True Grits

There is a book that has been the makings of lore around our house. It is entitled True Grits. It holds in its Hallowed pages several of Tony’s favorite jokes and by-lines and a lot of funny material to boot. Alas, a friend carelessly “misplaced” Tony’s copy several years ago, then INSISTED that it had been written by Lewis Grizzard (may he rest in peace). It was NOT written by Lewis Grizzard.

It was, in fact, written by John H. Corcoran, Jr. I know this, because a copy of it sits in front of me at this very moment. Despite our many internet searches, it was Tony’s friend David of the Colorado trip who finally tracked it down for him.

I have laughed myself silly since opening it.

You will be getting gems from this book for a long, long time, so just gird your loins (literally–if you are, indeed, from The South and have given birth to one or more children, you will need a Depends) and get ready.

The first installment is one I called to read to my mother immediately because. . .well. . .I’ll explain that in a minute.

Real Title: Big Orange, Cocola, Sebmups, and Such
Alternate Title for those not from The South: Big Orange, Coca-Cola, 7-Up, and Such

“The true Southerner always drinks a whole bunch of soda pop and has gracious plenty on hand for guests.”

My mother is no bigger than a minute. That being said, she married a strappin’ lumber jack of a man and proceeded to give birth to his three lumber jack-like children. She eats like a bird, but is in possession of THREE (3, III) refrigerators and TWO (2, II) chest freezers (one large, one medium). The freezers are filled with all manner of game (duck, deer, fish, rabbit) as well as chicken tenders, breaded shrimp, cured hams, and icecream. One fridge is in the kitchen. The freezer of THAT fridge is filled with ice. . .shaped into cubes and housed in trays. . .either already dumped into a huge ice cube holding recepticle OR in trays in various stages of frozeness awaiting certain demise in a styrofoam cup filled with soda pop. The fridge part of the kitchen fridge is FILLED TO THE BRIM with food and leftovers. Fridge #2 is in the “utility room.” During hunting season it sometimes holds partial carcasses of deer in several states of processing. During the summer it holds watermelon and cantaloupe. In the OTHER utility room (I will be glad to explain this to those who care to know, although I’m sure that Sarah could give a more unbiased description having visited both utility rooms on more than one occasion.) is fridge #3. . . the “cold” refrigerator.

It is, indeed, the refrigerator that keeps things the coldest. It is NOT in the kitchen for the chilling and preservaton of food, but is in the ex-carport now second utility room filled TO THE BRIM with carbonated beverages.

Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Berry Dr. Pepper, Cherry Dr. Pepper, Cherry Limeade Sprite, Diet Coke (with Splenda), Diet Coke (“With saccharine that gives your Daddy headaches and is filled with horrible sweeteners that he refuses to drink for fear it will give him cancer but I didn’t throw it away in case you wanted to drink it.” Which I did care to do and did toot sweet.), Sprite, Diet Sprite, 7-Up, Delaware Punch, the VERY INFREQUENT Pepsi product (besides Dr. Pepper which doesn’t really COUNT as Pepsi and 7-Up ’cause some people like it better than Sprite), and fruit flavored carbonated beverages, diet and full-bore, in grape, orange, and strawberry flavors.

I kid you not.

And everyone who is ANYONE and has been to my parent’s home even one time knows where to go should they care for a coke (Southern generic for anything carbonated). You walk through the living room, through the “dining room” (I use that term loosely), through the kitchen (past refrigerators 1 and 2) and into the ex-garage/utility room #2 to Grandaddy’s old refrigerator where the cokes are icy and plentiful.

This is the case BECAUSE my mother was born and half raised in southern Arkansas and raised the rest of the way and married in northeastern Louisiana and embodies all that is good and right and lovely about southern womanhood. She loves her family, knows the ins and outs of how to keep her husband happy, can run a house and cook a heavenly meal with a baby (or grand-baby) on one hip, AND “always drinks a whole bunch of soda pop and has gracious plenty on hand for guests.” There is nothing that a cold coke (of whatever denomination your particular palate prefers) won’t cure.

Should you care to go and see her, just tell her you’re a friend of mine. She will invite you in, offer you a seat under the ceiling fan, parade out all manner of food, AND THEN will offer you a drink out of the “cold” refrigerator.

I come from good stock.

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8 thoughts on “True Grits

  1. While I have not been to your childhood home, I come from the same stock. My grandparents had their old yellow fridge in the garage. You could find the same varieties of beverage in it…year round. The only thing different in the summer was the fact it always had a watermelon on hand for the company at hand. As a kid, it was great to know you wouldn’t have to head to the store for a cold coke, you just stepped down into the garage and made your selection. Wonder if that thing still works?

  2. Amen, and amen. My mother happened to be allergic to sugar and hate carbonation, but every home I knew in my childhood, other than mine, was well-supplied with every manner of coke, which was offered, refused, offered, refused, offered, accepted, in that order without fail on each and every visit. It’s written somewhere in Mississippi law I think. After we moved to Pepsi-land, our church received summer missionaries from Mississippi. They were billeted out to kind families in the church for the week, where they spent their first few days confused and thirsty. Finally they confided in my Southern parents. “We got to their house, and they sat us down on the couch. And they said, ‘Would you like something to drink?’ And we said, ‘No, thank you.’ And they said, ‘Okay.’ And that was it!!” It’s just not the same. 😉

  3. Well, all I can ad to this is that my inlaws have two fridges in the garage, one with nothing but bottles of water and soda, the other I don’t know – ice cream? and a big freezer too. And a fridge in the kitchen of course.

    But. I have to admit, in my heart I would love to replace my current fridge with one that is an energy saver (Energy Star) because in my heart I know it would make me feel better about the environment while offering cold drinks when company comes.

    My stock is different than yours, though I’d argue just as good, being all nordic and from an ancient land of people who drink more coffee than anyone on the planet (except the Finns) and who stock their fridges with marinated herring and smoked salmon instead of watermelon. 🙂

  4. I’m home, as of Thursday night. I did not get the box yet (Jason doesn’t check the mail much while I’m gone). But today I did happen across a package-pickup card on the computer desk, which he remembered finding in our box days ago. So it’s there behind the counter somewhere, and I’m looking forward to picking it up tomorrow as soon as the kids are ready for an outing. I’m not writing much because my head is still really foggy, and my stomach is going to keep bothering me until they do the second surgery which I have no information on yet, other than that it will happen. Bleh.

  5. “where they spent their first few days confused and thirsty. ”

    Oh, Becky, this line from your comment just CRACKED ME UP!!!!!!

    That’s like the “unwritten law of the South” that two family members should argue over who pays for what. . .”I’m getting in this time.” “Oh, no you’re not. I am.” “But you did it last time.” “Yeah, and you slipped a five in my purse when I wasn’t looking.” “Well, it was expensive and you don’t make that much.” “I have a job for a reason. . .so I can buy you lunch. . .now put your money away.” And so it goes.

    Those poor missionaries. . .

  6. My grandparents kept grape Nehi or Grapeicos on their carport next to the big freezer. They were in flats and bottles. We weren’t allowed to drink them. I think this is because my grandparents drand them and, since they were on a fixed income, we couldn’t have one.

    Sometimes it would come to my grandmother to offer us one and we would JUMP at the chance! Those were some GOOD sodas.

    I’ve never heard of Delware Punch – what is that? And tell your mom next time I’m though – Diet Dr. Pepper. Good stuff.

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