A Rena Lara Easter
There is nothing like going home. This past weekend, I went to Rena Lara, Mississippi. Population- 97. This is one of the places I consider "home". My grandparents have lived here for over 80 years. Every Summer growing up, I remember our family trips to the Delta (the flat lands). We would wake up early to go fishing with grandad on a lake connected to the Mississippi River. We would play with our cousins, watch every Disney movie, and eat the best food in the world.
My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago and I miss her so much. This visit last weekend, I had the opportunity to cook in her kitchen. It was surreal. As I woke up that morning to see the sun rise from her kitchen window, childhood memories came flooding back. I remember being so small that I had to look up at my barely 5 foot tall grandmother as she cooked. I remember her long, skinny cigarette hanging out of her mouth as she punched the biscuit dough with her hands. Her laugh was raspy, southern and totally infectious. I definitely inherited her curly hair that would bounce on her head every time she got to laughing really hard.
One of my favorite food memories is her rich, fluffy angel biscuits. It's a mix between a biscuit and a yeast roll and it is absolutely divine. Tony whipped some of these up for our Easter feast and trust me it will not be the last time we eat them.
I had the chance to get out on the river and fish with my grandfather. My grandfather is the kindest man in the world. I truly believe that. No one is so honest, compassionate, loving and hard working. Ever since I was a child he has taught me the value of putting others before yourself. Even this time when I went to visit, he was so grateful that I cooked for him. He even joked that he was being a terrible host, letting me cook for him.
We were watching The Wheel of Fortune the last night I was in town. This was my grandmother's favorite show. I swear that she got every single answer right! As the show came to a close my grandfather reached over and got a small box that contained notecards. He started reading from the cards. It was amazing! Apparently for years he has kept notecards describing days in his life. It was sort of like a journal. The cards talk about how many fish he caught from one day to the next. They described how he would catch so many, that my grandmother would have to bring extra coolers to him out on the lake to fit all the fish! Some days it would be hundreds! Brim, Bass, Croppy. It was so special to have a glimpse into his life in this way. I never wanted that moment to end.
Tony and I also had the privelege of attending Easter Sunday at Rena Lara Baptist Church. My grandfather has been the music director here for my entire life. I remember as a child I would always sing a special when I was in town. That was so much fun! Even though my grandfather is much older now, he had so much spirit leading the hymns! I loved that he picked up beat, joyful hynms to celebrate Resurrection Sunday! I loved seeing him sing and lead.
According to my grandfathers records, September looks like much better fishing than we had this visit. I hope Tony and I can get back out to fish with him then. I loved this trip. I can say without hesitation that I have the most amazing family in the world.