Thursday, March 13, 2014

TBT:The Great Egg Caper: A "The Good Old Feed Seed" Story

As you all know we lost a landmark in Chesterfield last week. People stood on the street slack jawed with shock as first the building went up, then the ammo inside went off (in protest, I believe). The good old Feed and Seed has stood there for over 75 years and all of us have stories about it, I am sure. I remember the smell of chicken scratch and the gentle peeping of the Easter chicks, dyed in bright colors of pinks and blues that every kid who walked through those big double doors wanted to clutch to them. The fertilizer smells and the old men sitting around the pot bellied stove because Easter might be just around the corner, but old Man Winter was still hanging around. I have a couple of good family memories that involved the good old Feed and Seed...but my favorite comes from their selling of cracked eggs...so gather round children and listen to the tale of the The Great Egg Caper: Long before the medical factions started warning us about things like eating too much meat, eating too little fish, using good old fat back grease for frying and cooking, and eating eggs with cracked shells, we were doing it all. By we, I mean our entire region. We're Southern. It goes without saying. My Grandfather, who was of Scottish descent, believed that a penny saved would keep him solvent. I'm not saying he was tight, but for heaven's sake, he was Scottish. He believed in land ownership, because, he said, they're not making it anymore. At his death he owned nearly 1000 acres which he left to my Grandmother, till her death, at which time it would be divided between the three daughters. My grandmother, who taught school, was a very kind woman who believed in helping her fellow man, even if that meant giving that penny saved, to the down trodden. She had generosity of heart. She and my Grandfather got along the way most married people do, they had their ups and downs and could carry on an argument for days and then suddenly, it was over. And like everyone else, the arguments usually were over money. Mammy (my grandmother) went grocery shopping on Saturdays. During the week (after retiring from teaching school) she farmed along side Daddy Dwight (my Grandfather). The days from Monday through Friday were long hard days, especially Friday night. Friday nights were the nights when Mammy made out the checks to the farm hands, caught up the ledger and prepared for another week beginning Mondays. Daddy Dwight , after inspecting the fields, made up the schedule for what needed doing to the tobacco fields...poisoning (for worms), watering, topping (taking the flower tops off the plants so that the growth would go to the leaves and not the flowers), decide when it was time to "put in tobacco" and hire the extra hands, get the fuel for the tobacco barns , check the barns and flues, just get ready for production, in general. It was not an easy job, for either of them. It was early one morning, a Saturday, and Mammy was getting ready to go grocery shopping at the Red and White. They always got their eggs at the Purina place, (the good old Feed and Seed) and bought them 8 dozen or so at a go. They always got the cracked cheaper eggs. Daddy Dwight was in charge of that. He took the pickup to town, and Mammy took the car. So, Saturday afternoon, I was sitting at the table, knees up and feet on the seat of the bench, reading a book. I even remember the book. It was "Lad: A Dog" by Albert Payson Terhune. Having spent the night with head under the covers and flashlight focused on the page, I only had about two chapters to go. The argument between my grandparents was like a buzzing mosquito in my ear...I wasn't really listening, but the voices were rising. Mammy had the patience of Job and really didn't lose her temper till she had taken as much as she could take and then boy howdy, everyone better stand back, because as in the words of the miners, "she's gonna blow!" Funny, but all her female progeny are just like that in every respect. So I hear Daddy Dwight fussing about Mammy throwing out some of the eggs. She tried to tell him that some were cracked a bit too much and she couldn't cook with them. He kept insisting that there was nothing wrong with them and how wasteful she was being. I saw her eyes narrow and lips thin to a straight line. I closed my book with a snap and just as I was getting up to leave the room, the house, maybe the yard, it happened. Mammy picked up one of the eggs that was severely cracked and said, "here Dwight, let me show you why I can't use this egg," and smooshed it on the top of his head. Then she rubbed it in. And the fight was on. The egg fight, which started in the kitchen, eased onto the screen porch and then on out into the yard. They were throwing eggs at each other like a pair of six years old. Neither of them were laughing, they were intent on coating each other with as much egg as they could. I had run down to my Aunt Margaret's and ratted them out and she and my Aunt Pat went up to the house to break up the war. Both were slightly out of breath, but we never knew what would have broken up the fight first, their anger dying out or running out of eggs. And remember, they had at the very least eight dozen of them. I don't remember how long it took them to start speaking to each other again...three days or three weeks. But I know it took the Aunts three days to cleanup the slippery, gooey mess of eggs dripping from the cabinets, the table, and the walls onto the kitchen floor. My cousin Crystal (Aunt Margaret's daughter) and I were talking about this "comedrama" this morning. We were laughing so hard we couldn't catch our breaths. I told Crystal that I thought I would write about the the great egg caper, that enough time had passed where it was funny. But Mammy and Daddy Dwight never laughed about it. It was not allowed to be brought up in their presence. So, if I get a visit from the other side tonight, I'm thinking I'll know why. I just hope they aren't carrying a box of eggs. v>

12 comments:

Sally said...

I love it. Every single word. And, probably from now on when I cook eggs I'll think about this story. Let us know tomorrow how you sleep tonight. :)

xoxo

Akelamalu said...

Oh what a great read! Thanks for sharing Sandi. X

Brian Miller said...

haha...omg...that is crazy...wonder what my wife would do if i smooshed an egg on her head...i probably would not survive...just saying....lol

Hilary said...

Almost impossible to imagine that scene without a lot of laughter from the participants. It's sure earned it's way into your family stories though.

Carver said...

I always love your stories.

Linda Wildenstein said...

Sandi, I came here wanting to thank you for your comment on my blog. But I am thrilled I did because, girl, you can really tell a story. I love this and many more that I have taken the time to read. I am a follower now. This was a wonderful and delightful happening for me.
Eggs....I'll never look at them the same way, comedrama. Oma Linda

Vee said...

Makes me laugh all over again! I knew I had read it when you mentioned the book you were reading. These two were quite the pair...glad that you were able to take it all in stride and I'd love to hear you tell this story replete with the laughter.

Lee said...

OMG! That is SO FUNNY! Hahaha! ROFLMBO!!! Sandi, I totally understand the patience till you've had enough! One of womankind's best features! Wish they had phone cameras back then! But your words painted a very vivid image! Hugs while I'm leaning on your shoulder to keep from falling down laughing!

Love,
Lee

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Oh my...nothing worse than having to clean up a dropped egg....can't imagine 8 doz. of them...lol. We still have a 'feed and seed' out here in the country and the lady owner of the husband/wife team writes the best blog. Love reading it as well as yours the best! I love to just run up to their store and walk around, just looking at all the farm and garden stuff. We also get the best beef from then. Have a sweet weekend Sandi.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Sandi ~ I'm glad you stopped by... I haven't been around to visit anyone lately.
Your story brings back great memories of the 'feed and seed' where I grew up. You could find anything (including the local gossip)
Happy St Patty's day my friend!

Little Penpen said...

Hey Sandi, I saw where you left a comment for me on Ancient's Ones blog about watching FOX news. I think you misread my comment. ;))

Vagabonde said...

You are a good story teller – that was a funny tale.