EDMOND — Exie Coldiron, an Oklahoma centenarian, once experienced a simpler way of life.
She grew up on a farm near Bristow and picked cotton in the fall. Now she lives in an apartment in Edmond, enjoying her golden years as the proud mother of seven children. Her insistence on a good education for her children produced lawyers, an oil executive, a trucking business owner, an owner of a plastics plant, a teacher and a couple of chemical engineers.
At age 100, she has lively stories to share, a good memory and good physical health.
Pursued by a prizefighter during an outdoor church meeting in Cole where her Baptist preacher father kept an eye on her, she sat close to the back, and Charles Coldiron sat behind her. He flirted with her until she allowed him to sit next to her.
Charles Coldiron would pick up his future bride in his 1929 Ford and take her dancing or to the drugstore for a fountain drink. She was married at 15 and had children by the time the Great Depression hit.
“Mother was always so positive. She was also a great cook, and we never were the wiser,” said her daughter, Ladona Sheets, about the hard times of the 1930s.
The Coldirons raised their six sons and a daughter on a farm and ran a milk bottling company.
“I could have shouted for joy when we got those plastic milk jugs instead of the glass,” Coldiron said. It cut down on bottle handling and cleaning and made their business much easier, she said.
Her children's friends loved to visit because of the pies and cakes she baked. Homemade bread was a regular menu item.
Holidays were a big deal. Occasionally the family took Sunday afternoon trips to the Oklahoma City Zoo.
“Back then, we could swim in the lake, and there was a sand beach,” Coldiron said.
She made quilts for each of her children when they were married. She enjoyed shopping for antiques and collecting dolls while her husband golfed.
An avid political supporter, she was a “Bellmon Belle” for former Gov. Henry Bellmon, and said she is still a great campaigner today because she loves to meet people and talk to them.
She spends her time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loves a good Western, especially if it stars John Wayne.
She celebrated her 100th birthday lavishly with a party planned by her daughter-in-law, Angela Dale.
Here are a couple of Coldiron's best recipes:
Make a pan of cornbread with 3 eggs and no sugar. Make homemade biscuits with buttermilk. Crumble together in large deep pan. (Use more cornbread than biscuits.)
Chop two large yellow onions and add to pan, mixing together.
Put lid or foil tightly over top of pan; let set on counter overnight for flavors to mix.
The next morning, add to pan: 3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped fine; black pepper, as desired; 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning added to chicken broth. Add 6 to 8 cups of hot chicken broth, as needed (do not get dressing too wet). DO NOT OVERMIX.
Dressing should be very moist but not runny. Sprinkle half the broth into bread mixture, toss, then sprinkle rest. Add broth until mixture is moist. Rinse inside and outside of turkey (remove any giblets). Sprinkle inside of bird lightly with salt.
Spoon dressing inside turkey; do not mash, but shake it in. Lift skin on neck area and spoon in dressing, close with toothpicks.
Rub softened butter over turkey, place in pan (or in large paper sack) and bake at 325 degrees until tender. (Any remaining dressing can be baked, covered, in separate pan.) The best broth is made by boiling giblets with chicken thighs.
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup any pancake or waffle syrup (not Karo)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups pecans
Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar, syrup, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat until mixture thickens. Add nuts and pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is firm. Test by gently shaking pan in oven until center no longer moves or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.