Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Let me tell you about my hero. She died in 1974. I'm sure you didn't hear anything about it. There was no national day of mourning. There was no "late breaking news"-only to her loved ones and our hearts were breaking. Very few days go by that something doesn't remind me of her. I hope my children, grandchildren and now my great grandchildren have the same love and regard for me that I have for that old woman. I can only hope to have the impact on all of them that she has always had on me.

The sifter she used to sift flour for 1000's of biscuits is in my kitchen on a shelf. She'd sift a mound of flour into a tin washpan that was kept for just that purpose. Into that mound she worked baking powder and buttermilk with her hands, then when the dough was the right consistency, squeezed the same amount of dough for each biscuit from the mound between her thumb and forefinger, plopped each onto her greased pan, and into the oven. The best biscuits ever! Always the same size. Always raised perfectly and to this day I have never seen anyone else make biscuits that way. I didn't learn that art from her-my biscuits come from a can.

Her Bible with her handwritten prayer on a back page for her son, George, as he went off into World War 11 is with my photos and other keepsake books and memorabilia.

 Her Pilsbury Doughboy that I got for her because she thought he was so cute in the commercials sits there also with two photos of her and her first husband, probably at their wedding in their Victorian clothing-she in her long white dress with puffy sleeves, her chapeau with plume and floral arrangement about twelve inches tall and he with his suit and cocky hat perched to the back of his head. She was very young.

Granny's handkerchief [Granny always had a handkerchief with her] is in my shadow box that my sister, Shirley, and I put together with copies of her prayer, old photos, photos of Pilsbury Doughboy and a can of Bruton snuff along with a piece of a sweater she wore not long before she died [there is also a photo of her wearing the sweater-Shirley had given her the sweater] . I also have a worn quilt with appliqued butterflies that she made.

These things have no monetary value. They are only precious to us. You see, Granny had very little throughout her whole life. Born in Whitley County, Ky., she was raised by her grandmother. I don't remember ever hearing much about her mother, she had taken off. Her father never acknowledged her. He was from a prominent local family and never contributed to her livelihood in any way. She was probably hungry at times and had little schooling. Shame on him.

She was 18 years old when she married Ancil Walker on February 27, 1909. Granny would tell us about her first baby that she always called her Little Audrey and how her head was so small it fit into a teacup. Little Audrey did not live past 8 months old. Then son, Raymond, was born and another tragedy. Ancil was killed while working on the railroad. Granny was now a young widow with a baby boy.
At this point, Ancil's family stepped in and took Raymond from my Granny.There was no legal aid then, no food stamps, no welfare and with no education, very few jobs.

I can only imagine the complete heartbreak she had having lost both her husband and baby daughter and then to have her son taken from her. She had no one to turn to, no way to fight.

On June 25, 1916 Granny married my grandfather, Thomas Crockett and happiness came back into her life. My uncle, George, was born and my mother, Christine. When Mom was only a few months old, Tom died of pneumonia leaving Granny, once again, a widow with small children.

So before 30 years of age, Granny had lost both husbands, 2 children, and had 2 children to raise alone. Tom's sister, Sarah, God bless her, stepped in with her husband, Cheek Alder, to help. Together they raised gardens, cleaned homes, sewed clothes from feed sacks, and anything else they could do to keep body and soul together. With all this, Granny didn't bemoan anything in her life. She didn't feel sorry for herself. She had to keep going.

Granny didn't marry again. She lived for her children and then for us, her grandchildren. I am her oldest grandchild. My mother, Christine, got her teacher's degree with Granny's backing. When my brother and I were babies, Dad and Mom came to Ohio to get jobs because they couldn't find work in Ky. Not too long after, Granny came to live with us. She helped raise 5 more children. She cooked pinto beans and cornbread. She was always there when we came in from school.

Granny had the healing knowledge and hands. Mom tells me of a child that was brought to her just after we came to Cincinnati. The child's doctor had given up and told the parents to find an old hill woman to try to heal her, so she was brought to Granny. I don't know what was wrong but whatever it was, Mom says Granny healed her. I know she took care of all our aches and pains with her concoctions.

I hope the following poem I wrote in honor of my Granny lets you see just a glimpse of her.

My hero didn't lead the charge up San Juan Hill,
shatter any records that made time stand still,
invent a new drug to wipe out dread disease,
adventure into outer space or on the seven seas.
She had little education nor great riches to show,
my HERO is a little gray haired woman that this world will never know.
Though things for her were never easy, we never heard regret.
Though she had very little-still for things she didn't fret.
The simplest things pleased her, a candy bar, some Bruton Snuff.
Just sit and spend time with her and for her that was enough.
Things like the Pilsbury Doughboy made her chuckle, made her grin
and always had a hankie with her just to dab our chin.
She was so unjudgmental, never one to critisize
and so very unassuming never asking God, "Why?"
Oh, to be that humble so His love through me could flow
as through that little gray haired woman
that this world will never know.

Our Granny shadowbox with her Pilsbury Doughboy, butterflies cut from the quilt she made

Isn't she lovely-see why I treasure that smile

Granny and me-her first grandchild-this photo was probably taken in her front yard in Emlyn, Ky.

young Granny-probably on her first wedding day to Ancil Walker.

God bless my Granny. I will see her again one day.
Carolyn Wainscott


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hallelujah! Canning's done!

ALL canning equipment is ready to be put away til next year-Glory!.
It took three days to blanche, peel, cook, season, jar and process the two large buckets of peaches that came off our little peach tree. Darling husband said as he went off to play a round of golf as I stood at the kitchen sink over the peaches-"That's a lot of work isn't it?". There's your sign. He said it was also a lot of work to hit the ball with that club wrapped around his neck.
At the end of those three days, there were 14 pints of canned peaches, 12 half pints and 6 quarts of peach freezer jam. I must have made all of 25 cents per hour, I must be crazy! All that work. But then I thought: I made more that I do watching tv.  
Speaking of tv, a report was  given about all the rodent feces and other nasty stuff that was found in the egg plants that was the reason for the giant egg recall that is going on right now. That makes me feel a whole lot better. I know what went into all my peaches and other food. There is no filth, the jars were scalded and utensils clean. There are no additives other than sugar, salt, herbs, etc. and I am pleased enough to show a photo of the jam somewhere on this page. I think the canned tomatoes are beautiful, too. I still have to make room for them on the storage shelves in the utility room.
Getting the garden produce in this year didn't seem to be as hard as in time past.
My great friend, Mary, came over to help canning all the green beans. We chatted all day as we broke beans to be canned and time seemed to fly as we got done with  in a couple of days. We ended with 56 quarts of beans, not as much as from past gardens but there are a few dozen left from last year so we'll have plenty.
Mary again helped with the first corn picking. When the second phase was ready, I thought we would be able to handle it but it was so hot that it took your breath away. I called Mary. She and her sister, Marilyn, who was visiting came over and helped get in many dozen. It is great to have such good friends who come in to help when needed. I would still be working in that corn if they had not been here. We ended up with over 100  bags of corn in the freezer and Marilyn took several dozen ears of corn home with her. We were so tired we just couldn't finish everything that night. Mary and I were about ready to drop but we have lots of lovely, lovely vegetables put aside for the winter.  
 You would think that with all the stocking up, canning and filling freezers going on here that I have an inherent fear of starving to death. Let me assure you that I have never been truly, truly hungry. Oh, I have made the statement that "I am starved to death" but that was just a figure of speech. There may not have been on hand exactly what I thought I wanted to eat but even then I have always been blessed with a bounty of food, in fact, God has amply supplied me with all my needs.
To me, well stocked shelves, refrigerators and freezers are cheaper than empty ones. I rarely have to make emergency trips to the store for anything and there is usually something handy to prepare a meal even if unexpected guests come in. Besides, if I don't have it on hand, all I have to do is go over to Mary's. If neither of us has it, I probably don't need it.
The first day of peaches, I made the following Peach Cream Cheese Dessert. It calls for canned peaches but I used some of the peaches fresh off our tree. This is tongue swallowing good. I save recipes from friends, newspapers, magazines and now from online. This is one that was clipped from something years ago and is one of my favorites.
3/4 cup flour
1 [4 serving] pkg. vanilla pudding mix [not instant]
1 tsp. baking powder
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp. melted margarine
1 [16 oz.] can drained peaches, chopped into bite-size pieces-[save the juice]
1 [8 oz.] pkg. cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix flour, pudding and baking powder together.
Combine and add to dry ingredients: egg, milk and margarine.
Pour into an 8"x8"x2" greased pan.
Add peaches.
Beat together cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and peach juice.
Pour over the top.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

I am so very thankful to God for the bounty we have, for our wonderful home and all the blessings including our family which now has extended to great grandchildren. Here is a poem that I wrote several years ago. It is dated 1998. I try to remember to date whatever I write, including everything in my journals which I started keeping many years ago so I would know the timeline. 

I've got to  build more closets and it has to be done soon
'Cause the next time I go shopping, I won't have any room
to put that Christmas outfit that will look so good on me,
or all the other things I'll get on that shopping spree. 

I also need more cupboard space for all that extra food
to make those special dishes that my family thinks I should.
The new place settings added will make everything so fab
but now I'll need more silverware, the stuff I have is drab.

There's a white Jeep at church I wouldn't mind having,
My Jeep's ok, but still, it's such a dark old thing.
But then I thought of the next spot and really started thinkin'
What joy there's be if I could have that great big shiny Lincoln.

Finally, clothes put away, I sat down to drink some tea
and trying to catch up on things, turned on the news to see.
Nothing good was told about-just rapes and wars and drugs
adulteries and aids disease and roaming gangs of thugs.

Then I saw a mother staring with vacant, horrified eyes
at her child she held, having to hear his pitiful hungry cries,
she tried, in vain, to cover him for a little dignity,
and I thought but for you, God, that poor soul could be me.

I should be thankful, LORD, for never seeing my child in starvation
but most of all, for Your Son, who came for my salvation.
Please, forgive me, Father, for my wantonness and greed
and help me to remember You are all I really need.