I love to listen to my mother tell tales of the past
especially about our hometown of Providence.
I especially enjoy
when we are riding around and looking at landmarks
as she reminisces.
One day she shared with me how the trains
were once really active in our little Kentucky town.
Although I barely remember train station,
I did remember the ice plant,
mainly town tales
of that being the place
to purchase the best
and always chilled watermelon in this area.
* Still hope to enjoy watermelon with you Mom
for a late birthday treat. I think someone had some for sale on Broadway.
I can only vaguely remember stopping there to get ice and pretty sure bought bait before going cane pole fishing in Tradewater River with my parents as a child.
My mother then continued to question me of the significance of the location of the ice plant, and then explained when I could not ..that the ice plant was placed close to the train tracks for the train’s steam engines.
She smiled as she shared how she enjoyed running behind the ice truck to cool off by collecting chilled chips that would fall out of the ice truck making deliveries and sucking these slivers to cool off on a steamy summer day.
She then proceeded to remind my children
how blessed they were to not only to be able to munch on ice from home ….
but also to splash in swimming pools…
suck on juice boxes…..
as well as crunch on snow-cones
as well as be blasted by not only fans
but also air conditioning
to help them stay cool in the summer.
Mom continued her story by saying she did not grow up
falling asleep with the sound of a fan like my entire crew does.
Mom knows how much fans are loved by the Brown bunch.
She knew the perfect birthday present for Savannah..
a large box fan when her small fan went out.
Cameron was so jealous of this present that
Mom also treated her grandson and surprised him with
a big box fan when returning home
recently from Western Kentucky University
as well as Murray State
She loves to surprise us!
Whether it is delivering flowers or chili,
fixing the knob on a crock pot lid,
or even showing up with juice boxes, Cheetos, or homemade pico
with a surprise visit,
she loves to share things with us…
she knows we will enjoy and often need.
To say the least we are her biggest “fans.”
Fans are even taken on vacations with us,
covered in dust bunnies and all
but placed in a redneck suitcase…
what is that you are asking?
A Walmart plastic bag of course!
Sorry I was a jack rabbit…
let’s hop back to the original story.
Mom said she would try to fall asleep,
but kind of tough at times,
with at least four of her nine siblings in the same bed,
in her childhood home on top of a hill on Bellville Road,
with the windows open as she would listen
to the croaking of frogs competing
but truly no contest for the wailing whistles of the trains.
However, when the trains would pass, she waited for another sound.
The wonderful sound of singing as the hobos gathered around the campfire.
But mom said they were warned to never ever talk to the hobos.
So of course she was intrigued…..
she would listen to their singing and imagined they were probably dancing too….
and how she wished she could be part of their performances too.
Once again she reminded my children of blessings as she informed them of how she did not have a television to turn on or could not even listen to the radio anytime she pleased for entertainment.
So the music made by these merry mobile members
sounded quite festive and fun.
But she did not dare go down there after always being warned by her grandmother, whom she respected then
(you knew better to even walk in front of her
when she rested after work by the fireplace)
as well as still respects her now.
Mom said she does remember the hobos coming to the house
and begging her grandmother for food or at least water.
Although times were truly tough for her large family,
as Mom added that even the dogs were always skinny
as these furry four legged friends of the family
saw very few scraps once all the family ate,
her grandmother continued to have a kind and giving heart…
and would share if she could and what she could.
But not all for sure were that generous……
so the hobos had their own language
that they drew in the dirt for other hobos to see.
Here is an example of possible drawings
some hobos would draw in the dirt yards
to share with other hobos in the area…
such things as bread only and even more important
a policeman lives here.
Please feel free to share any of your hobo, train, or sounds of summer in Providence memories.
I hope to share more of my mother’s memories soon….
hoping Reminiscing With Rita becomes at least a weekly blog post
as I try to preserve my mother’s precious memories and adventures
for my children to enjoy always in the future.
Until then, I will leave you with a my recipe for Hobo Soup.
Many call Hobo Stew when you place meat and vegetables in aluminum and cook on grill or open fire.
But we named this recipe Hobo Soup
because we always clean out the refrigerator before traveling…
and usually always make before heading to the beach.
That way we do not come home to a smelly frig as well as try to eat something a bit healthy before enjoying gas station snacks and fast food as we travel.
We always go through a small Florida town
where the school mascot is the hobo.
*According to Cameron’s research, my sports expert, this is the only school in the United States having hobos as their mascots.
We also enjoy this soup during basketball season when we may be Trojans
but feel like more like happy hobos
as we travel from town to town to play basketball….
But truly enjoy this soup anytime…
Hope you like it too!
As well as hope you are having
a wonderful summer traveling
… or celebrating the sounds of this season…
in a bit closer to home.
- 1 pound Mack Townsend's extra lean ground chuck
- 1 onion chopped (1-1/2 cups)
- Salt and pepper or other seasoning to taste
- (I have also used 1 teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning)
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into tiny cubes (2 cups)
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 can mixed vegetables
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 cup of frozen or can of lima beans
- (or we freeze littlle leftovers of veggies until we have enough to throw in this soup)
- 6 fresh tomatoes diced or 1 small can diced tomatoes
- 1 big can tomato juice
- * Optional: Special seasoning I package of onion or chicken noodle soup mix. Mom told me to add when making Stone Soup with my class to make them like it a bit more. It worked with kindergarten kids as well as home crew too!
- Brown the ground chuck with onions..
- Season with salt, pepper and additional seasoning if you like.
- Spray Crockpot with Pam.
- Then put in bottom of Crockpot the carrots, and place the potatoes on top of carrots.
- Place browned beef on top of potatoes and carrots.
- Continue to layer with mixed vegetables, frozen veggies, and lima beans.
- Top with tomatoes and tomato juice.
- Stir in optional special seasoning.
- Cover and cook for six hours.
- 9. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- This soup is usually enjoyed as we clean out the frig before leaving on vacation, usually before heading to beach. Travel through many small town in Alabama as well as Florida. One being Laurel Hill: Home of The Hobos. We also enjoy when we are traveling town to town like hobos during basketball season but truly good anytime!
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