…so said my mother. Always commenting on my propensity to think “too much” about things…”Go out to play.” was her common refrain, and rightfully so, I suppose. She had no better thoughts for the direction of my mind, heaven bless her.
It was a very long time ago but I remember clearly of visiting the farm in Virginia in the summer of 1957. As the days unfolded I became completely aware of the extraordinary experience of the farm life, of how it was for my grandparents.
Granddad used 2 buckets to collect water from a well. The quenching of thrist, cooking, cleaning and laundry, bathing and brushing teeth made possible only with the water my granddad collected from the well and carried to the farmhouse, every day of the year.
By contrast in Philadelphia, our water was managed by a system and people that we would never see or get to know. The flip of a switch or the turn of a knob provided all utilities for the household. And subsequently and without fail, there appeard every month on the floor below the mail slot of the front door a bill for services rendered. How completely convenient for us! Poor Granddad.
But then, hadn’t Granddad chosen to abandon his indoor plumbing after it failed? Hadn’t he simply gone back to his tried and true reliable way of the well?
So the child wondered, “What would our family do if one day, the switching of switches and the turning of knobs produced nothing at all?”
For a little more of my grandfather I include this excerpt from my book:
Two Little Girls
My grandfather preferred a simple life, unencumbered and close to nature and the freedom that self-sufficiency permitted. With two helpers, he was able to take care of the business of the farm and remained staunchly independent.
I remember that the sink and faucets were actually little more than furniture for the old country kitchen. Mother had told of a costly repair after which Grandfather surmised that the sink would continue on in this way, “costing more than it was worth”. Eventually, he abandoned it completely in favor of towing water from his well as he was so used to doing. Two silvery buckets were housed on the back porch for the purpose. The well was at the bottom of a small hill. Moss grew in the spaces between the stone which remained cold on the hottest summer day. It was surrounded by wood planks as the area would be swollen with rain following a storm. Several days had passed before I would accept that the frog residing there hadn’t rendered it unfit for its function of providing clean drinking water. But what I recollect is the cold, crystal clear, and sweet taste of the water from the old farm well.
Canvas Sack for Tire Chains
The Rappahannock River was in walking distance to my grandparent’s home. There were horses, cows, pigs, chickens and ducks; a smoke house, a barn for the animals and a tool barn. I remember the huge log pile just beyond the fence between the two barns. My grandmother tended a large garden providing all manner of vegetables and fruits. A pumpkin patch flourished on one side and watermelon on the other. I remember the tomatoes were biggest I’d ever seen. There was an apple tree, and a peach, and pear tree. Two large shade trees grew at each side of the front porch. And one of them had a rope swing that I loved. Swinging to and fro I could socialize with my grandparents, exchanging pleasantries between the pages of Grand pop’s comic books that he enjoyed reading at the end of the day, and with my grandmother, from her chair on the porch, as she prepared our supper vegetables for cooking on the old wood stove.
Grandmother’s Canning Jars
Two Little Girls is available at my publisher’s website:
Also available at Barnes and Noble:
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Have a beautiful day!