This is a story that Dad told me last year at Thanksgiving... I tried to capture how he told it as best i could...
Daddy was the oldest of 7or 8 siblings, and Daddy had to quit school help raise the family. My grandmother depended on Travis. The same thing happened to Momma. There was two Wileys, Ida and Frank. Momma's daddy, Vess Wiley, died when she was 6 months old. Momma's mother, she was a Kimbral, married Leander Terry. Momma called him Papa Terry, and he was the only daddy she ever knew. They had a bunch of children, I think 7 or 8. Well, Momma became the mother figure when her mother died. I told Betty, they'd come to our house at Christmas because going to Ida's was going Home. And my daddy, even with all those step-brothers and half-brothers coming in, made sure that there was plenty of food and that everyone was taken care of. Their lives were tough. Momma was in the 5th or 6th grade when she had to quit school too,and she became the mother figure of that family.
I know how much all of them loved her. Ida was just...... I've heard story after story from all my cousins about going to Ida's for Christmas Dinner. I told one in Sunday School the other day that liked to tickle everyone to death. Bobby was my red-headed first cousin, he Is deceased now, but he always used to help me with things over here or over yonder, he was a good electrician... Betty just loved him. Me and him and a couple of boys from work built that building out behind our house when we lived on Puckett... Well Bobby worked with me at Monsanto, and we'd work Christmas. You'd have to ask off for Christmas, and lots of time the older folks would get time off. So we would work on Christmas and lots of stuff would be shut down and not a lot of supervision would be there. We'd just sit around and eat and talk... Every year, they'd say, "come on, Bobby Red, and tell us about going to Aunt Ider's!" he'd tell the story about going to eat at Maw Ider's and the kids getting their plates and having to sit on the floor and eat. One of the favorite desserts that everyone would look forward to was the Poor Man's Cake. Maw Ider would always tell Bobby to get a small piece since it was everybody's favorite. He would watch all the adults going thru and getting their food and wait til all of them got theirs and then he'd always go back for another piece. What was so special about going to Iders was that there was so much food! There was a table from here to way over yonder full of nothing but desserts! Poor Man's Cake, Caramel Cake, Coconut Cake, fried apple pies, potato pies... Everything you could imagine... Poor Man's Cake had big ol Muskat raisins, English walnuts and pecans in it... It was kind of a dark cake like a Molasses Cake... It had thick caramel icing with half of an English Walnut on the top.
He'd tell about us playin in the barn, lookin out the winders, fallin in the hay, and cob battlin'... See, when you fed the horses, you'd put whole ears of corn in there and the horses would eat the corn and leave the cobs... We'd soak the cobs in water and throw 'em at each other... Man, they'd sting.... That was cob battlin'... We'd play all day and then Ider would start hollerin' for us to come in and eat again! And we'd go eat again! Ider would give little toys to all the kids... For years she gave all of em dollars. Jean and Boot's boys would call it the "Big Nickel". Go to grandmas and get the big nickel! Ha! Yeah, Bobby said he would always think as they were driving away, "Dad-gummit, it'll be another year til we can go back for Christmas Dinner again..."