Cooking Eggs and Skating on Sidewalks

By:  Annette Smith Bisbee

It was 1952. All was well with the world. It was summer time, and we’d been out of school two months. Finding stuff to do to occupy our minds was becoming quite the challenge. My two sisters, Naomi and Sue, and I played outside – how we ever got chores done for this leisure, I don’t know. I was only 7 at the time, and concerning myself with such high and lofty matters, hadn’t yet taxed my brain. It was almost August and in southern Missouri, that meant high humidity and high temperatures. Bored and sweating, we ran to the house; maybe mom would have the fan on.

Mom stood in the kitchen, her hair in a bun, covered by a headscarf. Sure enough, the black metal fan vibrated as it slowly oscillated back and forth, back and forth, cooling mom’s sweaty brow. She gathered up the corner of her muslin apron and wiped her hands, then her face.

She had just finished making two pans of yeast rolls, covering them with a thin cloth. I smelled the yeast, mixed with the ham-flavored Pinto Beans, permeating the air; my tummy ached as I inhaled the sweet fragrance. I was immediately lost in the daydream of tearing apart one of those light, fluffy rolls, taking the center and dipping it into the thick, brown bean sauce. Then I’d reach for some fried potatoes, along with a fresh sliced onion….

Whining and complaining interrupted my dream. “Mom, we got nothin’ to do. It’s so hot outside, we can’t breathe.” Now I don’t remember who said it, but that was a rude interruption.

My mom was quite creative and fun, and could always find something entertaining for us to do. She wasn’t about to allow us to whine around in the house. She reached high in the cupboard, bringing out a metal pie pan, “Here,” she offered it. She then opened the wooden icebox, bringing out an egg, and handed it to us.

“Take this pan outside and put it on the sidewalk. Break the egg and put in it, and watch it cook.”

Our mood quickly shifted. We were excited as we headed back out the front door. Was it even possible? Would it really cook?

I skipped in anticipation. We all stood ‘round watching the unfolding of this new adventure. This was the strangest thing I had ever seen, and I couldn’t wait.

We stared and stared as we hovered over that pan. Nothing was happening, so someone suggested we skate, (you see, Sue and Naomi always told me what to do, and I did it, or I couldn’t hang around with them…you didn’t think we were that perfect, did you?), so I ran to the house to retrieve the precious possessions. How on earth our parents could buy such a frivolous thing as skates is a mystery in itself. Oh how we loved to lock them onto our shoes, and skate the sidewalk.

We all took turns, and it was finally my turn again to skate. As I came upon the pie pan, I groaned with impatience. “Aw, this ain’t gonna happen…the egg looks just like it did,” Once again I had to interrupt my skating pattern to check on the egg. But wait…I caught a glimpse… just a glimpse, of a tiny white line running along the edge of the egg.

“Come quick! I think it’s cooking!” I squealed, as we all lingered ‘round, staring at our unique project. We occupied ourselves for several minutes as the clear whites of the egg began to slowly turn a milky white.

I don’t remember how long it actually took to cook that egg, but I do remember our refusal to eat it. There was just something ‘not right’ about eating an egg cooked on the sidewalk – even if it was in a pie pan. It sure proved how miserably hot it was outside. The pie pan was removed from the sidewalk, so our sidewalk route was uninterrupted.

“My turn!” yelled Sue, and I begrudgingly took the key and loosened the skates to oblige. Sue quickly skated the entire sidewalk, one foot in front of the other, arms flinging side to side in complete balance, as her long hair swayed behind in perfect and constant rhythm. Ah, the memories.

 

Sue turned out to be a good sister. She’s still got that perfect balance. If you need her, she is there. She’s always looking for the good in people, and her friends call her blessed. And I…I don’t even have to do what she says anymore to get to hang around with her.

Naomi grew up to be the most talented…she played the accordion, the piano, the organ, AND she preached the gospel. She loved people and served the Lord with all her heart. She now lives with Jesus and we miss her.

 

 

 

 

 

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True Story of Tragedy and Triumph

Little Johnny was only 5 and as far as he knew his life was ok. Then that tragic day came. A loud “BOOM” and daddy was on the floor. Dead. The gun still in his hand.

Life went on, Johnny was all grown up – he thought. He was on his now. Mom was remarried and all was okay. He had learned to be funny to cover the pain, the memory and the responsibility he felt that daddy was so miserable he wanted to die. Was it his fault?

Soon he found a new friend…the bottle. It brought him the comfort he couldn’t get anywhere else – at least for a little while. One gulp and it started to quiet the torment; and it stuffed the feelings that he couldn’t express.

The problem, it was never enough. What drowned his sorrows once was now taking the whole bottle. It was interfering with his work and his relationships. He was very good at his profession but after a few weeks he again turned to the bottle, missing work, showing up late, and having trouble relating to others. He lost another job.

Then he met a wonderful young lady who loved him very much.  Then one week little (big?) Johnny could no longer control his life. He drank till he passed out, woke up drank again, passed out, woke up and he drank again. His young lady got him to the hospital where the doctor said he was dying.

She called her mother to come and pray for him. He was glad someone cared enough to reach out to him. Seeing he was at the end of his rope he agreed he needed to accept Christ. As Sis Anderson visited she also asked about his father and what their relationship had been.

Johnny explained he never really knew him, and he shared the incident that he still remembered though it had somewhat faded. It was a horrible thing that made Johnny very sad. If he had been bigger, maybe he could have saved his life. Somehow he felt responsible.

As Sis Anderson listened to Johnny’s story, she began to realize this horrible memory was ruling Johnny’s life. So, she asked him, “So since you feel responsible, do you think you deserve to die?”

“What do you mean?” he asked with a furrowed brow.

“Obviously you’re trying to kill yourself, Johnny. You’re throwing your life away just like your dad and now you have a choice…totally give your life to Jesus and don’t drink anymore or die just like your daddy.” She paused for a moment. “I doubt your dad would want you to die, do you?”

“No,” he admitted.

“Then let’s pray.” Sis Anderson bowed her head and Johnny joined in. He asked Jesus to take control of his life and he repented for trying to destroy himself. Afterward he said he felt like a new man.

note from author: Johnny doesn’t drink anymore. He’s still funny and often entertains at a comedy club. He’s the proud daddy of a 1-year old ‘junior’ who favors him a lot. He is living a successful life, holding down a job and starting a new business of his own.