Not All Memories Come together At the Same Time
You've read before where I mention the little old Red House on our farm about a half mile south of our house. It was kinda the dividing line between our farm land and the pasture. The roads of our county were maintained by the County Commissioner's Office. So a maintenance grader came by now and again, usually after a rain, which wasn't very often at all. The driver of the grader usually was someone from our area. We probably knew him on a first name basis. The road going south by our house got to the Red House and turned to the right, that would be going west. The road did continue on south for another half mile to the crossing on Red River. That road was between our pasture on the east and Teddy Joe's field on the west. But the county never graded it. It was a set of sand tracks with wild grass between the tracks and on either side all the way to the river bank.
I told you all this because I wanted to tell you about a plumb thicket. But first you should know that our rectangular farm, half mile wide (east to west) and mile long (north to south) was divided more or less cross ways (east to west) almost in the middle. North half tillable farm land, south half sandy pasture land. But the two halves really were more like two "L" shaped parcels. The longer part of the south pasture half extended above the Red House almost a quarter mile. Likewise the north half had a little longer and wider part that extended south into what might have been pasture. That area is where the fruit trees of the orchard were planted and where the government project for wind control in the 1930's planted the shelter belt of trees, east to west between the farm land and the pasture land.
There was a barbed wire fence following the shelter belt eastward to keep the cattle of the pasture from roaming over into the farm part. Here's the short story of the long print: About half way along that fence just to the south of the shelter belt, across the fence in the pasture, near the highest sand hill of the whole farm, was a thicket of wild plumb trees. Every year Mother kept track of the ripening of those somewhat sour red plumbs. When they were ready, she took us with buckets and pales to gather the plumbs. The trees were about as high as my head and above the heads of the girls. Mother of course could see all around. We picked all we could gather, then headed back home.
The second part probably took place the next day, what with evening chores coming up. When she was ready, the wash tubs came out and the plumbs got washed up all pretty and clean. Then into a pot on the stove to cook them down. They needed to be run through a sieve. The juice, peals and pits were all separated so she made jelly and jam. That was some scrumptious dinning.
Mother almost always made biscuits for breakfast. They weren't the kind you buy in the grocery that come in a tube of cardboard and you whack it on the corner of the counter, then pull them out and arrange on a cookie sheet. All the ladies of our growing up times made the kinds of biscuits that Mother made. Those were worth coming home for. First you broke open two or three while they were hot and filled them with home made butter right from your own cow cream. Then you set one or two on the side of your plate. Next you opened it up and slathered it with good ole home made gravy. You might need two of those biscuits. After you finished the biscuits and gravy and all that came with it, then you pulled the jar of jam or jelly over and filled up those other butter soaked biscuits with that jam or jelly or both.
When you'd finished a breakfast started with oatmeal, brown sugar and fresh cream, followed by the above, including bacon, sausage or ham that you'd cured at butchering time and a couple of fresh eggs from your own flock of healthy chicken hens. You knew you were ready to go to school all day, or a days worth of work on the farm.
If we'd been working at Papa's blacksmith shop ever since we finished our morning chores, we might have taken lunch with Granny and Papa, then back to the shop most of the afternoon. She knew how much ingredients it took to make a biscuit, and she generally made only three: one for herself and two for him. But somehow she seemed to know when boys would be around in the afternoon. About three o'clock, here came Granny with a few "turtles" as she called them. They were a little over sized biscuits. She had pocked her thumb or finger in the length of the biscuit. In the hole, she had poured it full of black strap molasses or blue ribbon syrup. By the time she carried them to where you were working, that sweet goodness had soaked out into those biscuits. After you ate one or two, you were almost fit to fly home to do the evening chores.