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Sweet Memories

23 Oct

I was cooking the other day and managed to spill a good bit of sugar on the floor – the better (or worse?) part of a quarter cup of the stuff. I stared at it for a moment, and then went after the broom. I stood there with the dustpan full of sugar, and The Squire laughed. “You look as if you are going to put it back into the bowl.”

And there by hangs a tale.

I was born in the summer of 1942, a few months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.   We had a fairly safe and stable life; after my dad got out of the hospital he had a “day job” with the Navy as an “abatu”, training men to go overseas. Sometimes Mum and I lived in the house my parents had bought as newly-weds, and other times we stayed with my mother’s parents. I think I must have stayed there more than she did, as I have a lot of memories associated with the place.

Nearly everything was rationed during the war – shoes, orange juice, canned veggies, eggs, fabric, and of course, sugar. We were luckier than most people, as my grandparents had a five acre farm. Even so, The Government Egg Man came around each week and collected some of their eggs for “Our Boys Overseas”. The only thing that wasn’t rationed  was chicken, as very few people liked it back then. Can you imagine what would happen to American tables if chicken was taken off the menu now?

The highpoint of my three-or-four year old life was going with my grandfather to buy chicken feed, and I got to pick out the two feed sacks needed to make me a new dress. Later on, he joked that I took for ever to select those bags. Much hmm-ing and umm-ing, walking back and forth before I made up my mind.

My grandfather was working for the B&O at the time, and one evening, whether by accident or design, a bag of sugar broke open as they were unloading a freight car. Sugar poured out onto the ground! Pure white gold!  My grandfather said the men scooped it up and put it into whatever was handy – lunch boxes, paper sacks, even pouring it into their hats.

One of my earliest memories is standing between my grandmother’s knees as she gently shook a bowl of sugar back and forth. From time to time, a speck of dirt or cinder would come to the surface, and she’d move that into another bowl. Naturally, each time she removed some dirt a bit of sugar would come with it.  That was the sugar they used in their coffee. The dirt sank to the bottom and you never knew it was there.

Flood Control

20 Oct

Remember the flood we had back in August when one of the pipes to the water heater split and everything below shoulder level was wet?  Yeah.

Yesterday morning, The Squire was working on some household repair and discovered everything in the “nuts and bolts” cabinet was soaked and rusted. Small part organizer, they call those things. Whatever, all of the bits and bobs that come in handy are ruined. And, just to make things even more interesting the entire cabinet, being metal, is also rusted beyond redemption.

I hate to see a grown man cry.

Morning Glory

17 Oct

I was up at 5:30 this morning, as I had been called in to work. (Yes, this is really me, and No, I don’t usually crawl out of bed at such an ungodly hour.) When I went to feed the outside critters, the moon was still up and nearly full. The sky was mostly clear, with a scattering of brilliant stars, and a few light, wispy clouds, that were lit from below by the moon.

Simply beautiful. And a photo wouldn’t have done it justice.

Only Me

15 Oct

I stopped at the store yesterday afternoon, and one of the straps on my sandals came loose while I was shopping. I tucked in into the bottom of the shoe, simply for cosmetic reasons. It didn’t stay put – I didn’t think it would – so I flapped my way around to the Dollar Tree and purchased a tube of Super Glue.

Flapped back out to the car, applied a liberal amount of glue to the strap and pried the upper and sole apart to squirt a bit more stickum, before I slipped the strap back into place. I applied finger pressure, squeezing the mend together, and managed to glue my thumb to the sole of the shoe. Annoyed, I pried my thumb loose, and slipped my foot into the shoe.

The glue wasn’t completely dry, and my large toe was stuck fast. Had to peel the shoe off my foot and try again. No wonder people say being married to me is not for the faint hearted.

Curtains!

9 Oct

The weather has cooled to the point that The Squire and I were able to remove the air conditioning unit from the living room window. One thing led to another – as it generally does! – and we ended up removing all of the drapes and sheers to be washed and then doing the windows. All five of them. Fortunately, those are new windows and fold inside for washing. Whoever invented those is on the short list for canonization, believe me!

I’m taking care of her dog for Mrs. Mac this week, and she told me to bring over my laundry if I wished, so that solved one problem. She has a gargantuan washing machine, and all ten panels didn’t even fill the tub. When I got home, The Squire helped me get them on the clothes line.

The drapes are old enough to vote!  I left the Evil Insurance Company in 1983, and The Squire’s elder nephew either was living with us then, or came up the following summer. At any rate, he got a job at Sears and bought the curtains for us with his employee discount.  With five windows in the living room and a five-foot bow window in the dining room, every little bit helps. They are lined with a thin foam insulation, which sticks together every time we wash them. We had a dickens of a time smoothing them out when we hung them on the line. They are wrinkled, but can’t be ironed. Maybe they will look better when they dry.  They really need to be replaced. Desperately.

However.

We can’t find replacements that we like. They are white, pinch-pleated, and floor length. I know they will cost the earth, but apparently I’m asking the impossible. They are nowhere to be found.  Every color in the rainbow, but not white.  I don’t like the grommets; this is not a warehouse, thank you very much.  I suppose I could survive with the kind you gather into the rod, but if I’m going to spend close to five hundred bucks between the living room and the dining room, I want to get something I like.

In April of 2018 I read an article about things that make your house look dated – brass chandeliers, tie-back curtains, dust ruffles, wall paper – I have them all! Recently, I read that some of those things are smart again.  If I wait another year or so, maybe the curtains will come back into fashion.

You Can’t Get There From Here

5 Oct

We live in an area where going around the block means a trip of at least two miles, and more often than not four or five miles.  The government – state or national – is widening I-95, so the most direct route from here to  a major highway is cut off, and the detour adds three miles to the trip.  Last week, when I drove over the detour there was a flashing sign which announced the bridge would be closed as of Monday – the 7th. Marvelous. Just marvelous.

When I came home yesterday afternoon I stopped and asked one of the crew if he had any idea when ‘our’ road would be open. “Not for at least six to eight weeks, ma’am.”

“I know it’s not your fault, but closing off two parallel roads is pretty inconvenient.” For what it’s worth, those two ‘parallel roads’ around two and a half miles apart, but that’s country living for ya.

“I know. I know. We couldn’t believe they put out this contract”, he said, pointing to the equipment and clutter around him, “but that’s the State for you.”

So now, the only way to go north is to drive a mile and a half south and swing back around. Never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

Instinct

3 Oct

Most of us run on instinct to one degree or another.  Jumping when we see a snake, avoiding dark places, reaching out, rearing back – all by instinct.

Turtles instinctively head for the water. If you see one trying to cross the street, carry it in the direction it was heading, and put it on the other side of the road. Don’t bother putting it back where it came from, as it will turn around and head back out. We once found a snapping turtle on top of our woodpile. The critter was headed for the stream, but came across the patio, got stopped by the railing, and was sitting there, clicking its jaws in frustration. We managed to manhandle her into a bucket and dump her into the stream.

Do you know how to tell a male turtle from a female? Turn it upside down; the females have a flat bottom, while the bottom of the male is concave, so he won’t fall off during mating. To quote our church secretary, God thinks of everything!

Some animals climb. One year The Squire rescued three baby squirrels, who insisted upon climbing up my shirt, hooking their little claws in my ears, and sitting on top of my head! We had just given them a bath to remove the fleas when this was snapped. It’s NOT the most flattering shot of me, but I don’t get gussied up to bathe the animals. For three weeks we fed them a mixture of Pedialyte ® and dog’s milk from the pet store, while the druggist kept us supplied with large syringes.Experts agree, Dani is a nut

This morning we found a little tree frog who had tucked himself into the “gully” between the kitchen door frame and the siding.  Instinct told him to get as high as he could, and here he is.  The big question now, of course, is what do we do next?  I’m perfectly willing to let him figure it out for himself, but I do not think this is the best place for him to spend the winter. I don’t want to harm him trying to pry him out of his little snuggery, but I really think he’d be better off in the woods.

I’m waiting for DNR to get back to me on this one.

Country living is never dull!DSCN0739

The Squire swears if I found a giraffe someplace I’d try to put a bow around its neck and stand it in the stair well.

He’s probably right.