Gene Williams

The heat has been staggering, the grass is brown and weedy, but that never has deterred my LadyFair. Since a lot of this summer has been spent indoors, due to the monster temperatures, and the love of my life is getting ready to retire, it has become more than just a little interesting around the old homestead. As many of you have noticed, we have been doing a lot of major home remodeling on our abode………costly, but desperately needed…….but I digress from where I am going with this month’s tale of woe-be-gone.
I need not tell you that she has been keeping me exceedingly busy, but not what you might expect. We have just spent two weeks of her final “worktime” vacation, prior to her retirement, getting in each other’s way around the house. On those days when I am not at the local supermarket doing my thing, she has had me up and at em prior to 7am, even on the weekends. We are in the midst of doing something fantastically fun, and Old.
From many local farms, a few friendly gardeners, and some well-meaning family and friends, we have garnered pumpkin, zuchinni, tomatoes, peaches, bananas, nuts, and will end up within the next few weeks, with apples. It is that time of year to dig out the cans, jars, plastic Ziploc bags, the big ole kettle, keep the ceiling fan running full speed and set to canning Nature’s Bounty, as only a good old-fashioned family can do. The apples, of course, will be saved to make Pat’s famous Olde-Fashioned Apple Butter, the way it is supposed to be made and taste. Ask the few ladies around town who came into possession of her bounty last year and you will know how dark, sweet, and scrumptious apple butter can be, when made the REAL WAY. This year, we will let out the secret at what will become our annual apple butter making in Monroe, for the Historical Society. All I can tell you at this moment is that hit ain’t what it usta was………you will eventually see what I am talking about and be thrilled that you did. The first week of August was spent gathering up all of the ingredients that we needed to do what we do.
Since she is retiring in September, she decided to make Banana, Banana Nut, Zuchinni, Zuchinni Nut, and Pumpkin Bread for her coworkers that she has spent the last decade with over in Mason. Ya didn’t know that I had to learn to bake, also, did ya? It has even cost me a new stove, in order to keep up with her demands, but that’s ok, cause I am getting fat and sassy over all of this “work”. The second week of August, we spent searching the countryside for pumpkin. Seems that there was a problem with punkins last year, but we finally came up with enough to fix her pumpkin loaves….about twenty, I imagine. The third week of August, we received tomatoes that are now processed and down in our basement, zuchinni that was delivered to us by hungry friends and family, of which we diligently peeled, diced, sliced, and got ready for the baking, and pulled out all of the bananas that we freeze and save over the year, to puree into that delicious banana and banana nut bread that all of our friends rave about. At her employment, they line up to ask her to bake these goodies for them. Lord knows, they will probably miss her more for that than for the exceedingly diligent job she does in her department. Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus a few special birthdays always were a time of busyness for her at work, because of her prowess in front of the stove. Pat came by it honestly, since her Mom was the cook that Ruth Lyons, Willie Thall, Uncle Al and Cap’n Wendy, and Paul Dixon made a point of going to her lunch counter down on Fifth Street in Cincinnati, back in the 50’s. AND PAT LEARNED WELL. A pinch of this and a smidgen of that worked better than any old measuring cup for these women. While I am at it, I will brag about the home-made cooking of a few other women, of whom I will sing their praises to you now, but don’t think that it is only these women that know the secret. You youngin’s out there, ask Mom or Grandma to fix up some of their olde tried and true recipes. Better than any storebought anything, in my way of thinking. Alice Frazee made the teetotal bestus Lemon Pie that I have ever eaten in my 67 years of life, with a pie dough that would melt on your fingertips……..and Pat got her recipe from her, cause she liked Pat.
Pat Hayes set a bunch of us down to a dinner of beef brisket, so tender it floated into your mouth, where it melted like magic, with a taste that was of Heaven. No wonder Norm has lasted this long, and stayed so healthy. The women that go to the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and belong to the Historical Society bring out dishes that would make Kings and Potentates grovel at their feet, just to be allowed to sit at their table and feast on their culinary bounty. Yes, there are others in this town that are able to accomplish the same thing, but I have not had the pleasure of dining with them, yet.
Anna, Joyce, Marge, Jane, Elaine, and Elaine, and a few others who know that I am talking about them, can only smile as I tell the world that these women KNOW how to cook. I am really grateful that my daughters and my son picked up that art from their Mom, cause they sure didn’t get it from me……….I’m much better at telling tales (the truth, nothing but the truth, so help me, God).

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