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Lessons learned from parents, grandparents fill memory banks

Lessons learned from parents, grandparents fill memory banks

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 11:35 pm
By: By DONNA RYDER, Associate Editor

The Messenger 07.24.09
Growing up, I learned a lot of things from my parents and grandparents.
At a young age, my grandfather, the late D’Nichols Cole, taught my sisters and me how to fish. I remember he’d take us out in his boat. He would be up front with four fishing poles and my Grandma Naomi Cole would be in the back with two poles. There were two rows of seats in the middle of the boat and we would sit on cushions we were told would float if we needed them. We never did as Grandfather knew Reelfoot Lake like the back of his hand and never hit a Cypress tree stump. They taught us how to hook minnows and worms and how to catch those big grasshoppers in the corn field to catch the crappie we all so loved.
After filling the ice box, we’d head back to their house and pull out our spoons to de-scale the fish. I don’t go fishing much anymore as there never seems to be a good time.
They taught us how to garden as well. I can remember the sweet berries and the small cucumbers that were so good right after we picked them. I don’t know how many peas we shelled or pecans we busted sitting in their living room around the coffee table. Today, I have a small garden of my own where I’m growing tomatoes, cucumbers and squash.
Being able to take whatever was in the refrigerator and pull together a meal was something Mom and Dad were good at. We rarely had a good name for their dishes. Most of the time we called it “goulash.”
Mom always made a dish with hamburger meat and pork-n-beans. Sometimes she would mix mushrooms with it, too. Then there is the pork-n-bean salad she would make to eat with fish. I make the dish on occasion for potlucks and people usually turn their noses up at the thought, but then ask for the recipe after trying it.
Another recipe I’m often asked for is my sugar cookie recipe. Grandma would make them with pecans. She called them her “tea cakes” and she never failed to have them on the table for us. She thinks the recipe came off a cake mix box, but she can’t exactly remember.
Grandma also taught me how to crochet. She was never able to follow a pattern and neither can I, but I can make “granny squares” and crochet a straight stitch. After I got married, I got adventurous and made a bedspread big enough to cover my queen-sized bed. I made the pillow covers to match. Over the years, I’ve also crocheted baby afghans for church members and friends who were expecting a baby. I’ve started several in the last few years, but haven’t finished any of them yet.
My twin, Lonna Kennedy, never really took to crocheting and to this day hasn’t figured it out. About a year ago, she started knitting and swears that it is easier than crocheting. Since I can crochet and watch television at the same time, I don’t believe her. I also don’t understand a bit what pearl one, bead two (or is it bead one, pearl two) means.
When a knitting book recently crossed my desk, I knew there was no way I could honestly tell our readers about it, so I passed it along to my sister.
“Knit One, Bead Too” (ISBN: 978-1-60342-149-2) was written by Judith Durant, editor of the best-selling “One-Skein Wonders” series. The 160-page hardback book has been published by Storey Publishing and became available for sale this month for $18.95. It includes full-color photographs and illustrations.
Ms. Durant is said to have armed “crafters with the skills to pair fiber and beads in unexpected ways using five distinct knitting methods to create works of art for the home or to wear.” She includes easy-to-follow instructions for these five techniques: bead knitting, beaded knitting, slipstitch bead knitting, carry-along bead knitting and hook bead knitting.
Each of the five technique sections includes three projects using that technique, with complete instructions and full-color photos of the finished piece. With each pattern, she also includes alternate suggestions for the yarn and beads, along with helpful hints in case the knitter has questions or qualms.
Lonna said the projects included in the book are beautiful. She said having to thread every bead prior to starting the project she decided to make, as is the case with one technique, was tedious and time consuming.
“It definitely took practice to knit the bead into the work so that it laid on the correct side of the project. While the patterns ranged from scarves to sweaters, I’ll say this book is for the advanced intermediate to expert knitters,” she said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at

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