Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

Longitude Lane, Lunch, and the Huguenot Church

November 18, 2017

I use FaceBook as a way to stay in touch with people that have similar interests. I actually learn things along the way.

One such learned fact was the tours that were being conducted at the French Huguenot Church in Charleston, free of charge. This event happens in the spring and fall. Sugar challenged me that we could go except I had to work. I promptly answered his challenge by getting a day off work.

We had advice from one of the tour guides that we should park in the Cumberland Street parking garage, and then we could find the church on Church Street within a few blocks.

img_2842

Sugar had an excellent laminated map that I was unable to read in the car. The low, late autumn sun shining through the trees and around the buildings made a flashing light-and-shadow effect, like someone opening and closing the slats very quickly on a Venetian blind. I couldn’t focus, plus I got nauseous. I suggested that we pull over, but the traffic would make getting off the roadway and then back on very difficult. So we decided to wing it.

Sugar made a right instead of a left because he thought the church was south of the Broad. We wound around and found ourselves at Longitude Lane quite by accident. We had intended to make this the last stop of the day, so we’ll switch things up and make this the start of the day.

img_2843-1img_2844

Sugar has a smartphone now and is taking photos of everything. You probably know that Sugar and half the natural population of South Carolina is descended from Thomas Smith.

Thomas Smith,

Governor of South Carolina,

1693-1694,

Planter, merchant, surgeon, arrived in Charles Town in 1674 with his first wife, Barbara Atkins, and sons, Thomas and George. A cacique by 1690, he was created Landgrave by the Lords Proprietors on May 13, 1691. He died in his 46th year on November 16, 1694. His brick townhouse with a wharf on Cooper River was here on the corner of East Bay and Longitude Lane.

One of our landmarks to find was St. Philip’s steeple. The Huguenot Church is about a block away.

img_2850

We finally found a spot on the 4th level of the parking garage, and made our way to the Huguenot Church where we found the gate and front door were locked. We called the number on the sign, and the person answering sounded surprised that no one was there to give tours and offered to come right away. I suggested that we wait an hour for the tour so we could get food because we were both getting crankypants. And so it was agreed.

At the previous advice of a Charleston friend, we found Fast and French on Broad.

img_2907

The building is long and narrow with communal tables. No photos of the restaurant could be taken without getting lots of people in the shot, and I don’t like to put close-ups of people’s faces on the blog when they are simply out-and-about minding their own business.

Well, unless it’s a really once-in-a-lifetime shot. Or you wanted to pay me a million dollars.

img_2853

img_2851

The food is fresh and interesting. You could go just to look at the murals.

img_2852

My plate used to hold a cucumber and yogurt soup, salmon on Canadian rye, and cream cheese on Canadian rye. Yes, that is a glass of white wine. Sugar ordered one of the many daily specials. He had a tomato bisque soup and fresh fruit and bread.

img_2856

This is a non-tipping establishment. Unattended money will be donated to Lutheran Services Carolinas, a refugee resettlement service.

Now to the church.

How do you pronounce Huguenot? Do an internet search. You might be surprised.

img_2858

img_2861-1

img_2862img_2863

img_2867img_2868img_2869img_2881

You probably guessed that Sugar is descended from Pasteur Pierre Robert (Roh-BARE). Some of Robert’s descendants ended up in the present-day area of Robertville, SC, and if you have followed the blog before, you will know that we have taken Christmas poinsettias to the Robert Cemetery.

img_2872img_2873img_2874img_2875

I probably could have gotten the entire chandelier in the photograph if I had lain down on the floor. Somehow, that seemed disrespectful.

img_2877img_2876

The volunteer on duty said that the plaques around the perimeter were because of a fundraising effort of the church in 1899. You could have a plaque with your ancestor’s name if you donated money.

img_2865img_2870img_2871

There were other, more elaborate plaques adorning the walls.

img_2886

You probably know by now that you don’t pronounce the H in Horry. img_2887

img_2882

img_2884

img_2885

Be ye doers of the word not hearers only.

Nine simple words.

And that’s the French Protestant Church.

Advertisements

The Revolutionary War Pension File of William Rawls

September 24, 2016

Annnddd the last pension file to produce belongs to William Rawls. No kin. Once again.

rawlswilliam-pension-file-001rawlswilliam-pension-file-002rawlswilliam-pension-file-003

REVOLUTIONARY WAR RECORDS SECTION.

3-525

_____

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BUREAU OF PENSIONS

Washington, D. C.S. F. 47.905

In reply to your request of _____, received _____ for a statement of the military history of William Rawls a soldier of the REVOLUTIONARY WAR, you will find below the desired information as contained in his (or his widow’s) application for pension on file in this Bureau.

DATES OF ENLISTMENT OR APPOINTMENT.

1776 OR 1777

LENGTH OF SERVICE.

Served at various times about 2 years.

RANK.

Pvt.

OFFICERS UNDER WHOM SERVICE WAS RENDERED.

CAPTAIN.

John Garvin

Tinnel

McCay

COLONEL.

Gadsden

Hammond

STATE.

S. C.

Battles engaged in, Sumters Defeat and Kings Mountain.

Residence of soldier at enlistment, Buford District S. C.

Date of application for pension, Nov. 9, 1832. His ?? was ??.

Residence at date of application, Gadsden Co., Fla.

Age at date of application, 73 years, born in North Carolina

Remarks: He was the son of John Rawls. It is not stated whether he was married. Brothers John & Cotten.

Respectfully,

Commissioner

rawlswilliam-pension-file-005

Territory of Florida

County of Gadsden

On this 9th day of November 1812 personally appeared in open court before Thomas Randol, Judg of the Superior court of the Middle District of Florida now sitting, William Rawls, a resident of the County and Territory aforesaid aged about 73 years who being duly sworn according to law doth by his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress dated June the 7th 1812.

That he entered the service of the United States in the year 1776 or 1777 in the summer of one of those years but which year he does not distinctly recollect. He entered the service under the command of Captain John Garvin and was detached to the regiment of Colo. Gasden and served under them three months. Genl. Bull was the Genl in command during those three months. He was stationed on Beaufort Island, South Carolina. He was then relieved of service for a short time but was called out again in the same year and under the same officers and performed another tour of duty of three months when he was stationed at the seaboard near Beaufort Island at a place called Scotch Neck. Then after the expiration of said last mentioned three months he was not called again into service until the latter part of the year 1778 or the first of the year 1779 shortly before the British forces took possession of Savannah. He remained in service during that tour only one month and was under the command of the same

rawlswilliam-pension-file-006

before specified time. He was not called into service again until the latter part of 1779 and was stationed at Perrysberg in South Carolina under the command of the same captain and Colo as aforesaid and under the command of Genl Linkhorn (Lincoln). The length of time he served during that tour he does not distinctly recollect but it was until the arrival of the First Fleet at Savannah. Then he was there relieved from service for a short time but was again called into service about four months afterwards and was marched down to Savannah and arrived there two days after the attack was made on Savanah by the French and Americans (?). He was march from Savanah to Perrysburg under the command of Colo Gasden and Captain Garvin and remained at Perryburg about one month when he was relieved from further duty at that time. He was called into service again in about two months under the same officers and acting on the Savanah River and continued to perform duty (?) said service until Charlestown fell into the possession of the British. He then moved into North Carolina and joined Genl Sumpters Army in the year 1780. He joined Captain Tinnels company at the battle of King’s

rawlswilliam-pension-file-007

Mountain and at which battle Colo Williams and Colo Shelby and Colo Campbell were the principal officers. Then he was not again in service until the siege of Augusta when he was under the command of Captain Mery and Colo Hammond and then after the Americans took possession of Augusta he was not again in service. That when he first entered the service he resided in Beaufort District South Carolina, that he first entered the service of the United States as a private and substitute for his father John Rawls, that he performed the first tour of duty as a substitute and all the other tours as a drafted ;militia up to the fall of Charlestown and from that time as a volunteer that he was at the battle on the Cataubaw in which Genl Sumpter was defeated and was in the battle of Kings Mountain that he marched through the country from Beaufort District South Carolina to Savanah in Georgia and from Savannah to Perrysburg in said state and from that place to Kings Mountain there performed service with the (?) officers before moved but does not recollect the names of the regiments that he knew Major Harry and Genl Linkhorn and Genl Sumpter and that he has no (?) evidence by which he can substantiate his claims and that he knows of no person whose testimony

rawlswilliam-pension-file-008

he can at this time procure to substantiate his claim that their are some persons who are acquainted with his services and who were living at the last accounts but they reside in distant parts of the United States and he does not know that they know to make the necessary prooff.

W. M. Rawls

Sworn and subscribed in open court

R. C. Lester Clk. GSC

By J R Adams DC

And the said William Rawls being first interrogated on the interrogation presented by the War Dept. and (?) was being first duly sworn.

That he was born in North Carolina near the Virginia Line, that he does not recollect the year in which he was born. That he once had a record of his age, but it was burnt or lost during the Revolutionary War. That he was living in Beaufort District of South Carolina when called into service, that shortly after the Revolutionary War, he removed into Georgia into what was then Effingham and is now Screven County, where he lived until his removal into this county of Gadsden, Territory of Florida in the year 18?? where he now lives. That in his first military service he was a substitute for his father John Rawls a soldier in the militia. That of the (?) officers with whom he served he recollects at the (?) of his (?)

rawlswilliam-pension-file-009

 

S.C.

William Rawls S47905

Middle Florida

Gadson County

Personally came before me McKeen Greene who being duly sworn saith he has been intimately acquainted with William Rawls of the County aforesaid and Conection, ever since 1778. I do know that the whole of that family were warm friends of their Country through the American Revolutionary War and said Rawls & his two eldest brothers John & Cotten were generally esteemed (??) and brave soldiers through all the Southern struggles. (??) from the fall of Savannah of Georgia till this evacuation of Savannah aforesaid & Charleston of South Carolina. Soon after said William moved into the state of Georgia and after many years moved to Middle Florida where he now resides.

McKeen Greene

Sworn to before me this 24th of Oct 1832

John Littleton Jr.

*****

Here’s what I’ve got to say about this file: my father’s Rawls ancestors have been identified in a DNA group as a group originating in Nansemond County, Virginia. Nansemond is a defunct county now, but it was on the NC line. It appears that William Rawls was not married or had descendants.

I haven’t looked at this file in almost twenty years. With it, I found my handwritten transcription notes. I had transcribed all except a bit of the last page of testimony. Almost twenty years ago, I didn’t know that someday I would be living in the former Beaufort District of South Carolina, near Effingham and Screven Counties of Georgia.

Seriously? I have ENOUGH projects, but I think this file has just moved near to the top.

 

The Gold Mine in the Closet: the Charleston Tornadoes of 1938

October 21, 2015

Sugar has a gold mine in the closet. He started pulling out nuggets a year ago to share with me. He knew that I’d share them with you out in the big world. 

His parents lived in Charleston during the 1930s. The subject of this particular nugget is 1938 when they lived in a place called The Confederate Home. There’s a good bit about the Home out there on the Internet. Apparently it began as one thing and became another, as in a home for widows and children of Confederate soldiers, and became apartments in later years. 

At any rate, Sugar’s Mom and Dad lived there, and had retired for the night when they heard a noise that they described like a freight  train that tore the roof off the building. 

Sugar’s father was a shutterbug with the Kodak Brownie, and they went about the next day to see the sights. 

 

This was most probably made from the porch of the Confederate Home. There’s St. Michael’s, and to the right is City Hall and a memorial obelisk. Much help was given in identifying these photos by a FaceBook group Charleston History Before 1945.


 

City Hall 1938

  
 

The Confederate Home 1938

 
 

Confederate Home 1938


 

Gate in yard after the tornado, 1938

  
 

“Our house after storm 1938”

 
 

The inscription says “Chalmers” which is a street in Charleston.


 

Broad Street after storm 1938


 

The Timrod Hotel, 1938

   
 

Washington Park after the storm, 1938


 

68 Broad Street, Charleston, S.C., after the storm in 1938

  
 

From the Sunday morning paper after the storm, 1938.

From the newspaper, Sunday morning, October 2, 1938:

Cleanup Crews Take Out Wrecked Trees in City Hall Park

Rehabilitation work went forward yesterday throughout Charleston, and workmen here are shown moving the last damaged elm tree from Washington Square. This park back of the city hall was wrecked by the tornadoes which struck scattered sections of the city Thursday. The statue of William Pitt, one arm shot off during the Revolutionary war, escaped unharmed. Trees which were not blown down were weakened and had to be removed. In the background is the three-story residence of Daniel Ravenel, Jr., recently renovated, which was damaged slightly. The house to the left, in the yard, lost its roof. (Staff photo by Peck.)

 

An unidentified photo.

  
 

This is Sugar’s father. He thinks this might have been taken at the Confederate Home.


And to close out this series, here’s a photo of Sugar’s father on the porch of the Confederate Home, before the storm. You can see the spire of St. Michael’s, the City Hall, and the obelisk in the background, very faintly. 

He never knew where this photo was taken, just somewhere in Charleston. When he put the photo in with all the other Charleston photos, suddenly he KNEW.

 

Richard Humphreys Bateson, circa 1938

  
Breakthrough. 

The House at 34 South Battery 

October 12, 2015

Sugar’s mother was a Lawton from Savannah. 

Her sister Leslie married a Read, and they lived in Charleston at the corner of Battery and King. 

They had one child named Margaret, and they divorced. Margaret never married. 

Sugar found these photos in his mother’s photo album, which was more in the old scrapbook style where one glued the photos and momentoes to the pages. He’s identified the back garden and carriage house at Aunt Les’s at 34 South Battery. Margaret is in the hammock, Aunt Les is in a chair, and perhaps Sugar’s mother is the other person. We can’t be sure, but she’s not facing the camera, and that was her habit to turn away from the camera. 

This looks like a spring day. The irises are blooming, and the trees are not in full leaf. 

Sugar remembers that his Aunt Les was not a happy person. Is that a child’s memory? Or was she bitter about being divorced, and that attitude became her signature? Maybe she just needed a Sugar of her own. 

   
    

The garden and the carriage house are gone. 

The people are gone.  

The memories are gone. 

All we have left are these charming photos. 

Sleep well, everyone. We’re thinking about you. 

Linked By Lengnicks: Charles A. Lengnick, the Patriarch

March 15, 2015

Scan0001

Scan0001 (3)

Lengnick, Charles A.        (card 1/2)

PP           June 4, 1903       p. 2

CHARLES A. LENGNICK.

Death of a Good Man and Citizen.

The death of this estimable gentleman

occurred in Greenville during the night of

the 27. He had been in feeble health for

some time, had spent a while in Camden,

and had lately gone to Greenville in the

hope of renewing his better physical con-

dition, and was the guest of his sister-

in-law, Mrs. John H. Houston. Mr.

Lengnick was born in Dresden, Saxony,

in 1834, and came to this country in

young manhood, and married Miss Mary

Burdell, of Charleston. Besides his

widow, he left three sons, Messrs. J. M.

Lengnick, E. E. Lengnick and Albert

Lengnick. The two former resides in

Beaufort, and the latter in St. Louis.

His two daughters are Mrs. John Wilson,

of Waynesville, N. C., and Mrs. J. S. Bur-

dell, of Camden, S. C. He also left several

grandchildren.

Mr. Lengnick came to Charleston when

quite a young man, and engaged in busi-

ness. When the Civil War began, he was

among those other brave spirits who volun-

teered to defend their adopted home from

the invader. He volunteered with the

German Artillery, and is reported to have

been a good soldier. At the close of the

war, with his brother, he engaged in the

wholesale notion business on Hayne street,

Charleston, but the financial crash that

visited the country a few years latter

crushed him along with many other busi-

ness houses all over the land.

In all the walks of life Mr. Lengnick

was a man most gentle in manner and con-

duct, and was esteemed by all who had the

pleasure of his acquaintance. He was a

devoted husband, a fond father, and a

good, true friend, and the news of his

death, while not entirely unexpected,

brought sadness and sorrow to many

friends, who feel the deepest and warmest

sympathy for the afflicted wife and be-

reaved children, who mourn the loss here

of a husband and father whose memory is

of a husband and father whose memory is

worthy of all honor. As for ourselves, we

shall sorely miss our good old friend, who

we have known for many years.

The remains, accompanied by Mrs. Leng-

nick and Mr. J. M. Lengnick, who were

with him at his demise, and Mrs. Wilson

and Mrs. Burdell, reached Beaufort Fri-

day evening at twilight and were taken to

St. Helena Church, the church deceased

attended in life when, in the presence of a

large gathering of friends, the solemn and

impressive services of the Episcopal

Church were read by the rector, Rev W. L.

Githens. The pallbearers were Messrs. C. E.

Danner, R. R. Legare, B. S. Sams, W. H.

McFeeley, D. W. Crocker, W. R. Bris-

tol and C. C. Townsend. The mortal re-

mains were laid to rest in the cemetery at-

tached to the church; the grave being

buried beneath beautiful floral tributes

contributed by sorrowing friends.

Breezing Through Georgetown

June 27, 2013

So, the Sugar and YoursTruly head into Georgetown.  We’re finally headed truly homeward.  This little getaway began on a Monday morning, and we were home by Wednesday evening.  Yet it has taken me over three months to finish blogging about this trip.

It’s all the dadgum letters.  I’ve transcribed them as best I could from my photographs, and I’m sure that I’ve missed some stuff, so if you spot errors, please tell me in the comments.  Did you know that all comments go to my inbox?  And there’s also an alert button that lights up on the blog page when I get new activity.  I’m telling you, I don’t miss a trick.  On the blog.  I don’t miss a trick on the blog.

In the midst of all the transcribing of the letters, I’m still taking photos, and I have a boatload of good stories to talk about.  We have Easter, and Mother’s Day, the Lawton Fam Reunion, and Kittens!  I haz kittuns!

(Clearing throat.)  Back to Georgetown.  We are looking for a rice museum.  Sugar got it into his pretty little head that there must be a rice museum in Georgetown, since it was a center of rice cultivation.  So, rice museum, or whatever museum-ish sort of activity that we can find.  It will probably involve dead people.

This will do nicely.

This will do nicely.

Old Colonial  Banking House ~~~ Est. 1735

Old Colonial
Banking House
~~~
Est. 1735

And the Winyah Lodge.  (A big shoutout to Reader Sharon who is researching Lodges.)

And the Winyah Lodge. (A big shoutout to Reader Sharon who is researching Lodges.)

ONLY COLONIAL BANKING HOUSE IN AMERICA. BUILT IN 1735 WITH MATERIALS BROUGHT FROM ENGLAND. ERECTED BY  THE GEORGETOWN CHAPTER D. A. R.

ONLY
COLONIAL BANKING HOUSE
IN AMERICA.
BUILT IN 1735 WITH
MATERIALS BROUGHT FROM
ENGLAND.
ERECTED BY
THE GEORGETOWN CHAPTER D. A. R.

The nice museum people directed us to a Screven Cemetery, which could be found by walking through a parking lot literally into someone’s back yard.  (The museum had rice for sale, and Sugar scooped up a bag of Carolina Gold.)

IMG_3455

IMG_3456

IMG_3457

IMG_3458

 

SCREVEN CEMETERY

HERE ARE BURIED WILLIAM SCREVEN (1629-1713) AND OTHER MEMBERS

OF HIS FAMILY.  A NATIVE OF ENGLAND, HE MIGRATED TO KITTERY, ME, AND

WAS PERSECUTED BY NEW ENGLAND AUTHORITIES FOR NON-CONFORMITY.

HE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE KITTERY CHURCH CAME TO S.C. BY 1698.

THEY SETTLED IN CHARLESTON AND BECAME THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

IN THE SOUTH.  HE WAS THE FIRST BAPTIST PREACHER IN THE SOUTH.  HIS

SON, ELISHA, WAS A FOUNDER OF GEORGETOWN.

ERECTED BY S.C. BAPTIST HISTORICAL SOCIETY

1974

IMG_3460

IMG_3463

Whew!  That was a lot of blogging for such a short trip!  I’m glad to be home!  Maybe I’ll transcribe these historical markers.

Maybe not.

Photos From the Shed; or Longitude Lane, Revisited

September 7, 2012

It seems that I have some time on my hands.  So I’m rooting about in the shed, reducing the heaps of stuff that my children will surely thank me for, and I found this…

Longitude Lane.

This photo should have been attached to this post, but was not, probably because at one time this photo was on the refrigerator at my house, and then was packed away into a storage tote when I moved here.

I find this photo so peaceful.  I just might make it my wallpaper on my laptop.  Hmmm…

Henry Jackson of Savannah, Georgia

May 10, 2012

A few weeks back, some of Sugar’s family came to town, and we headed over to Savannah for a little strolling.  We met up at the Sentient Bean for coffee, then made our way over to The Distillery for lunch.  This path meant we walked through Forsyth Park.

The historical marker for Forsyth Park.

In the 1840s, William Brown Hodgson (1801-1871) conceived the

idea of setting aside ten acres of wooded land at this site for

development of Savannah’s first recreational park.  It was named for

former Georgia Governor John Forsyth (1780-1841).  William

Bischoff created the original landscape design.  In the early 1850s

improvements to the park included removal of some pines for

walkways and ornamental plantings, benches, and iron fencing

around the perimeter.  In 1854 the fountain and radiating walks

were added.  Originally created as a military parade ground, the

twenty-one-acre Park Extension was added in 1867.  The dummy

forts were built in c. 1909 and used for training during World War I.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and

Trustees’ Garden Club, Inc.

*****

Here’s the magnificent fountain in the heart of Forsyth.

Along the way…

As we made our way out of the park, still headed northwards, Sugar pointed to a building across the street.  He said that it was the law office of his great-grandfather Basinger’s partner. You see how it is, don’t you?  You can’t even stroll  down the street in Savannah without Sugar pointing out some landmark relating to his family.

*****

This building, now the quarters of a private Club, was erected in

1857 for Edmund Molyneux, British consul at Savannah, and served

as his residence and as the Consulate until Molyneux’s return to

England in 1863.  In 1865 the Molyneux house was appropriated by

the Union army as headquarters for General O. O. Howard and his

successor, Gen. Wm. F.Barry.  Representatives of the family claimed

that furnishings valued at more than $10,000.00, including part of the

famous Molyneaux wine cellar, were damaged or removed during the

Federal occupation.

The mansion was purchased from the Molyneux family in 1885 by Gen.

Henry R. Jackson and was the home of the illustrious Georgian

until his death in 1898.

Jackson equally distinguished himself as lawyer, soldier, diplomat

and poet.  He was Judge of the Eastern Circuit of Georgia (1849-’53)

and in 1859 was special prosecutor for the United States in the

celebrated case of the slave ship “Wanderer”.  He fought in the Mexican

War and won distinction in the Confederate army as a brigadier

general.  He was ambassador to Austria (1854-’58) and minister to

Mexico (1883-’86).  A gifted poet, the best known of Jackson’s poems is

“The Red Old Hills of Georgia”.

After a yummy lunch, we headed back south, passing through several more of Savannah’s famous squares.

The great Polish patriot to whose memory this monument is

erected was mortally wounded approximately one-half mile north-

west of this spot during the assault by the French and American

forces on the British lines around Savannah.  October 9, 1779,

General Pulaski was struck by a grapeshot as he rode forward

with customary ardor,  from where his cavalry was stationed to

rally the disorganized Allied columns.  The fatal ball which was

removed from his thigh by Dr. James Lynah of South Carolina is

in possession of the Georgia Historical Society at Savannah.

Doubt and uncertainty exists as to where Pulaski died and as

to his burial – place.  A contemporary Charlestown, S. C. newspaper

item and other sources indicate that he died aboard a ship bound

for that port.  It was generally believed that he was buried at sea.

A tradition persisted, however, that General Pulaski died at

Greenwich plantation near Savannah and that he was buried there.

When the monument here was under erection the grave at Greenwich

was opened. The remains found there conformed, in the opinion

of physicians, is a man of Pulaski’s age and stature and were

re-interred beneath this memorial in a metallic case in 1854.

*****

The other side of the marker shows the monument beyond.

And yet another aspect of the monument…

And one final shot. Pardon the pun.

Miz Florrie’s 99th Birthday, Or In Which I Learn Soul Cooking

February 5, 2012

Miz Florrie’s daughter Rose called me two weeks ago to remind me that her mama’s birthday was on February 2, and that there was a par-tay to be had on Saturday, February 4, 2012, at noon.

The last party that I went to at Miz Florrie’s was back in July, 2011, right before Sugar bought the grooming business and I became sweat equity.  Rose had told me the party was on July 4th, but when we showed up, she said the party had been two days before on July 2.  Something about the 2nd and the 4th of the month gets switcharooed in that family.  But it hardly mattered that we were two days too late, there was still food available.  Most of us probably can’t fathom that kind of cooking on that grand a scale.  At least I know I can’t, but that was before I met Rose.

It gets even more amazing than that.  Rose cooks from scratch. 

So now the stage is set for a birthday extravaganza for Miz Florrie’s 99th.  I had told Rose that I’d be late because I had to work that day until noon, and secretly I knew that there would be food still available.  I was a bit concerned when I got to Miz Florrie’s house, and there was only one car there – Rose’s car.  I thought I’d slipped into a Twilight Zone episode and mixed up the 2nd and the 4th of the month thing.

When I rang the doorbell, Rose called for me to come in and said that they were just talking about me, although my ears had not been burning.  Rose was in the kitchen with Rachel, who once went with Rose’s son Kenny, and Rose said that Kenny letting Rachel go was the biggest mistake he ever made, and when I saw Rachel in action in the kitchen, I knew why.  Also, in the kitchen was teen-aged Eula, who was Rose’s oldest brother’s youngest daughter, plus a girl of about 7 or 8, whose name I have already forgotten. 

I got there about 1:30 PM, and they had been working in the kitchen since 10 AM.  Rose had done cooking and domestic type work for many years, and should actually be retired, but when someone needs for her to help, like eldercare or babysitting, Rose is there.  Rachel has cooked in restaurants and grocery store kitchens, plus catering and domestic work, her whole life, and I watched her open two institutional-sized cans of green beans with a butcher knife.  I am in awe of her skills.  Rachel and Rose are the stuff, and pretty soon Eula and Little Bit will be able to take over in the kitchen.  Rose anticipated that the meal would not be ready before 4 PM, because there was still serious chopping and mixing and preparation to be done.

Miz Florrie was in her bedroom, dressed up in anticipation of the big day of the family coming.  I visited with her a bit, and she said that she’d be out in the living room soon so I went back to the kitchen.  I watched Rachel cut bell peppers into impossible small pieces using only a small knife and no cutting board.  We sat at the table and Rose cut onions for what she called a “vej-a-bull” salad.  On the table, there were several cans of tuna, several bottles of barbeque sauce, a bowl of raw chicken parts, several cans of evaporated milk, a bowl of hard-boiled eggs, and other assorted boxes and bowls, including a box of band-aids. 

Rachel directed Eula on how many cups of milk to make the pudding for an elaborate dish called a “Punch Bowl”, that was actually made in not one, but two – you guessed it – punch bowls, made up of layers of sliced yellow sheet cake (yup, homemade, baked in a catering-style aluminum foil pan), pudding, bananas, strawberries, and whipped topping.  I was beginning to believe that we were going to be eating dessert, a rice dish, and some chicken, when Rachel opened the oven door.

Inside the oven were two more aluminum foil pans covered with aluminum foil.  The one on the top shelf had a picnic ham, garnished with pineapple slices and cherries, and the bottom pan was full of ribs.  The ribs were just that, ribs in the pan covered with aluminum foil, and the juices were cooked out of them, bubbling hot, and Rachel exclaimed that she was not going to pour out the juices, because that would be perfect to take home and make some collard greens, and she worried that she would have to pour them down the drain.  She commanded Rose to hand her some hand towels, and she pulled the pan out of the oven, commanded Rose to close the oven door, and then she maneuvered the pan and poured the juices into the rice pot, then commanded Rose to open the oven door, and slid the pan of ribs back into the oven without losing a drop of juice or a single rib. 

Rose continued to work on her vegetable salad, and then her potato salad, and another rice dish using jasmine rice.  Rachel started another pot cooking with the green beans and some meat for seasoning, and then she made a masterpiece of a macaroni and cheese dish.  She took yet another aluminum foil pan, filled it with cooked macaroni, still steaming hot, sprinkled three packages of shredded cheese over it, poured three or four cans of evaporated milk over that, and poured several beaten eggs over everything, covered it with more aluminum foil, and slid it into the oven, along with another aluminum foil-covered pan filled with chicken parts. 

I was in awe.  I make spaghetti in a small electric cooking pot made by Procter Silex, and pour ready-made Newman’s spaghetti sauce over it and call it done. 

There were still the bottles of barbeque sauce on the table but Rachel wasn’t having it.  She was going to make her own.  I headed to the local store to get mustard, ketchup, and a bag of ice.  When I got back, she mixed the mustard and ketchup and vinegar and a bit of brown sugar, and tasted, and mixed, and added, and mixed, and tasted, until she was satisfied. 

The birthday girl was sitting in the living room, just beaming and enjoying the day.

When Rachel asked Miz Florrie what she was doing, she replied, "just chillin'." Note her rhinestone-embellished rose-colored glasses. The epitome of chill. Also note the inkpen secured in her braid. The woman loves to keep an inkpen handy.

 Those ladies in the kitchen continued working until everything was done, somehow magically all at once.

Barbeque ribs.

Barbeque chicken.

Baked ham.

Hopping John (a great recipe here, although Rachel used some kind of small red pea/bean.)

Jasmine rice with seasonings.

“Vegetable” salad, with macaroni, peppers, onions, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs, and mayo-based dressing.

Baked macaroni and cheese.

Potato salad.

Green beans seasoned with pork.

Punch-bowl dessert.

Sweet tea and lemonade.

Rose works her magic.

Rachel works her magic.

 
And the birthday girl works her magic…
 

On The Fly

November 12, 2011

The BabyBoy and I were headed to Chucktown for a day trip, and while waiting for a red light, I saw this restaurant in a parking lot.

I seem to have lost my appetite.