Sunday, October 27, 2019

Never had a pumpkin patch

We never had a pumpkin patch. Not even sure we had pumpkins. I do not remember ever carving one as a child, thus every Halloween our kids had pumpkins to de-gut and carve. Time passed and my granddaughters covered in orange goop stood next to the pumpkin their dad was planning to carve. They had a pumpkin patch.

Last week we took the twins to the pumpkin patch to help us pick out our pumpkins. Nolan and Emma looked for the wartiest, most crooked pumpkins and gourds. I was looking for character in mine, while Loren, who is a black and white photographer, wandered around the whitish/blue pumpkins. Seems there were pumpkins for every personality.

We paid a fee to go into the pumpkin patch for our two-hour adventure. The animal pens were visited, horses petted and a big, beautiful bull was captured in photographic form. We went on a hayride, bumping along a well-traveled path. Emma and Nolan then hopped into the barrels for the barrel ride.
As in past years, the hay maze ending with a slide was their favorite, closely followed by a very long wavy slide. Included in the adventure were the bouncy pillow and a jumpy pad. Weird trikes were ridden and cider donuts were consumed. We never had a pumpkin patch. 

Jealous? Maybe a little.  But, wait a minute!!!! Today we had our weekly family brunch with the kids. We walked in to find them making Christmas lists and listening to Christmas music. Argh!

Oh, and by the way, my sister June just informed me that we did not have pumpkins, because we ate all the blossoms. Happy Halloween, my friends.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Mumble, mumble, mumblety-peg

I stood with Dad in the circle (the yard between the barn and house). It was too bad that I wasn't a boy, but I couldn't help it. We girls worked as hard as any boy, but there were some passages of youth in which we were denied participation, such as hunting with our dads, scratching our backsides and spitting on the ground. We had to behave like girls should. Luckily, dad gave us a little leeway, allowing us to shoot a BB gun and play mumblety-peg.

mumbly-peg: noun (mumblety peg, mumble-the-peg, mumble peg (Webster-Merriam)
definition: a game in which the players try to flip a knife from various positions so that the blade will stick into the ground. Webster goes on to tell me that this game was first known to be used in 1627. Originally, the loser had to remove the peg from the ground with his teeth. Now I know why men spit.

Dad unfolded the knife and handed it to me. I must have been around eight at the time. I had watched the farm hands and Dad toss their knives many times. I thought it was a spectator sport, but now Dad handed the blade to me. I held the blade between my fingers and tossed it to the ground. Hm. Not as easy as it looked. After several tries and masculine instruction, I sent the blade into the earth. Then I wondered what the big deal was all about. But then a knife was entertainment for the male side of the equation. And, perhaps only a man would think of pulling the darn thing out of the ground with his teeth. I was glad I was a girl.

Many a man was seen cleaning his fingernails, carving a piece of wood, cutting twine and using a knife as his handiest tool. I noticed that women never did the same. Heck, Mom could have pulled out her pocket knife and cut pie dough, cleaned our dirty fingernails, pried open lids and found numerous other creative ways to use her handy pocket knife. Mom could even have used a tool belt as she cooked up a meal for those farm hands sitting out under the tree.

I was never given a knife. Perhaps I was not as trustworthy as a son would have been. Oh, wait! I just read an article that said that a knife and the prowess with it was a sign of manhood. Well, no wonder. I was definitely not striving for my manhood. But I sure did want my own knife. Maybe we girls didn't have times of boredom when we needed to toss a knife or clean our nails. Maybe it was a good thing that girls spitting and scratching was frowned upon. Hm. One more thing to contemplate.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

No nonsense just a crock

Indeed it is! A crock, I mean. For all of my growing up years, stoneware was just a part of life. Pickling crocks, jugs, animal feeding bowls, bean pots, the list goes on and on. It wasn't until I was older that I learned that these were considered stoneware. So what is stoneware?

According to Wikipedia, stoneware is a broad term for pottery and other ceramics fired at high temperatures. Stoneware has been made since people found that pottery and fire came together to make some great vessels for most any purpose. Crock ovens were buried when an oven wasn't yet invented. Crocks stored salt and foods that were fermented. Sauerkraut was made in crocks.

The Loxley girls grew up with stoneware in that house back the lane, but, truly, we never paid much attention to it. We had big crocks for brining, little crocks for the rabbit feeding bowls, bean pots with nifty little stoneware lids and somewhere along the way, I'm sure there was a butter churner in my grandparent's home. Crocks were just part of a way of life similar to having canning jars in the pantry.

I was excited a few years ago when we went to Arcanum Hardware where I found a medium-sized crock. I found an old stoneware jug in our farmhouse barn not long after I was married. And when I moved out here, I walked into an estate sale where the living room was full of crocks ranging from small to gigantic. Yep, one went home with me. A stoneware bean pot was a wedding gift. Over time, I have accumulated a stoneware pie plate, a second bean pot and a casserole dish accompanied by two little matching ramekins. Hm. Perhaps my children grew up with stoneware, too. My crocks are now a part of our home decor. One holds a plant and has in the past been an umbrella stand. Stoneware bowls hold the dog food.

There is this old friendship with crocks that reminds me of aprons, baked beans (and Cousin Betty), bunnies in the rabbit hutch and maybe even moonshine. Indeed, this is story is a crock. A crock of memories.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

We are the difference

First of all, this is not about me. It is about our society. 
Yesterday I went to the store. In front of me as I was waiting to check out, a young mother was struggling with her three children. The most trouble was the two-year-old in the back of the cart. I started paying attention to his firetruck socks. Soon he was focused on me and not dropping groceries from the cart. The couple behind me started talking to me about their grandkids. It became a little community all its own. 

As I left the store, I came upon a woman in a wheelchair struggling with her keys. I asked if I could help her and did. We hugged and said we loved each other as surely we did. I had three opportunities in less than ten minutes. I had no agenda. I had no message. I had looked around me and seen what was needed. 

We all should be doing this. It isn't about praise or accolades. It is about being a tool to serve others and in turn serve ourselves. It is about being aware of what is around us and how we can make a difference. So help me. Keep your eyes and hearts open. 

We are the difference.