With Thanksgiving fast approaching I can’t help but remember my childhood memories many Thanksgivings ago. We called it Hog Killin Day. It always came at Thanksgiving cause the weather became cold enough by then to keep the meat. Sometimes if there were two hogs to kill, one was done at Thanksgiving, the other at Christmas.
It all began early in the morning before daylight. Daddy would build a big, roaring fire and sharpen all the knives. We’d get all the pans ready in the kitchen. The kitchen is where I stayed, didn’t want any part of the killing.
Everybody would start gathering in about daylight. Family, friends neighbors and some we didn’t even know but they claimed to be kin. They all took part helping cause everybody wanted a big mess of fresh meat. When it came hog killin Day, everybody pitched in and when it came their turn at their house it was the same.
It was an all day event and the working was hard. Those big shoulders, hams etc. were salted down and taken to the smokehouse to cure. There was nothing wasted but the squealer when it came to a hog. Every part was saved including the feet and I’ll leave out the part about the brains. The head was used to make souse meat and there was always plenty of sausage to can. We never knew what a freezer was till I was almost grown. A big pan sit on the back burner of the stove for days on end, renderin the lard. That sure did save on the grocery bills.
We looked forward to those big pans of tenderloin with hot biscuits come suppertime. We even had ham or tenderloin for breakfast with gravy and biscuits. Then the next day we’d have back bones and ribs, so on and so forth. And of course the Thanksgiving table was graced by hog meat. To say I was sure glad to get some chicken, is an understatement. That didn’t come to often either, just when we had a bunch of young fryers to thin out. They usually graced the Sunday dinner table when the preacher and all the other folks gathered in. Mama would throw in a big homemade banana pudding for good measure. We cleaned the bowls, regardless of what kind of meat we had or not. In a big family you learn early on to eat what’s on the table. We eat three meals a day and there were no snacks of sweet doings as mama used to call em. Our snacks were a big piece of left over cornbread with little green onions from the garden, especially after we got in from school in the evenings before we done our chores. That was in the warm months of spring and summer. By the time it came Hog Killin Day our mouths watered for some meat. I can honestly say I’ve never went to bed hungry a night in my life. If we didn’t have anything but cornbread and milk it was more than was promised.
I know a lot of things have changed today, some for the good and some not so good but I can’t help but wonder what people would do if they had to go back to the old ways. My daddy used to say they’d starve to death for lack of knowing how to do. I long for that simple life when it didn’t take much to satisfy and what we had was worth all the money in the world. We were truly blessed and for that I’ll always be grateful.
© Susie Swanson, 2016
Here's wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm sorry I haven't been online lately but I've got a whole complicated mess of sickness going on and spend most of my time in bed. Just keep the prayers coming cause God is our only hope. Many thanks in advance. ~Susie
These are sweet Thanksgiving memories, Susie. I'm sorry to hear that you are still struggling with illness. I hope you are feeling well again soon. Prayers for you. Happy Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
Susie, this is the way we spent Thanksgiving Day when I was a little girl. And I remember how good the fresh meat was after the fryers were gone.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry that you feel so bad; I just keep praying for your recovery. xoxo
Hi Susie, I am still playing catch up with my blog family. You were lucky and blessed to never been hungry...we ate a lot of beans and cornbread..maybe not enough to ever say, "I'm stuffed." But we never had nothing...fried bread(pancake) was as close to that as I can remember..that and something mommy called Tom Sop...yuck. Your daddy was right ..todays people know very little of surviving on nothing. I have told my daughters, I would never want them to be poor as we were...but to live one day in my shoes would surely be a lesson. Susie, I feel like we are family in so many ways. You are special to me and I am truly thankful for your friendship. Blessings, xoxo,love, SusieReplyDelete