Wednesday, July 15, 2015




Hey, where's the remote?

Looking boss and out of sight!

Friday, July 3, 2015


 Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte 

It is the 1950’s and the Friday before the Fourth of July.  At our house, this holiday was almost a big as Christmas.  And since it was also the first of the month and payday, the men of the neighborhood would stop off after work to fill their gas tanks, buy their spirits and beers of choice, a carton of cigarettes, and plenty of charcoal for the coming celebrations.  At the same time, the women would get off work and head to the meat market to buy pork ribs and chicken, and then to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the macaroni and cheese, potato salad and deviled eggs that would be the main side dishes for the big day.  The beef that would be laid on the freshly cleaned grills was not included in this last minute buying frenzy because everyone had already bought the cow.

The annual buying of the cow was a tradition in many neighborhoods and ours during those days.  Usually it was limited to 2 or 3 participants per cow to assure the maximum amount of good cuts for the money.  The orders were usually placed in early spring with the proceeds from the tax return, and if one had a small family, beef would be a featured dinner menu item at least once a week for an entire year.  Everyone had an upright freezer in the garage to hold the bounty of steaks, roasts, ribs and what always seemed to be an overabundance of hamburger.

Back then, I knew times were good when I had new skates, the end of June was upon us, and I heard Mommy say to Daddy, “ Mr. Crenshaw is going to deliver the cow on Tuesday.”   Then Tuesday would arrive and Mr. Crenshaw would pull up to the front of the house in his white paneled van filled with his cow deliveries for the day.  We would all run out to the curb, and Daddy would roll out the wheelbarrow, check his neatly stacked order, and along with Mr. Crenshaw, begin to unload.  We helped by carrying whatever did not fit into the wheelbarrow into the garage.  Mommy would instruct us on how to load the packages into the freezer; roasts on one side, ribs in the middle and hamburger in one of the separate bins.  When the last blast of cold air escaped as we closed the lid on that full freezer, we felt prosperous and secure.

Soon the preparations for the big day would begin. Although we were in an urban setting, it was not unusual to see a fire pit being dug in someone’s backyard and spits being erected by the resident bbq engineer.  If the party was at our house, as it often was, Daddy and his friends would begin cooking the night before. The night air would be filled with their laughter punctuating the stories they would tell, along with the sweet smells of mesquite and Daddy’s secret sauce.  We would be “on call” to bring Daddy the forks, spoons, pans, and seasonings he always forgot and would request one by one.

On the holiday, our backyard would be filled with people coming and going from the early morning to the dawning of the next day.  We ate, laughed and danced to the music of the times and tunes from back in the day. The aura coming from those parties would sometimes draw strangers who were just passing by or neighbors we had not yet met.  It seemed everyone wanted to be a part of the magic.

We moved twice after the first party I remember in the 1950’s and in different backyards, Fourth of July bbq’s continued at my parent’s house for more than 25 years.  During that time, sons-in-law, grandchildren, disc jockeys and live bands would be added the mix.  Somewhere along the way, the tradition of getting together to buy the cow would disappear.  But as long as they were able, many of the same people who joined in that purchase in the 1950’s joined with us in the backyards of the 1960’s and 1970’s. 

 And each year, with the stars and stripes waving in the gentle summer breeze and the fireworks exploding in the night sky, we were happy to be together, once again.

 Excerpted From 
"A Dollar Five-Stories From A Baby Boomer's Ongoing Journey"

copyright©2014 by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

Available at and other major booksellers