Sunday, November 17, 2019

Used, reused and remembered

Winter approaches. This time every year I am flooded with memories of the tobacco shed. Tobacco time seemed to be family time. However, this is not about tobacco. Nope this is about tobacco lath.

For those of you who do not know about lath, here is a short synopsis. Lath are long, narrow pieces of wood that were vital in the raising of tobacco. A spear was placed on the end of the lath, so we could yank the tobacco stalk down over the lath, continuing until the lath was filled. The filled lath were then hung on beams in the tobacco barn where the tobacco would cure. Lath.

Dad handed the lath to me. I remember that I was just about the size of the tall stick. He then tied a piece of twine across one end of the lath just about eight inches down. It was then he handed me the twine reins of the harness, so I could mount my wooden horse. Yes, it was my first horse, and one that required a great deal of imagination. I found it hard to tie up my horse as it always wanted to lie down. It required no food and offered hours of keeping me out of trouble. Lath.

The old swing sits in the garage, waiting for a makeover. The paint on the laths has bubbled perhaps due to the many layers of the stuff. The swing is from my Aunt Iva's house in the 1930's. The old lath swing hung at my parent's home throughout my growing up years. I took possession of it in 2001. An old tobacco lath swing holds memories of five generations.

I held many a lath in the tobacco field. I probably even rode my wooden horse out there. Now the one precious lath I have hangs out in a basket with a few other treasures. I've seen pictures of things like tables, headboards, wall hangings, Christmas decorations and more made from lath. I love that they still have life. Used, reused and remembered.

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