Friday, June 6, 2008

Blackeyed Peas & Mummy

 This is one of my favorite things to eat, and I know some of you in other parts of the world might think -- eeuuww. In fact, someone from 'up north' once told me that blackeyed peas are cattle feed in that part of the country -- maybe that's why they're sometime called 'cow peas'? Anyway, we love our blackeyed peas here.

(I know this looks a little like the dog's dinner, but it's so good.  I promise!)

Mother used to scour the classified section of the newspaper in the summer to find some nice farmer in the area who might be selling them. When she found some, we would make the trip out to the country to buy them, then come home and shell them. I remember the two of us sitting on the couch in front of the television in the evening with newspapers spread on the floor to catch the shells, a paper sack full of peas next to us, and a clean bowl or pan in our laps to hold the shelled peas. The next day we ate them cooked with salt, pepper and 'salt pork'. And of course my mother made her cornbread from scratch -- no recipe, and cooked in her mother's cast iron skillet that I now have, and we always had chow-chow and home grown tomatoes (also from the farm) on the side.

This makes my mother sound like a little country lady who spent her days in a house dress making quilts doesn't it? I guess in some ways, she was a bit of a country girl. She grew up in a small West Texas town (where my grandfather owned a cotton gin -- some of my earliest memories are of driving around in the country with Big Daddy 'checking on the crops' as he would say ;), and she spent summers on her grandparents farm in southeast Texas where they still had an outhouse! But she was much more than that -- she was a true beauty, humble and kind, a talented horsewoman (once Queen of the famous Cowboy Reunion Stamford Rodeo), pianist, seamstress, and smart as a whip. 

Her mother, my grandmother Marie, was a special lady as well.  She was a graduate of Mary Hardin Baylor, and this was in the early 1900's when not that many women went to college (and before women could vote!). She became a teacher, and taught children in her home -- including my mother for the first couple of years of elementary school.

After high school, Mother went on to college at SMU (where she was voted 'Miss Chic' one year thanks to the wardrobe designed and handmade by her mother, and I only know this because I found it in one of her college yearbooks - she was too humble to tell me) and became a teacher herself. She loved to play bridge, travel, participate in church activities, sew, play the piano, shop, go to lunch with friends, dance -- loved doing all the things most of us 'girls' like to do. But most of all, she loved her family and never gave up on any of us -- no matter how far we might have deviated from the paths she wished to see us follow.
This is a picture of Mother (on the right) with her college roommate (Helen). They were on their way to visit Helen's parents in Chicago sometime in the 40's.


And this is my mother with me. What a lucky and blessed baby I was to be placed in the arms of this fun loving, smart, talented, lovely, kind lady as my mother.


She passed away three years ago, and oh my goodness, I still miss her so much . . . and always will.
Thank you Mummy!


Kj said...

Lovely. Thank you for playing along and sharing something so sweet. Please check my blog entry
"The Random Two Respond" for a full response.

After reading some of your older entries, I'd also to give you a movie/book recommendation; "Under The Tuscan Sun. I think you'd really enjoy it.


moonlight_fairy said...

She was a gift from God.

moonlight_fairy said...

That was beautiful. So true. She was special. I miss her too. Love you.

Heidiwriter said...

Hi, I saw your post on the Tongue in Cheek: Confessions from a Real Cowgirl and checked out your blog. Your mom being in rodeo interested me because my grandmother used to ride steers in Montana rodeos during the 1920s. In fact, I've written a novel based on her life. Check out my blog if you're interested. In addition to some author interviews, there are a couple of articles about the old time cowgirls.

Marie said...

Gigi, thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving your link. I really enjoyed this post about your mum. What wonderful lady she must have been and so very interesting. I used to love to go to the rodeo when I lived in Western Canada! I'm adding you to my blog list!

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