Hello again from Logan County, Kentucky. One of the finest and most historic counties in the entire commonwealth. Having been a city boy most of my life I have always loved rural America. As a boy I could hardly wait for summer when school let out and I could go visit all my country relatives.
I still remember my first time to milk a cow by hand. I got more milk on me than I did in the bucket. When I was real young all of my country kin were without electricity. They had iceboxes, oil lamps, fresh gardens full of great food, hen houses and baby chicks, pigs, ducks, horses and mules, sometimes turkeys, canned goods in the cellar, wood stoves to cook on and a well that you drew the water from. There was no central heat. We had fire places or coal burning stoves. We slept in night gowns, even the guys, and in wonderful feather beds. There were no bathrooms in the house. There was instead a big metal pail with a top on it. (It was kept under the bed at night in case you needed it.) The toilet was a small wooden building somewhere out back that had a plank seat which my grandfather called the thrown.
The first thing in the morning was to build a new fire and warm the house back up. Some mornings it was really cold. I always liked it when grand mother would call out “breakfast time”. Homemade biscuits, bacon, sausage or ham, fresh eggs, grits or oat mill, jams and jellies. (What a feast!)
Helping grand dad all morning was fun to me. Helping feed all the animals made me proud that I was helping. Sometime before noon I would hear my grandmother ringing the dinner bell. I was ready to head for the house on the first ring. I can still hear that bell ringing and all the other bells in the community. I always was given the task of going to the well to draw a new fresh bucket of water for lunch. We drank mostly cold well water or home brewed tea. No colas. That was a very special treat when you went to town. Needless to say that dinner was another great meal. (We did not call the mid day meal lunch. It was dinner! Cornbread and homemade butter, vegetables, lots of potatoes, sometimes meat, fresh milk and sometimes and egg clustered or chest pie. Then back to work.
I also remember on rainy days helping grandmother milk, gather eggs, bring in wood and or coal, churn (make butter), inspect her newest wine that was fermenting in the closet, watch her make a dress in a few hours, turn the eggs she was saving to put under one of the old hens so she could hatch out some future Sunday dinner chickens and starting up the next meal.
I remember my grandmother washing the family cloths without electricity, hanging the clean cloth out to dry and then ironing a mountain of cloths. No such thing as ready to wear. Shirts, sometimes dresses and many other garments all had to be starched and ironed. I hated starched shirt collars!
Sundays were always special. All the family dressed up as they called it. They wore their “Sunday best!” When I was very small the women all wore their Sunday bonnets. Usually black or blue. The men usually wore their one suit – usually black and they always had their hat. We either went by wagon or walked. Later we went in a Model T Ford. I use to having the thrill of honking the horn on that old Ford. We had to crank the Ford to start it. Kids today would not have any idea how to start one of those cars. The church was always hot in the summer and cold in the winter. There were not any church choirs back then. People sang loud and in or out of tune. It did not really matter.
After church all the family went back to my grandparent’s home, including the preacher and city kin who came for the visit and meal. What a feast. Usually all the guests accept the preacher, brought food. No one ever went away hungry. I liked everything but the buttermilk.
I still think about those wonderful days and all the family and the love. I know we never started a meal without first having a blessing. I wish young people today had the opportunity to have experienced some of the same wonderful times.
Good bye readers, sweet Berdie Angel and Mrs. Calabash where ever you are.