By Shirley Prihoda
It was 1959, and the little girl wanted to be somewhere, anywhere other than always at the end of the line of “Not Quites.”
If only she had a poodle skirt like all the other girls, then maybe someone would include her at recess. She knew her mother’s salary driving a taxi barely met their basic needs, but she simply had to try. The answer was a resounding no without hope of a “maybe later.”
The little girl understood her mother was consumed in her own war of providing food and a roof over their heads, but the finality of the words still stung. It appeared her poodle skirt would forever rest with the “not quites” in her life.
Trying to offer comfort that wasn’t hers to give, her mother told her it wasn’t the end of the world not to have a poodle skirt.
Finally, the 1959 school year ended, and things were looking up in 1960. The Salvation Army Thrift Store had a poodle skirt! The little girl thought it was the most beautiful skirt she had ever seen. Her mother slowly counted the coins for the skirt, and they took it home. They washed and ironed it as if it were a priceless treasure; it was to the little girl. The anticipation was almost too much to bear as she anxiously waited for morning to wear her skirt to the first day of school.
As she made her way to school, she felt like a princess going to a ball. Now, she would be just like the other girls. With jubilant expectancy, she walked, floated really, into class. The girls turned in unison to see who had entered. Some snickered while most laughed openly at her proud possession. Apparently, poodle skirts had lost their status over the summer. The pretty girl who was obviously the leader with a look oozing sympathy or constipation, depending upon your perspective, said: “No one wears those skirts anymore.” Who knew?
The little girl’s life to this point would make the Titanic look like a pleasure cruise, and this was the last straw. She felt hopeless to build a future, so she built a wall instead.
She never wore the skirt again. She couldn’t bring herself to tell her mother what had happened at school. Her mother, never one to offer compassion for things that appeared trivial to her, must have surmised something had happened and said: “You need to meet new people.”
From that day forward, the little girl was the sad chicken that the other chickens pecked to death. The little girl wanted to tell them if they were to look at eggs, they would see that each one is almost round but not quite ... which is nature’s way of distinguishing eggs from large golf balls. Clearly, she had an image problem, and it was too big for her to handle.
At night, the little girl cried herself to sleep, wondering why the beautiful girls appeared to have everything except humility.
She longed for a soft shoulder, or at the very least, a soggy one in which she could confide. For goodness’ sake, she ate grits; what more could anyone ask?
The little girl grew into adulthood in hand-me-downs and carrying the weight of always being the last chosen and the last in the line of the not quite good enough. Her wall of protection was now fortified and impassable.
Then the unthinkable happened. Her Titanic hit an iceberg so massive she found herself adrift in the freezing waters of the Atlantic. Her only child was gone. Her beloved child succumbed to cancer, and she was alone again … and once again in the line of the not quite good enough. All her strength was gone. She lacked even the will to go on. She was shattered beyond repair.
Like in the movies, where the fort is being overrun, and the cavalry shows up just in time, that’s how it happened for the shattered mother. The Man who came to her rescue was riding a white horse with a banner flying, “King of King and Lord of Lords.” He came into her life just like that and did the impossible. He made her whole for the first time in her life. In a comforting embrace, He said, “I am the King of hand-me-downs. I am handing down My righteousness to you. Wear it proudly.”
8 to 10 Ears of Fresh Corn
2 Tablespoons of Bacon Drippings
4 Tablespoons Butter, divided
Salt & Pepper
Shuck corn and remove silks. Place the cob standing up in the center of a Bundt pan to catch the kernels and the scraped juice from the corn.
Run a sharp knife down the cob, cutting the kernels off. Next, scrape all the starch and “goody” out of the remaining kernels. This is what gives fried corn its unique texture and flavor. (Simply turn the back of your knife perpendicular to the cob and scrape down the sides several times.)
Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat and add bacon grease and two tablespoons of the butter Once melted, add corn. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir frequently, cooking for 20 to 30 minutes. Immediately, before removing from heat, add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
To make this dish even creamier, add a few splashes of heavy cream right at the end!
(To contact Shirley, please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)