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Remembering days gone byPosted Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 2:10 PM
Today is time for another old time ways and happenings., but first a dear scripture to all who have put their trust and hope in the Lord. It comes from I Cor. 2:9. "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of men, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." If you know the Lord as your savior this is a special word to you. Know it and rejoice in it.
Now the reflection:
There are four things that many of you can identify with. Most of us back in the thirties and fifties lived much alike. Things have changed a lot since then. Our grocery store shelves and freezers are full of things we did not know of in that time. We raised a lot of our things we now take for granted. We raised it or did without. Let me list four things.
The first thing I mention was the time of butchering the first hog in the first cold days of winter. Most families looked forward to this happy time. We had, in most cases, four to six hogs we would pen up and feed them corn for a month or so before they were butchered. Most folks were running low on hog meat and around the second week after thanksgiving we would kill the first hog. That was a good time. If people had any meat left from the previous year it was getting old and rancid. Most didn't have any left. When people have to go without something for quite a while, it is good to get back to the better eating.
As the butchering went on that day our appetites would really pick up. Now there would be some good pork chops, cured bacon, ham, and plenty of sausage. Usually on the day of the butchering we would really look forward to supper. Yum, Yum, how good it was to have some good fresh meat. The next day women would grind the fresh sausage, cut out the hams and shoulders, and the parts that would be put in the meat house and covered with salt to cure it out for six weeks. So this was done to provide meat for the coming year.
The second thing I mention was having chickens to eat. Each spring most families would order a hundred or more little chicks to raise and provide fryers and to have some to lay eggs. Hens would quit laying in the winter and it was good to have some fresh eggs. But after not having much fried chicken in a long time, the first ones to come to size would be killed first.
My mom usually would kill three chickens at first for they would be small and even then we wouldn't get all we wanted. Yum, yum, they sure were good. We ate more for breakfast than other times. We would have good biscuits, fried chicken, gravy, and sorghum and butter. Now that was real good living.
A third thing I remember fondly was when our cow would go down in milk production and she was about to have a new calf. We would let her dry up for a month or so to give her rest so she would be able to have a good calf. During this dry time we had no milk from her. Usually, we had a neighbor who had a cow giving milk and they would share some milk with us. But it usually didn't go too far with a big family like ours. We would do the same for them if the situation was reversed. When you are out of something for quite a while, it just seems to taste better when the supply begins again. How good it was to be back in business and have all the milk and butter we wanted. I was the milker in the family. I remember when the cow first freshened I would milk a 21/2 gallons of milk at morning and evening for quite a while. We would have enough milk to even feed some to the hogs. Now that was good living, too.
The last thing involved the first tomato that got ripe in the summer. Most folks had quite a garden back in that time. It was a necessity for sure to have a garden. Women usually had three or four hundred jars for canning the garden produce. Tomatoes were easy to raise. They usually came off in late June and would still produce to the first killing frost.
Hardly anyone had refrigeration and it would be hard to save tomatoes for long. I don't know how much they were sold in stores. We just hardly ever bought tomatoes or any of the other three things I have discussed. We just depended on the garden for them. But let me not forget to mention the first ripe tomato.
Children would watch for the first one. When one was found the finder would get a salt shaker and go eat it. I think the first one was the best one all year. We had all the tomatoes we would usually need until the first killing frost came in the late fall. Again, I say that Mom would have boxes of canned tomatoes all around the house and so often stored under the beds.
Do you remember those days? They were pretty good days. If you do you are over 66 years old now. Have a good day.
Rev. William Piercy is pastor of Blackwater Baptist Church near Manila.