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A look back at families, summer foods

This week, July 22-28, is a time to celebrate foods that taste especially good in the summertime. For this reason, July 23 is National Hot Dog Day and Vanilla Ice Cream Day. But the week as a whole is also a time to celebrate family togetherness. So Friday is Cousins Day and Sunday is Aunt and Uncle Day as well as Parents’ Day. These days obviously don’t generate as much interest as Mother’s and Father’s Day. And few would even be aware of the existence of an Aunt and Uncle Day.

Here are some items from our area’s past that show the importance of each of the above food items or people and why they deserve a special day. The environments in which the foods and fellowship were enjoyed by some were not always pleasant for all of those in attendance at social events.

July 23, 1943–The right to wear a pair of coveted “silver wings” and fly one of Uncle Sam’s swift and deadly fighter planes against Axis enemies has been won by William E. Rodgers, son of Mr. and Mrs. Will R. Rodgers of Hartselle.

July 23, 1886–
Afternoon drives are now in vogue. The liveryman’s pockets will jingle, and the soda water and ice cream man will smile for some time to come.

Aug. 10, 1906–The members of the Hartselle band gave a homemade vanilla ice cream supper on the lawn of the home of Dr. and Mrs. Barclift tonight. A large crowd was present in spite of the rain of a few hours previously, and a neat sum was realized for the band treasury.

July 10, 1909–Meager details of a shooting, which occurred at Valhermoso Springs east of here, have just reached Hartselle. It seems that there was a homemade vanilla ice cream supper at the schoolhouse and that one Plemmons and one Johnson happened to be there, and the two men were not on good terms. Johnson was going up the stair steps that led to the hall above when Plemmons saw him and opened fire. The ball went entirely through Johnson’s back and abdomen. Johnson wheeled and, not knowing who did the shooting, began firing his own pistol. Several ladies, who were in attendance merely to enjoy the vanilla ice cream and were on the stair steps, were shot, two of them seriously.

June 26, 1910–The Hartselle chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, held a most delightful meeting tonight in the Masonic Hall. Several new members were initiated and, after the work of the order was disposed of, refreshments of vanilla ice cream and cake were served.

Feb. 14, 1911–Glen and Lottie Patterson paid their aunt, Mrs. R. L. Sherrill, a Valentine’s visit today. Their relationship is so close it is almost like parent to child.

Feb. 16, 1911–Johnson’s Chapel cemetery is to be the final resting place for the remains of Woody Kirby, a well-known mechanic who was employed in the L&N railroad shops in new Decatur. Mr. Kirby is dead as the result of an industrial accident at his work site last night. After the accident occurred, he was carried to the home of his cousin, where he made his home; they were like brothers. He died at 6 o’clock this morning. Woody was about 29 years of age and unmarried.

Jan. 3, 1915– H. B. Hardwick and his sister, Mary, after spending the Christmas holidays with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Hardwick, have returned to the Southern Christian College at West Point, Miss., to resume their studies. Both son and daughter are very grateful to their beloved parents for making their higher education at a Christian college possible.

Aug. 29, 1940–The young peoples’ department of the First Methodist Church enjoyed a lawn party at the home of George Duncan and Mary Frances McCall tonight. Croquet, table tennis and other games were enjoyed by 32 guests. Later in the evening, delicious homemade vanilla ice cream and cakes were served.