How Daddy Got Us Our Mother

By Anita Garner                      Teenage Bride – Wedding day

A very short Mother’s Day story.

In El Dorado, Arkansas in 1939, Raymond Jones cooked at a local cafe where Fern Salisbury stopped after school for a Co-Cola. He’d learned to cook in Roosevelt’s CC camp, then took to riding the rails, cooking in town after town, working his way back home to Arkansas.

Fern Salisbury lied about her age (with her Mother’s knowledge) and sang in honky-tonks on the weekend while going to high school during the day. She loved steak and he cooked it well, frying it a special way for her in a huge cast iron skillet, browning the outside the way she liked it.  She ate steak at the cafe counter several times a week.  He flirted while she enjoyed meals like she didn’t have at home.

He started hanging around the honky-tonk.  Turned out he was the best dancer in town.  He danced with all the girls while she sang. Then he danced with her. Then he danced with her mother too, Gramma said just so she would let him keep seeing her daughter.

They married and both my brother and I were born while she was still in her teens.  They gave up dancing because of his new religion but they made music together all their lives and Reverend Raymond Jones (Brother Ray) cooked steaks for his Doll Baby (Sister Fern) in a cast iron skillet that went with us everywhere we traveled.

Depending on who was telling the story, when they talked about falling in love it was either the steaks or the dancing.