Thursday, November 30, 2006

Washing Clothes in 1920's and 30's.

Monday was "Wash Day" in my childhood in the late 1920's and early thirties. Wash Day was a long day. The family's clothes were washed weekly in large galvinized tin tubs. Soapy hot water was prepared in one tub, and rinse water in two other tubs. A rub board was put in the wash tub, and clothes were scrubbed on the rub board.

A big iron pot was set up on bricks out in the back yard, and a fire was built under the cast iron pot to heat the water and to "boil the clothes." This was done winter and summer every week. Talk about a hard day's work!

The clean clothes were pinned with clothespins to a long wire or rope clothesline to hopefully , dry in the sun. On cold winter days, one's wet hands would turn purple before all the clothes were hung up to dry.

Sometimes the clothes would freeze as fast as they were pinned to the line. Hopefully the sun and wind would dry the laundered clothes enough to be brought inside before dark.

Tuesday was ironing day. The clothes that had been washed, dipped in starch, and
dried on an outdoor clothesline had to be brought inside, sprinkled with water, folded up tightly in a sheet or pillow case to get slightly damp through and through so as to iron smoothly. The clothes were taken out a piece at a time to be ironed and hung up or ironed and folded. This was at least one other long day of exhausting work. We did have electric irons (heavy irons) in my childhood.

The earlier non electric irons were very heavy and made of “iron” and were heated on a stove or at a fireplace . I never used one of those, and I do not remember seeing my mother or sisters or anyone who helped us with the ironing use a non-electric iron. ( I do have a small collections of Flat Irons , like the ones in the picture on the left, on the hearth of my Fireplace.)

HOW TO WASH CLOTHES (Following is the "recipe for washing Clothes" by an early American grandmother to new bride. Despite the spelling, it has a bit of philosophy. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrap book.)

"Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water. Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,1 pile colored,1 pile work britches and rags. To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then Rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch. Hang old rags on fence.Spread tea towels on grass. Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.Turn tubs upside down. Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fear of Dentist and Public Singing.

Carol, known to some of you as themediansib told yesterday about her fear of dentist. I wonder if her paralizing fear of dentists began with her fear of solo singing. Let me tell you a story.

Yesterday, I went picnicking with the Trinity UMC “Rah Rah’s” (Retired And Happy). We had a great time at the Coosa River Lock and Dam just South of Rome.

Pastor David Campbell is beginning his second year as pastor of Trinity. David rates …well "excellent", in every area of ministry… preaching, pastoral care, administration. He had been asked to “do the program” for this outdoor picnic for the retired and happy Trinity folks.

David brought his guitar, his wife (who is an accomplished soloist and music teacher) and his three young children. His wife, Susan led us in singing some of the old time gospel hymns of the church including , “What A Friend we Have in Jesus”, “When we all Get to Heaven “ and other familiar hymns with David strumming the guitar.

They had also planned to include their children in the singing. Hannah, 12, who has a beautiful voice like her mother's sang a solo. But when it came time for the usually vivacious Allie (age 7) to sing, she hang her little head and did not make a sound.

WOW. Memory took me back to a Sunday night service at a little church called ‘Sunnyside Methodist’ in Sunnyside Georgia. Carol, our beautiful blond middle daughter and middle child, told her daddy (the pastor) she would like to sing a solo. Just before the sermon, her daddy announced that Carol "would sing for us." Like Allie yesterday, our Cabbie hung her little head and would not make a sound.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What is a Christian?

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean up my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!
Note: The above is passed on from an email. C.S. Lewis makes a similiar claim when he points out that when we say we Christian, we are not saying we are good, we are saying what we believe.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back From the Dishpan?

After being gone and forgotten for several days, I was happy to get back to Blog Land today. But with the prolific and most interesting writing of family bloggers, I have not caught up with all my other favorites.

How do people with full time jobs find time to blog? Is it time for me to give up cooking and housecleaning so I can blog?

I love cooking a large family meal and the more people here the merrier. The Tuesday night dinner was a great ocassion. One of my grandsons, who should be a child but has completed his master's in, of all things, physics, brought a special girl to meet his Georgia relatives.

Then to add to the festive time, we had an unexpected visit from another grandson (who also grew up while i was not looking)and is now a Lieutenant in the Army.

It was great to have two grandsons who played together at Grandma's as little boys here now at the same time as fine young men.

So a great time was had by all Tuesday night at Grandma's house.

But I found myself too tired to bother with the computer. And sick! I was sick with a " trigeminal like pain" in my right ear. It finally eased off enough for me to sleep well.

Then on Wednesday morning, a long time friend came for an overnight visit. We had a great time seeing some of the sights in town ( between severe electrical storms), eating leftovers from Tuesday night and talking about "old times gone but never forgotten." We watched interesting old videos he brough.

He and i had such a great time he called a few minutes ago and wants to come back next week and help me plant those tomotoes I keep talking about but have not prepared the soil nor planted.

But it seems my hospitality and charm is all used up. i cannot face planting tomatoes next week! Possibly the next?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen Dishes I'll Cook for Thanksgiving Dinner

Next Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day. So what's cooking?
I really love to cook and enjoy cooking and hosting all the family who can come. But others also bring some of their favorite dishes. But for this post I will try to think of 13 things I like to cook for this special day’s feast.

1. Turkey. I hope to buy and cook the largest turkey i can find and at least one turkey breast.

2. Dressing. My corn bread dressing is a soft dressing but can be cut in squares so is the 'best of both kinds.

3. Gravy. Brown turkey gravy with little pieces of turkey in it is always a hit with this family.

4. Ham. Almost everyone here likes ham for holidays. So someone , usually Carol brings a beautiful Tennessee baked ham. So everyone has a choice of meats.

5. Mashed potatoes from scratch. We often prepare about 10 pounds of potatoes if we have the usual 30 to 40 people here. This is always popular with the children. Our family includes 17 children including two granddaughters, 14 year old Katie and 7 year old Haley. We also are blessed with 15 great grandchildren: Rachael and Hannah who will be 14 as soon as possible… Rachael in December and Hannah next June. We also have Dow, John, Lewis, Helena, Mark, Brianne, AnnaGrace, Natalie, Sarah, Ethan, Lily, Sophia, and James who just turned 3.

At least five of our great grands are not planning to come the long distance here for Thanksgivng but plan to be here for Christmas. Two other of the great grands have out of town grandparents as well as great grandparents so have not worked out their holiday itineranty .

5. Green Beans. In the past I always cooked fresh green beans...but of late, in accommodation of my advanced age I use large cans of green beans but they will taste fresh. I promise.

6. Carrots. I sometimes make marinated carrots to add a nice plash of color and zesty taste. So it is either marinated carrots or a carrot and raisin salad. Both are good make ahead dishes.

7. Corn. Because of the large number of people, we do plan a variety of veggies. Good creamed corn is a popular side dish.

8. Sweet Potatoes. I do buy fresh sweet potatoes, 5 pounds, and like to simmer them slowly with the skins on, then peel and mash with just a little butter. I prefer them just heated. But I often do the brown sugar, pecan topping for those who think sweet potatoes should be sweeter potatoes.

9. Fresh Vegetable and/or fresh fruit tray. I usually count on someone else in the family, usually Sheila, to bring a fresh vegetable tray that is so good, if we do not hide it, it is gone before the Thanksgiving prayer.

10. Rolls. I enjoy making several dozen yeast rolls and hope to be able to do them again.

11. Desserts. Debi can be counted on to bring a special dessert. I hope to make a couple of pecan pies and a couple of chocolate pies.

12. Tea and lemonade.

13. God bless America.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm Fixing To Get My Hair Fixed.

My daughter Carol called on the way to school early this morning. She is a teacher. In the course of the converation she asked about my day. I told her I had an appointment at 11 to "get my hair fixed." Cabbie, a Southern girl, did not laugh at my choice of words.

Later in the morning, a friend, Ann Short, called and said, "Whatchea doing?" I told Ann I was about to go out the door to "get my hair fixed. Ann did not laugh.

When I ended the second conversation, I laughed! In fact I laughed out loud even though I was home alone. Can we really "fix" our hair? Does it become broken? Of course it does sometimes need "repair."

Earlier this week, we had a family marathon of indignant emails. "How discourteous to the South," we wrote, "for anyone to laugh in our faces at our choice of words in speech? " It all started when one family member wrote, "I had to work hard to quit saying "show out" when I got ribbed mercilessly while living "up North" -

"Have you ever thought," we asked one another, "how interesting it is that people in the South are "ribbed mercilessly" for our language choices ...and it seems to have never occured to anyone from the South to "rib mercilessly" people in other parts of our great United States of America for the many strange phrases they use in their speech."

We had fun emailing back and forth arrogantly telling each other how "arrogant" our Northern brothers and sisters are to laugh at our speech patterns and turning the tables by laughing at their speech with such statements as "I have heard that a New York accent is the best birth control there is."

But..where in the world did we ever get the phrase, "I'm fixing to get my hair fixed"?