These days. I find strange comfort in the simple things. A cast iron pan. A stocked woodpile of seasoned oak. A fireplace or a woodstove or a fire ring made of stones. I don't remember ever going hungry growing up. I heard of hungry days all of my life but I did not experience them. Not really. Not days without food as a child. But somehow they became a part of my ingrained life story. And with those stories also the knowledge of making cornbread from meal and water. Hocake from flour. What to do if the power went out in a hurricane for a really, really long time. A few basic survival skills. Being capable of camping primitive. In the woods. With no campsite. When covid hit and things were locked down and Mama got a little nervous I reminded her - no worries. We have beans and rice and cornmeal and flour and cast iron and a big woodpile and acres of trees and deadwood. There was a simple comfort in knowing how to live this way. This is true. And knowing I could take care of Mama if I had to. Because I knew how many years she h ad done it With next to nothing. But it wasn't the nothing of those stories that was passed down, that remained. It was the stories themselves. The ones that never ceased being told from this wild bunch of women who raised me and the uncles who mostly did what the women told them. It was a perpetual cup of stories, it seemed to be pressed down, shaken together, running over. A richness that resides in the that which can not ever be taken away. Come what will or what may. This is where survival finds its strength. In the power of our stories. As imperfect and trifling and broken as they may sometimes seem, they are the stuff that feeds our very souls when all the cupboards appear bare.
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