We get by with some knowledge and assistance

Published 2:45 pm Saturday, July 16, 2022

Years ago, working on the Ole Miss Campus, home for Thanksgiving, hero mom “Gert” walked me through making a pumpkin pie from scratch – starting with a real pumpkin, making pie crust from dough, rolling it and all that – sipped a wee tipple of wine, laughed and laughed, so fun, and was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten … well, beside hers.

Mother was an excellent cook, made a wide variety of meals, ingredients mostly from the large garden of her mom and dad’s farm (grandma and grandpa’s) a few miles outside of town within sight of the mighty Mississippi River in southeast Missouri – and to this day can’t eat most of the meals she cooked because no one can make it as swell as she did.  

Of the many items on “can’t eat” list was Gert’s apple pie from the farm’s June tart green apples, crisp, flaky, crust made from scratch … until Scotland, September 2009, when then fiancé’s mum, almost Scottish mom so like Gert, made an apple pie from green apples in a tree in their back yard which looked and tasted just like Gert’s … unreal, but oh well. 

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Mother never looked at a recipe book for anything she cooked because she had done it so often.  Now, having made that pumpkin pie with her years ago, should I desire to make another from scratch – I would have to study her recipe book, make a list from A to Z on what to do, search the internet, U-tube videos, talk to my kitchen friends, gather ingredients, and it would take so many hours of apprehension that I probably wouldn’t do it. 

Working on my vast number of projects requires knowledge and experience, like wrenching on my 1971 MGB-GT purchased new, and through the years have found people like Moss Motors in Vermont with vast knowledge of these UK cars for parts and advice that has helped me immensely, plus just doing it myself, so what took hours the first time, could do again in half the time – and MG that I’ve had since new, 1971 to 2022, can leave me a wee bit daft to remember how I did stuff – like last week rebuilding the right rear drum brake done by a tire shop many years ago, all wrong, took me a dozen hours of research to figure out the proper way – but can do left side now in a couple hours because of that experience.

When I bought my 1964 Land Rover Series IIA in August 2014, didn’t know anything about these classic Brits, but after getting parts from literally all over the world, picking heads of experts from Canada, England, Scotland, so many other world places, found Rover guys in Oregon and Vermont with a large assortment of used and new parts, and because this was all they did – saved me hours and hours of time and major mistakes by their knowledge and experience.

Last winter, having problems with the furnace in my house built in 2000, asked our St. John’s Office Manager, Terry Richmond, who we used for such repairs and said her realtor husband Basil liked the work of Shane Escue, made an appointment, and because of his years of experience, in an hour Shane sorted the issue, new circuit board, done, fixed!

In 2015, fridge freezer back wall iced up – hours of research, ordered a defrost timer, heater, thermostat, hot air gun to defrost, put parts on April 28, 2015 – and I fixed!  Then these last couple of weeks, the back freezer wall again iced up, agh, figured it was the defrost heater but was so tired of these projects said, “Enough – I’m not doing this again!”

So, on Monday, July 11, to my friends at Sears, Melissa and Avery to buy a new GE fridge from their stock!  But first, put all this in God’s hands because I was so frustrated and needed help.  Right off, Melissa said they didn’t have a side-by-side fridge they could sell other than a Whirlpool for $1600, plus tax, plus $85 to bring to house, get rid of old fridge, and the GE I wanted, although cheaper, couldn’t be here until July 28!

In front of Melissa, said a prayer out loud to God for help, and bam – in front door walked Tim Aldridge, of N. MS, Appliances, and Melissa said, “This is who you need to talk to,” and made appointment for Wednesday, July 13, 8:30am, 

Was pretty sure the defrost heater was shot, and with all his knowledge and experience, in an hour Tim replaced the perished defrost heater, thawed the thick ice, and it was fixed!  

And since 1988 when I moved to Oxford to work on our Ole Miss Campus, complete my Ph.D., found friend and mentor Bub Brannan who is always there for me and has helped me immensely all these years by his knowledge and experience! 


Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.