My Pot’s Boilin’ Over and My Fryn’ Pan’s Burnt



It shook the whole house and even separated her four and a half-foot frame from the floor. The rain had been pounding for hours; several pots, strategically placed, kept the leaks contained, for now. But this was different, the house had been hit; smoke and soot flew into kitchen where Edie was mixing oatmeal and syrup into a morning meal for her girls. But before the house had stopped its shaking, her feet flew to the bedroom door stumbling over wet jagged bricks trying to get to where she knew the crib had been. Soot was everywhere; red-hot logs lay smouldering here and there; their intense heat burning her feet as she reached the crib where her babies lay. No sound came; no whimper, no sign of life, she couldn’t lose these babes. Not much more than a year ago they had lost Sonny the day he was born, breathing his last in Pearl’s arms. Pearl wasn’t here today. Edie was on her own to handle the inevitable. Lysander would blame her mercilessly. His teasing was never in jest; always at her expense, he whittled away at her self-esteem as he whittled that piece of wood whenever he had nothing else to do; that state was rare for anyone in the nineteen twenties. Times were tough and getting worse as the end of the decade neared. Lysander had many jobs, as most men, at one time he was the Sheriff of the small town they called home, Bethune, South Carolina. At present Lysander was a blacksmith, a hot messy job. They grew vegetables, had a hog, a cow, some hens and a rooster. They were fortunate to be able to provide the essentials.

Edie had worked forever it seemed, tending to her five brothers and younger sister. A good cook tutored well by Pearl, Edie also learned to sew; she made dresses for her sister and clothes for her brothers. The first suit for each of the boys Edie made with her overworked young hands. Later in life her hands, curled and knotted from arthritis, testified to the intense work. 

Smelling the sugary syrup and oatmeal burning in the pan did not stop a mother’s frantic search for her babies. Edie grasped the rail of the crib and thrust in her shaking hands; her hands came up empty, two pair of bright eyes blinked up at their Mama; then and only then did they set up howls and sobs of terror. Clinging to each other, the twins now reached out to Mama. Scooping them up into her arms, Edie made her way carefully into the kitchen away from the disaster that once was a bedroom. The storm continued railing against the sides of the small wooden home threatening more harm; let that storm do its worst; finding her twins alive banished all fears.

The sun peaking out of the clouds formed a spectacular rainbow; proclaiming Edie’s victory and reclamation of her precious girls. Lysander darkened the door as no thundercloud could. Edie by now had cleaned up the children and they played happily on the floor with wooden spoons; they hit the sides of the overflowing pots of rainwater and squealed with glee.

Edie was in the bedroom they all shared; scrubbing the walls and sweeping the floors, she had succeeded in putting the room to rights, even if the stain of the soot darkened the once bright room. Gone were the burning timbers. Only the bricks remained. Edie had been able to stack them beside the once functional fireplace. Taking in the scene, Lysander took over the cleaning, “I’ll git the chimney fixed; Rupert and Phil kin hep me when the evenin’ works dun.” “Course, I’ll hep ’em, too.” “Town’s a mess. Git muh supper, gal.”

Edie did not dignify his command with a response as she raised up; her tiredness showing not the least; work was her life; she knew nothing else.



Psalm 91:4  God’s Word Translation
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge.
His truth is your shield and armor.



Be Not Dismayed Whate’er Betide
Author: Civilla D. Martin 1904


Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day,
O’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.  Chorus

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.


No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one upon His breast,
God will take care of you.








2 thoughts on “My Pot’s Boilin’ Over and My Fryn’ Pan’s Burnt”

  1. Jan, what a wonderful piece of writing . The life, the near tragedy, the intensity of the search, the cleaning up and supper. This is what I do, I do not do it for you. Thank you for sharing.💐🌹❤️

  2. Thank you, Mel. I have decided to try and record some of my family’s stories. It would help my healing process to remember, reflect, and revisit those days gone by. Thank you for your kind words, Mel. Jan 💞😌💞

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