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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Black walnuts and chunks of ice a childhood treat

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It is still the summer of 1938, school is out and it is glorious. I am wandering around looking for something to do when I hear my Mama holler and say, "Marilyn, would you like some black walnuts to crack and eat?" Boy would I.

I love those dudes. Black walnuts have a hard green hull on them, and they have to turn brown and black and get real soft and mushy, then begin to dry, before you can hull them. Then they come off fairly easy. But, if you aren't careful they will stain whatever they touch, your hands, your clothes, everything. So Mama always tries to make sure I have my very old clothes on.

She hands me a small pan of walnuts and a hammer, and I sit down on the sidewalk and begin to crack off the black hulls. Once that dirty job is done, it is time to get down to business and start cracking them with the hammer.

I am sure you know where I am going with this. By the time they were all cracked, I had hit "most of my fingers" several times with the hammer. I really looked pretty pathetic, and my black walnuts had specks of blood on them. Then the fun would begin.

Mama always gave me a big horseshoe nail to pick the nuts out. Mama always knew this would keep me out of mischief for quite a spell. She was right about that, as you all know black walnuts are the worst nuts in the whole world, bar none, to pick out, but I was on a mission and the fruits of my labor would be a wee small bowl of those delectable, very tasty nuts.

Finally I was finished, and I took my bowl of nuts and sat in the tire swing and had me a feast.

By this time I heard one of my very favorite noises; it was the ice truck coming down the street. Everyone knew the sound of the ice truck.

I looked at our front window, and sure 'nuff, there was the ice card in the window. I fairly flew out to the street and sat on the curb.

The first one to get there had a good chance of getting a wee small piece of ice that had broken off, and I even had my empty nut bowl to put the ice in.

What a treat to wash down the black walnuts with. I would suck on it, hoping it would last forever. Boy, if there was anything better than a piece of ice in the summer, I sure didn't know what it was.

The ice man brought up a big hunk of ice with his ice tongs, and Mama had the door open. He plunked it down in our ice box. Just guessin' it must have weighed about 50 pounds.

Those were the good ole' days.

Marilyn Miller
The Old Grey Mare