"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
October 27, 2014
Fried Corn and Scrambled Memories
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Editor's note: Kathy Kidd was on a cruise this Halloween, and was not near a computer to write her column. But she left this column from her pre-Nauvoo Times days to be posted in her absence.

Last week, when I extolled the virtues of the cookies my former roommate Edna used to make for me, I got an email from Daryl, who used to be our roommate while we were still in college (before Edna became Edna and the cookies made their appearance). Daryl asked, “How come neither Edna nor Betty ever made cookies for me? All I remember is fried corn.”

Oh boy, do I remember that fried corn! Daryl used to make it by sautéeing a big onion in a whole stick of butter and then adding a bag of frozen corn. Once the liquid evaporated from the corn as it thawed, it was ready to eat.

For this recipe alone, I think of Daryl as a genius. I still make the corn, and when I took it to a ward dinner one of the Hooper twins came up to me and solemnly said, “That is the best corn I have ever tasted in my whole life!” (She was seven at the time, so she’s hardly lived long enough to be a corn connoisseur. But still —)

Thinking longingly of that fried corn, I flashed a response back to Daryl: “That fried corn recipe of yours is still a killer recipe I use all the time, and I always give credit to you.”

To my surprise she wrote back, “It wasn’t my recipe. It was yours. Totally southern! And I still use it too. And I always give you credit!”

You could have knocked me over with a corn holder. I have such strong memories of Daryl teaching me how to fry corn that I remember standing in the kitchen and peering over her right shoulder as she demonstrated the breathtaking process of gently sautéeing a big chopped onion in a whole stick of butter.

But I didn’t argue because this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to me.

When my father and two sisters came to visit me after Fluffy and I were married, I fixed them a breakfast from my childhood — scrambled eggs with jalapenos in them. I was dumbfounded when they raved about the novel idea of adding jalapenos to eggs, because that’s the only way I ever remember eating eggs the whole time I was growing up.

Where in the world did I ever get an idea like that if it wasn’t from them?

Our family history features an incident where my mother sat under the dining room table in horror as one of her older sisters chased the other around the table with a butcher knife. Mother was such a graphic storyteller that we had her tell the tale over and over.

The next time we got together with one of our aunts after hearing the story for the first time, we asked her to tell the story. We were flummoxed to hear that when she told the story, she was the one sitting under the table while Mother and our other aunt were doing the chasing and the running.

Later on, we heard the story from the other aunt, who insisted that she herself was the one under the table.

All three of them remembered the incident, but each of them remembered being the terrorized victim hiding under the table. One of them must have been the aggressor, and one of them must have been the runner, but all three of themselves solidly remembered that they were the ones who cowered in fear while the other two acted out the drama.

Memories are not as solid as we think they are. All of us have selective memory. All of us, no matter how hard we try not to, change history in our minds and firmly believe what our minds tell us afterwards — even if it bears no resemblance to the truth.

Whether it’s something as harmless as forgetting who was the inventor of a fried corn recipe or something as sinister as not remembering which sister was the knife-wielder and who was the innocent victim, we tell ourselves the same stories over and over again until they become true to us.

We remember where we were standing when we learned about the fried corn, or we have vivid images of sitting under the table and witnessing an act of horror that we might well have perpetrated.

If our minds can transform us from being the knife-wielding aggressor to being the victim under the table in a situation where we were active participants, how in the world can we expect to judge others for the actions they perform? The answer is, we can’t.

The older I get, the more I suspect that the people who have wronged me in the past may not be as guilty as I believe they are, and that my memory may be painting a lot of pictures where I am the hero under the table instead of the villain wielding the knife. As I remember the scripture, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” it begins to have a personal meaning for me.

What happens if I condemn somebody for something, when I may actually have been the one who did it, or when I may have done it too? The scripture goes on to say, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

What a bummer it would be if in judging someone else, I named my own punishment!

I’m already in enough trouble for doing things I can remember doing. The last thing I need is to heap more trouble upon myself for judging others for things they might not have done, or that I might have done right along with them.

Sometimes Planet Kathy is a scary place.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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