Delta Dawn

Heard this song and I was filled with memories of times long ago…

As I grew older, I was responsible for either helping mom cook dinner or actually cooking it. It was basic and good food back then; beef/chicken or pork we’d raised ourselves. Vegetables either fresh from the garden or from the hundreds of home canning painstakingly done by my mother’s hands. Potatoes grown in our garden pulled up from the cold storage room. Even the milk on the table was milked from the cows by my father. Dessert was home-canned fruit or fresh baked cakes/cookies.

Summer days included helping my mother with the garden. Our hands were dirty pulling weeds, digging carrots, picking peas. Summer evenings we were gathered around in lawn chairs on warm evenings shelling peas or snapping beans. If it was cooler out, we’d be gathered in the basement. All of us, together, talking, laughing, arguing; together.

My mother spent many a sweltering August day in her kitchen canning jar after jar of vegetables, fruit and pickles for her family. Never complaining, but wishing for a “summer kitchen” in the basement. Sometimes we would peel peaches for her or wash raspberries – stealing the “occasional” taste when she wasn’t looking!

There was no eating dinner in front of the TV. The table would be set by a sister or two. My brother would be the runner downstairs to the cold storage to bring up whatever Mom needed for the meal. Dad knew exactly what time to come in – it was the same every day; rare exceptions.

Food was never dished out of the pot – it was put out in bowls properly and passed around. And make sure you go clockwise, kids! So much chatter around that table: 3 girls = 1 brother not getting a word in edge-wise…and a Dad sometimes begging for quiet for 5 minutes! And oh, the laughter and discussion sometimes…

The BEST treat: when mom had been baking buns and we had fresh butter we’d made ourselves and homemade raspberry jam….I’ll take that over a chocolate bar ANY DAY!! Or if she skipped the bun entirely and let us have fried dough gobs with the jam for a special supper treat…oh, truly heaven…

Then three sisters would gather up dishes. I washed and Kathy & Marie dried and put away. So many nights standing at that sink. Sun setting in the west, sometimes too hot in our faces and we’d close the blind. Always left to right in the sink. Back then, annoyed that mom used so many dishes to cook and to serve the food. Not really appreciating it like I do now. How it meant we had such good food on our table. How we three sisters were together spending so much time together.

That time was truly special. Talking about the day, who did what. Dreams, stories, you name it – we talked about it.  Sometimes arguments getting louder and louder until we’d hear a yell from the living room: “I’d better not have to come in there!”

Most of all, the times we would would sing. Yeah, we would sing. As a mother now, I wonder how those songs from the kitchen made my mom feel? She’s never said – but I’ll bet it is one of her fondest memories: her girls singing “in harmony” around the kitchen sink. Simple country songs that we heard on our radio or tape deck every day. Growing up in that house, we’d learned a lot of them by heart. Songs that my parents loved enough that they would spend their hard-earned money on the occasional record or 8-track tape. Songs that their daughters would sing must have brought such joy to their hearts.

Looking back now, I think that’s why we’re pretty close as sisters – we know each other so well and we truly loved each other – enough to not be embarrassed about belting it out in front of each other. Knowing even then that this was indeed a special time…

Our favorite (and mom’s too) that we sang – Delta Dawn – Tanya Tucker:


4 thoughts on “Delta Dawn

  1. Those were great times, and times that I hope that my children will get to learn as well:) Minus all of the canning, etc.:)
    Great job:)

  2. Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?

    Very nice memory. Love that you are close to your sisters. Isn’t it amazing how music that we haven’t heard in years comes back in full and takes us back to those memories. Listening to an oldies country station does it to me every time.

  3. Oh, Shawna, I love this. If you sub in Tombstone Pizza, Hamburger Helper, and Oreo Cookies – we were so similar!! We have a brother who is the oldest, then me, then JB, then Andy. We washed dishes after dinner – but most especially we listened to this kind of music on Saturdays – while we cleaned the house and did other chores.
    What a beautiful memory. What a lovely post.

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