Woke up this morning at [5:30], and I knew that I couldn’t go back to sleep so I just got up and turned on the coffee pot. (That first cup is always the best).

I wish that I could just roll over and go to sleep again and wake up again a lot later. But this is just another trade-off for having lived so long. I’m age 88 and a half — I count halves these days.

Before I rolled out of bed this AM, my mind went back to when I was a young boy. I was sitting on the wooden floor behind the wood stove in the kitchen. Electric and gas stoves of today are built into the kitchen cabinets, but wood burning kitchen ranges had to be out away from the walls because they got pretty hot.

There was plenty of room for me and a flat rock, a hammer and a bucket of black walnuts. The hulls had been removed from the walnuts leaving brown stains on the hands of the remover that would not wash off for several days.

It was cozy there and the stove had cooled off from cooking the last meal. Mother had mentioned cooking us a walnut cake so that was my motivation to get crackin’. (No apologies for the little pun). Momma’s black walnut cakes bring back memories of a taste delight that most of you readers will never have the privilege to enjoy.

Another longing. As we sat at the kitchen table, we always thanked the Lord for what we were about to eat, be it walnut cake or leftover cornbread crumbled into a glass of milk, we called it “crumbled in”. We sometimes enjoyed freshly churned buttermilk which was vastly superior to today’s store-bought buttermilk.

We frequently had a guest or two at our meals. My sisters invited a lot of giggling little girls to our table. I never figured out why they giggled so much, but it was fun to watch and hear.


Our meals were enjoyable with conversation and laughter. Mother’s delicious meals were never hurriedly eaten. Dad was a slow eater and we politely did not leave the table until he was finished. I would love to sit at that rustic old table again.

We had been teaching my little sister Dale, how to say the blessing before eating and thought that she was doing very well. However, Dale had recently been to a football game and she learned one of the cheers. When we bowed our heads, she said: “Big dog, little dog, flop earned pup, come on Waynesville, eat ‘em up.” St. Pete surely got a good chuckle and laughed along with the rest of us.

In my yearnings to rejoin the past, I recall Mother’s little cinnamon rolls that melted in your mouth. A famous restaurant in Atlanta, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, serves similar little rolls, but Mother’s were better.

Over these many years I have mastered the art of napping. I feel one coming on, so I will leave you with these pleasant thoughts dredged from my memory bank, Adios.

Click HERE to order Ray’s book Depression Baby: True Stories from Growing Up During the Great Depression in Appalachia — and Other Things…