Brunch turned into midnight snack

Published 10:25 pm Monday, May 3, 2010

We have all heard the expression, “Tell it like it is.” That is exactly what you would hear from this lady, but it was not what she said as much as how she said it.

My friend had the most charming Southern drawl, tempered with an aristocratic manner, that you have ever heard. She hailed from Chapman, Alabama, “close to Geraldine, or Black Alabama.” She would tell you that she lived on the river before living on the lake was cool!

Margaret and Callen Alred probably lived on the lake longer than anyone I know, and I always enjoyed visiting them. They traveled a lot in the years past and at one time belonged to a travel club in Europe that exchanged houses for about a month!

I met the people that came and lived in their home from England. All that travel led Ma Bates to tell me one day that, “Margaret was gonna slam-dam and fall out of one of those airplanes.”

She might have been one of the best cooks that I knew, but she liked for other folks to cook also. She was always charming me into cooking fish and inviting all of her kinfolks, but we had fun.

Margaret had one of those big old Lincolns, and she liked to drive fast. One day, I was trying to talk to her about it. She said, “Now Bill, you are gonna have to leave earlier or get out of my way—I’ve got important things to do.” Of course, the important things she had to do were cook and carry cakes, pies and other favorites to those who were sick or just not feeling well. She did this daily! Lots of us have been touched over the years by her kindness.

Now, they could get cross. Callen liked to make fun of her talking. He would tell the story of being stranded on the lake in a storm when a man comes along and offers to take them to his place. They were all soaked and cold. The man offered to make them a drink, and nothing would have suited them better at the time. It was after five.

The man asked Mr. C how he wanted his. Mr. C said, “Canada Dry with a touch of lemon.” Then the man asked Margaret. She said, “I’ll just have ‘waa-duh.’” Sure enough, the man brought her a big glass of water and nothing else!

I can see Callen sitting there grinning at her and enjoying his drink. She got mad years later as he told the story.

During the summer, we would go to the Alred’s with another special couple and have brunch. Margaret and Ginger would have a big spread, but sometimes it would get delayed. In fact, I was at one brunch that ended up as a midnight snack, with a fish fry in between.

Good friends, good folks and good fun.