Make your house memorable with these chores
by Ronella Stager, Columnist
Nov 21, 2012 | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ma and her cow, old Reddy, never did like Daylight Savings Time. Ma referred to it as Fast Time. Some of the neighbors referred to Standard Time as God’s Time as opposed to Fast Time. Now, Ma understood the theory of changing the time so that folks that worked in cities could come home from work and have enough daylight to work in their “Victory Gardens” but it seemed to mean nothing to country folks. She stayed confused until spring came and she could get back to Standard Time. Old Reddy thought it was time to let her calf into her or to give her some corn an hour before the clock in Ma’s old house said it was time. Ma and Pa’s lives were dictated by the sun. When the sun went down, it was quitting time”.

I am just about as confused when it’s time to “fall back” as Ma was. I am still waking up at 5:30 each morning. However, I stay up according to the clock. Somehow I have lost an hour in there somewhere.

To really confuse me, I have a new computer which seems to have a mind of its own. Perhaps I should have waited until I got used to the time change before tackling the computer.

To do Ma justice, she was happy to accept most new things as she got older. Some things were greeted with much enthusiasm. When Ma got her first oilcloth table cloth, she was thrilled. All of her adult life she had washed and ironed white tablecloths and napkins. Pa, or my father, introduced her to this great new innovation. It was a black oilcloth with roses on it. She was finally able to quit that job of washing and ironing all those snow-white table cloths and napkins. But the first time she cleaned the oilcloth, the beautiful roses washed off. Then she got a white one and was delighted. Paper towels and napkins were just around the corner. What a joy they were.

When REA brought electricity to rural Kentucky, it missed Ma and Pa, along with my parents. The houses had to be less than two miles apart to be eligible for the electric lines and therefore, they didn’t get it. Our Daddy tried in every way to persuade the REA to make an exception, but to no avail. Ma was to have to cook on that old wood stove for a few more years. Finally, she got a kerosene stove but it was used only in summer because nothing could bake like her old stove.

But the joy of Ma’s life was DDT. There had always been wasp nests in the attic, that wondrous storage place for everything imaginable. Flies at the stable were a constant worry for her and the chickens had to be dipped periodically to get rid of mites. And, oh, those flies that managed to get through the screen doors into the house. She was constantly fighting some kind of insect. That is, until the advent of DDT. I remember that she had a little sprayer that held about a pint of the mixture and she sprayed everything in sight. We never knew that the spray was so dangerous. I remembered that she sprayed the old cow. Plus, she sprayed the hens’ nests, the hen house and the roost poles and she sure got rid of wasps. I wonder that it didn’t kill some people.

Ma embraced anything new, except for the Daylight Saving Time. She loved to buy a loaf of bread from the little grocery a few miles away. She loved to cook for a big table full of family and cooked everything available. Once she invited a family who were sharecroppers and had no family to visit for some holiday. The woman asked for a second serving of cranberry sauce and said, “Miss Sally, them is the best beet pickles I ever ate.” Our mother gave me that look from her dark blue eyes and my sister and I had to smother a laugh or suffer for it. Another woman, at another time, asked Ma, “Miss Sally, have you et any of that store-bought light bread?” and Ma said that she had, to which the woman replied, “Ain’t it so soft and mossy”? That was a family joke for years.

Ma never had a bathroom in her life until she and Pa got too old to live on the old farm and had to move into a little house in town to be near their doctor, my parents and my sister and me. Then, wonder of wonders, she had a bath room with “running water” that came from a tap rather than the old well or cistern. And that wonderful kitchen sink and electric stove. Ma was no longer able to cook those great meals but she loved the cleanliness and the convenience of the electric stove and the electric heaters. It made her life so much easier in her last years.

We all knew Pa missed the old home and the little farm. He missed tramping in the woods, hunting and most of all, fishing in the Cumberland River. But Pa was a realist and knew it was for the best. I loved having him come up the street to our house to watch TV, especially the Western movies. Pa knew I was an early riser and he often came down about 5:00 o’clock in the morning to have the first cup of coffee out in my flower garden with me. Those are precious memories spent with a wonderful grandfather whom I dearly loved.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632 with questions and comments.
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