Thinking of Winnie…. And of Kenny…
“Why does Winnie always wink at me?” …. “She’s not winking honey, she has a perpetual blink… and don’t mention it.” “Oh” I said. I was little and didn’t understand the rapid flickering of her eye lids….. It was an uncommon thing that turned endearing over the years. She could blink 10-15 times in one sentence!
She was the kind of woman that most southern men loved, attractive, had a great smile and ….. well, everyone always thought she was winking at them…. Who wouldn’t like that? Annnnnnd she was largely….a damn good cook!
My great Aunt Winifred Hedges passed away on Monday. She was visiting the cemetery for Memorial Day when it happened…. She was 94! Winnie, as she was known to us, lived with my grandfather’s brother Kenneth (yes, Kenny and Winnie), in Lamont Oklahoma, since Jesus was a boy. Some of my absolute greatest memories and my only farm memories took place on their land. It was a typical farmhouse with barns and farm animals and fruit trees and plenty of land… it seemed huge to me.
I can smell the window unit air conditioner that cooled the place (not so well) during the summer visits that my grandparents shared with me. The time was spent doing “fun” things like pulling up potatoes and carrots…. and picking cherries from the cherry tree out front. My favorite occurrence and the reason I love Oklahoma weather…. Was when those summer storms would erupt and the rain and sometimes hail would bounce off that tin roof porch while we were out there drinking sun tea. The sound was amazing. I remember that smell too! That is, by and far, the best smell on earth. Fresh rain…
Of course after the rains, it left plenty of mud….perfect for mud pie making! Winnie gave us several tin pie pans and silver spoons and we would go out and dig up the soil and some grass for texture… Them was some good lookin’ mud pies!
Speaking of pies…. Winnie was the absolute best pie baker ever… Her pecan pie was one of my favorites but she was KNOWN for her cherry pie! My grandmother always made a comment about the crust pattern, each time was THE most beautiful one she had ever seen. Before anyone ever heard of Martha Stewart, Winnie did it all local and all by hand… Even those cherries came from her tree. I know, I picked some of them.
She canned anything that would stand still… But everyone’s favorite was Winnie’s pickles… OMG!!! You have never tasted a better pickle! Huge jars…. and every Christmas we all got a jar of pickles and $5… hehehe
It was a special Christmas treat that I will always treasure. And I will always treasure you, Winnie… Anytime I see something canned, I quickly think of you…… or a hand crafted quilt….or smell cherries baking in a crust… And absolutely…every time someone winks at me.
Godspeed my dear, wishing you Peace, Love and Cherry Pie