So here we go again, and I’m not sure who all will be featured tonight. I do know Ray will lead off. He seems to have the loudest voice in the family, and tells some of the best stories. Of course, part of that came from Dad’s side of the family also. I’ve never been sure where I fit in because I’m the one that always leaves the openings for the rest of them, and I seem to walk into the traps every time.
Fr. Ray Goetz recalls: I guess all the boys in the family went hunting with Papa at least once (and for a reason I will now share, ONLY once). He carried his old shotgun with the hammer back and his thumb over the trigger. He walked very fast, more like stumbling forward. Best of all, he wouldn’t let you walk in front or to the side. I remember being scared to death watching that barrel pointing at me every time he took another step. That just might be why I never enjoyed going hunting. He would get after me for making too much noise, and then forget himself and whistle as we went through the woods. I also remember helping him shell corn for the chickens. He had an old Sheller in the barn and I loved putting an ear of corn in and turning that crank!
Not sure, but I think, back row are Ambrose, Coleman, Joe, front row, l. to r. Eleanor, Leo, Damien (?), Hubert (?), Vird, Mary, and George (?). As my Uncle Hayman said at one time, it seems only the oldest boys and the oldest daughter had shoes, the rest were barefoot.
Mary Blandford Goetz recalls: On Sundays Mother would try to have a really good dinner. We had fried chicken in the springtime when the chicks were the right size. They tried to get the baby chicks at the time when they would be the right size for our first fried chicken dinner to be on Easter Sunday. With the chicken we would have mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and banana salad. What a treat!!! I guess Mother’s trademark dish was her famous fried chicken. She had a deep 12 x 15 inch pan in which she melted lard to a depth of about 2 inches. She fried about 5 or 6 chickens at a time, by dredging the pieces in a mixture of flour, sale and pepper, then putting them into the very hot lard, and cooking it in the oven until done.
I think all of my cousins will agree with me that Grandmother’s fried chicken was to die for. As long as she lived and was able to cook, she made her fried chicken in the oven, and it was always fried in lard. Since she and Papa both lived to their late 90’s, I think the secret of longevity is not so much in what you eat, but the purity of what you eat, along with the exercise you get by working hard all day the way my grandparents did, and the way my mom and aunts and uncles also did.
Doug Blandford recalls: There was a story Daddy (Leo) used to love telling. Our Uncle Joe’s first wife, Maude, was a rambunctious personality, and so was Daddy, and they used to get each others goat. Daddy took a couple walnuts, freshly fallen from the tree, still in their green outer shells. They were about the size of a baseball! He noticed that one of Maude’s sons, Don or Jerry, was whining, and Daddy saw his chance. He placed both of the walnuts inside the boy’s diaper. Aunt Maude heard the kid whimpering, felt his diaper and saw he needed a change. Well, when she removed the diaper and saw those walnuts roll across the floor Aunt Maude about had a heart attack. Daddy saw the whole thing and had the laugh of his life. Another time he was passing out homemade ice cream to the folks and put lard in Aunt Maude’s bowl. Those two characters are playing jokes in heaven, I’m sure.
I think now you are getting an idea of why I have turned out a bit twisted. With ancestors like these (and cousins like these) how else could I be? But oh, how I love them all.