What has happened to fruits of yesteryear?

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Older readers can identify with mulberries, chinkapins and quince mainly because they were so common back in the 1940s and 1950s. I wrote about these three delicacies a couple of years ago.

I don’t know what has happened to these goodies if you can call quince a goodie. For some reason, they are hard to be found today.

The last time I saw mulberries was last year in Gulf Breeze. I picked a cool spot under a shady tree to park my car that day before noticing dark purple droppings literally dripping onto my hood. Looking out the window I discovered I was parked under a huge mulberry tree. I got out of the car managed to climb on top of my hood and tried to pick a few of these delicate berries but I could not reach them. Swarms of birds had better luck perched in the top branches eating away and leaving well-aimed deposits before flying off.

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Chinkapins are really hard to find. In case you are not familiar with these succulent little nuts, they grow on bushes usually no more than a few feet high. They are encased in a burry shell making it somewhat difficult to snap open. They resemble a small chestnut but have a sweeter taste. Parching them in the oven or over an open fire enhances the taste to the fullest.

For the good things I have said about these two edibles, quince (I don’t know how to spell quinces) is a 180 degree opposite in taste. These fruits are so bitter quinine would be more refreshing. Yet some people use them to make jelly and pies. And, they taste out of this world when cooked and baked in this manner.

Perhaps you know where we can find these rapidly disappearing fruits and nuts from yesteryears. I am sure many of my older readers would like to know.

Taking a look at news from today, it is always refreshing to read about success falling on current and former residents. Take Barbara Turk, for instance. The Oasis Travel Center near Robertsdale offers a unique destination for an easy-to-get-to evening or noon meal. She does an excellent job promoting the business on Facebook, too.

Barbara’s parents, cousins and uncles were, and still are, great friends of mine.
And, what about Marlene Nall Johnt, the pretty daughter of Mildred Walker? This talented artist creates a diversity of creations. Living in south Baldwin County her work is known by thousands throughout the southland. The fact she graduated from one of my alma maters, Southern Mississippi, contributes prestige to her blooming career. Back in the early fifties I knew her mother, aunts and the Farrars.

Yes, it’s good to see success come to our former residents.

For you Auburn folks, you should be proud of your new baseball hire. But, I wrote a few years ago that you made a big mistake by not hiring Q. V. Lowe back then. This man is a legend at AUM (Auburn University of Montgomery). He has taken his team to several NAIA World Series and finished second in the nation in 1990. His pitching record from his days at the main campus has not been topped. But, it’s too late now.

Years have crept up on him, yet, he continues to turn out winners at the Montgomery school. By the way, check out the number of successful major leaguers that came up through the NAIA ranks.

I find myself spending too much time in idle gossip at coffee shop sessions here lately.

I don’t know if I should be spending more time researching Garrison Keillor novels and old time radio shows or trying to identify the oldest dancing couples on the Mollie B. Polka Party Show. There’s nothing more refreshing than sitting in my little home office stealing from my memories, racing through the Internet and pounding out these weekly columns.

It was such a refreshing church service Sunday listening to a non-contemporary but traditional piano selection and a marvelous vocal rendition by our very own Cathy Peterson. Bay Minette is now handicapped by this talented lady’s move to our city. By the way, she teaches piano lessons for those who are interested.

Did you know Dick Coffee had a special interest in one of our former ECHS football players who had a short but impressive record with the Crimson Tide back in 1954?
Right before Christmas vacation I went by Sam Jack Cassidy’s dorm to pick him us for his ride home one Friday. I had three riders in the car that day and they were getting a little uptight waiting for him. When SJ got in the car we asked, “what kept you?” .He said, “oh, I was just talking to Mr. Coffee, he wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas.”

Mr. Coffee, you see, died last week. He was 91. He had the distinction of having attended more Tide football games than anyone else. He watched his first game in 1946 and never missed a game until his death.

I was disappointed in CBS’s description of Nik Wallenda’s successful trek over a portion of the Grand Canyon Sunday evening. Rather than congratulate him on his success they chose to “belittle” his prayers. But give credit to Huntsville, Alabama’s related Discovery Channel connection for letting us hear all of Nik’s prayers. You may remember last year when he walked across Niagara Falls. ABC hushed out much of his praying.

Our Pink Lady this week is Willene Beck. A member of the auxiliary for almost four years, she worked for 25 years as an employee of Atmore Community Hospital. She and her husband Jimmy attend Brooks Memorial Baptist Church regularly. She takes pride in her sons Eddie and Grey and her daughter Susan Speir.

I will have more news of Atmore’s people, places and events next week.

Lowell McGill exam@frontiernet.net.