I Hold On to my grandma’s handwritten recipes. Photo by Jessica Blankenship
Dierks Bentley released a powerful song recently called, ‘I Hold On.’ It took a couple of listens before I grasped it and realized the power of the song. The song talks about things he holds onto that mean the most in his life, especially after the death of his father.
To the things I believe in
My faith, your love, our freedom
To the things I can count on
To keep me going strong
Yeah, I hold on, I hold on.
My grandma, always known to us as Mamaw Ollie, passed away last May, not long after my grandpa. There are so many stories over the years and memories that I should honestly start writing them down. She was what you would describe the perfect Appalachian woman, from her cooking, to her love of family, to her quilting, to how she lived her life.
Me with my Mamaw Ollie – back when my hair was short!
Before I got married, I made a visit to her and she was frying up some fried chicken. She decided to show me the perfect way to fry chicken. I remember her joking by saying, “The way to keep a man is to learn how to fry chicken.” Years later, I ended up filing for divorce and I was afraid to tell her. She and my grandpa were married for 69 years before grandpa passed away a week later. Her secret (besides the fried chicken) was to never go to bed angry.
When I told her that I was getting a divorce, I was reminded of the chicken. I said, “Mamaw, I guess I didn’t know how to fry chicken too well.” Needless to say, we had a good laugh that day.
When my grandma passed away, I was given her handwritten recipes. The one and only thing I wanted was her recipes for her jam cakes, apple pies, and a few other sweets she would make for us growing up. These last few days I’ve been busy scanning them to preserve them.
Then the Dierks Bentley song came on. I Hold On.
That’s what I plan on doing. I plan on holding on to those recipes and passing them down. I plan on holding on to those memories and passing them down.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.