Gunny and Dilly met when the Marines transferred him from Tustin, California to Jacksonville, North Carolina. Dilly’s roots run deep in North Carolina, and her tradition, that then included Gunny after they married, was to go to her mother’s people in a rural area near Raleigh for Christmas Day.
In fact, we went with them a couple times. It is a large, loving, ready to include anyone who walks through the door, family. We had a great time with them, and besides the food was fantastic!
The tradition was that while Aunt Hope and the women visited and prepared the rest of the meal in the house, Uncle Dave and the men roasted a hog out in the shed. I never visited “the shed” but that apparently was where the whiskey was kept also, to ward off the cold, they would say. All I know is that the best Carolina barbeque I have ever tasted in my life came out of that shed!
But, one of the times we were there, Aunt Hope and Gunny had an interesting and memorable conversation:
Aunt Hope: “Gunny, now how about a piece of my PEE-can pie?”
Gunny: “That sounds great, Aunt Hope. But, you know, in Indiana we call it p-CAAN pie.”
Aunt Hope: “Hmmm. That’s very interesting. By, the way, how many PEE-can trees do you have in Indiana?”
Gunny: “Good point. Yes, maam. I’d love a piece of PEE-can pie.”
The good-natured laughter that followed, like whipped cream on top, made the PEE-can pie even better.
Good fellowship, good food, good humor — the “secret” ingredients for wonderful family get-togethers at the holidays!