Sunday, February 22, 2009

Invited to Lunch by Dale Lincoln

Kind friend Dale Lincoln checks in a great story of some memorable "invites" throughout the year:

In late August 1943 a package arrived with the mail. It made me happy. The khaki shirt and khaki pants, (my back to school clothes from Sears and Roebuck), would make me look like a soldier when I started Grade 2. For a dress rehearsal my mother gave me a bath in the galvanized wash tub, dressed me up, and sent me on an errand to my grandmother’s store.
At the end of the half-mile walk “Grammie Thompson” showed enthusiasm when she told me how nice I looked. The day is remembered as being extra special because it was my first trip to the store alone. When a person “solos” they make their own decisions. When my grandmother asked if I would like a piece of freshly baked blueberry pie and a glass of milk, there was no hesitation with my answer. The milk was cold, the pie was delicious, my hair was red, and my khaki outfit was rapidly turning purple! Upon returning home my mother “showed enthusiasm” and commented about my appearance! I think some water, plus the bar of yellow laundry soap; the wash board;, and mother’s elbow grease, helped remove the blueberry stains. That was all part of my first time of being invited to lunch.
My mother wanted her kids to have good manners. She gave lots of instructions. Upon returning home, after those rare occasions of being invited to lunch, my mother always asked a series of questions: “Did you take your hat off in the house?” “Did you wait ‘til everyone sat down before you started eating? “Did you say “Please,” and “Thank You?” and “What did they have for lunch?” I became used to her routine. One day, as a teenager, my friend Maynard invited me to his home for lunch. After returning to my home, and before my mother started asking questions, I said to her; “The beans were good but the bread was dry. I told Maynard’s mother that the soldiers at Valley Forge would have really loved that bread because it was fresh then!” My mother started to have a fit, then learned I was only joking.
Sometimes the conditions that surround the luncheon or dinner make the occasion more memorable. On day my uncle and cousin invited me to lunch aboard their boat while they were dragging scallops in Cobscook Bay. The fried potatoes were delicious and the scallops, right out of the cast iron skillet, taught me the true meaning of “fresh fish.”
After completing the Boston Marathon on a cold rainy day in 1970, the racing committee invited all runners to lunch at the Prudential Center. A bowl of beef stew and a cup of tea couldn't have tasted better.
During World War II, a few months after my experience with Grandmother Thompson’s blueberry pie, my brother and I arrived at our Grandmother Spinney’s home at Eastport. Her daughter, our Aunt Evelyn, was also living there at the time. Her husband was in the service and stationed in Europe. We were invited to lunch and Aunt Evelyn was the cook. I have never forgotten how good the homemade bread and bowl of cream style corn tasted that day. It was like a fancy banquet! (For me, bread and cream style corn can make a good lunch any day.)

After the War, Aunt Evelyn became a world traveler. Several years passed before Aunt Evelyn and I had a chance to reminisce about her nice luncheon back in the 1940’s. She remembered the event and said it was very easy to choose what to serve us for lunch that day. The can of corn and bread was about all she had in the house!

About fifty years after the War, Aunt Evelyn made several summer visits to my home in Perry and she would stay a few days. During her visit she always took me and Elsie out to dine at a nice restaurant. One day Elsie had to take her mother to a doctor's appointment and Aunt Evelyn and I were home alone at lunchtime; There were a lot of groceries in my home--- but I was the cook. The lunch menu was simple: Store bread, butter, and cream style corn. Before the meal we took time to thank God for the food and for helping us in so many ways through the years. During lunch we had a nice chat about living back in “those good old days.” As the luncheon ended, Aunt Evelyn said she really enjoyed my cooking!

Even here in Florida, friends are still making good memories by inviting me to lunch!

Dale Lincoln of
Perry, Maine
for Skillin's Greenhouses
in Zephyrhills FL
Febuary 22, 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Home-made bread and cream style corn! Hmm, will have to try that. For us it was bread and molasses and what a mess we made!!!

Always enjoy your stories, Dale.