You know you’re living in the South when…
YKYLITSW…someone uses the term “corned pigtails” in casual conversation.
I was chatting with Anique the other day about the big traditional Thanksgiving dinner she had planned. She was going to do a big ol’ stuffed turkey, using her Mom’s recipe for the stuffing, and a corned ham glazed with pineapple sauce.
“So what vegetables do you serve?” I asked, wondering what was considered traditional here in coastal North Carolina. She mentioned potatoes and sweet potatoes, and “collards cooked the way my Grandma used to make them, with corned pigtails.”
Huh? I didn’t want to sound like an idiot, but were the corned pigtails a separate dish, or part of the collards?
So I went to the Piggly Wiggly. Next to the collards was a big refrigerated case of things I don’t normally eat. Lard, and fatback (which looked like more lard), and something called “streak of lean” (that also looked like more lard). At the end of the table: A big heap of salted pigtails. But not corned ones.
I went back to Anique once again. “They only had salted pigtails.” She laughed at my inexperience with strange pig parts. “Corned, salted — it’s the same thing.”
YKYLITSW…a black widow spider crawls into your Britta pitcher.
Yesterday morning, I woke up to a heavy frost. Ice on the water bucket told me it had been super-cold overnight. I went out to get coffee from our outdoor kitchen and glanced at the Britta pitcher, which I figured had also frozen.
Our Britta is missing its lid, and there was something black in the top. A big, bulbous spider, curled up, apparently dead from the cold. I stared in surprise at the red hourglass on its — her — abdomen. I’d never seen a black widow before, but I recognized it immediately.
I used a stick to poke her and turn her over. Then I left her there, thinking “Barry has to see this!”
The sun came out, the world warmed, and Barry went over to see my dead spider. When he came back, he asked me, “Was she wiggling when you found her? She’s wiggling now.”
All I could say was, “Eek! Good thing I didn’t poke her with my finger.”
The next time I walked over, she was walking around in the top of the pitcher. The thought of her escaping and running around in my outdoor kitchen was disturbing, so I put a glass jar over her. A few hours later, she seemed dead again, and I capped the jar.
I told my friends I had saved the dead black widow, thinking to send it to someone. They howled with laughter. “Someone you don’t like a lot? How many enemies have you got?” “No, no,” I protested, “maybe a youngster with an insect collection, or…oh, never mind!”
YKYLITSW…signs have appeared in your neighborhood advertising “Flight-Trained Bobwhites.”
I have no idea what these are. Barry says I should call the phone number on the sign, just to find out. I wonder if they’re related to corned pigtails?