What's the big deal about Young Living

Grandma’s Skillet

Whenever I use my grandma's old black iron skillet, like I did last night, I think about all the food she must have prepared in it. My mind goes back to the many days I spent at her house.

My grandparents lived their lives in the same house where my dad and his brothers grew up. It was a tiny frame house with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a small living room and kitchen. A creek ran beside the house and there was a well and a barn in the back.

Papa was born in 1910 and was the 11th of 12 children. The oldest child was Eldred and the twelfth was Finus. As in finished. Done. That's it. I guess somehow my great grandma just knew.

Grandma was a little younger than Papa, but I could never remember the year of her birth.

She taught me to crochet and let me sew doll clothes on her old treadle sewing machine. It was the same machine she had used to make clothes for my dad.

She kept Mercurochrome in her bathroom medicine cabinet for cuts and scrapes. She called it "Monkey Blood" and it could cure most anything that ailed a little girl.

Whenever I would visit, my sisters and I would find sticks and Grandma would give us some string (she always seemed to have string), and a piece of raw bacon or bologna. We would tie the string to the stick and tie the meat to the string and run down to the creek with our homemade fishin' poles and an empty coffee can to catch us a mess o' crawdads.

We had read that crawdads were called "crayfish" by some, but we didn't want to be accused of puttin' on airs, so we stuck to crawdads. They would pinch onto the meat with their claws and we would pull them up out of the water and hold them over the can until they would drop in. Occasionally, one would drop before we got it over the can, and then we would all squeal and try to get it in the can without getting our fingers pinched.

After we filled up our coffee can with crawdads, Grandma would fry up the tails in butter in that old black skillet, and we thought we were pretty important to have caught our own dinner.

I drank my first Coke at Grandma's house. It was from one of those little bottles with a cap you had to take off with a bottle opener. It made my eyes water, but I liked it.

At bedtime, which was always about sundown, no matter the time, Papa would have a big glass of buttermilk with crushed up crackers and salt and pepper. I always had one, too, and I still like to have a glass now and then.

The last time I went to the house, after Grandma's funeral, I noticed how small the creek looked. There were no rapids like I had remembered. Just a few ripples here and there. It wasn't very deep, either, and I marveled at how I had always been afraid of falling in as a child.

There was a new housing development across the street where there had been fields of cotton before. So much seemed to have changed. I wondered if there would be any other little girls or boys who would spend hours down at that creek, gazing into the rippling waters, and squealing with delight over a crawdad on the end of a string.

Those were simple times filled with awe and wonder. Wonder over a crawdad's claws. Wonder over how a sewing machine could work simply by moving my feet back and forth on the treadle.

I love using that old black skillet.

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  1. It’s it just wonderful to reflect on our heritage. You’re grandma sounds just wonderful. I’m sure someday, your grandkids will look that fondly upon you too.

    BTW – our creek didn’t have any crawdads, we just caught minnows.
    You must’ve been living the high life.

  2. Those are wonderful memories, Connie. Isn’t it funny how our perspective changes from when we are a child to when we are grownups, though? Houses that I used to think were huge are really quite small.

  3. How neat to be able to have and use your grandmother’s skillet!

    I remember Mercurochrome. My mother used it when I was a child, and I remember being mortified by the orangish-pinkish stains that it would leave! lol!

  4. What a sweet story. I too remember Mercurochrome and we called it monkey blood too! I remember my sister would blow as my mom put it on or I would do it for her. That stuff did sting. Do they even sell it anymore???? Elizabeth

    • @Liz,

      I remember ‘Monkey Blood’ too. I was at the store the other day and guess what? You can still buy ‘Monkey Blood’ and wonder of wonders. . .you can get it in Clear, now!! Wow!!!
      My Mother used Monkey Blood on us. . .but Grandma used alcohol on just about every cut or scrape. She was an RN and swore by it. . .must have worked, we never got any infected cuts.

  5. A Hopeful Hollar says:

    What a delightful joy to read. Thank you for taking the time to share your sweet memories with us!

  6. I too have my grandma’s old cast iron skillet, I use it every day. Grandma and Grandpa had a house and farm, and she was always making huge meals for anyone who was around. There are sweet memories of her warm hospitality to all who came to her door. I sure do miss her.

  7. The Estrogen Files says:

    I love memories of my gramma like that. She is such a blessing and though still alive, too far away to see often.

  8. I remember monkey blood! I can’t really remember the last time I saw it being used, but I think the school nurse had some when I was in elementary school.


  9. Headmistress, zookeeper says:

    Beautiful. (Psst- I still have some mercurochrome)

  10. I could have written that post right down to using my grandmother’s skillet and thinking of the thousands of meals she must have cooked in it (I long for just one more piece of her fried chicken) to catching our own food–fish or dove or quail or rabbit–I was hunting with my granddaddy before my age reached double digits. He’s been gone 16 years and she 18 months. I wish they could see these beautiful, wonderful great-grandchildren of theirs. I miss them.

  11. I’m so glad I found your blog. Of course, I’ve spent way too much time reading old posts tonight. :-) I have a cast-iron skillet very similar to the one you show in this photo. My great-grandmother left it to my momma who gave it to me. I love cooking in it and thinking of her hands touching the same handle.

  12. Lori Lynn says:

    What sweet memories! They have brought tears to my eyes!

  13. I don’t have any stories like that surrounding my cast iron skillets, but I love them all the same. lol And I LOVE dutch babies! Yum!

  14. Great story! Reminds me of growing up with my grand-mother. She cooked everything in a big old black cast-iron skillet. Little did she know she was doubling the healthy iron content of the food she served her family…

  15. I remember catching crawdads at your grandma’s house too. So fun. My grandma had a storm drain ditch in front of her house that amazingly would get crawdads in it too when the rains were hard. Fun memories.

  16. I just saw this pinned on my pinterest homepage, and just had to share that I also have my grandmother’s skillet, my memories of her are more sad, my memories of my grandfather much kinder, and thoughts of how many meals she burned on that skillet make me laugh, she was an aweful cook:D I just hope I do better, heehee… My grandmother would have been born sometime in the 1920’s and they had a small 3 bedroom 1 bath home, I cried when my grandmother sold it. I get nostalgic every time I pass through the town it was in. Your post reminds me that I should be sharing more stories of my grandparents with my kids, maybe especially around the pan I have to remember them with.

  17. Betty Payne says:

    Connie, I love the story. I knew your Grandparents and they were true people. They loved their family and it showed. I have three of my grandmother’s cast iron skillets I cook in them often. I can fry an egg in the small one with out any grease it is so well seasoned. I love to make my cornbread in one of them because the edge of it is golden and crisp. Keep sharing your stories with us and your children.