Friday, July 9, 2010

Sworn to Secrecy

My Jones side of the family was not as large as the Ewen side. My father being only one of seven brothers and sisters instead of 12! Our Jones Family get together was always at Thanksgiving where my grandmother Jones (we called "mam maw") seemed to cook everything. To me, the biggest difference between the time spent was that I was only one of three grandchildren usually at mam maws compared to 8 -12 grandchildren usually at granny Ewens. Also, mam maw and pap paw only lived two blocks from my childhood home which made it a frequent stop on my busy summer days.

Mam maw was one of a kind. She always seemed to be doing something. Cooking, baking, ironing, cleaning, washing, making lye soap were all in her game plan. I often spent time following her (or trying to keep up with her) and I knew that the kitchen was her domain. Many mornings I would sit on my knees, elbows on the kitchen table, and my head resting in the palms of hands. She would move about her kitchen opening this drawer, getting this spice from the shelf, checking something cooking on the large gas stove, and flip cornbread cooking in the black iron skillet. This was our time, and as she darted about she would tell me family stories.

Our routine usually started when she place what I thought was the most beautiful coffee cup I had ever seen before me on the kitchen table. She would then swear me to secrecy stating that if I told anyone that she allowed me to drink coffee she would be in big trouble. (especially from my parents) Of course, this made it even more exciting as I thought I was getting away with something illegal. She would place the coffee pot on the stove, light a match, and "poof" a blue flame would appear at the base of the pot. The pot was a silver color with a black handle. It had a funny shaped lid with a glass cone where you could watch the water pop and spray as the coffee percolated (my first physics lesson). She would then slice home made bread and slap tons of butter and cinnamon on the top and slide our special bread into the bottom of the oven she called "the toaster". When all was done, she would take 2-3 teaspoons of coffee, place it in my cup, fill the rest with milk, and sit opposite me telling family stories. (This was the only time I can remember seeing her sit!) We would start on the cinnamon toast and my questions began: Where did we come from? Who was pap paw's father, who was pap pap's father's, father, who was... you get the picture. As far back as she knew, the earliest Jones was called W.C.. W.C., I thought, what kind of name was this? She did not know what the W. or C. stood for, but he was buried at the mouth of Red River, and he loved to play cards and the fiddle. It would take me more than 20 years before I found this family cemetery and learn that the W.C. stood for William Carter Jones. Anyone for coffee? But, I will have to swear you to secrecy! Oh yes, I still have the coffee cup sitting on the mantel of my study.

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I had me at the mention of cinnamon toast. One of my favorite childhood memories. Thanks for sharing.