Another June is leaving us, gathering her lettuce green garments about her and departing peacefully. She is making way for hot July, with her humid days and sticky nights. After many days of thundershowers, farmers were more than ready to mow hay standing in the fields. The pleasant fragrance of sweet clover hangs in the air. Summertime days have a sleepy drone, and evenings are long and pleasant.
The month of June is known for brides and roses, and is now in the past. Grandma O’Dell’s “graveyard roses” always bloomed at this time, adorning the church altar with their big, soft, fragile blooms that exuded a heavenly fragrance. The old-fashioned rambler roses are spilling their little compact blossoms over fence and road bank. These are the red and pink roses of my childhood, which adorned the bedroom windows of the old house. They bloomed all over the creek bank behind the little house where we once lived across from Grandma and Grandpa. The house has been gone for a long time, but roses still bloom all over the bank.
These roses were always used in our mock weddings. It didn’t take much to have one — just an old, lacy window curtain for a bridal gown, and a willing groom. We always had an ample supply of brides, but grooms were a little harder to come by. I remember one beautiful wedding we had all planned out, and finally persuaded my brother Larry to play groom to Janice Carole. I had made a lovely wedding cake out of clay mud, and decorated it with pink and red ambler roses. As ringleader, I was the minister and got ready to perform the ceremony.
At the last minute, Larry jilted the bride and backed out of the wedding. I threw a temper tantrum, and threw the cake on the ground and stomped it. In the face of my terrible wrath, Larry ran off and wouldn’t play with us the rest of the day. We had such a good time as children growing up in our hills and hollers. Janice Carole is gone now, as are many of the other youngsters that we played with, but we have such good memories.
Our grandchildren that grew up here in the hills also enjoy summertime. Once I caught some of my small grandchildren having a baptism in the middle of my bed. I started to say something and my sister defended them. “They are just doing the things they see us do,” she reminded me, “What other kind of life do they know?”
That reminded me of the church services that Matthew’s girls used to have here in our house. They would place chairs in a row, facing the table used as a pulpit. Dolls and teddy bears were seated along with the children, and they sang hymns and prayed. One instance that I remember, Judy was the minister and was preaching. We had a cuckoo clock hanging on the wall behind her, and right in the middle of the service, the cuckoo came out and began cuckooing. Judy barely paused, but glanced over her shoulder and said, “Shut up, bird!”
I got to thinking of how very much our children, and our grandchildren (and now the great-grands) do imitate the very lives we live. We ought to make straight paths for our feet, because many little feet are following in our footsteps. As a matter of fact, our youngest son Matthew is now our pastor, standing in the pulpit and proclaiming the Word of God to us. This is the same son who almost died of cancer, but God healed him and called him to preach. We are so blessed.
July brings many pleasures, and Independence Day is one of them. Thoughts of the Fourth of July conjures up visions of watermelon, picnics, fried chicken and lemonade. The younger generation, and some of the older ones, look forward to the fireworks displays. In the midst of all this fun and frivolity, let us never forget the price that was paid to keep our country free. Our country was founded on the high ideals and principles of our forefathers, who were not ashamed to acknowledge God as our Maker and Founder.
If America ever prospers again, it will be because she humbles herself and calls on God for help. In the Bible, Jeremiah says in chapter 6, verse 16, “Thus said the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk therein.” I’m afraid that is what many, many people are saying today.
This is the time of year when we begin to find wild mushrooms. Of course, the morel season is gone, and that is all some people eat. There are many more edible mushrooms to be found in our hills, if you can find someone to help you identify them. Due to our rainy season, wild mushrooms abound. Chanterelles are midsummer wet weather mushrooms that can be seen from afar. The Latin name of this mushroom means “a drinking goblet” and that defines the shape perfectly. They have fluted edges, and are shaped like flared wineglasses or vases.
The ones that we are familiar with are yellow, and they are in season right now. We were blessed to have friend Bob Davis bring us a “pokeful” of these delicious little mushrooms a few days ago, and we promptly sautéed about half of them. After they were cleaned and washed (always use only young mushrooms of any kind) I sautéed them in butter and garlic. They were delicious.
I looked for a recipe to cook the remaining chanterelles, and found this one that I may try.
Chanterelles and Scrambled Eggs
1 pound chanterelles
1 medium onion, chopped finely
8 tablespoons butter
Clean and divide the larger chanterelles into pieces. Cook the onion gently in the butter, then add the mushrooms and cook them over high heat. The liquid will evaporate and only a small amount of juice will be left.
Beat the eggs lightly, season and pour over the mushrooms. Do not overcook. It is important to have the mushroom exactly right before the eggs are added. Season with some lemon juice, turn into a heated serving dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Serves four.
Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday (cookout, picnic, reunion or whatever) and thank the good Lord for our nation!
Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 2556 Ovapa Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.