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Donna Flood
The Food Booth


Like the strains of a haunting melody on occasion a happening will float  over and through our lives. If the notes are of a tune we once knew and loved many pleasant situations can be called to mind. This was how the gathering together of members of their small community into a heritage fall festival gave an opportunity for them to slip away from all the mediocrity of daily living.

Gramma at age 90 insisted on having a food booth.  For all the years gone by with her always involved in food service in one way or another the knowledge of her ability to do so was certain, but  at a younger age. Today, her steps are measured with care and she trails like the Pelican with one wing drooping a bit. The utmost care and diplomacy must be exercised with all the tactfulness necessary to allow her a bit of her remaining dignity.

We could have said, “Now Mother, let's face it. There is no way we can allow you to do this.”

Instead,  the loving caring acts  of her grandchildren and children were to allow the proud elder to go through with her plans. These wishes of hers  were to feed a population of a small town “Indian Taco's.”

Gramma was full Indian but married into a family who marks their roots as those of the Hunter family. If, Indeed, these roots go back to the Hunter's who provided game for the royal families of Scotland then one has to believe, certainly, those who brought the wild game animals to the tables also knew how to prepare delicious entree's from the meats. At any rate, the children of those American women settled in the back wooded areas of Kentucky first. They went on to Missouri, Arkansas and last the Oklahoma's  non-populated outbacks. They did bring ancient skills of food preparation  down through the generations to their daughters.  These things, mixed with the Native American skills gave Gramma the ability to prepare and serve food with not an apology to be made.

Her food booth was no more than a grouping of table, outdoor bar-b-que grill and small portable cold boxes setting under an eleven-dollar tarpaulin on flimsy poles. Thankfully the area was setting in a created valley at the foot of the massive Marland mansion where there was virtually no wind. The great cut stones of the castle were the back drop to her most humble booth. Women who worked on the ground had decorated the great heavy stone arches with bright colors in striking orange accents. Soft tanish brown stones supported the striking hue.  The wide stone steps coming down to the area from the castle into this small almost grotto looking place had giant boulders beside the walk. Between these great stones beautiful foliage of bright light to dark greens hung there. In between these greens' flowers of rich looking textures rested. The scene was altogether a feast to the eye. Maybe this was an accident the creating of  two moods together. One went  to the feeding the senses and mind the other to the more common one of the stomach.

The family made every effort to keep up with the lines of folks coming in on the small booth. Indian tacos' some had tasted and wanted more, others had never had them and wanted to try them for the first time. If the family had been free from all the other weighty problems resting on them, maybe a better arrangement could have been made. During these times of the survival by the opportunist their plate was more than full in trying to rescue one of their own from whatever situation was involved as to rising above the riff  raff of the area. that were themselves disadvantaged by more powerful forces sucking up money from the dregs.  Their family  had managed to triumph but it left them all with battle scars, mentally that is. Like those from a battle won there was still a need to pull up reserved strength in order to sally forth again but this they did with the food booth.

The second day which was with the heaviest traffic a bit more of a plan had developed. Some of the cooking was done at home where greater amounts could be produced as compared to the one or two burners of the bar-b-que grills.

If Gramma stood for long hours on her feet turning out one piece of bread at a time it was of no consequence, her dignity was preserved. The strong people who were the craftsmen showing their wares seemed to understand her need to keep battling for  survival and for the woman's wish to teach her family how to go about feeding great numbers of people. These consumers were patient.  Without a doubt this part of her mission was accomplished.

There was no way she could instill or place  the same loyalty and unity  of her culture into the hearts and minds of her grandchildren. This had been “dumbed down” long ago. However, there were the still quiet strains of an ancient  melody going back to maybe the days of King David when he fed his armies from the store houses of Michel. These notes were  tinged with the echo of a soft drum beat which had to be felt and recognized.


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