You know how certain smells can bring back wonderful memories of child hood. Cigar smoke brings back some of my fondest memories of my grandfather. Like many men of his generation, he smoked cigars. When I was young, my grandparents had a large tobacco farm in Marlboro County. (Yes, for those of you not from our part of the world, most of the cigarettes got their names from local tobacco growing areas such as Winston-Salem, Marlboro county, etc. ) I digress.
Besides being a big successful farmer, my Granddaddy was a very big hunter, especially birds. And, he had lots of friends who enjoyed hunting with him on the farm and he was very generous with his invitations for them to join him. Of course after an early morning of hunting duck or doves (depending on the season) the men would be hungry. My Grandmama, being the ultimate southern hunter's wife, would have a bountiful breakfast spread waiting for them. I can remember being there as they came in, with their hunting dogs in the yard and their muddy boots on the porch. (They knew better than to wear them in the house.) Of course, the local game warden would usually happen to "drop by" just in time for breakfast. But nobody minded, because he was a local good 'ol boy and was as welcome as everyone else.
They would all sit around the big dining room table, enjoying the meal and talking for an hour or so afterwards. I was always happy to help Grandmama serve and clean-up. She was a good teacher. Although she never could teach me how to make those biscuits, I did learn how to set a table, cook eggs and grits, set out the large serving dishes, and silently remove the plates after everyone had finished eating but were still talking and enjoying their cigars. I learned some valuable lessons from her about handling large groups for a meal. But most importantly, I learned what the limit was for dove season and how to hide the burlap sack of those extra birds that just happened to be on my Grandmama's back porch.
Like I said, she was the ultimate southern hunter's wife.