Amy McBride has a way with words and her storytelling leave us in fits of giggles. We’ve asked her to start sharing some of these stories right here, at StyleBlueprint, because we all need some more laughter in our lives!
My Great-Aunt Annie lived on Battery Lane in Nashville. She was a lovely, proper lady of society, who applied her lipstick consistently outside the lines and opened her home for many a cause and party. It was the late 1930s when she asked her little niece—my mother—to greet her guests at the door for a luncheon she was hosting in her home. My momma, who was around 7 years old at the time, was thrilled.
My grandmother, “Nanny,” Aunt Annie’s sister, was a wonderful cook. Aunt Annie often asked Nanny to cook for special occasions. In addition to making some mean fried chicken, she was also a little crazy. Never certified, but if you spent any time with her, you knew. She was sweet, giving, loving, fun and hilarious, but she also had a side of her that was a little Joan Crawford. She had little quirks about her and an outlook on life that, if you didn’t share it, you’d best stay outta her way when she got miffed. Most of the time, my family accepted her crazy side because she was quite entertaining!
Nanny didn’t like you to lift a lid on a pot when she was cooking. Actually she didn’t even like you in her kitchen when she was cooking. I believe it was birthed out of her sweet side … wanting to surprise those who would partake of her vittles. I can picture her now, standing over her stove, stirring the steaming pots and taking a sip of her Big Red coke. If you were brave enough to ask Nanny what she was cooking, she never gave you a straight answer. Ever. One answer gets repeated at every family holiday dinner:
“What are you cookin,’ Nanny?”
“Hearts, livers, lungs, $# %hole, beef and tongue.”
You read that correctly. That’s what she said. Now you have a better picture of Nanny.
Back to the luncheon at Aunt Annie’s. Nanny was in the kitchen cooking, and my 7-year-old momma was standing at the front door dressed in her beautiful, pale blue dress, petite white gloves and new black patent shoes … ready to greet the party goers.
The ladies started arriving in their lovely party dresses, hats, gloves and bright red lipstick. My momma held her dress, curtseyed and said, “Hello Mrs. Green Hills, pleased to see you,” then guided them to the affair.
After greeting all of the guests, Momma mingled with them while waiting to help serve lunch. A small group of ladies were making conversation with Momma. Mrs. Flora Jones asked in her slow, Southern drawl, “Little Miss Marilyn, something smells good. What is your momma cooking up in the kitchen today?” I’m sure she was waiting to hear something like, “Creamed chicken on Emma’s homemade biscuits.” Instead, though, what Mrs. Flora Jones got in response was, “Oh, Momma’s cookin’ up some hog nuts and cabbage for y’all.”
My momma remembers well that the ladies began fanning themselves and saying, “Ooooh! Ooooh! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!” like they were going to faint. She had no idea why, because she was just repeating to them what her mom told her she was cooking!
This makes me want to have a 1930s party and get my little niece to greet at the door! Surely shoulder pads would take the eye off of my “waistline,” and white gloves would hide my bad manicure. I’m sure I can find something good to cook up. Maybe some goat gizzards and buffalo bootie? Nom nom, y’all.
Until next time,
Amy McBride is a proud Nashville native. She’s a domestic goddess, storyteller, blogger, Sonic drink aficionado and one-of-a-kind spirit that bubbles over with authenticity, humor and fun. Read more by her at musiccitymcbride.com.