Momma yelled across the room, "Frannie Sue, where are you headed?" Frannie Sue was
struggling with a large basket of crowder peas that needed shelling. She was headed toward
the front door.
"Momma, I'm going to set on the front porch and shell these peas," Frannie Sue said. It was
nice of Bertie to give them to us from her garden.
"You mean you're going to sit out there in that cotton frock, with your hair tied up on top
of your head, and you're going to shell peas? What will the neighbors think? You'll look
like a typical hillbilly. This is Georgia and we are civilized people."
"Oh, Momma. You care too much what the neighbors think. We're up on a hill and you cain't
hardly see the house from the road. Besides it's a beautiful day. Why should I stay in the
kitchen shelling peas?"
Frannie Sue was very headstrong and often embarrassed Momma. Momma was well-educated and
acted like a lady. Frannie Sue was well-educated, but somehow all the stereotypical
hillbilly genes were in control of Frannie Sue's nature.
Momma knew Frannie Sue was a good girl. She even went to church faithfully although she sang
off-key. On Sundays she would wear her denim skirt and a cotton blouse with sandals, her red
hair tied up on top of her head with loose strands askew. All Momma's friends and their
daughters came to church in the elegant clothes they bought at Chico's, and they were always
freshly manicured and pedicured. Frannie Sue was an oddity, and she didn't care. Momma
secretly hoped someday Frannie Sue would change and perhaps meet one of the several doctors,
lawyers and accountants in town who were available. But if she kept dressing and acting like
a hillbilly, there was little hope.
Frannie Sue sat in her rocking chair with the bushel of peas at her feet and shelled away,
occasionally stopping to rock a bit and watch the hummingbirds at the feeder. She suddenly
heard a car coming up the driveway and saw that it was the new Pastor.
"Hi, there, Frannie Sue. How are you this lovely day," he called. "Well, I'm just fine,
Pastor Bob. Will you come and set a spell?"
Pastor Bob had been at the church about a month. All the younger women knocked themselves
out making pies, brownies, cookies, and fancy meals as they tried to impress him and get his
attention. Pastor Bob held many degrees and was an eloquent speaker, but few realized he
grew up very poor in the mountains of Appalachia and was hungry for down-home southern
cooking, not the fancy stuff the ladies at the church were constantly bringing to him.
Obviously they all subscribed to Southern Living Magazine which was famous for featuring
"Frannie Sue, those are crowder peas you're shelling," he said excitedly. "What are you
going to do with them?"
"I'm gonna put them in a pot of water, with onions and okra, maybe fresh tomatoes, and make
a nice dish," Frannie Sue answered.
Pastor Bob took a good look at this lady. He knew her mother was a pillar of the church,
very refined and elegant. Frannie Sue sat there in her cotton frock with the purple flowers.
He couldn't help but notice her unkempt but shiny red hair that blew in the breeze. He took
another look at the peas she was shelling and his mouth started to water.
"Frannie Sue, that's going to be a wonderful meal," Pastor Bob hinted.
"Well, stop by tonight after church and I will feed you a dishful with some fresh
cornbread," Frannie Sue replied.
Pastor Bob's eyes lit up at the thought of eating crowder peas and okra with this delightful
Momma was watching from the living room window, but she could not hear the conversation. She
was aghast that Frannie Sue was sitting there shelling peas and looking like a hillbilly in
front of the new Pastor.