The pearl handle pocket knife

The pearl handle pocket knife. Once Christmas long ago Granny gave Baw a pearl handle pocket knife. A gentleman’s knife, it was a fine little thing, a knife you could take to church. No, it’s wasn’t any ordinary everyday knife to scrape the dirt from under one’s nails or sharpen a pencil. It was fancy,…

Get on the Christmas Train

Even though the railroad tracks through Citronelle have long since been taken up, once a year the Train still rolls through town. It is a phenomenon I’ve heard about for years from Mama’s friend Annie Bell. You see, the Train stops at her house, just like it stopped at her mother’s house, every Christmas morning….

Pam’s Apple Cake with Praline Glaze

There is a certain type of Southern cook who is the envy of us all. You know her. She is the queen of the covered dish. The preacher never refuses an invitation to her house for Sunday dinner. When a relative dies, the silver lining for the mourners is that she will bring a casserole….

Southern Living makes me sad

Because of Southern Living I contemplate the purchase of Christmas topiary. Because of Southern Living I recognize beachy pastels as possible holiday colors. Because of Southern Living I find my self uttering words like “table-scape” and “disco-ball-esque.” Because of Southern Living I am sad. This year’s Christmas issue, a “special double issue,” found its way…

Merry and Bright

Every year, as December approached, my grandmother and her friends would start sharing large jars of friendship cake starter amongst each other. After all, what better way to show a little Christmas cheer and help a sister through the stressful holiday season than with a Ball jar filled with assorted canned fruits that had been…

Oh, fudge!

My Granny was not a good cook. There, I’ve said it. She just wasn’t. Granny had many talents, but they were all put into practice far, far away from the kitchen. Unless you count arranging flowers on the kitchen table, but that had nothing to do with food. I remember one time when I was…

Baby Jesus would not approve

Something is missing. I’ve looked for it in my neighborhood, at the mall, on television. Nothing. It was a homely little thing that used to pop in once a year between the end of October and the beginning of December. When it came to visit, it usually brought with it some family — both blood…

Oh, fudge!

Granny made fudge every year at Christmas – the real kind from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box. The kind that requires you intuit such things as when you achieve “soft ball stage.” The kind that requires you to beat it by hand with a wooden spoon until it yields in unglossy submission. The…