A Place Called Serenity: Dinning with Doc and Chuck

Fried minnies, a culinary delight.

“We gonna have us some minnies!” Chuck said.

“Sure are,” Doc said. “And we gonna show Dickie how ta fix ‘em up.”

Chuck rolled the net around the poles. Dock waded to the shore and sat on the bank and put his socks and shoes on. He helped Dickie put his on and rolled down his pants. “By the time we get back ta the cabin you’ll be dry.”

Chuck, Doc, and Dickie trudged up the bank and the railroad bed. They crossed the tracks and walked the path that led to Doc’s cabin.

It was the smallest cabin in Serenity. It had dull yellow stucco siding painted and a small porch with a concrete railing.

When they got to the cabin Doc said to Chuck, “Go get us three boards.”

“You wait right here,” Doc said to Dickie. “Watch the minnies and make sure nobody takes ‘em or they don’t try ta get away on their own.”

Dickie stood over the bait bucket like a castle guard. Doc disappeared inside the cabin. Doc returned with a metal bowl, hunting knife, kitchen knife, and he pulled a large pocket knife from his pants. Chuck came back with three boards. The boards set on the railing separate from each other.

“I’m gonna show ya how ta clean dem minnies,” Doc said. “Ya reach down and grab one out.” Doc reached into the Minnie bucket and retrieved a minnow.

Dickie watched intently.

Doc spoke as he demonstrated the procedure. “Ya get just one and put it on the board. Ya hold down the tailfin with yer thumb and ya take your knife and put it right behind its eye to stop it from floppin’ and push down hard.” The head came off and Doc shoved it off the board and to the ground with his knife. “The cat will eat that. Next ya toss the Minnie in the bowl.”

It took only a few minutes to remove all the heads from the minnows.

They filed inside the cabin.

The first room was a combination living room/ dinning room/ kitchen. It had a single basin sink on the right. Next to it was a water heater. Behind the water heater was an open doorway that led to the restroom that had only a commode. There was a small two burner countertop burner and icebox. In the middle of the room was a small wooden table with two chairs. Two clothe chairs were on the opposite side of the icebox and burner. Between the two chairs rested a crate that sat on end and a Philco radio about the size of a lunch box sat on it. The cabin was saturated with the odor of bacon grease.

Doc struck a match and lit one of the burners. He placed a cast iron skillet over the flame. Above the burner was a coffee can on a shelf. From it Doc removed a glob of bacon grease with a spatula. When the grease melted in the pan and began to crackle he poured in enough minnows to cover the bottom. He turned and stirred the minnows until they were all crisp.

Chuck sat three metal plates on the table with three forks. He removed a stick of butter from the icebox and sat it in the middle of the table.

Doc buttered a piece of bread for Dickie. He distributed the fried minnows from the skillet among the three plates.

They sat at the table.

“This is how ya do it, boy,” Doc said. “Ya take yer butter bread, put some minnies in it, and fold it over. Den ya take a bite.”

Dickie did just as Doc instructed.

“Boy,” Doc said. “If ya find anything that taste better ya let me know.”

“It’s good!” Dickie said.

Chuck and Doc grinned with their mouths full of bread and minnows.