Way Down South, Heavenly Rolls, and Finally a Daughter

finally-a-daughter

Way Down South, Heavenly Roll, and Finally a Daughter is a unique story. At 22 years old and pregnant with my first child, I wanted a daughter.  As a child, my goal was not to own my own company, or break any records, or blaze new trails. No women’s-lib for me. I wanted to be a Mom and a homemaker.  My favorite toys were always baby dolls and kitchen toys and ironing boards with toy irons… anything related to home-making.   So here I was in college accounting classes, working full-time, married, pregnant, and in a home of my own.  Life was good.

I’ll never forget the day my first child was born. I was “uncomfortable” and “crampy,” but was it labor?  I didn’t know.  So I paced.  Our home was tiny, so it didn’t take long to walk from one end to the other.  I would walk to the back and into my bedroom, standing there for a moment considering if I should try straightening up a little.  But, once I stopped walking, the cramps would start again, so I would turn and walk to the front.  The 2nd bedroom was at the very front and had a large window where I would stop to gaze at the shop to be sure this baby’s Daddy was still there – we might be taking a trip to the hospital….but not yet.  So I would turn and pace back to our bedroom.  Back and forth I paced for what seemed like hours.  By noon, when I had to stop in the kitchen and hold on to the table in the middle of most trips, I decided we might need to go to the hospital.

A healthy baby to add to our small family and life would be perfect.  And I was sure, this baby was to be a girl.  There was really no big hurry, because Ryan Alan Williams wasn’t born until 7pm.  And guess what?  He was a boy!  I brought a beautiful pink and yellow sundress for this much anticipated baby to wear home.  These days it seems like pregnant women have sonograms every week, and even though they were very common when I was pregnant that first time, we didn’t have insurance.   Without insurance, we just couldn’t justify the cost of a sonogram, so we did it the old-fashioned way.  And here I was with a beautiful baby boy and a pink sundress not at all fitting for a first trip home.  Luckily, my boss, Gwen McKee, came for a visit to the hospital and brought a gift of an adorable blue jumpsuit.  It was so big it practically swallowed Ryan whole, but at least it was not pink and yellow with cute purple flowers.

This year, I’m getting to experience another joy of having sons… the daughter-in-law.  Ryan and Shelbie were engaged in December and plan to wed this October.  I’m already infatuated with the idea of a daughter-in-law.  We progress cautiously, the beautiful girl and I… still unsure of our roles as this is a first for both of us.  I look forward to the years going forward and learning more and more about Shelbie, because I like the things I already know… she’s caring and sweet and a hard worker and smart and tough enough to rein my sometimes head-strong son when necessary.

I know we’ll make it work because we both love the same guy.  And I love the way my son is when he is with Shelbie. Nicholas is now 15 and Ryan is almost 22 – about the age I was when I had him.  And though I wanted a girl all those years ago, I wouldn’t change anything.  My boys have brought so much joy to my life that I can’t imagine a single second without them.  Yes, there have been tough times…  four wheeler wrecks, emergency trips to the hospital, lots of “boy attitude,” ball games won and lost, girlfriend heartaches, and so much more. As you know, the good times far out-weigh the bad.  And for as much as I love my two boys, it feels great knowing how much they love me.  Being a Mom truly is the best job in the world.

Six years and a few months after Ryan was born and pregnant with my 2nd child, I was sure it was a girl.  This time, however, I was smart enough to bring two outfits.  After being induced because this stubborn child was more than a week late, and after spending all day waiting and waiting for the baby to come, it was finally time.  It wasn’t long before Dr. Ingram announced, “It’s a boy!”  Wait.  Back up.  I managed to raise myself up, look at him, and say, “You better look again.”  He laughed and said, “Honey, I don’t have to look again. It’s a boy!”

If I didn’t already love her enough, this past weekend, Roger and I were traveling – no surprise there – in South Louisiana and decided to tack on a few days on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Our sweet Shelbie, who works for a major hotel chain, went out of her way to be sure we had the best room.

When we travel, the two things Roger and I love best are stopping at antique stores and eating at locally owned restaurants.  On this trip, we were headed to an antique store and saw a sign for Prejeans Restaurant.  I could remember Gwen talking about how good it was so we decided to stop.  It was outstanding!  We had gumbo and shrimp, but the best part was the hot fresh rolls.  I’ve never had anything quite like them – I thought they were almost biscuit-like, but Roger disagreed.  They were slightly crusty on the outside and tender on the inside.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to track down a recipe for their roles so if anyone has one, send it to me!  In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with my favorite home-made roll recipe.

My Favorite Yeast Rolls

2 (¼-ounce) packages dry active yeast
1 quart warm water
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon salt
7 to 9 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oil

Add yeast in warm water combined with sugar, and set aside 10 minutes until yeast is completely soft. In a separate bowl, combine powdered milk, salt and about 5 cups flour.  When yeast is ready, add oil and mix well.  Combine with powdered milk and flour mixture.  Add additional flour, a little at a time, until it gets to the right consistency — not too sticky (needs more flour) but not too heavy (too much flour). Treat inside of large bowl with oil.  Add dough and turn to coat with oil.  Set in a warm, dry place to rise to double in size.  Pinch ping-pong-sized portions of dough and place on a treated baking pan.  Set aside to rise again, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350° and bake 15 to 20 minutes or fully cooked and golden brown.  Makes about 3 dozen large rolls.

Originally Posted: March 26, 2014