Daddy’s Deal

I made Daddy’s Deal on Superbowl Sunday morning, a recipe from Southern Sideboards that is much like a baked pancake. Melt 1/2 cup butter (I can’t bear this much!) in a baking dish. Mix 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and pour over the butter. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Serve with confectioner’s sugar or syrup, pure maple, of course. It’s a longtime favorite. I made it when my kids were little. A bit of nostalgia here.

I don’t know why they call it Daddy’s Deal, though.

On Superbowl Sunday, as I pull for Eli and the Giants, I can’t help but think about his daddy and an article I got from an old classmate via email a few days ago. Eddie sent “The Hometown Archie Once Knew Is No More” by Billy Turner, staff writer for the Times Picayune. Drew, Mississippi, is Archie Manning’s hometown. The story is a bleak reminder of how “times and towns change.” Unfortunately, towns all over the Mississippi Delta have dried up, boarded up downtown storefronts, and now sit in sad decay. “At one point, Drew had more cotton gins than any town in America. Now, there’s one. There’s some corn, some beans, but mostly, there’s no business.”

Mama taught school in Drew for 30 years, and I went with her for part of elementary and junior high. I was in Archie’s class. I took piano lessons from Mrs. Showers right after him. Now, I like to tell the story of how in seventh grade, someone told Archie I liked him. He came up to me and said, “I don’t like no girls.”

He did like baseball and football, though, and played on the high school team when he was eleven or twelve.

Mama saw the changes come to Drew, when “desegregation fought its way into town 40 years ago at the high school, and almost immediately the town’s white residents headed to North Sunflower Academy, re-creating segregation in another form. Today, the high school where Archie Manning walked the halls, where he first scrambled out of trouble on the football field, where he learned to bat left-handed, is made up of 90 percent African-American students. Residents said ‘they’ do what they do and ‘we’ do what we do.”

Drew, back in the day, was a perfect piece of Americana with one main street that had a drugstore with a soda fountain and a nice dress shop — Frehling’s, where many of my dresses came from — and a bank where Mama borrowed money for me to go to Europe. The high school, a few blocks from downtown, had tall shade trees out front and sat in the middle of a neighborhood of nice old houses. A bit of nostalgia here. But that place no longer exists.

The “football stadium is symbolic of that change. It once was filled as Manning was rolling out right and either passing or galloping down the field. This season the stands were nearly empty on Friday nights, and the team needs new equipment, players said.”

I was last through there about three years ago, and it was sad to see it run down and to remember it as it was.

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One Comment on “Daddy’s Deal”

  1. Donna Platt says:

    Hello,
    I agree that there is nothing worse that a dead town and Drew is definetly dead.
    I too lived in Drew and enjoyed growing up in a town where everyone knew everyone else and anything that they ever did in their entire life.
    I have not lived in Drew for almost 30 years however I do visit almost
    every year as my Mother and Brother still live there. Every time that I
    visit I am shaken by the terrible state of the town-the roads in the town are
    horrible and the main street is pratically dead-and the streets are rolled up at 6 O’clock. On my last vist my husband was astounded to find that even though there are two banks in Drew-neither had an ATM machine nor did
    any other location in Drew. The crime rate in Drew is very bad and it is to the point that I fear for my Mother’s safety because she still lives there
    and refuses to move and even had her house broken into last year when she was visiting me and the police in the town did nothing. It is sad when one’s childhood home town might as well not exists any more.


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