I get more response calls and notes concerning them than any other writing. The only one that stands out as the most is the recent “Whippoorwill.” The oldies have a way of snaring emotions and I am happy you share them with me.
The following is one day in the life of “Grandma” in the old days.
• Git outta bed ‘fore thuh sun comes up ‘n build a faar in thuh stove.
• Go milk thuh cow ‘n put thuh milk in thuh well.
• Dress thuh chillun.
• Feed Paw ‘n them.
• Carry ‘nuff water from thuh well to drink ‘n wash with.
• Feed thuh chickens.
• Heat sum water on the stove to wash dishes.
• Build a faar under thuh wash pot.
• Scrub thuh dirty clothes on the rubboard, boil in the pot, rench thru one water, put in bluing water, wring out ‘n hang on thuh line.
• Churn some milk, make butter, pour up buttermilk, take to well.
• Change thuh baby and make a batch of hominy.
• Fill thuh lamps, clean thuh lamp chimleys, ‘n trim thuh wicks.
• Put arns on thuh stove to heat and arn a few clothes.
• Rest whilst shellin’ peas.
• Hoe and weed thuh garden.
• Pick ripe vegetables.
• Check thuh outhouse and go hunt 3-year-old son.
• Take sick Mandy Lou sum soup on the next farm ‘n gather herbs to doctor with later on.
• Take sheets off lines, make beds, sweep and scrub kitchen floor with wash water.
• Sit down a spell and shell.
• Go see why 2-year-old is screaming.
• Gather some pears ‘n peel ‘n cover with sugar for preserves.
• Git thuh aigs outta thuh nest ‘n git thuh goat outta thuh garden.
• Feed thuh dogs, slop thuh hogs ‘n milk thuh cow agin.
• Carry ‘nuff water in fer thuh family to wash with.
• Wash thuh chillun – put um to bed ‘n read thuh Good Book.
• Relax a mite in thuh kitchen whilst mendin’ sum clothes.
• Bathe ‘n look purty fer Pa…’n we almost forgot – cook three meals a day! In her “spare time,” she beautified her mind by thinking good thoughts.
Now, tell me if you have ever spent a day like this.
Even my mother had running water. She handed one of the 12 kids a bucket and said, “Run to the well and bring me a bucket of water.” Everyone had chores to do, but she spent her day in hard work, too.
We had a well away from the house where the livestock were watered. That is where the gallons of milk were let down on a plow rope and covered up to the ring at the top to keep it cool for drinking. I usually got the job of churning. I could put a book in my lap and read while my arm performed its job.
A few more of the old sayings of the South:
• I’ll slap you so hard, when you wake up, your clothes will be outta style.
• This’ll jar your preserves!
• If things get any better, I’ll have to hire someone to help me enjoy it.
• This is gooder than grits.
• Your mama’s so fat, that when she steps on the scale to be weighed, it says, “To be continued…”
• He fell outta the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
• When someone “gets too big for his britches,” he is getting too “struck on himself.”
A scripture often quoted for this is Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
• Something will come along to knock the slats out from under you.
This refers to the old beds that had slats to hold the spring and mattress and they would often fall out and let the sleeper and all hit the floor.
• He had the rug pulled out from under him.
• He was knocked off his feet.
• He got knocked flat of his back.
• Something will come along to pop his balloon.
I hope you enjoyed your walk down memory lane. We look at the hard life and work of our forefathers and mothers, and we may better appreciate our lot in life today.
Ruth Baker is a retired educator and a published author. She has written on the history of Walker County and its people for over 27 years. She may be reached at 205-387-0545.