This is a picture of the beautiful cemetery outside of Gloucester's Ware Episcopal Church, which I drive by
Gloucester is where my favorite grandmother Nanny (CB Mother's mother)lived.
Today as I was enduring another painful day at the paying job while juggling the various aspects of this thing known as My Life, I had a flashback to a time when everything was wonderful, all was good, there were no troubles other than the occasional ornery sister. It was the era of Nanny's fried chicken.
Nobody makes fried chicken the old-fashioned way any more, or if they do they do not invite me to help them eat it, and I'm not happy about that.
Nanny, who lacked not only a car but a driver's license, walked from Corr Street near Boutetourt School to what is now the Gloucester Library, which at one time was a Safeway. Or she'd walk to Leigh's Market, where I stole a candy bar for reasons I still don't understand other than sheer starvation. Sometimes we'd saunter down to the Wallace and What's His Name--Wallace and Gerly? Colonial Store? Something like that, in the shopping center where the Sears now resides.
(There will be an open-book quiz after you wake up from reading these exhausting, superfluous details.)
My point is, we had to walk a long way to buy one whole chicken.
Also? Nanny used to own a country store at the old Gloucester Day School/Ware Academy, so she was a shrewd shopper. Never trusting the cashiers, she checked the price tags against her receipt when she returned home. If she was overcharged by one cent, we were marching back down there to collect our penny, whether we were starving to death to the point of stealing a candy bar or not.
Back at the house, she'd bring out a big pot of water, load it up with salt and soak the chicken whole for hours. Then she'd cut it up, dredge it in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and plop it into a cast-iron skillet that was older than dirt. Crisco was the grease of choice.
Many Sundays the Chesapeake Bay Family, bickering incessantly, would hop in the VW bus to have Sunday dinner with Nanny. Her famous fried chicken was almost always the main course, served with heavenly mashed potatoes, sweet peas, stewed tomatoes and hot buttered rolls. Whatever bickering there was ceased, as did any and all conversation. Can't talk. Eating.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I returned from the paying job this evening after a particularly rough past couple of days, and there sitting on the kitchen table, piping hot and ready to devour, was a platter of homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes and corn on the cob, all meticulously handmade by Chesapeake Bay Mother who watches the CB Children for me during the week and knows I've had a trying spell.
That wonderful mother apple doesn't fall far from the chicken-frying grandmother tree. Or our family tree is loaded with wonderful apples who are chicken fryers. Or I'll stop now because otherwise I'd drone on until
Or, I miss my grandmother but am grateful for Chesapeake Bay Mother who can make everything right with a perfectly-timed plate of fried chicken.