My maternal great-grandmother Lovey had classic gentle southern manners and tried to instill them in her brood of six. They often left the supper table still hungry during the Depression years. It was later as an adult that my Grandma Jenny realized the stomach pain she frequently experienced as a child was due to hunger. Once, great-grandpa stole a neighbor’s chicken for dinner. Precious money could not be spent on bullets, so he often hunted for rabbits with a stick.
Though ravenous, manners and grammar were still important at the table. “Pass the ‘taters please,” said one of the boys.
Grandma Lovey took a deep breath, looked directly at her child, and calmly stated in her slow, southern drawl, “Son, how many times do I have to tell you?……Them’s not ‘taters’, them’s PO-taters.”