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Excerpt from Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past

January 21, 2011

“She could take a few simple ingredients and make a meal fit for a king. Many afternoons I would be on my way home and smell that delightful odor that rested so very easy on the late afternoon breeze.  Yes Mom was baking, and all was right with the world.   Her usual thing was, several loves of great bread, two large pans of lighter than air rolls, a couple of pies, and my all time favorite, a small biscuit dropped into boiling lard. They were golden brown and very hot and no one could resist eating them right out of the pan.  This happened every Monday like clockwork. We always had Arkansas 22es, that is navy beans for all you people that haven’t lived.

It is just so sad that so many people have never had the opportunity to live the good life like I have.  I had best not forget the tremendous strawberry preserve that was spooned on those delicate biscuits, that was a fitting end to Mom’s creation. On special occasions Sundays and different holidays we had fried chicken. Now this wasn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken, this was Mom’s chicken, —— and it made the chicken glad to give up his life for such a glorious ending. It was golden brown and all agreed it was simply the finest. Mom always, “made do”; she never had a modern kitchen with all the latest appliances. The center of everything in her domain was the great big wood fired cook stove. This thing was huge, and took four good men to move it. This monster was Mom’s and she made it behave. In the summer when it was ninety-five outside she fired it up and done her thing with the baking and cooking. Everyone stayed out of the kitchen in the summertime but when it turned cold that was a different matter. There is nothing in this world that could compare with that place in the wintertime. The smells, the warmth, the happiness, it may be gone but it isn’t forgotten. ….         In this day and age there are awards for every endeavor that you can think of, not so back in my mom’s time. If they had, she would have a table filled with plaques, cups, and awards. They would have to give her two lifetime achievement awards for all the great things she made.

It was said, but hard to believe that her first batch of biscuits were so hard that dad used them for baseballs and that made her cry. If that happened it was long before my birth, and she had perfected her craft to a fine art by the time I arrived.”   L. Hoadley



There were scents and sounds that years later brought back memories of childhood – as they do for all of us. My mom recalled “The sound of riverboats, barges, excursion boats on the Mississippi river; trains in the distance. The loneliness of saying goodbye to someone; the wanting to go wherever they were going; lilys of the valley flowers growing around our house – dainty and so white and the sweet smell.”


The reports are increasing of those losing millions in investments and some seem surprised at reports that rural areas and small towns are weathering financial woes better than cities. This shouldn’t be an issue – those in the country and rural areas are already used to not having many luxury items others take for granted.



There’s a peace that cannot be bought to know that there’s food in the pantry, that there are home grown things in the garden and for a little effort, grain and forage there’s milk, meat and eggs out back. The stock market is measured in how many bunnies were in the last litter, how many fertile eggs there are to hatch.

Billions of dollars have ‘disappeared’ due to economic woes, stock market crisis and bank panic along with high interest debt loads. As the line in Stephen Cochran’s “We’re Alright” says – “’s killin’ us the things we can’t do without..”

Peaceful abundance is simply having enough and knowing what enough is. It doesn’t mean getting everything you want, it’s wanting what you get. It’s being satisfied with having the basics covered and if there’s a little left over being grateful for it instead of simply “let’s go blow it.” It’s being content with basics.


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