Close to Nowhere
Let me just start out by saying that my parents lived way too far north for my taste.
I do not do cold well. Never have, but the older I get, the worse it gets.
My dad was orginally from Gleason, Tenn., about two hours or so straight north of Holly Springs. You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a very small town.
My mom was from Michigan, moving to Memphis, Tenn., with her dad when she was in her teens. Mama could have told cold stories. I believe Michigan is really north and really cold. She didn’t talk about the cold much though.
But my dad — that two-hour drive made a huge difference in weather stories.
My favorite was always the one where every morning he had to chop into the frozen pond — the ice was several feet thick every day too — so the horses would have water.
He also had to walk miles and miles to and from school in drifts of snow that were taller than he was.
I guess it never occurred to him that we all visited Gleason and our grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins who still lived there. My brother Dennis and I waited and waited to see the pond freeze over or the huge drifts of snow. Funny thing is, we never saw all that glorious white stuff.
Mama didn’t talk about the cold or even Michigan a lot. Daddy spent a lot of time trying to teach her how to cook Southern, even though she spent most of her time in the kitchen with the other ladies when we visited Gleason.
Daddy was a good cook when he set his mind to it, but mostly, he liked to tell Mama how to cook —Southern you know.
Mama made great cornbread and iced tea. In the wintertime, she’d fry potatoes and make white beans and cornbread. You can’t get more Southern than that. I hated it.
I used to tell her I was going to marry a rich man and never eat beans, potatoes or cornbread ever again. (Guess what my favorite comfort food meal is nowadays.)
I’ve been researching the Florida Keys for a while now. I think Key West is probably far enough south that I wouldn’t be cold anymore. Actually, Key West is only 90 miles from Cuba. So, maybe I could pretend I lived in the tropics and I wouldn’t really be pretending.
Key West never has snow! Ever! They do have key lime pie. I think that’s a fair trade.