The things we didn’t miss at Grandma’s house.

Born a child of the sixties, and having grandparents on my mother’s side that farmed, quite a few memories of their home and lifestyle exist for me.

I can easily recall all the things they never had; things I never really missed. Most of those would cause quite a few people now to shudder and say, “They didn’t have that?”

Inside bathroom.

Central air or heat.

Running water.

Of course the ‘running joke’ here is that you had to run to the well to get it. Once you drew the full bucket, the water went into a pail on a counter, with a dipper everyone shared. Did I ever think about germs? Never gave it a thought. All I thought about when reaching for that dipper was the best water I ever had, at Grandma’s house.

This was the mid-sixties too. It wasn’t as mid-evil as it sounds. I guess money was an issue for them back then. I never heard anyone say.

Now maybe I’ll discuss all the things they had that most families don’t have today.

A HUGE garden! And a grape arbor that ran the full length of the garden. Vegetables served at Grandma’s never came from a store … ever, and neither did grape jelly.

A milk cow. That’s right. A bonafide moo machine that produced whole milk, butter, and butter milk too. I never cared for the buttermilk though. Irk!

About the only time I recall seeing Grandma get aggravated was when she milked. The cow liked to swish her tail back and forth to keep flies away and her tail always swished into Grandma’s face, until, that is, she tied the cow’s tail to her own leg. (The cow’s leg, not Grandma’s!)

Then Grandma would settle down and get a rhythm going as she squeezed and massaged and cajoled the milk into her pail, and quick as a squirt-squirt-squirt the pail would be full and the cow would be free to swish her tail and chew her cud and do all the things cows like doing.

They raised pigs for pork, although I never was around during the pig’s sad end. Maybe my mother didn’t care to visit that day?

Grandma also had one of those old washing machines that had the roller you fed the clothes into to squeeze the water out after washing. Those rollers always looked like something that was ready to grab a kid’s hand and rip it off, and no one had to tell me to stay clear.

She did splurge and get an electric churn that turned the cow’s milk into butter. Put a little of that butter and that grape jelly on a hot out-of-the-oven made-from-scratch biscuit and, and, and … Words just wouldn’t do it justice so I won’t try!

Wood stoves for heat. Now they are dirty and a lot of work, but on a frigid winter day there is nothing better to warm your backside when you come in from outside.

Let’s see … what else …

Fishing ponds! One for minnows and one for fishing. What I remember most about going fishing was how Grandma made a sort-of insulated water jar. She’d take a Mason jar-one that wasn’t holding canned vegetables at the time-and wrap brown paper bags around it and fill it with ice and that sweet well water and cap it. All that paid off. The water would stay cold and our thirsts would stay quenched.

One more important thing I always got when I arrived at Grandma’s house was a hug. I can still remember the aroma of her apron, and Grandma, while she hugged me, making me feel like a visiting prince at her house.

Maybe that initial show of love and acceptance was what made the things that weren’t there seem like they didn’t matter at all, at Grandma’s house.


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