Posted on

Dwelling on My Parents

Dwelling on My Parents
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Dwelling on My Parents
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

Nada! Last year I promised to update you on a couple of goals. As time rolls around, you start thinking about self-improvement, and that had something to do with it.

I often dwell upon my parents and some of their peculiarities.

I don't need a picture of my mother drinking a glass of water at the kitchen sink. My daughter inherited that posture of her left hand on her hip holding the glass in her right.

My father had different names for meals. What the rest of the world called “lunch” he called “the noon day meal,” and “supper” was “the evening meal.”

I don't know where he got that unless he picked it up as a student at Berry College.

My parents loved buttermilk. They were farm kids, raised milking cows, churned butter.

Butter was made from fresh whole milk that was held in a covered churn until it naturally soured due to the presence of bacteria.

The cream, which is butterfat, was skimmed off and placed into a churn where it was agitated with a plunger until it turned to butter. The remaining sour milk was known as “buttermilk.”

My parents liked buttermilk that was sour and cool. Their favorite supper was crumbled freshly baked cornbread into a glass of buttermilk.

I tried to learn to love buttermilk but couldn't do it. I tried to tolerate buttermilk and couldn't do that either. However, there is always some plain yogurt around here.

When school was out, there were a lot of tender-footed kids gently running around. Feet toughened up quickly and we were bare footed except on Sunday.

When school started we were mostly back into shoes again.

Some adults who worked outside abandoned shoes. Uncle Guy Phillips went shoeless while plowing the sun-warmed Douglas County soil and chopping cotton.

The 1925 drought in Georgia was so severe, Dog River was down to a trickle. People sowed turnips in the sand of the Chattahoochee River and had a good crop.

My grandfather hired Mr. Jim Cansler to build a dam and mill while the water was low. Mr. Cansler, my father said, was always barefoot, even in the winter.

The only artifact of Phillips Mill is a couple of roads. There are no artifacts of shoeless boys and girls.

I tried walking to the mailbox barefooted but came back with only stone bruises. On the return stroll I stuck to the grass and came back with chigger bites.

As to the buttermilk, Shelly Berman had a line on “buttermilk.” He said, “It isn't the taste that gets you. It's the way the glass looks when you finish drinking it.”

Recent Death Notices