She and her family would come and visit with my in-laws perhaps once a month, spending a weekend as we counted the minutes til three o’clock on Sunday, when they always departed, so as to “be home by dark.” That the hour of departure remained rigid even in the plentiful sunlight of Summer days was a Seasonal Grace granted to those of us who suffered her visits.
They HAD things---a really big house, a huge Oldsmobile, land and a pond and every appliance and electronic device known to man. She dressed beautifully, even in her ‘duster” for First Cup every morning---it was always accessorized with exactly-matching shoes. She wore Capris often, with a shirt-tail-out blouse, either sleeveless, or with the sleeve cuffs ironed into starched creases like the pages of a book. And she smoked. Nobody had any say in her smoking in the house---her reply was always, “Get used to it,” as she swung the umpteenth big old kitchen match through the air and blew little silvery dragon-snorts from her nostrils.
Everybody in the family was sorta afraid of her---her two older sisters, even her parents, and I, mere wife of a nephew---I stayed home as much as possible, letting them “get their visit out,” and just going over there to lend a hand when dear MIL was in need of help or respite.
We gathered at the in-laws for supper one Winter night---I always cooked several dishes at our house and brought with us when we ate with their company, and that night we were having a good hot hearty pot roast supper. My MIL could make the best biscuits in the history of baking, and a big plate of them sat on the table. I always set the table for MIL’s company, making it pretty, and that night I’d put pickles and preserves and jelly into pretty little dishes, and poured the sorghum (a MUST for FIL, when there were biscuits on the table) into a pretty little pitcher.
As the syrup pitcher reached Aint Ruby, she poured a generous pool over her biscuit, then, noticing an errant drop on the pour-lip of the pitcher, she raised it to her mouth, lapped out her tongue, and licked all the way around the pitcher-lip. She passed it on with a big, hearty laugh, as we all looked on in amazement and disgust. And on and on---apparently nobody else really had a taste for syrup that evening, anyway. (And I made sure the remains got poured down the sink before I washed the pitcher).
And, from all the visits, the two things I remember most about Aint Ruby concerned her cooking---she would “help out” in the kitchen, but only to the extent of preparing a dish or two “the way EYE make them.”
In addition to pickle relish in devilled eggs, she added several tablespoons of sugar into the mix, and every bite went crunch. And a cup of sugar into the Cheese and Macaroni, cause that’s how her husband’s Mama made it, and that’s how HE liked it. Good thing---that made ONE who would eat it.
And all the rest of us were jubus of that macaroni.