Blog # 156
So as am I pondering my first meeting with the “family” and my introduction to Art, I think of Fern. Fern was Art’s wife, or my (eventually to-be wife’s, maternal grandmother). I mentioned Art to you in blog #155. I never saw much of Fern in this gathering, she was the cook, preparing pork roasts, chicken’n noodles and mashed potato’s, green beans, corn and red cake for dessert.
Fern was born in 1905 and was the oldest of four children. When Fern was 17, her mother died, and she became responsible for the running of the household and raising her 3 brothers, until her marriage to Art in 1925. In 1929, her father re-married, to a woman, that had been Fern’s classmate in school. In that union, Fern gained 2 half siblings.
Fern was a quite person and I always felt “monitored” by her, yet my wife always said she liked me. I must have grown upon her, for near the end of her life she asked that I conduct her funeral service.
My wife and had been married less than a year. I was on summer break from college, and jobless. Yes, jobs were just as difficult to find in a small community in the 70’s as they are today. Art lined up some barn painting jobs and he and I painted.
My wife and I went to their house one day, and lunch was served. Knowing that we did not have much money, Fern prepared a BIG lunch, mashed potato’s and all! Fern was such a good cook. Looking for some way to break the chill of this grandmother, I couldn’t help but comment how great the food was, especially the mashed potato’s. “Yep, you can always tell good, home-made mashed potato’s, not any on those instant things, I can really tell the difference”. There was silence in the room, after a long pause, Art says, “Well you’re eat’m now… I had stuck my foot in it! Why is it I nearly always, stick my foot in my mouth when I’m trying to be gracious or funny!!!
Truly, these were GREAT mashed potato’s, they were so thick and tasty, you really couldn’t tell the difference. Art began to chuckle, everyone got a good laugh, rightfully at my expense. I think this did more to break the ice, than any planned complement that I could come up with.