I did something Saturday night that I haven’t done in a long time and I felt like I almost committed a sin. But the urge hit me and I gave in—squashing the voices in my head that shrieked warnings about unhealthy choices. But I closed my mind to all the fitness magazines in the grocery store and ignored what I had read while skimming through their glossy pages.

I got out the largest frying pan I had and put generous, white globs of Crisco in it. And then I unfolded a small paper bag and dumped in flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Within a short time, I had rinsed and patted dry a big bunch of chicken thighs and legs—with the skin on them. I dropped the pieces of chicken in the paper bag and shook them until the mixture coated every nook and cranny. One by one, I reverently laid them in the hot skillet of grease. Yep … I fixed good old-fashioned fried chicken, yellow rice, green beans coated in butter, and sweet tea. (Can you hear the southern twang in my writing—honey child?)

My husband hovered around the kitchen, sniffing, and saying something that sounded like, yum, yum, yum or the purring of a kitten.

And then the memories started running through my mind as the scent of fried chicken drifted from the pan. The memories took me back to childhood, a time when we played outside every evening of the week. The neat houses all down the street had small porches with rod iron railings. Windows were open and every house had a screen door. The summer twilight hovered while all of us children gathered in the narrow street, rode bikes, joined in games, and enjoyed being together as the day peacefully ended.

The aroma and scent of other meals being prepared, in houses along the street, drifted in the air.

In my mind’s eyes, I see my mom finishing a batch of sugar-sprinkled molasses cookies for after supper and sliding them off the cookie sheet unto a paper bag, which had been cut open and laid flat on the counter. The scent of fried chicken, coming from her kitchen, blended with the neighbor’s hamburgers on a backyard grill. Someone’s Italian spaghetti added a tantalizing bouquet of spices to the warm night. The streets lights winked on, childish giggles and laughter filled the air. Young voices lilted and blended with the sound of a distant train whistle. A baby cried out two doors down and a mother’s gentle voice shushed it and murmured reassurance. Older folks stepped out on their porches and carefully sank into creaking rockers. A dog barked and jumped at a fence, yearning to join the children playing a game of chase between shadowed houses. The full moon lifted its face over the trees and turned the yards and bushes into a silvery painting of life, complete with innocence still intact. Neighborly trust and friendship was a normal way of life.

So, from the scent of frying chicken, my world turned back to a time when life didn’t seem so complicated. Children could play in the street and not worry about a stranger snatching them. Doors and windows were open to the warm nights. A neighbor could come up on your porch and call through the screen door to see if you were home, and you could yell for them to come in, without even stopping what you were doing. You didn’t have to lock your front door, if you were weeding the garden in the back yard. Unsupervised children could explore a creek or a patch of woods, build tree houses, and walk to the library or playground with their friends.

Fried chicken … a different time and place. Makes me want to close this blog post with the words, “Goodnight, John Boy!”

But I’ll bring it to close with a scripture. “God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see.” 1 Peter 1:4-5 NLT

Those who love God have hope in his son, Jesus. We can accept or reject the greatest gift that humanity has ever received. Someday, heaven’s doors will be thrown wide open and fear will vanish. You won’t have to worry about anything.

What memories do you treasure? The past has its marks in all our lives, whether good or bad, but our future is in God’s hands.

Please, leave your comments about this blog, and thank you for reading it.


© Karen Campbell Prough 2012     







  • I can’t wait for your book to come out so i can read it!!!
    Precious memories!

  • My grandmother always made Christmas cookies by the dozens. Now my girls and I make her special cookies every year together. It makes me think of anticipation I had to eat them. The smell was unbelievable.

    Now i am also trying to impress on my children’s hearts the legacy of her spiritual life. What an amazing woman she was.

    • Christine, I know what you mean. The great grandchildren are now scrambling to get to my mother’s molasses cookies! She still bakes them for every family gathering there is, and you can be sure she has them when you go visit! The grown grandsons still fight to be the one that takes home the leftover cookies. You are doing a wonderful thing with your girls.


  • Karen, you made my mouth water with your fried chicken description :). …I wrote about some of my sweet childhood memories here …

  • I love how you paint the picture of the ol’ days in the neighborhood, Karen.

    I have memories of my mom making Cream of Wheat, oatmeal, fried plantains, and tons of other Latin dishes. I remember people coming to visit unannounced. I remember playing volleyball with church folks until late at night. And many more… These are some things I’m trying to pass on to my kiddos, so they too can have–and share–these traditions when they are older.

    Thanks for the memories. 🙂

    • Oh, Daphne, you need to write about the experiences! Put them in a book for your children to read over and over as they get older and become parents. I need to do the same. There are so many stories that I’d love to pass on. Thank you for commenting on my blog. 🙂

  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. What a wonderfully descriptive post about a special time in each of our lives. If we could only return to such an environment. You know, I think we can, if we elect people who will ensure that small things like starting the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Lord’s Prayer, and two parent households are at least encouraged.
    By the way, I think I can almost smell the chicken from up here.
    Great writing, Karen.

    • Thank you, Fred! I appreciate your comments. And I agree with you. There are a lot of changes needed in this country. Sorry, we ate all the chicken and it was perfect! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Represented by Linda S. Glaz at http://www.hartlineliterary.com.