A to Z Challenge: Frank’s Fish Fry

Uncle Frank’s Fish Fry

“Now you kids be careful with that oil!” Uncle Frank lumbered across the lawn, his steps heavy and deliberate. “Ms. Lou! Ethel Mae, how y’all doing? Where’s the best place for me to set up this here fryer?”

“Frank, I was looking for you hours ago,” Mama Lou chastised. “Folk’ll be here any minute and you know the first thing they gon’ ask for is your fish.”

“Now don’t you worry none. All I need to do is set up. Things’ll be smoking up right quick. Just point me in right direction and I’ll be serving up before you can say ‘catfish’. You gotta give me some suga, first though.”

“Boy, you betta get ahold of yourself,” Mama Lou chuckled and pointed towards the far end of the tent. “We got a spot reserved for you right over there. Don’t be all day, folks are getting hungry.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Uncle Frank smile broadened, his eyes landed on Ms. Earline. “Ms Earline, how you been? You as pretty as ever. If I were twenty years older . . .”

“I’m fine, Frank,” said Ms. Earline but her smile was a ghost of itself. For once, she didn’t give in to the playful banter around her, her face tight, lips drawn in a taut line. Frank’s eyes asked a question but Mama Lou waved him away.

“We’ve got things covered over here, you need to start cooking.” She watched him lumber away, a line of kids trailing behind him, carrying an assortment of pots, cooking utensils, vats of cooking oil and a huge cooler.

“You know that man been sweet on you every since his wife Emma passed on to glory. Don’t encourage him unless you’re serious.”

“Ms. Earline, you know my heart belongs only to my dear sweet George. I can’t imagine another man taking his place.”

“A good man is no replacement, he sets up his own place in your heart.”

“The point’s neither here nor there,” said Mama Lou. “I don’t have any interest in Frank.” She glared as Ethel Mae rolled her eyes. “What are you rolling your eyes for?”

“Nothing,” said Ethel Mae, though she had trouble keeping a smile from her face. “Ms. Earline, we hesitated to tell you about Pastor Griffin because we didn’t want to upset you. The congregation has come together and they’re working to raise the funds to prevent the bank from foreclosing.”

“And what about that snake Griffin?”

“He won’t get away with anything. We’ve called in a favor with a friend of ours. A Memphis cop. He’s agreed to look into things, gather evidence. When the time comes, you’ll either be able to get the money back so you can repay the loan or see justice served.”

“We are a relatively poor congregation, Louisa,” said Earline. “How can there be justice for us?”


UP NEXT: Giancarlos’s Green Grape Salad

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