February 8, 2008

The Good Old Days

Filed under: Family,Humor,nature,people — rnvanya @ 10:28 pm
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Ah, what aroma

Ah, what aroma

I remember talking to Granny Moudry one day (when she was still alive) out on her front porch. We were sitting together on the swinging bench, just swaying back and forth and looking out on the cattle grazing in the pasture and the chickens chasing bugs around the front yard — just generally enjoying the view of the countryside. She lived in an old house on 50 acres located about 8 miles west of Bellville. She was a sure-enough country girl. Born and raised on a farm and the only work she ever knew was farming.

I said: “Granny, tell me about the good old days.”

“What good old days?” she replied. “Nobody on this farm ever knew about any good old days. The only life we’ve ever known is nothing but a lot of hard work. For six days of the week — Monday through Saturday — all I ever did was work, work, work — from the crack of dawn until dark (and sometimes until after dark). The only rest day we had was Sunday, and that was because you were so worn out that you just had to rest. I hear some people talk about the so-called good old days. I don’t know what they mean. I’m glad I’ve got an electric washing machine and a gas-burning stove and indoor plumbing and air conditioning and a car. I don’t have any desire to go back to any good old days. They were not good old days.”

Granny passed away some years back, but that little chat I had with her about the “good old days” remains as a vivid recollection. Recently, I mentioned it to my wife (who is Granny’s granddaughter. Granny Moudry was not my real grandmother, but I claimed her as my granny anyway). My wife said: “I remember visiting Granny when I was very small and when we would stay a few days we would take our baths in a large washtub. There was no indoor bathroom and no bathtub, so we had to bathe in a washtub. The water was heated up in her old wood-burning stove. It was a real chore to heat up water for bath time, so we had to use the bath water as long as possible. I remember how cold and dirty the bath water was whenever I was the third or fourth person to take a bath. I also remember having to go to the outhouse. I hated that.”

Unwelcome outhouse guest

Unwelcome outhouse guest

That brought to mind once when I was just a child and we visited some kinfolks who lived out in the country up in Rusk. Mother Nature made her call and I went through the house looking for a bathroom. Ray, the man of the house, informed me that the bathroom was outside. That was my first encounter with an outhouse. It was February and, naturally, the outhouse was not heated. I’m here to tell you, it was frigid inside that outhouse. The “toilet paper” was a Sears catalog and the one memory that stands out in my mind was the scare I got when I discovered (while seated on the hole) that there was a wasp within spitting distance, just studying me very carefully. I did not like the icy air flowing around my fanny. I could not stand the gagging stench of the place. And I sure did not like that wasp eyeballing me. All in all, it was not a very pleasant experience.

So, I think I sorta see what Granny meant when she said she did not want to go back to the “good old days.” There were certainly a lot of things about those good old days that were not very good at all.