I went to visit my Georgia this week to make her some pumpkin bread. (If you’re new around these parts and don’t know who Georgia is, you’re in for a treat. Read Driving Miss Georgia.) All the way from the time I lived in the slanted little house, I made pumpkin bread with Georgia around this time of year. Georgia would make these mini pumpkin loaves for the little church in town. They made up big gift baskets and gave them out to the elderly in the community. Georgia always had a hard time handling the work of 75 mini holiday pumpkin loaves because she was one of the elderly who should have been getting a basket–but she didn’t like that idea (and still doesn’t). She wanted to be one of the younguns fixing goodies for the baskets, not one of the “old people” getting one. Only she couldn’t quite do it cuz, well, she was elderly. So she’d call me up and tell me she’d “help” me make those mini pumpkin loaves if I’d come over to her house.
Georgia knows how to get things done.
Georgia would fuss around while she was “helping” me because she always wanted to be sure I did things right and usually I didn’t. One year, she had the recipe clipped on her fridge and the clip was right over the part where it said how much ground cloves to put in. It was supposed to be 1/2 teaspoon but I couldn’t see the first part of that and I thought it said 2 teaspoons. Georgia almost had a fainting spell when she found out I’d been putting in 2 teaspoons.
Until I made her taste one of the pumpkin breads I made with 2 teaspoons of cloves, and she liked it.
I don’t know who’s making those mini pumpkin loaves for the holiday baskets now, but Georgia had to give up the facade that she could do it and is no longer charged with the job. Georgia is in her mid-80s now, and increasingly frail. I feel, more than anything, incredibly grateful that in the last years of the fullness of her energy, I had her. It was Georgia who I went to when I wanted to move in to the slanted little house. It was Georgia who taught me how to can, how to be frugal, how to be generous, and how to hoe (in every sense). She was my constant companion at the slanted little house, and my teacher. Everything I have tried to do on this website to spread “the gospel” of home preservation is Georgia’s legacy. She was still canning when I moved in to the slanted little house, but even by the time I left there, she had stopped–unless I was helping her. I continued to help her can until she even gave that up. She taught me to can so that I would can on. Now, I just bring her a jar when I make something I know she’ll like. Georgia didn’t have a daughter, and in a way, that way, I was her daughter.
While I was at her house a few days ago, I asked her if she missed canning. Without blinking, she said a resounding, “NO!”
I had to laugh, remembering the hot days we spent in the old farmhouse peeling tomatoes for hours, so I understand her perspective. For the women of Georgia’s time, canning was a necessity, not framed as the choice we see it today. I don’t truly see canning as a choice myself anymore in so many ways, and yet still, in our world today, it isn’t held to the same standard in most views. Many people today don’t can and don’t even know how to can, whereas in Georgia’s day, it was a part of survival. There was no option to pick up a can of tomatoes at the store–you canned it, or you didn’t have it, and it was a huge amount of hot work. I reminded her that canning was not all tomatoes in August–and I also reminded her, as I have many times, that there are a lot of people canning today because of her. That makes her feel good, even if she’s okay with never peeling another tomato.
Georgia’s house is just a few miles away on back roads over the hill.
I brought Gwennie with me. She said hello to Georgia.
Then sacked out by the door.
I brought everything with me to make one small batch of pumpkin bread, and I reminded her of how we used to make 75 loaves! And I told her that I put in 2 teaspoons of cloves. (She didn’t mind.)
I spied this awesome collection of cookbooks and homemade cookbooks and clippings and hand-written recipes in her kitchen that I have never dared touch before.
I had pumpkin loaves coming out of the oven.
It suddenly felt like the right time, that she might be ready to “let go and let Suzanne,” and I said, “Georgia, let’s look at your recipes!”
Georgia’s apple dumplings!
Georgia shared many recipes with me when I lived at the farmhouse. We cooked and baked and canned together many times, almost daily. Other times, Georgia brought me things she’d made, and I was too stupid at the time to ask for the recipe. Here. HERE! I found them.
And found some I’d never heard about! (Georgia, rascal!)
Sugarplum ring. Does that not sound heavenly?
I said, “Georgia, I know you have made this recipe. It sounds too good for you NOT to have made it.”
She said, “I made it.”
And just as I asked her if she missed canning, I asked her if she missed cooking and baking.
She said a heartfelt, “YES!”
I reminded her that this was her pumpkin bread recipe, and I asked her if I could borrow her other recipes to make copies–and told her that every time I come, I will bake her something from her recipes, so she could taste her own cooking again. And she agreed that that sounded like a fine idea.
I set a plate of pumpkin bread on her lap.
And told her I’d be back!
P.S. You can find Georgia’s pumpkin bread recipe here.
Peace Of Mind says:
Thank You for this sweet post on Georgia..I had been wondering about her but failed to ask as you had so many other things going on..I really enjoy Georgia updates and Yes, her recipes that your allowed to share..Give Georgia a Hug and tell her Thank You for being such an inspiration to us all…Blessings @ peace of mind
On November 12, 2012 at 3:35 am
Rose H says:
Georgia sounds just like my Nan, and even looks a little like her too.
I understand what a fabulous help and support she has been for you, and you in turn are being her help and support – what could be better?
I’m certain she will look forward to and enjoy eating ‘her’ food once again from her treasure trove of recipes. 8)
On November 12, 2012 at 5:32 am
Glad to hear the update on Georgia, I’ve missed her….I wish I had my grandmother’s old recipes….
On November 12, 2012 at 7:05 am
Loved this post! Made me thing about cooking with my Grandma. She has Alzheimer’s now but I’m so glad to have her recipe box and the memories of cooking with her!
On November 12, 2012 at 7:30 am
Fabulous pic of Georgia’s hands.
On November 12, 2012 at 7:32 am
Thank you so much for sharing your visit with Georgia! I loved her from the first time I read about her, and wished I had a Georgia in my life. Thank you, Georgia, for allowing your recipes to be shared! I can’t wait to try the pumpkin bread, as I have a few recipes, but none that knocks my socks off! 🙂
On November 12, 2012 at 7:38 am
Kathy in FL says:
What a wonderful piece you’ve written about Georgia! She is truly a blessing to us all, through you.
On November 12, 2012 at 8:05 am
Miss Georgia is a treasure.Thanks for catching us up and hugs to you both.
On November 12, 2012 at 9:31 am
Please tell Miss Georgia Thank You…..She reminds me of my own grandma…I’m sitting here tearing up….miss her and her cooking and her wisdom….
On November 12, 2012 at 10:38 am
My heart felt blessings to Georgia.
On November 12, 2012 at 10:54 am
Makes me miss my grandmother. She did amazing things well into her 90’s. Nothing written down could be passed on when she lost her little home in a fire. You are preserving a bit of history by copying her recipes. I am anxiously awaiting that apple dumpling recipe.
On November 12, 2012 at 11:01 am
Oh! You brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad you are there for Georgia,
thank you for this post.
On November 12, 2012 at 11:26 am
This. This is the writing you do best. Love this post!
On November 12, 2012 at 11:47 am
I love when you tell a story, Suzanne, and this one made me cry. I can almost smell that pumpkin bread and it makes me think of my “stories” with my grandmother and mom. Thank you for sharing this.
On November 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm
Oh, I’m so glad! I’ve missed Georgia. Now I have a lump in my throat. I hope you will go bake Georgia’s recipes at her house, and I hope you’ll take us with you sometimes.
Does she know what a fan club she has?
On November 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Since you are Georgia’s “daughter”, perhaps you might want to take the time to write her personal history. Very easy! I found a site called Getting Nosy with Aunt Rosie that has wonderful questions that elicit heartwarming answers. I did this for my MIL and FIL. Brought tears to their eyes when I presented it printed off with their pictures in an album for Christmas. My MIL passed away 2 years later and now her children and grandchildren have her stories to remember her by.
With your talent for writing it would be a cinch…how about “Georgia On My Mind”? Gratitude for all the wonderful men and women who preserved our work ethic and heritage in so many ways!
On November 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Sarah G says:
That sugarplum ring recipe looks a lot like Monkey Bread, a favorite on Christmas morning. I would definitely treasure that recipe.
On November 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm
Loved this post. Thank you for sharing.
On November 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Mo olelo says:
You are so blessed to have all Georgia’s recipes. I would love to have my grandmother’s recipes. I have some recipes that my mom has written out and sent me over the years and I cherish those recipe cards… old and stained though they may be.
On November 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm
give Georgia a big hug and kiss and THANK YOU for her recipes… Can’t wait to see them
On November 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm
You had me fighting back tears with your other post this morning. You have had a rough / great year! I have been sitting on the sidelines, rooting for you and hoping you would find your nirvana. “You’ve come a long way baby” to quote an old cigarette advertisement! I am so happy for you.
And then you had to go and bring your beautiful Georgia into the morning posts…I needed tissues. I too have been wondering how she’s been doing, and so glad that you are there for her. Can’t wait to see the new blog section COOKING WITH GEORGIA!
:heart: :sun: :moo:
On November 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm
What a beautiful treasure Georgia is! I wish I near y’all so I could join in. She’s a good choice for a mentor.
Oh, and that sugarplum recipe sounds divine!
On November 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm
Thank you so much for updating all of us about Georgia. I have missed reading about her but did not want to intrude and ask about her. She is such a grand lady and so full of common sense and wisdom. I wish I had a Georgia to go to and get country wisdom.
On November 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm
Like everyone else, I have sorel missed visits with Georgia. I hope you will tell her how much she is loved and admired, and how much we are all looking forward to trying her recipes.
On November 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm
Please tell Georgia it is an honor to make her pumpkin bread….and I look forward to making all her recipes! I love family recipes. You are wonderful, Suzanne, to take care of Georgia and her recipes. Georgia reminds me of my grandmother who taught me to make bread. Thank you for my blessing for today!
On November 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm
Georgia sounds like a national treasure, someone I would truly love to spend time with. Would it be possible to send her a holiday card? I would love to thank her for the wonderful recipes. She reminds me of a lady I used to know many, many years ago. I second, or is it third or fourth, the idea for you to write a book about her. Her memories of days gone by would be such a wonderful saga.
On November 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm
Awe I’ve been following 5 yrs now and Georgia stories are still my favorite!
On November 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm
It is great that you wrote about Georgia. I have also been wondering about her. A heartwarming and compelling way to start the day!!! A great story!!
On November 13, 2012 at 9:40 am
It is wonderful to hear about Georgia. What a blessing to have her in your life. Thankfully you came to WV just in time to learn and share the lessons she had to share. JRR.Esq was right on with their comment….This is the writing that made me a follower of Chickens in the Road. I can’t wait to make her pumkin bread. Thank you for sharing Georgia with us!!!! ……Brought tears to my eyes <3
On November 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm
proud mountaineer says:
I love your Georgia stories. I was
blessed with several “Georgia’s” in my life. I also had a few uncles in my life who was the outside version of a Georgia. Cherish them while their here.
On November 14, 2012 at 2:35 am
Cousin Sheryl says:
If anyone would like to send Georgia a card, we would be pleased and we will read it to her since her eyesight is poor. You can send it to:
Mrs. Georgia Sergent
966 Johnson Creek
Walton, WV 25286
Thanks everyone for the sweet comments about Georgia. We miss her cooking, too. But, we certainly have a treasure trove of tried-and-true recipes and many tasty memories. We fix some of her old favorites as often as we can.
Cousin Mark and Cousin Sheryl
On November 14, 2012 at 10:31 am
Peggy in KY says:
My Mom and Georgia are from the same generation. I could relate so well to this blog and I like so many other came to tears reading today’s story. I love your way of being able to look at and to share Georgia’s recipes with her again. I also like the idea of writing a “book” about Georgia. I am so happy with all the negative you have gone through that you still remember the small steps that brought you to the wonderful farm you own now.
On November 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm
I missed hearing about Georgia. I’m glad you two had a nice visit. :hug:
On November 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm