Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Voices

Careful!  Fragile!
I went to an antique store today.  At these marvelous places, I walk along the dusty shelves and sense a welcome from all the varied pieces that have found their way there. When I scour through the crowded shelves and kneel down to look at a delicate teapot, I am really searching for the hands that held that teapot.  I closed my eyes today, and pictured how the blue and white china teapot was carefully washed and dried, then placed up away from little hands.  The teapot was well-used, though, as there were faint stains that built up over time.

How many hands used these?
 The worn kitchen implements tell me that tons of potatoes were peeled and mashed, a boatload of apple pies were rolled out, cooked, and appreciated. 

Old tables have so much voice to me.  The scratches and dents resulted from many meals, and there must have been laughter and stories told after the dishes were cleared, the coffee poured. 
Many meals were eaten here.
Rusty, Goldie, and Blackie (not actual cows)


On the farm we had three milk cows, which produced untold gallons of raw milk over my life there.  Every morning Mom strained the milk into a metal crock, and set it carefully in the old Kelvinator refrigerator.  By late afternoon, she showed me how to skim off the cream that had risen to the top of the milk as it cooled. 
Raw milk
Mom carefully ladled the cream into an old Mason jar, where it would wait.  Then she poured the milk into a chipped pitcher, just in time for another crock-full of warm milk, fresh from the evening’s milking.    In the morning, we would again skim off the cream, and ladle it into the jar.  We drank the milk, bits of cream still circling around the thick white liquid.

This is exactly like mine!
When enough cream accumulated, it would go into the heavy glass jar butter churn.  How many pounds of butter did we churn?  Over 20 years?  What did Mom do with the butter? Too many questions, and I have no answer for them all.  I do know that Mom sold the butter to women in the nearby town, saved up the money, and used it for whatever she wanted to buy for herself.  Mom never lived in luxury, but the ‘butter money’ gave a taste of having extra.
Mine is very similar!

Today I held a smaller version of Mom’s old churn, with eyes closed and mind searching for the hands that turned the handle, spinning the paddles until cream went from liquid white to solid yellow.  I know that somewhere in this churn’s life, a girl’s hands took over the churning while the mother worked on another chore.  The worn faded red handle told me that the girl grew to a woman, who would someday want her own churn. 

I paid for the churn, and carried this treasure out into the bright sun.  The resulting migraine told me that it was time to get into the dark rooms of my house, so I made no detours to my other favorite places.  At home, I wiped the churn off with one of Mom’s old faded dishtowels.  I placed it in the hutch next to Mom’s butter mold, carved by my great-grandfather for his daughter.  

In the dark of the dining room, I gazed at my ‘new’ churn with a great sigh of pleasure.  Migraine or not, I felt good-- no, great.

7 comments:

  1. When I read stories like this, I remember how much I yearned to be brought up on a farm and have these experiences. Alas, I was a city mouse and had different adventures.

    This is a warm and fuzzy post.

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  2. How sweet when the pieces fit together and the story is told.

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  3. This is magical! I just went to an antique shop. I was looking for an old type writer. It makes me wonder what people wrote on it before it came to me ;)

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  4. Good to hear that you managed to feel this way, despite the migraine. I'm battling with negative feelings at the moment, but not my illness, the continuing illness my husband bravely suffers.

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  5. Oh I love this post! I love antiques. Unfortunately my hubby doesn't understand the fascination. I do the same thing. It's not the object so much as who used it or the story behind it. I once bought a tool box because an older gentleman had gotten it from his dad that got it from his dad and it had a world war 1 engraving inside. I loved the story behind it and it pained me when he tried to sell it to me for a 1. I insisted on paying more and he threw in an old trunk from the same time frame.

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  6. I love your farm posts - such a short time ago really, but my how things have changed. Thanks for sharing this memory...

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!