I asked Granny Smith, “Are you sure it is five a.m.? I’m so sleepy; I can’t believe it’s time to make breakfast.”
Mom was in the hospital again, this time from a heart attack at age twenty-nine. She had already delivered nine children. Her health was steadily going downhill.
Granny stayed with us, while Mom was in the hospital. She was a short lady with an even shorter temper. Granny wore a plain white apron pinned with safety pins to both sides of her dress. She wore thick stockings and granny-looking black shoes with stacked heels. She used snuff from a little tin can, which I thought was nasty. Even though Granny had a lot of little oddities, she was a responsible lady and expected her grandchildren to be the same.
My dad started working in the mines when he was in the sixth grade. He was a hard working coal miner working the nightshift to care for the family.
Granny told my sister and me, “I never use an alarm clock; I always wake up at five a.m. A hardworking man needs a hearty breakfast; you girls will get up too. You’ll have plenty of time to make biscuits and gravy for your dad before school.”
That one crazy night, Granny got her internal clock mixed up. When I questioned her timing she grumpily said, “Of course it’s five o’clock; come look at the watch and see for yourself.”
I took her up on her offer and said, “The hands are on five and twelve, but it is twenty five past twelve!”
Granny was embarrassed, to say the least about her obvious mistake. She said, “Come on girls, we’ll get a few more hours of sleep before we make the biscuits and gravy.
4 cups milk
5 tbsp. flour (self-rising)
2 or 3 tbsp. of lard
2 tsp. BV (It was available on the Internet by the case. It came in a little jar and was dark brown with a beefy flavor. You can substitute bacon grease, sausage or pan drippings, or lard for the BV.)
Put the flour in the grease, and continue to stir till browned. Pour in the milk, and keep stirring until the gravy is thick, but thin enough to pour over the biscuits.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Iron skillets make great gravy.
Betty Smith is a member of the Point Pleasant Writer’s Guild. This recipe appears in the Guild’s “Recipes and Rememberances” book.