Mabel Lewis's Comfort Jell-O


Do you remember the first time you experienced real grief when a beloved relative died? Maybe relatives died in your young childhood, but you simply saw a lot of crying and didn’t really feel what happened. 

My first experience was when "Unk" passed away. I was a teenager. It wasn’t a tragic accident. Great-uncle Lloyd, simply "Unk" to us, was 94, lived at home, and hadn’t experienced ill health. His heart simply gave out. Later I decided his longevity was due to him having "just a snoot" of "medicine" before bed each night. Today we’d call this a shot of whiskey. My people come from Kentucky, remember, so a good bourbon runs in our veins. Sometimes literally.

 Good ol country baptizin 

Young "Unk" with his cousin Edgar Botkins at the "baptizin’ spot" on the Salt River in north Missouri. 

Unk would even tell us he was heading to the store for his "medicine"–really the liquor store, of course. That’s how Baptists lived back in the day. The churchgoers didn’t criticize him: after all, it was his "medicine"!

That morning of his demise, I headed for his home, which he shared with his daughter, Georgia Ruth. Unk and Georgia Ruth had outlived Unk’s wife, great-aunt Laura, and Georgia Ruth’s two siblings. With Unk gone, only Georgia Ruth was left. The living room was crowded with women comforting her, and arriving with food and hugs. Her kitchen table was laden with casseroles, pies, and, of course, desserts made with Jell-O. The talk was the many stories of Unk, some when he was young, both funny and sad. They also each told how they’d heard the news.

4/20/2013 10:01:55 PM

It appears that the issues with the GRIT landing page and comment section has been resolved. I'm looking forward to hearing about what has been happening on your gardening/homestead this last month. May GRIT blogs live and prosper.

Chuck Mallory
2/28/2013 3:34:23 PM

Nebraska Dave, have you ever heard the old rumor that Jello is made from horse's hooves? I have even heard this recently. It isn't true but someone who read my post emailed me and said I "proved" that it was. Well, my piece describes how they make it, but it's made from those things from beef and pork product, NOT horses! If I wanted horse meat, I'd go to Taco Bell! hahaha

2/28/2013 4:04:07 AM

Chuck, I can remember those days as well. Not many people eat jello any more and when they do it comes from the cooler right next to the puddings ready made in packs of four or six single serving sizes. Really, folks don't even have time to make Jello. Come to think of it, I can't really remember the last time I had jello. I see it in the store all the time but just don't think to make some. I might just have to get some Jello and .... (gasp) put some fruit or maybe some grated carrots in it. Have a great Jello day.

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