Crackers, peanut butter & Coke

peanut

NOW THAT I do not have a family anymore, the original one, the one I was born into, I think about them fairly often. I miss them a lot.

Downstairs yesterday evening, alone and sitting on the scarlet sofa, reading the Kindle, I got hungry, so I stood up, and walked into the kitchen for a handful of unsalted peanuts, which I brought back to the sofa where it was comfortable.

Incense was burning, and the light was low.

My mind traveled from the peanuts to peanut butter and then onto crackers and Coke. That’s what my paternal grandparents, who were born in the 19th century, packed for road trips in the 1950s in their Chevrolet. They were in their 60s at that point.

When they arrived from Atlanta to our North Florida home, they’d still have some of those snacks in the Chevrolet, and then later, when they packed to head home, Grandmother would make more and bag them. They’d buy Cokes along the way.

My paternal grandfather owned a small general store during the Great Depression, and they survived fairly well, much better than many folks. My mother’s people who were farmers also weathered the Depression better than most due to growing their own food.

My mother’s parents owned Fords, but they never made trips, ever, which was different from my father’s people who were quite fond of driving about. Since my mother’s parents did not travel, I don’t know what they might have favored for road snacks.

It was not until last night that the fact that my maternal grandparents did not travel at all dawned on me. Maybe farming keeps one close to home, feeding the cows, plowing the fields, but I think it was more a matter of personality.

My mother’s father died when I was 12, and even then Grandmother tended to stay put. We visited her, not the other way around. Maybe she intuited something.

During a rare visit to our home in New Orleans a decade after she was widowed, she tripped and fell one night, was hospitalized, went downhill and slipped into death.

Her last trip. Hundreds of miles from home. She was 81. My favorite grandparent.

Funny where a handful of peanuts on a cool evening will transport your mind.

14 thoughts on “Crackers, peanut butter & Coke

  1. Señor Felipe, one must give credit where credit is due: It was peanut butter, crackers and Coke that started that transport, not just peanuts.

    As with other things, it is the combination that provides the alchemy required to concoct the formula that works.

    There, I explained that for you. You’re welcome.

    As an old man who was adopted into a loving family at only a few days old, I can provide direct testimony that DNA matters. We are what we are.

    Best to you sir!

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    1. Ricardo: An interesting interpretation you offer. Thanks. Adopted, eh? Did not know that. I see pluses and minuses from the adoptee’s perspective. One plus is that you’re brought into a family by wish, not by accident, which is what happens in a great many instances, perhaps the majority. A minus would be the wondering.

      Best to you too. The weekend is here.

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  2. From your time in Jax and GA, no memories of boiled peanuts? How about the putting of peanuts in your RC Cola?

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    1. Steve: I looove boiled peanuts, but my paternal grandparents didn’t eat them that I recall. I miss boiled peanuts to this day. Yeah, yeah, I know. I could make them myself, but that’s not how I prefer to do things. As for putting peanuts in RC, we used Coke.

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  3. I had to look that up, boiling peanuts. Never heard of that before, but being from the frozen north, it is a long way from the peanut trees.

    Memories, you never know what will take you back.

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    1. Kirk: Peanut trees? Lordy, you are so not a Southern boy. Like cash, peanuts don’t grow on trees. They grow below ground. They don’t call them goobers for nothing. Boiled peanuts are a great delicacy. Very tasty. I could eat them for hours.

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  4. Kirk, roadside stands selling boiled peanuts are everywhere in Georgia and northern Florida. Sam’s et al. in Georgia sell huge containers of them. My Sainted Mother always had some on hand.

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  5. When I was young, my father was in the ice business. We delivered ice all day. Come lunch time, we would park on the canal bank and dine on sardines and crackers. He always took a kid or two with him to watch the truck while he was putting ice into the customer’s box. Anyway, after lunch, he would put us kids to fish in the canal while he took a short nap. He had driven some iron spikes into the canal bank to which he tied us with a rope, just in case we fell in. Any fish we caught went into the back of the truck with the ice. I wonder if that gave a sort of taste to the ice?

    I haven’t eaten sardines and crackers for probably sixty years now.

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    1. Señor Gill: Well, that’s a good story. If you tied kids to iron spikes these days, the government would take them away from you. Up there, not down here. Yes, I suspect the fish did lend a certain taste to some of the ice. I too used to eat sardines and crackers, but not for a long, long time. I ate sardines and crackers when I lived in San Juan too.

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  6. Funny how foods can bring back memories. After the war, my father spent hours telling people that refrigerators caused cancer. Then one day, we came home and there in the kitchen was a Westinghouse refrigerator. My mother bought it. He knew then that it was over for the ice business.

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  7. Now you’ve gone and done it. I was sitting here enjoying my neighbor’s music (and I suspect my neighbors two blocks away were enjoying it, as well), and you pushed me right into nostalgia gully.

    My mother was a child of the depression. Though she was born in 1928, the depression came late to the hollers of Powers. The sense of scarcity when a person is young is something that never seems to desert the mind. When I was young, we would go on road trips, and my mother would pack sandwiches and other long-lasting foods. If we went on overnight trips, it would almost always be to a city where other relatives lived. We would bunk with them.

    Mom still forces foods on my brother and me — even if we are only driving an hour from her house to his. I suppose some of that is a mother’s love. But it is a love based on the specter of scarcity. Or maybe she has heard far too many tales of the Donner party. Her abidance with the Levitical code may be the driving factor in our goody bags. Thou shalt not covet thy brother’s roasted thigh. Or something like that.

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    1. Señor Cotton: Were you really enjoying your neighbor’s music? I rather doubt it. Enduring it was likely closer to the fact. My heart goes out to you.

      Yes, your mother sounds like a true child of the Great Depression. My mother was less so, but my father never got over it. It made him colossally cautious all his days. It was probably very difficult for him to not keep all his money under the mattress.

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  8. I never tasted a Coca-Cola until I was in my late teens when someone brought some bottles back from Germany. It wasn’t sold in Denmark until around 1960 something. Lucky for me, I never acquired the soft-drink habit.

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