Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.
I’m cooking my mama’s cornbread recipe today and remembering her humor and wisdom. I don’t know what she’d say about this topsy-turvy time, but I do know she’d find a way to laugh, even in the sorriest of times.
As she grew old and surrendered driving, people took to bringing her “gifts” of all sorts to lift her spirits. Figs by the bucket load and dewberries arrived. She made preserves and cobblers and everything she could think of not to waste the commodities. She got pillows embroidered with platitudes which she re-gifted to people who might be appreciative. She even got rattlesnake rattles that she truly liked. After she died, we found them among her treasures along with dirt dauber nests and “very good” telephone pole insulators.
I think these days about what she might have gotten. Probably more blue bottles for her tree to ensure good luck during this rough patch. Probably more buckeyes for the same reason. (You know you have to rub them on your nose and get your oils on them so they know they belong to you.) She likely would have handed out those buckeyes so others might share the hope of good fortune during this time.
I know she would have worried about her family, now all gone except for me.
But I expect, when this dark curtain rose again, she would have gone right straight to Hancock’s BBQ in Selma. She would have ruched the paper from her straw, dripped a droplet of sweet tea on it, and turned it into a slithering snake. Because it would be time to laugh again.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Dilcy Windham Hilley
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