One March morning I awoke with the feeling of anticipation. It was different as I had been invited to go bird hunting in South Georgia. Normally I don’t go, but the prospect of good southern cooking and a walk in the woods after being on call was too inviting to refuse.
Once I had finished my responsibilities at work, I gladly removed the white coat and placed it on the back seat of the passenger’s side of the truck. It was cool for a North Florida March day so I put on a field jacket. After all, I was headed to Georgia, and I certainly didn’t want to look like a tourist from Florida.
The three and a half hour drive was a blur until I headed north from Tallahassee toward Thomasville, Georgia. The tall Live Oaks and Long Leaf Pines majestically towered over the underbrush of wire grass and wild shrubs as I turned northeasterly, and my thoughts had become a stream of consciousness without an inkling of work or worry.
My arrival was later than expected, but freshly cooked black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes with okra and cornbread were worth the drive. I thanked my hosts and retired early after a delightful meal and an exhaustive thirty-six plus hours.
I was awakened the next morning by the familiar smokey, flavor-filled salty aroma of bacon frying. The vision of bacon frying in an iron skillet transported me back forty years to mornings of my childhood. My senses were awakened by the breakfast aromas rather than jolted by an annoying alarm clock. On cue I got out of bed, pulled on a pair of pants and found my way to a comfortable southern kitchen. There I was greeted by a hail of “Good morning” and the warmth of fresh biscuits, scrambled eggs, grits and bacon.
To my surprise the jelly that was offered for the biscuits was mayhaw jelly which had been made from mayhaws gathered from a nearby swamp. At that point I politely asked for a glass of orange juice, two biscuits, butter and the mayhaw jelly.
I can’t recall if I ate any bacon that initially drew me into the kitchen, nor do I recall eating anything else that morning – just that my breakfast was the quiet, comforting signal of the day’s beginning in my childhood.