Sometimes Plans Have

Aarrrgh! Tried to change the title, or at least finish it and it seems to be stuck there. Should have been “Sometimes Plans Have To Be Changed”, referring to the fact that our plans to visit my older brother had to be put on hold. He has been in treatment for cancer for a few months now, but Saturday night he fell and on Sunday had surgery to repair a broken hip. He is doing well but will be in therapy for a few months and visitors are limited as far as how many and how long. I’m still having trouble convincing myself of my own age and since he is older it’s even harder to think of.

Speaking of age, I was talking with my older son about my plans to live another 25 years which would take me to 103 years old (thanks to Marilyn Armstrong for doing the math for me). We then got on the subject of birthdays and realized my youngest will not live to see his 50th birthday. He’s a Leap Year baby and so far has had 13 birthdays, so if he actually had a 50th actual day he would be 200 years old. Now THAT is old! And take my word for it, I don’t want to be around to help celebrate that one.

I’ve been talking to my aunt a lot lately and we always take a trip down memory lane while we are talking. I enjoy that a lot since we were both raised in the country our backgrounds are similar. And since she is only a few years older than me we were both still riding the same school bus when I began first grade. She, of course was in high school but always saved a seat next to her for me. She could always tell what kind of day I was having when I got on the bus and always made it better for me.

Last night’s conversation turned to the meals we had on the farm. Marie is the youngest of 13 children while I’m second oldest of 7, and what began as commentaries on the UK/LSU football game Saturday and led to talking about our brothers. None of them ever played on any team, not so much because they weren’t interested but when you spend the day working on a farm there just isn’t time enough to play games. That of course led to feeding everyone.

Marie is my mom’s youngest sister and since there were only three girls that meant 9 boys, the 10th having died as a baby, and they only hired help during harvest. Meals were always large in the family but at times like that they had to prepare enough for an even larger crowd. My family meaning hubby and kids didn’t have as many in the family but we did hire help and I was the cook. I learned a lot from my mom and even more from both my grandmothers. So, when I began cooking at home I also learned to cook for nine of us, not a bad number, and we always had to cook a lot of food. It makes me wonder how my grandmother ever managed with her group, but I can remember Sunday dinner at her house when growing up and no one ever left hungry. That training helped me after I married a farmer and became the chief cook and bottle washer for all of the farm hands. The numbers were different each time so one of my brothers who lived with us one summer to earn a bit of money once told someone I would look out the window and count the cars and then throw more beans in the pot to make it all stretch. If it had only been that easy!

I miss those days, my garden, even canning the fruit and vegetables each summer. Everything was fresh and organic and the feeling of satisfaction the following winter when I would see all those jars of food on the shelves and know that whatever came along could be met and even enjoyed because we would be fed and have enough leftovers to share with anyone who might still be hungry.

This seems to be rambling along due to my talks with my aunt and the memories and hours hours we spend talking but we both cherish those memories and hope some of the younger members of the family will learn more about the generation that will be gone after she leaves us. We have to learn from the past before we can plan for the future.