“It’s like another world,” she says.
And she is right . . .
Oh, that we could always see each day as an adventure with the same childlike wonder and joy.
How old were you the first time you ever saw the ocean? Can you remember the moment? Where were you?
The Outer Banks of North Carolina became Torpedo Junction in the Battle for the Atlantic during the early years of World War II. German Nazi u-boats, also called wolf packs, terrorized Allied shipping until the Allies were able to turn the tide in 1942. Entire ships and their crews disappeared beneath the waves of the Atlantic. The loss of life, munitions and supplies was horrific.
These cemeteries remain on the Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands as a reminder—a little piece of British soil carefully tended on the Banks. These are the graves of British sailors whose bodies washed ashore to be discovered by the Bankers and respectfully interred. British representatives of Her Royal Majesty still honor these men and the others they represent in a touching ceremony every year in May, open to the public. Some of these men were never able to be identified. They remain known only to God.
Did your mom make these when you were a child?
I still have the 1960s plastic stick molds that my mother used. I brought freezer pops for my own children for wonderful, lazy summer days at the neighborhood pool.
What was your favorite flavor?
The freedom we enjoy as Americans is a great blessing. But freedom isn’t free—our freedom cost someone something.
Some of the best Fourths are small town celebrations—my inspiration for the Kiptohanock Fourth of July.
What do you do for the Fourth? What are some of your favorite memories of the Fourth?
I love October because I get to visit family I see only once or twice a year. In early October, we have a family reunion. In late October, we travel to my aunt’s church homecoming and see cousins and other people that make up a Southerner’s extended family. This includes people to whom we’re not actually related but who were grafted in because somebody married into the family line. And despite not being blood kin, we all grew up together and enjoy getting to see each other. We have a lot of fun and it’s never a dull moment with that crowd.
I know this sounds complicated—but if you’re a Southerner, you get it. And did I mention the food at these gatherings? My children have been known to get weepy at the thought of these upcoming feasts. Barbecue—pork and vinegar-based; cornsticks, Brunswick stew; butter-beans—lima beans for the Northern brethren among us; ham biscuits; coconut cake; pineapple cake, etc . . . I’m going to stop now before I break down, too.
Here’s a sure-fire winner of an autumn recipe—from the family I married into.
Fool-Proof Pie Crust
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup water
Mix first 4 ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. In a separate dish, beat the remaining ingredients. Combine the 2 mixtures, stirring until all ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into a crust. Dough can be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use. Makes 2 pies—4 top and bottom crusts.
6-8 apples—I’ve used Rome, Granny Smith and Magnabonum
Juice of half a lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
Do you have family reunions or church homecomings? What recipes do you look forward to each year? Do you have a family recipe you could share?
One of the joys of childhood
Did you ever catch fireflies—or lightning bugs as they’re called in the South—as a child?
Or perhaps on sultry summer nights at twilight, you still chase fireflies with your own children and grandchildren.