Pot Liquor

Fresh Greens

The world as we know it might be coming to an end.  BW cooked fresh greens.

She cooked them with leftover Thanksgiving ham.  They were so good, she ate them again leftover for lunch today.

Although flavorful and sprinkled with pepper sauce, something was missing.

Cornbread.  She hadn’t baked any to go with the greens.  Shame.

So, instead, she went for saltines slathered in real butter as a substitute.

There’s nothing quite like a fresh, crispy, non-stale saltine cracker.

Except a swig of Coca-cola right after—-the desire for which sneaked in from the depths of a childhood memory.  Coke and crackers is what you got when you had a tummy ache.

Except now, BW only drinks an occasional Coke when she digresses into a comfort-food burger and fries.

Which isn’t too often since she finds herself about 40 pounds overweight.

But the need for comfort food outweighs the extra pounds she carries.

While buttering her 2 (okay 4) crackers, she noticed 2 over-ripe bananas hanging on the fancy banana hanger  and sneered.  WHY are there always 2 bananas that go rotten, no matter if she buys 5 or 3?

Yes, she knows they make great banana bread, half of which will cross her lips and travel straight to her already-ample hips.  Remember, she’s trying not to indulge.

And then she wondered if you wonder why she’s been so scarce?

She figured she might tell you.

Real life trials.

Emotional and mental ones that creep in when she least expects them, like during a Lifetime Christmas movie, making her cry like a baby.

What kinds of real life trials?

A teen-aged fender bender.  A visit with the assistant DA and list of things required to avoid $170 ticket and increase in auto insurance:  A a safe driving class ($50), a MADD class ($50), and a two-page essay on safe driving.

Negative influences.  Offering her son temptations that never cropped up until college back in the 70’s.

A black lab that her son trained to retrieve.  A dog who loved his boy to pieces.  So much so that one afternoon he sneaked out a crack in the back door when he heard the school bus coming.  He knew his boy was on that bus, but the unforgiving truck that  plowed the dog down didn’t care that his boy was on the bus watching.

Depression.  Because the second retriever the teen had trained had gotten loose and died a horrible death.

Anger.  Because someone left the back door open.  It wasn’t me, but we know who it was.

Rebellion.  That rises up in a kid overnight and robs him of the relationship he had with his mother.

Bad report cards that come home in the hands of a teen-aged boy trying to find his way amid 90-minute classes he hates and baseball and hunting he loves.  What do Geometry and Spanish and Biology have to do with a kid who thinks he wants to guide duck hunts for a living?

Nothing.  And you can’t convince him otherwise.

You get the picture, right?

BW is not a novice at child rearing.  But somehow, this last pumpkin on the vine is different.

My son.

My buddy.

I miss him.

I want him back.

When he’s through this phase, I hope I’m left with that good stuff in the bottom of the bowl that you soak the cornbread in.

Daddy called it pot liquor.

There’s something to be said about some good pot liquor.


PS  I haven’t forgotten about the drawing.  I’d like to have ONE NEW READER comment on the previous post before we do a drawing.

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  1. Sounds like you have your hands and heart full. Bryce has kind of hit the same place, they both have been raised on a good foundation and this too shall pass. I may need medicated before it does, but I have been given hope by other mothers. Holler if you need to vent.

      1. I get to be chipper when I’m not the parent coaching him, riding to school with him everyday or facing his teachers in the hallway. Otherwise I would probably be a little more cranky!

    1. I know that’s true, Donnakay, because of the two I’ve already raised; but they didn’t have as many struggles as this one . . . I’m hanging, but barely. I’ll be honest about that. And thanks.


  3. I’m sorry for your trials, BW. Life is so hard sometimes, and you just can’t jiggle sense into some people of a certain age, can you? But keep at it and all will be well. It won’t be easy, but it will be well. 🙂 Your greens and ham and corn bread meal sounds tasty. And I know what you mean about non-stale saltines and butter. It’s so simple you forget how good it is.

  4. A post deep from the heart. The side that most of us that read your blog don’t get to see. May those pot liquor kind of days be over soon.

    1. Well, it’s not very professional of me, but dealing with so many trials at once sort of sucks the writing creativity right out of me. I think I need a new project to distract me : )

        1. I know you we could find plenty to do to keep my mind occupied!!! I did get out for a while today. I introduced a cattle woman and a copper artist and we visited for a couple hours. It was fun!

  5. I think that ol’ chestnut, “What ever doesn’t kill ye…” needs a rewrite for all parents: “Whatever doesn’t make ye kill yer kids, will make ye both stronger”.
    Meantime, hang in there with both hands and tell young Mr. Termite he’s letting down his mates (as well as him family). We love the lad – damned impressed with him most days…and we know he’s smarter and stronger than he’s acting right now.
    If either o’ ye ever need to jaw, ye know where to reach us!

    Kia ora, kia kaha!
    (tr. “Be well, stand strong!”; from the Maori)

      1. He IS stronger – it’s getting him to realize it that’s the trick. ;]

        My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it, will break. (William Shakespeare)

        Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem. (J. Krishnamurti)

        I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies. (Pietro Aretino)

  6. By the way, what else CAN we do with all these brown bananas? I have the same issue here. My husband bought six or seven bananas, which is fine because he’s the banana eater here. But he left home for three days to do some work in another city, and left behind five bananas. (I have a hard time even writing that word. I don’t know when to stop.) Banana bread is great, but I’ve been baking and eating way too much lately. Any other favorites anyone knows of?

    1. H aha, Carolyn. I throw ’em in the freezer because I feel to badly about wasting them, thinking I’ll use them for banana bread later (to give away as gifts) and then when I have about a dozen in the freezer, black as can be, I throw them out guilt free : )

      1. Oh, that’s a good solid plan! I’ll at least try to cram a
        few in the crevices of my packed freezer. They take less space than the baked bread. Good idea!

        1. I throw my brown bananas in the freezer all the time. Then I pull them out to make what I want. They are good for many things other than banana bread. I use them mashed in oatmeal instead of sugar, and I have a great no flour cookie recipe that I use them for also.

    2. One word for ya, “Naner Pudding” Maybe if you have a dehydrator you can have nanar chips, Possible that great New Orleans dessert Nanar’s Foster.

      1. Thanks! I never thought of pudding and it does sound yummy. I’ve been intrigues by Bananas Foster for years, and have clipped recipes, but never tried it. Maybe now’s the time?

  7. When I saw that photo, I said to myself, Where’s the cornbread?
    As for teen rebellion…I’ll almost bet you wish home schooling was still in the picture. I hope he gets his act together soon, for everyone’s mental and physical health. When kids start doing the things you’ve mentioned, tea leaves might be useful in finding your pot liquor.
    Hang in there!

  8. I’m backed up by a bunch of woods, so anything I want to “share” goes out there and disappears magically.

    The local raccoons etc. are very efficient at keeping the area clean.

    1. That’s an interesting plan, Sue, but I’m determined not to attract local bears to our yard. Our “woods” is just a nieghbor’s vacant yard.

  9. I can share the pain of teenage years with you. One does great, the other is a rebel. But, they both are in their 40s now with grown and almost grown kids and even some grandkids.:) (Don’t tell them but, I put the mothers curse on them when they were young. You know the one of “Hope your kids are twice as bad as you were”?) What makes it all worth while is the day one of them says “mom, how in the world did you do it?”. You might have to wait until their kids are teens but, it will come about. You have raised them right as seen by the others actions.

    And on the lighter side, stock up on hair coloring. Raising rebels will turn the hair whiter than snow. I can guarantee that. And, a good, thick, soft pillow is so helpful. I kept one in the bedroom that I punched the crap out of when my kids drove me to the snapping point. The doc said it was the best thing I could do to help my stress level.

    1. I know what you say is true, because my three adult children have already “risen up a blessed me” (Proverbs 31), but they didn’t rebel or struggle as hard as this one is. Oh yes, I know all about the grey hair, honey! But I’m not so sure about a punching pillow. Maybe I’ll have to try that free therapy some day! Thanks, Cammy.

  10. Oh, my gosh. I feel terrible. When you made some references to all this on my blog, I was sure you were joking – and that you mostly were talking about the frustrations of dealing with the school system. I just couldn’t conceive that you might be talking about this sweet, wonderful kid who gets along so well with everyone – including his mama.

    So. Sorry for that sort of flippant retort. Now, back to the issue at hand. I went to sleep thinking about it, and woke up thinking about it. Not having raised a single child, I’m a little handicapped in this area, but there was a time in my life when I was him – so that does give me a little knowledge about how a rebellious jerk can be transformed into a passable adult. 😉

    The geometry got me thinking… I was in sort of the same position in school. I hated math, for example, and barely passed any of the classes. Then, I started sailing. You know the story – I was learning how to plot a position and suddenly said, “Wait! That’s a triangle! What? A2 + B2 = C2! WhooHooo!”

    My point being: is there some way you can use what he wants to do as the carrot to get him through what he has to do? It’s not that he’s stupid. He just can’t see the connections. Helping him find those connections may be a first step. The same thing with outside the classroom behavior. If he wants to guide, and wants to make money doing it, he has to have a good reputation, a track record. A rap sheet isn’t the kind of record businessmen who want to go after teal are going to be enthusiastic about embracing.

    Anyway – you get the point. I suspect I’ll be thinking about this a good bit durng the day, too. If I have any Great Insights, I’ll email. And just remember – even someone who is so opposed to going to college she flunks herself out on purpose can manage in the end to string some words together. 😉

    1. First off, don’t feel terrible. Your reply didn’t offend me in the least. How could you know, anyway? Like I said, I don’t like living with regret, but I’m not sure putting him in public school when I did was the best thing for him. Although your ideas/suggestions are good, you must know that my post comes after a year of trials with him, not at first sign. He worked so hard to make the baseball team. We invested so much time and money into it as well, and this last report card showed that not even baseball (which he loved) is incentive enough to keep his grades up. That’s when I finally realized we were in deep trouble here. Your words do encourage me, though, because at this point, he’s not headed for college, as was the plan. Heck, he’s not even headed for the next grade level if he keeps this up. With everything else I am juggling, it’s hard to keep him in the air, completely balanced, all the time. And even if I could stop everything else and put all my energies and entire focus on him, he HAS to want to do better for himself—not for me or anyone else. So, I’m open to any wisdom, which I’m asking the Great One for daily, and hoping that I pass each test of exercising that wisdom when dealing with him. Thanks for the steady friendship and light at the end of it all!

      1. My middle child (the one you met) was our challenge. Probably the smartest of the 3, but the laziest in school. Anything lower than a “C” was not acceptable. (His grade average was good enough to qualify for TOPS by today’s standards but not ours.) Anyway, bad grades and misdeeds meant the license and car keys were turned over to us. There wasn’t any TV viewing (no cell phones etc. back then) or dating either. I think the car keys was the worst.
        I’m positive there wouldn’t have been a duck blind built this season if we were in your boots. I’m old school…you’ve got to hit them where it hurts (not physically) sometimes to get their attention.

  11. BW you have my prayers. That’s all i can give you. I have no advice. All those grand kids of mine are not by blood. (I love em as if!!!).
    I do the frozen nanners for nanner bread thing too.And they do get tossed, ’cause there’s always too many. I go on nanner kicks and at the end it’s a waste lol.
    Hang in – it will get better.

  12. well if he was here he’d be on foot till about 21.

    I can do math but hate it. I can be really really good at it but I hate it.

    I need to wake up UPS coming early today then fishing.

    Warm for 3 days here.

  13. I feel for you BW…I have a boy like yours…has been asked to transfer out of 2 schools now, and is currently doing classes from home online while waiting to get into 3rd school which hopefully will be in January. I’m sorry to say I have no great advice as I have yet to find any incentive or tough love that has worked, but I do commiserate. Hang in there, hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel will be there soon for both of our boys….

  14. I once heard that you have the first 12 years as a parent to instill all you can into a son. As soon as they become a teenager, they go braindead and you are just along for the ride. Its why when you see a woman with premature grey hair you should respect them, because they probably earned every one of them. BTW my Mom should have achieved sainthood, she certainly had the patience for it (but I don’t think it was by choice).

    She once said that the problem with me was if there was a trench full of snakes, and a candy bar at the other end, instead of figuring out how to get to the candy or even walking around to get to it, I would charge straight thru the snakes. Damn the torpedos full steam ahead!

    If there is a only a 25% chance of sucess, its gonna be done!

    If you live thru youth you gain experience, when you remember those experiences its called knowledge, and if or when you can apply that knowledge…………. wisdom. Some it just takes longer than others.

  15. My son to this day has never given me a minute’s problem, despite being practically ignored as a child because his sister demanded all the attention. She, on the other hand, rearranged my life in devastating ways. I blamed her problems on the loss of her dad when she was eight.

    Your son has lost two of his best buddies. Great loss is particularly hard on some kids. Be gentle with him and with yourself. Everything will be alright. My daughter is my best buddy now, and my son is still a dream child. Minimal parenting works well for some kids.

  16. So sorry you are having a rough time…….but hopefully this too shall pass!! I have 2 boys, so I understand the trials a tribulations a mother of sons goes through.
    I think I may have spotted your son at Songy’s sporting goods when we were in Houma last week. I recognized him from the pics you’ve posted.
    How can I send you a photo? My husband got a couple of great shots (pics) of our son hunting.

  17. I am terribly sorry about all your recent trials and tribulations. Life can be very hard and very messy, at times.

    Like Shore, I’ve never had children. But I was one once and I did give my folks quite a few hand-wringing episodes in my teen years. My brother was worse. We did come through it, eventually. You will, too.

    Oh, yeah… that plate of collards just screams for corn bread! Give me a pot of well seasoned greens, with lots of pot likker, a bottle of hot sauce or hot pepper vinegar, some cornbread and I’m a happy puppy!

      1. Hey, Do y’all eat the peppers too? I keep pouring vinegar over the peppers. I only use the peppers when I’m in the process of cooking White Beans. Navy or Great Northern, it doesn’t matter. Putting 1 or2 in the pot gives them a little kick.

        1. I sometimes throw in some red pepper flakes as i’m cooking greens. If I have some, a little bit of fresh lady fingers or jalepeno, but you have to tread warily when doing that. Some folks can’t handle the hot stuff.

          Before you ask, lady fingers are what Dad’s family always called cayennes. I was grown before I ever found that out!