Here’s One 'Not' For The Birds

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 08:58 AM.

            Miss Ina Odum doesn’t eat chicken. Period! She will tell you in a heartbeat, “Nothing fowl goes into my mouth. Nothing ‘fowl’ comes out of my mouth.” I have explained to her a thousand times that it’s near on to impossible to be a true southern lady (which she is without question) and not experience a Sunday dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and sweet tea.

            Nothing sways her. She prefers fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried scallops and fried green tomatoes. On the many times she has taken me out to eat over the years, the seafood platter with all the trimmings was her usual order. I dutifully point out to her on each and every occasion that all that fried food couldn’t be good for her. It would clog her arteries, raise her cholesterol level, lead to high blood pressure and foul (her word, not mine) up her digestive tract. Maybe she ought to order the baked chicken, or the chicken salad, or the broiled chicken with raw carrots……

            Miss Ina celebrated her one hundredth birthday this week.

            She apparently has done all right without my gastronomical advice. But that doesn’t keep me from pointing out that chicken today might taste a little better than it did in 1918. “Miss Ina, Colonel Sanders has come up with a special ‘eleven herbs and spices’ recipe.” I’ve suggested hot wings, marinated thighs and “Popeye’s”. She just laughs at me.

            Miss Ina is a special treat. She talks about going down to the train station in DeFuniak Springs and handing out bags of food to the soldiers passing through on their way to World War I. She remembers vividly the first airplane that flew over. “What a sight!” she declares ninety years later with still a hint of wonderment in her voice. She can discuss first hand the shenanigans of the Warren G. Harding administration. I asked about Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh. She wasn’t a baseball fan but she was “quite taken” by the exploits of “Lucky Lindy”.

            I wanted to know about flappers and tin lizzies. Again, I got a first hand account of the popular dress of the Roaring Twenties and Henry Ford’s Model-T that put America on the road. Miss Ina wouldn’t make a good spokesman for Goodyear or B. F. Goodrich. She remembers the many cars pulled off to the side with a flat tire on any given trip to town. And the twenties apparently didn’t roar as much in Northwest Florida as they did in other places.    

            “Hoover Days” to her is not some forgotten story in a history book. I asked about getting along in the Great Depression. She wouldn’t blame it on one president or political party. She remembered that money was always scarce. But folks “in her neck of the woods” raised their food so they didn’t feel the squeeze quite like the bigger cities. It’s exactly the same thing my parents said.

1 2 3

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top