“H” IS FOR A HOMESTEADER: ALTERNATIVE ASPIRATIONS FOR PICASSO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistler%27s_Mother Whistler's Mother by James McNeill Whistler
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistler%27s_Mother
Whistler’s Mother by James McNeill Whistler


Just to Wettin’ Your Whistle(er)



The A-Z Blogging Challenge: 2015



The smells were magnificence. Gran-mama had baked Dad’s favorite cookies this afternoon and the kitchen was still radiant with the aromas from the warm cinnamon-spice cookies cooling on the racks at the far end of the kitchen counter.

Holiday visits with Gran-mama were the best. There was always something afoot in the kitchen. And Papa was always busy with the animals that they still nursed on their small farmette.

Even though Gran-mama and Papa were in their early seventies, life for them had not changed that much, Instead of the ‘home on the range’ that Dad loved telling us about when the family were swapping stories, Gran-mama and Papa lived on a self-sufficient six-acre farmette. Papa said that he would rather die than give up his chickens his cow and his Farmall. And that was probably true.

“Mandy, you get the wet ingredients out of the icebox. Andy, check in the pantry and get all the dry ones.”

“The top shelf, Andy. Grab that large glass bowl. Mandy, get my spatula from the drainer and dry it good.”

Gran-mama controlled her kitchen help as a captain commanded his ship. She was in her element here. The only thing that made Gran-mama happier than cookin’ was “cookin’ with the young’ns”… That was what she would always tell Mom when Mom would complain about the messes we would sometimes make while we were helping Gran-mama.

“Don’t be askin’ me how much. What do you think a recipe’s for.”

It was great at Gran-mama’s. We got to do all the work. She liked givin’ the orders. Even the one day that Andy tilted the flour mixture too far off the edge of the table and he was covered in cookie mix, and so was the kitchen, Gran-mama just laughed and laughed. Then she order us around… explaining how to clean up this cotton-pickin’ mess.

Soon the cookie mix was ready “to sit and collect its thoughts”. That’s what Gran-mama called it. The dough had to be kept in the refrigerator for one hour before we could continue with the cookies.

“Time to go help, Papa.”

Papa was out finishing the feeding of the chickens, collecting the evening eggs, and milking Betsy. Betsy was Papa’s pride and joy. She was a beautiful two-year-old, caramel-colored Jersey. She loved being rubbed, and if you weren’t careful as you were petting her, she would give you an ear-full of slime. Thanks for a great rubbing.

“You want to do the milkin’ today, Andy?” Papa asked. I knew that he would never ask me.  The last time I tried to milk Betsy, she stepped on me. I have been afraid to sit under her to milk since then.

Papa said I needed to get over it.. But Gran-mama sided with me. “When is that girl ever going to have to milk a cow nowadays? Use some sense, Alfred.”

Gran-mama expected obedience in the barn from Papa just like In her kitchen. Gran-mama would have made a great war general!

“Use that warm towel in the sink there. Clean her udder good, son.”

“I know, Papa.”

Andy would have never sassed Gran-mama like that. I heard a disgruntled huff from behind me. So did Andy. He went silent and decided to just obey.

After cleaning the udder, arranging the stainless steel bucket, and the three obligatory test squirts, Andy set off to work. Betsy appreciated the relief she felt from the evening’s milking. She stood calmly and munched her grains while Andy completed his tasks.

Carrying the bucket into the kitchen to the sink, was Andy’s job. I helped Andy strain the fresh milk into Gran-mama’s gallon pickle jars. She always keeps two chilled pickle jars just waiting to be filled on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

We carefully strained the milk using a coffee-filter and a large funnel. You don’t ever want to find floaters in your freshly chilled milk!

Finally the best part of making peanut butter cookies had arrived. It was time for the spoons and forks parade. Andy commandeered the spoon and placed dollop-sized balls of dough evenly spaced on the cookie sheets. I got to use to fork and press in crisscrossing railroad tracks unto each cookie. Gran-mama placed the trays into the preheated oven. In nine more minutes… paradise.

Man-o-man. There’s nothing better than a trip to Gran-mama’s for warm cookies and ice cold milk.


Author Note: My apologies for the title of this piece. I just could not resist.

*** Also, my original intention for the letter “H” had been Heath Care Worker… Once the flash fiction piece started coming to life… it ended up being a story about a fully-in-charge homemaker.



Written for The A-Z Blogging Challenge: 2015. Requirements: Each day during the month of April a new blog is written based on a consecutive letters of the alphabet. The theme of my challenge is Alternative Aspirations for Picasso. 

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