Smoked turkey, roasted turkey, grilled duck, fried squirrel, honeyed ham.
Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greans, stewed okra, fried okra, pickled okra. Green beans, mashed potatoes, dumplin’s, macaroni. Glazed carrots, fresh salad, buttery rolls, sweet potato casserole.
Brownie’s, Reese’s squares, oatmeal cookies, pumpkin pie, apple pie, guava cobbler, peach cobbler, coconut cake, chocolate chip pound cake, fudge with nuts, fudge with no nuts, lemon meringue pie, coconut meringue pie, chocolate meringue pie, butterscotch meringue pie, peanut butter pie, cupcakes, red velvet cake, chocolate chip cookies, Rice Krispie cookies, fresh strawberry pie, whipped cream.
Family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas, great-grandmas, great-grandpas, step-kids, step-parents, first-cousins-once-removed, third-cousins-once-removed, second-cousins-twice-removed, mamas, daddys, babies, children. Friends.
Trees. Forts. Rivers. Swimming. Fishing. Eating. Praying. Talking. Eating again. Roasting marshmallows. Watching the fire go down. Resting. Waking up early to make sure you get breakfast before it’s gone. Camping in tents. Camping in RV’s. Camping in the back of a truck. Camping inside Big Mommy’s house. Staying in a hotel because of the snakes and bugs and no air-conditioning.
Big Mommy. Sitting. Watching. Telling stories…trugars.It was in this context that my great-grandmother inspired me to write a story about her stories. A meta-trugar, you might say, encompassing not only the trugars she’d told us all those years, but also the trugars that we had made for ourselves, inspired by her and carried out by us. I told her as we rode down the dirt road in her white Buick, bumping along on the faded blue seats without springs, “Big Mommy, I’m going to write a book about you. And do you know what we’re going to call this book? Trugars. And you have to help me write it.” She, pleased as punch, assured me that, “Honey, you’re the one with the talent for writin’, but if you can turn all this mess into a story, God bless you for it.” I, pleased as punch, responded, “Okay.”