I remember lots of things about my mom. If you have been following my posts, you've read our chicken frying adventure which was inspired by her.
Today I enjoyed cold fried chicken which to me is the comfort food from my childhood.
The picture to the right is my mother cooking fried chicken for my birthday in March 2003. She died about a year later. That was the last chicken she fried. She was 92 and six months. She started cooking for her family when she was nine years old. Her mother had died. Mother used to tell us that she was so small and the cast iron frying pans were so large that her older brother had to put the pans on the wood stove.
Mother left home in the twenties when few women strayed far from home. She learned to drive a car while her sisters weren't interested Eventually she started her own beauty shop . For years her shop was on Main Street in Mount Airy, NC. Eventually she had a very successful one in Lewisville, NC in the fifties until she retired and moved back to Mount Airy in the sixties. She lived there in the family house at 347 Pine Street until July 2000 when she moved to Roanoke.
It was a remarkable journey for a country girl who never had the chance to get a lot of formal education.
I learned a lot from my mother. She taught me to never be afraid of hard work and to be proud of my roots. Mother's family was the source of her strength. She leaned on them and they leaned on her. One my cousins who grew up in a wonderful large family, tells the story that without my mother, they would have had no Christmas when growing up. Mother would drive home from Mount Airy to Yadkin county often getting stuck along the way. Of course that was no problem for mom, she would just find a farmer to pull her car out. She never forgot to bring a car full of presents for her family.
The most important thing that I learned from mother was to live in the moment with an eye to the future. Mother never dwelled on the past. Mistakes were learning experiences. Of course mom also kept score so if you crossed her, she probably wouldn't let you forget it. She also was never afraid of saying whatever crossed her mind which sometimes caused a few hurt feelings.
Mother was a great gardener, a fantastic cook, and a loyal friend to many. Her one rule was to do whatever you were doing to the best of your ability. In the end that's a pretty good way to live.
The one final thing that I learned from mom, is that material possessions really aren't very important. The more you have, the more worries that you have. We've learned that lesson well, we plan to spend the next three years getting rid of things which we have accumulated over the years.
There still aren't many days that something doesn't remind us of my mother who was such an important part of our lives. She was never afraid to gamble on us and was always there for us when we needed her. She learned to navigate to Boston's Logan Airport and fly to Canada at an age when many were afraid to leave home.
There's probably no more relaxing feeling than coming home as a young adult and having your cares disappear into the walls of your family home as your mother's home cooking completely finishes off your worries. Mother was an expert at creating that environment which could make your cares disappear in minutes.
If we can just do the same for our kids, I think mother will be proud of us even if we are amateurs at frying chicken.