Above are Grandfather Vickers, his grandchildern, Pat (McConnell) Kennedy, and Gerald McConnell.
Of the many things I remember about the summer of 1944, these few will never leave me: working on the Kent's farm with Don Allen, drinking beer late at night driving down back roads with Art and Dick Kent, drawing hay past Bill Young's home in the brightest sunlight I can remember, guiding two of the world's largest draft horses to a spring at day's end, listening to Fletch Lee and Mr. Garvey swap tall tales and yes, my Grandfather Vickers greeting each morning with a song and preparing my morning meal from yesterday's late aftenoon kill.
Granddad was a man full of past adventures and dreams, which he gladly shared, and great optimism for the day ahead. Rising a bit before the sun, he would start the day in the kitchen, humming some long forgotten tune, and skinning a very small chipmunk or two which I had shot the day before. I became addicted to fried chipmunk and bananas that summer as only Granddad could serve them. To watch my grandfather, with his well-worn pocket Ka-Bar, skin a very small animal was a sight to behold. He accomplished this feat and the slicing of the bananas with the skill of a surgeon. Placing all in a large black skillet, he slowly fried them to perfection while he and I sipped our first cup of black gold to start the day.
I learned more that summer than most summers of my life, and I have tried to remember all the lessons well. However, I never quite measured up to my grandfather's skills at either skinning or frying chipmunks and bananas, an honor that shall always be his.
From Gerald McConnell for the Vicker's family cook book.