My Terrible Aunt Sally


Growing up in the South, every summer I attended family reunions on both sides of my family. These were not casual, thrown together events but massive undertakings requiring a state park to accommodate the crowd, the huge quantities of food and all the activities.  I loved them.  Seeing my cousins, being petted by my aunts and uncles, playing games and eating delicious food  was heaven. The women proudly displayed their finest fried chicken, roasts, casseroles and, of course, desserts.  It was our version of the county fair with verbal blue ribbons.

Weeks before, my Mother and her sisters came together in  person to refine the menu and to gossip. Hanging around in the war room, aka Mother’s kitchen, I learned about my terrible Aunt Sally.

Sally came into our family by snagging my youngest uncle (Joe) who was the darling of his older sisters. She was blonde, with brightly painted nails, and a gorgeous figure. She was pretty and fun. So, my ears perked up when I heard the female tribunal in Mother’s kitchen pronounce her to be spoiled and lazy. As one proof among many, they submitted that her kitchen was too clean.  Equating  cleanliness to godliness did not apply in her case when the reason for the sparkle and shine was that she never cooked! Poor Uncle Joe had to forage for food in the bountiful kitchens of his sisters.  Mother and my aunts chewed on that bone for many days!  Over the years, I have forgotten all of Sally’s other transgressions except for one.

Her worst sin was that she brought store bought food to the family reunions.  Then, to insure her descent straight into hell, she brought bread and butter pickles and white bread.  This to a table that was laden with all kinds of home-made breads, biscuits, and muffins.  Of course,  Mother, as the queen of home made, incredibly delicious bread and butter pickles, was aghast that anyone would dare place a jar of store bought pickles near her pickles.  She could not imagine anyone eating them when “perfectly good home-made pickles were available. I mean, good gracious!”

Then, too, making biscuits was a sacred ritual in Mother’s mind.  She made fresh biscuits everyday as well as baked bread weekly.  She would not tolerate “store bought” bread or much of anything that was store bought for her family.  She canned, pickled and froze produce from her garden.  She bought fresh beef on the hoof and had it cut and frozen for the freezer.  When she wanted chicken, she went to her sister’s farm and killed one.  I used to cringe but by the time supper came, I was ready to eat roasted or fried chicken.

As the years  passed and I grew up, went off to college, married and moved away, I seldom attended family reunions. When I did participate, I did not take food since I was still considered a “child” by Mother’s family.  Dodged that bullet because I was not the cook that my Mother and her sisters were!

Sally and Joe parted ways so that bit of drama faded only to be replaced by others. Sometimes I teased my Mother about Aunt Sally.  Was she really that bad?  Mother would give a quick shake of her head dismissing the topic and  me for bringing it up.

Poor Aunt Sally…she probably needed to be a blend of Mother Teresa and Julia Child to atone for her sins!

58 thoughts on “My Terrible Aunt Sally

  1. Poor Aunt Sally! I don’t blame her one bit. You know, Price Rite bread-and-butter pickles are darned good — and I’m proud to eat ’em! 🙂


  2. Dear sweet Sally, *sigh* the jelousies that a band of sisters disguised as women could hold are huge. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she thought she best not compete in case she upset the host of devilishly wonderful cooks. Sally brought food on purpose so they couldn’t criticise, alas poor Sally she done no wrong. A great picture you painted here thank you for sharing.😇

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My goodness, this brought back a memory from way, way back! In my family, it was Aunt Eloise. She had the audacity to be 15 years younger than my uncle. On top of it, she wore *gasp* pants! (Told you this was an old memory.) She was the coolest aunt ever! I was too young to understand what the issues were. And eventually….a decade later, she was forgiven all her transgressions by the other aunties.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. I miss those reunions. Our family is spread all over. How about you? Does your family ever get together en masse? Thanks for reading and commenting on my post. Lori


      1. I, too, miss those reunions. We haven’t had a reunion in a long time. Everyone is so busy or living too far away. We did attend a party for my hubby’s uncle’s 80th birthday. There were lots of family there that we hadn’t seen in many years. 🙂


      2. It’s so much better to gather for a happy occasion such as a wedding or birthday. Some families only get together, it seems, for funerals. I have two family weddings this summer which will be great.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Women! In the kitchen…it is truly difficult to measure up with the matriarchs. What a wonderful portrayal of a family picnic. Yes, poor Aunt Sally….she marched to her own drum. Good for her! Great post as usual, Lori:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I just love this. Everyone has an Aunt Sally in their family, don’t they? I enjoyed reading about your family reunions. Quite similar to mine as I am of Irish descent. All families shouting; arguing and laughing. I so enjoyed them. I loved the way that the making biscuits was so important, but its a ritual and rituals are.
    BTW Lori, I put on 4lbs this week instead of taking it off. I look to you to steer me on the right road… have a super weekend 🙂 and thanks for the enjoyable read


    1. Hi, It’s great that we share similar family history. It was fun to attend the reunions and I miss them.
      As to the 4 lbs …After the holidays and my trip to Mexico in January my jeans were definitely snug. So, I feel your pain!Hang in there.
      Wishing you a super weekend also. Cheers, Lori

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, it is always hard to snag the baby of the family let alone the crown prince. Poor Aunt Sally…. Nice slice of life. I don’t know if you would be interested but please consider joining us at the Senior Salon on Wednesdays.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I taught it in class many times and even directed a school production of it. But after my father died, I couldn’t bear to teach it. I had to leave the class each time the daughter (who has died in childbirth) asks to go back in time for one day and she watches all of the everyday common things going on around her and is marveled by the simple beauty of it all.


  7. Really good story – it reminds me of the kind Garrison Keillor would write – it pokes fun at how really outrageous women can be towards an outsider – but in a gentle humorous way. And it’s so interesting how times how changed. Once when putting together a homemade pitch in salad for a gathering, my husband said, “Just buy something. You work all week, why spend all this time on this dish?” I replied that if everyone just bought something, there wouldn’t be yummy stuff at all. Turns out, I was one of the few who brought something homemade and it was quickly eaten up! To me, cooking for those you love is caring! But I understand that isn’t possible for everyone – especially if cooking is not their thing!


    1. I think it is fun to plan, shop for and prepare something special for my family or guests. I have a friend who always serves things such as frozen lasagna, canned soup, packaged desserts. I like her but don’t care for her cuisine. However, I have to let it go.
      In my opinion, unintentionally, my Aunt Sally challenged the authority of those matrons…
      Thanks for sharing your insightful comments. Lori


  8. We’ve had family get togethers like this. We are in the ‘homemade’ group. The first time I roasted a turkey (28 lbs prior to stuffing), someone brought a boneless turkey breast from the grocery store deli from down the street. I was vindicated though since their turkey never got sliced!

    Liked by 1 person

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