Memphis readers (of a certain age, at least), come with me on memory field trip: I'm little, maybe three years old, and I'm going to the grocery store with my mother. We park the car, walk hand-in-hand to the door, enter the store. My mother gets a shopping cart, lifts me into it so I … Continue reading Something sweet.
My mother was born on a farm in rural Tennessee in the mid 1930s, after the Great Depression ended but before economic recovery found that particular remote outpost. Her father, who had the God-given talent of being able to fix anything mechanical at first sight, chose instead to be a preacher and to live off … Continue reading Field peas.
Tomato pie was an adulthood discovery for me. One evening, years ago, we gathered with neighbors on our front porch for a summer potluck (possibly a July 4th gathering, though also possibly not), and one neighbor's contribution was a pair of magazine-worthy tomato pies that featured beautiful hand-curled crusts and a rainbow array of heirloom … Continue reading Heirlooms.
The first rule of knives, in my mother's teaching, was the most important because it has to do with people and relationships. The rule was simple: Knives are not given but sold. If you think a friend or neighbor (or child, partner, or spouse) might enjoy having a particular knife, then tape a penny to … Continue reading No. Knife skills are not bulls*it.
I sent my son back to college last week, waving with what I hope looked like cheerfulness as he backed his truck from the driveway. He returned 20 minutes later, having forgotten something important, though I can't now remember what it was. A shirt, maybe, or a favorite jacket. He pulled in front of the … Continue reading Flat circles.
(This piece was originally published by The Daily Memphian. Please support local journalism and consider subscribing.) Once upon a time, before the prevalence of cable television, WREG Channel 3 used to broadcast old movies in the afternoons and at night, after the 10 p.m. news. And long before there were jokes and memes about binge-watching … Continue reading My mother, Kris Kringle, and the spirit of Christmas
The first kitchen I remember is the one on Agnes Place, the house, built in 1912, where we lived from my toddler years until I started first grade. I remember five very specific things about this kitchen. The first memory is visual: The window above the sink looked out onto the back yard, where we … Continue reading The solace of my mother’s kitchen: Part 1
A neighbor stoops to pet my dog (our dog, the littlest of our three), greeting him by name. It is a cool, but not chilly, late fall afternoon, children playing in their yards, lights beginning to turn on behind windows, streets laced with dog walkers out for a pre-dinner stroll. One of the children, a … Continue reading Many happy returns.