Peanut butter, crackers never tasted better

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2006

The song &#8220Sweet Home Alabama,” to me, conjures up a lost era.

It's interesting that a group of rockers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, from Florida, who named their band after a old high school gym coach, should pen the anthem more closely associated with our state than any other.

Still, they look like Alabama boys. I own a copy of the band's all-time Greatest Hits, (sad to say it doesn't feature my personal favorite Skynyrd tune, &#8220Tuesday's Gone), and the cover itself features a group of good, old boys who look as if they crawled out of the backwoods of Butler County in the 1970s, picked up a guitar, grabbed a microphone and proceeded to define southern rock as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be forever.

Although much of my formative years (i.e. teenage) were spent in the 80s, I find myself missing the 70s. I guess that's because the 70s - trapped between the peace, love, war of the Woodstock 60s, and the capitalistic yuppie 80s - was an era of freedom. Music ranged from disco to rock to pop to soul, cars were huge gas-guzzling dinosaurs with big engines, which while probably contributing in some way to the ever-disappearing ozone layer, had to be a lot of fun to drive. Clothes were across the board, long hair was in and beer came in heavy, skull cracking cans - not the cheap aluminum of today – with peel off tops.

Remember the Jr. Food Stores?

In Greenville, we had two Jr. Food Stores. One at the hilltop and one across from Beeland Park. I'll never forget the smell or feel of those two places. There was nothing quite like walking into a Jr. Food Store on a summer afternoon, barefoot and sun burnt, with enough money for an ICEE, a comic book and a candy bar.

Kit-Kat, my personal favorite. Still is.

This was before even middle class people could afford a multiple number of air conditioners in their homes. A trip to the Jr. Food Store was like a pilgrimage to Xanudu.

What I miss most about the 70s are all the people who were around me then. Sadly, my grandparents are all singing with the angels. In losing a grandparent or parent, you've lost perfection. Your perfection. Because to them, you'll always be perfect no matter what.

Before church on Sunday, my grandmother, Neva Palmer, probably one of the most loving women who ever walked this earth, used to pack peanut butter and crackers in her purse each morning. For me. Her grandson.

My father hated it. Me munching away on saltines and Skippy as the pastor roared away about fire and brimstone.

Had I understood any of what the good reverend was saying at my young age, it probably would have scared me half to death, a wad of crackers lodging in my mouth as if I had just taken a bite from the Fruit of Knowledge.

But peanut butter and crackers has never tasted the same - or as good - since.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: