Monday, April 11, 2011

Baggy Elephant

She draped the frame with the old burlap bags. Bit by bit the big structure started to take shape. My sister, June, was making a costume. I remember sitting amid the wood, wire and cloth watching the big critter get into working order. It was a costume....an elephant. My sister worked the front end of the elephant with the articulated trunk while her friend worked the aft end of the beast. Burlap and wire.

Feed sacks and burlap bags were important parts of farm life. My sisters had dresses made out of feed sacks when they were young. Dad's grain was bagged in burlap bags and stored in the barn. When you walked into the barn, a big pile of empty bags were draped over the top of the headlocks in the milking stable. Twine was piled next to them.

The old bags were used for storage, holding oily tools, rags, a nest for new kittens and sometimes a cloth to wipe off a newborn lamb. Twine was used just as often. Staples on the farm. An unmistakable smell that said "burlap".

Nothing went to waste on the farm. We hardly noticed those things used and reused. They surrounded us every day. Yet the sight of those old bags hanging in the barn and the strings of yellow twine call to me once in awhile bringing back memories of a big brown elephant.

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