Photo of The Month – Apr 2006
Dinner on the Grounds
Picture contributor: James Harris
It could have been a homecoming, a reunion, or someone’s high-numbered wedding anniversary. Whatever the reason, it was a chance for housewives (remember those?) to display—and everyone else to enjoy—their gardening, cooking and baking skills. In those days, before air conditioning, these happy events were always held outdoors, under the trees if any were available. One or two sweet souls would fan the flies away while the less timid would start the line, filling their paper plates from a vast array of delicious homemade dishes: Fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, country ham biscuits, macaroni and cheese with cracker crust, home made pickles, corn on the cob, fresh green beans cooked with fatback, pimento cheese sandwiches, rolls, sliced tomatos and cantaloupe, pound cake, coconut cake, chocolate cake, banana pudding, pecan pie, peach cobbler, ice tea and lemonade, and on and on. Everyone would find a bench, stump or running board to sit on, balance his plate on his knees and enjoy an unforgettable meal.
Such an event today will be held in a church basement or community center. The bill of fare will include boxes of chicken from Bojangles or KFC, store-bought potato salad, a pile of Twinkies and cans of Pepsi. Not one of the foreign-made cars parked outside will have white sidewall tires. Nobody will wear a hat. You won’t remember this occasion longer than a day or two, and the food, such as it is, will be forgotten by the time you arrive back at your condo.