There’ll always be baby links on the stove at Easter

Published 1:18 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

When I started my grocery list, baby link sausage was the first item I added.

For decades, our Aunt Libby hosted a large family gathering on Easter Sunday. Every year, she’d cook canned biscuits, baby links, scrambled eggs, and grits for those who also spent Saturday night with her. And she always left the extra biscuits and sausage on the stove.

The men folk soon learned that they could slip to her kitchen and get a snack while we waited on someone to fetch the fried chicken, or when a family member was a bit late arriving for her picnic lunch.

Weeks ahead of that Sunday, Aunt Libby would drive not to the grocery store, but to Kelley Foods in Elba to pick up her sausage at the plant.

And then, a terrible thing happened. Kelley Foods went and complied with a new law and changed the packaging. Abracadabra, the package had wording about the sausage having been pre-cooked.

She was having none of it. That was not the sausage she wanted. Despite her demands, she could not convince anyone to produce the “uncooked” sausage she wanted.

She turned to my father, who lives in Elba, certain he could find the right product in his own town. When he delivered the same thing she had rejected at the plant with an explanation that they had only changed the wording, she sent that “pre-cooked” stuff home with him.

My baby brother worked there. He, too, failed Aunt Libby’s test.

And then she sent Mr. Honey on an errand in Elba. Back he came with the same sausage she’d rejected three times, only he bought a lot of it. He also was smart enough to deliver it on a day when she was in her happy place, getting the yard ready for the annual picnic.

“Aunt Libby, the reason you couldn’t find your sausage, is they only sell it by the case now,” he told her. “So I broke the case down and put it in Ziploc bags where you can manage it.”

Oh, the praises! Mr. Honey made such a friend that day, he even got mentioned by name in her will. Every year after that, getting the sausage was Honey’s job.

“He seems to be the only one who can get it right,” Aunt Libby said, never failing to add the names of those who couldn’t to her story.

She has gone on to her reward, and our gathering this weekend will be much smaller. I promised some family members if they’d come to Andalusia, there’d be sausage and biscuits on the stove when they got here and ham and fried chicken on the buffet, just like always.

If she can look down and see us, she’ll be proud. And if she figures out she was duped back here on earth, she’ll be waiting at the pearly gates for Mr. Honey, shaking her finger and scolding him for bringing the wrong sausage.

Happy Easter to you and yours.



Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.