While visions of white glass bowls with little blue designs on them might not spark many outdoor memories, I can assure you much of our time spent outdoors was occupied by thinking of what was in those dishes back home.
One of those refrigerators was in the kitchen of Thomas and Eunice Kennedy, of the Brewer community, and I was happy to know I was always welcome to help myself. Mr. Thomas was one of my mentors in the outdoors and in life, part of the group of my Old Men I write about often and think about every day.
He was a character in every sense of the word, and the hero of countless stories I still enjoy retelling with his grandsons and the friends who knew him, and with many others who know him only through the tales all the rest of us have told many times.
Mrs. Eunice was the saint who put up with him, and one who enjoyed cooking for a large, extended family at any opportunity.
What Mr. Thomas hunted was rabbits, he kept a fair-sized pack of beagles of varying tempers and dubious reputations for that purpose, and his oldest grandson and I spent hundreds of hours listening to them run and doing our best to head off the chase.
After we’d called it a day, returned the dogs to their kennel and cleaned the result of the hunt, we’d see what was in the refrigerator, and the resulting cornucopia was always a happy find.
Prior to eating in Mrs. Eunice’s kitchen I’d never supposed you could stack one lidded CorningWare bowl on top of another, but the patrons of her refrigerator went one better and put another one on top of that, so every foray for seconds became a high-stakes game of Jenga. As far as I know, though, deep dish disaster never struck, doubtless owing to the divine nature of what each held inside.
Mrs. Eunice passed away earlier this week and Mr. Thomas has been gone for a long time, but those days will always be alive in my heart.
Whenever I need a laugh or a smile or a helping of wit or wisdom, it’s nice to know there’s somewhere I’m always welcome to go, open the door, and help myself.
Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.