even when I attempt to follow the recipe.
She had a bakery case at the front of the store that was filled with so many delicious baked goods Her cinnamon rolls were highly sought after! People would come from out of town on a Saturday and purchase enough for the entire week. The cinnamon rolls were as large as the saucer! They were extra good when warmed and topped with melted butter and, of course, you would need a cold, cold glass of milk! She made a cookie/cake type of dessert called candy bars. Those were my favorite. It was an oatmeal cookie/cake dough with caramels and chocolate chips layered on top and then more of the cookie dough. There were sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies and a variety of other cookies, cakes, bars, and any type of pie you could think of including cream pies. She made everything you could imagine. They did not serve supper. They tried that but there were not that many customers in the evening. The uptown square area sort of went to sleep when the businesses closed. It did not use to be that way, but the times have changed. The shopping establishments, theaters, barbers, etc. moved away from the square and the courthouse and law offices seem to have taken over. They stayed open for after the bars but that was not profitable either. Therefore, the closing time was 4:00 p.m. rather than right after lunch rush because the employees on the square would come for an afternoon snack. She had a cook book published with all of her goodies in it. I may post that cookbook on here at some point or on face book and link it here for you.
This was, I believe, their last big venture. In between the barn dances and the restaurant, she was chairman for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation. There will be a post just for this at a later date in order to keep this post shorter.
In summary, mom and dad were such great parents. They worked so hard in life and yet continued to do things to help others. They were a great example and so very loving. Our house was always filled with friends and family. Cards or some sort of game was always being played. When one of us children moved out, our friends still would go to mom and dad’s and hang with them! Anyone that came to visit was always offered something to eat. If nothing quick was available, mom would cook them something. I have never met anyone like them. Their sense of humor, their pranks, the fun they made, the love they gave, it is hard to actually describe just how they were. They loved laughing and made any situation into a fun situation even if you were waiting in a long line or whatever you were doing, it ended up being fun! They never knew a stranger. You actually just had to know them. If you did, and would like to share a memory below in the comments, please do so.