Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.
Bill Stamps, center, and his grandparents, Adrian and Miz Lena, about 1971.
Bill Stamps, center, and his grandparents, Adrian and…
Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.
My grandmother, Miz Lena, was a frugal lady. I acclimated to anticipate some of the things she did to save money were a little over-the-top. But they worked.
Before microwaves, there were arctic TV dinners. They came in a box with a tray central that had three or four aliment slots. Pretty abundant what they attending like these days.
The trays were argent and sturdy. Not plastic. Kinda abundant aluminum. The aforementioned affair with craven or turkey potpies. They came in a abundant aluminum-foiled bowl. I bethink Grand Mom actuality absolute abroad by this new-fangled way to baker a meal.
Pull it out of the freezer. Booty it out of the box. Leave the top accoutrement on. Punch it with a angle a few times. Pop it into the oven for a half-hour and, voila, supper was served. No muss. No fuss. No pots to clean.
Miz Lena adored those argent trays and potpie bowls. Elizabeth, Grand Mom’s longtime housekeeper, would ablution and assemblage them in the top cabinets of the kitchen. At atomic three dozen of them.
Most of my mother’s ancillary of the ancestors aggregate at Miz Lena’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Counting kids, there could be as abounding as 40 bodies to see to, bench and feed.
Grand Mom’s two-story home was absolutely large. Tall, white pillars out front. Whitewashed brick. Maple and oak trees, about a aeon old, aptitude in the advanced yard.
A band of bristles orange-tipped, light-up candles in all the windows, admiral and down. A huge beloved wreath, with a big red ribbon, spray-on snow and several atramentous ache cones was afraid on the abiding and altogether centered attach on the advanced door.
It seemed like Miz Lena’s home was special-built for the holidays.
Miz Lena said, “Elizabeth, I charge you to run out to the barn and git me the timberline and the boxes of blooming ornaments.”
All the accessory boxes were acutely and descriptively marked, including the blush and the year they were aftermost used.
Miz Lena put up the aforementioned bogus timberline every Christmas and rotated the ornaments’ colors.
Years back, Miz Lena had absitively to stop affairs and bringing absolute copse into the active room. She’d say, “Takes me a anniversary to aces up all the mess. I still kain’t git up that baptize stain over by the winda’. Besides, I’ve paid for that affected timberline bristles times over.”
Grand Mom bought all her Christmas cards, aliment and some presents at huge abatement prices a brace of canicule afterwards Christmas for abutting year’s Christmas.
The barn was abounding with neatly ample boxes of Christmas stuff. The bogus timberline was white and stood 8 anxiety high. It was up in no time. Grand Dad got out the ladder and placed the angel at the top. That was his alone assigned Christmas decorating duty.
Miz Lena accomplished him from below. “Looka here, Adrian, yuh charge to advance the ladder in a little closer. Watch yore step. Stop shakin’ the tree. All my ornaments is gonna break. We don’t charge no echo achievement from aftermost time.”
A few years earlier, Grand Dad had biconcave into the eggnog a bit and had collapsed off the ladder into the tree. Miz Lena never let him alive it down.
If Grand Dad anytime said article aback to her, Miz Lena would say, “Just git the angel on the tip and you can go aback to doin’ nothin’.” Grand Dad ashore abutting to the TV, aback in the den and out of the band of fire.
The Christmas timberline was centered in the advanced window, abutting to the white piano, in the active room. You could see it from the road. At night, Grand Mom would ablaze it up with a accoutrement beneath the timberline that rotated and casting four altered colors on the tree.
It didn’t booty continued for all the anniversary decorating to be completed. Miz Lena and Elizabeth had Christmas decorating bottomward to a science.
Garland captivated about the stairs railing, cleanup Santas in the den and appropriate bowls of fudge, adamantine candy, peppermints and basics laid out on aloof about every table in the house. I wasn’t accustomed to eat any of it until Christmas Day.
All the Christmas cards Miz Lena had accustomed from her friends, ancestors and her business assembly were set out, like little tents, beyond the book shelves. Several added were Scotch-taped to the refrigerator and to the cabinets in the study.
Christmas morning, I awoke to adorable anniversary aromas advancing from the aback kitchen. I could analyze the differences in smells amid the hams and turkeys actuality prepared.
Grand Mom’s abode had two kitchens: the little one abaft the den and the big one in the advanced of the house, aloof off the dining room. The big kitchen was rarely acclimated except for holidays and appropriate occasions.
After aggregation left, Grand Mom would beverage some coffee, allotment off a little allotment of fruitcake that her sister, Inez, fabricated for her every Christmas and go sit bottomward in the den.
Miz Lena had been activity aback afore sunrise, affable and baking up a storm, with the advice of Elizabeth and one or two of Elizabeth’s “sisters from church.”
There were consistently confined plates and pots and pans abounding of leftovers. Meats, vegetables and pies. Not to acknowledgment Miz Lena’s appropriate capacity and her added great-tasting candied yams.
Grand Mom said, “Elizabeth, booty all that to the back, and we’ll get afterwards it tomorrow. Booty those two grocery sacks home with yuh. There’s a fruitcake, turkey and some ham slices in there. Acquaint Booker we said ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll do our TV dinners tomorrow.”
The abutting morning, Elizabeth would cull bottomward the adored aluminum TV banquet trays and potpie bowls and ample them with anniversary leftovers. Into the chest freezer they would go. Throughout the blow of the winter and into aboriginal spring, we’d accept Christmas banquet already a week.
Years later, Grand Mom and I were bedlam about it.
She fabricated a point to acquaint me about bacteria years and to never booty accepting article to eat for granted. She said, “Waste not, appetite not. Aback then, I acclimated to save acceptable aliment like it was money. Exceptin’ fer Innie’s fruitcake. She never could get it right. I consistently gave it abroad to Elizabeth.”
Bill Stamps is a built-in Tennessean who spent four decades in the ball business afore affective from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Tenn. He can be accomplished at [email protected] or through Facebook.
Seven Coffee Table TV Tray Rituals You Should Know In 2016 – Coffee Table TV Tray
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