Sunday, February 28, 2016

What I Learned from a game of cards, chess pie and RC Cola

Saturday nights at my Aunt Mae Dell's in Owensboro Kentucky were nights that grounded me in love, long before I realized it......My Aunt Mae Dell was a hard worker..  She was a single woman, with no children, and worked the late night shift as a nurse's assistant for years.  Hard work, long hours, but I never heard her complain.  She always had a smile on her face and whatever she had  would be shared ...with love.

I lived in California with my family.  We were the only part of the Kentucky relatives to move out of Kentucky.  My father was in the military, served in both WWII and Korea, and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base.  We fell into life in California, but my "heart home" was always the south and with my relatives.

My Aunt Mae, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Joe would save all year so I ,and some times my brothers and mother, could come back "home" each summer.  Every summer of my youth, until I was 21, was spent in Kentcuky.  Aunt Mae kept her "summer fund" in her top bureau drawer, and  Aunt Rachel kept hers in a little box in her closet.  They didn't have much, they worked hard and loved me so much, they would sacrifice so I could come back to a simpler life.  My life was changed forever....

Every Saturday night, which was Aunt Mae's only night off during the week, we would congregate around her round oak table in her modest home for a game of "pitch" or "King's Corner" , which were the same game, I think.....Aunt Mae would bake two Chess pies, which if you know anything about southern cooking, it is sweet and sinfully good.  Chess pie is made with eggs, butter, sugar, a teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of corn meal.  Aunt Rachel and Uncle Joe would bring the RC Cola and cards.  The light over the table was dim, the hum of the window air conditioner was calming and there was laughter.....laughter, simplicity and the unconditional love and joy was contagious.  We all pretended we were in a high stakes game when Aunt Mae would bring her penny collection out and we would bet 5 cents per hand,as if it were a thousand dollars.  There were frequent breaks to consume pie, home made ice cream and RC Cola...

As I remember those cherished moments, tears come to my eyes as I picture the smiles and laughter of a time gone by.  What I would give to hear my aunt in the kitchen as she scraped the pie from the tin, to see my Uncle Joe and Aunt Rachel walk up the steps with the RC Cola and cards in hand.  I can see Uncle Joe take his fedora off and place on the table in the living room, and Aunt Rachel putting  the talcum powder on the cards so they didn't stick....What I would give to be with them again, under the light, playing high stakes penny "pitch" , laughing and dreaming into the wee hours of the morning......

What I learned from those moments is that love does exist in this world, and there are beautiful people who really do have genuine hearts of gold. What I learned is you can take those moments with you in your heart and be grateful, and perhaps bake a pie, get a deck of cards, and invite someone over for a simple game of "pitch" and share the memories, laughter and love that one day they can then share with someone else......What I learned is the most beautiful moments in life cost nothing..........


  1. Beautiful story of wonderful down-to-earth people. Your gift of storytelling shows here. Welcome to the blog eat world it can be a lot of fun . I'm on my 10th year and I can hardly believe it . It has become quite a journal of my life and experiences and hopefully generations behind me will read it and know who I was

    1. Thank you so much, Tara!!!! I think that, as well, and want to leave it for my grand daughter, so she knows who I am and what my life was all about....for my son, too....Thank you!!