“Older Than Dirt”

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she asked me if I felt a year older now. No, not a whole year older. However, I just came across a file while scrolling through my DropBox and as I reread it, I realized that I, too, am “older than dirt.”
Renee Boomer shared these thoughts about eight years ago. They’re surely worth posting again. I hope they give you youngsters under fifty a smile today, too.

Man reflectingMy husband always tells the grandchildren that he is ‘older than dirt’. They find that quite funny. When I was approaching my sixtieth birthday they looked at me and said, “Gamma, now you will be ‘older than dirt’ just like Papa.
Ha-ha. They will have their turn.

Old-Time Memories

When my Dad was cleaning out my grandmother’s house he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea.
She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old!

How many of these do you remember?
– Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
– Ignition switches on the dashboard.
– Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
– Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.
– Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.
— Ice boxes and home delivery of ice.
— Galvanized steel bath tubs.
Toy doll in tub

Here’s an official Older Than Dirt Quiz :
Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about.
Then see your rating at the bottom. 🙂

Candy cigarettes
Coffee shops with table-side juke boxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles
Telephone party lines
Newsreels before the movie
TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. There were only 3 channels — if you were fortunate!
Peashooters
Howdy Doody
45 RPM records
Hi-fi’s
Metal ice trays with lever
Blue flashbulb
Cork popguns
Studebakers
Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10 = Don’t tell your age
If you remembered 11-15 = You’re older than dirt!

I might be “older than dirt” but those memories are some of the best parts of my life!

Sandwich Spread

Sandwich.freeThe Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SANDWICH

You’re all welcome to join the fun and post a poem, prose, photo, pertaining to the noble SANDWICH. And since I was the one who offered this prompt, I’d better respond, too. Here’s a little story my mom-in-law once told.

Years ago a busy mother, approaching middle age and broadening her…er…personal horizon, was visiting her doctor and he was concerned about her weight problem. (This was back in the 50s, while it was politically okay for a doctor to mention such things.)

“Your heart’s under too much strain, Helen. I think for your heart, and for the good of your overall health, that you’d better take off some of that weight.”

Helen sighed. “I’ve tried cutting back, but I just can’t seem to lose a pound. Even when I eat less and am on the run all day, I still don’t lose weight.”

“What foods do you normally eat?”

“Whatever I can put between two slices of bread.”

“Ah!” The doctor smiled. “Let’s start there.”

The Nursing Home

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was HABITAT

asia-1822460_640Last night I was reading some poems written by a man visiting his aged mother in the nursing home, and decided to write one myself, about an incident that happened when my Mom-in-law was 97. She had dementia, but not the total loss of Alzheimer’s, so she still had a sense of where she was living.

Wheeling Mom around the nursing home
we find the visitors’ room almost empty today.
Just one old gent in his wheelchair, staring silently
in peaceful meditation — or frustration?

We stop awhile in our rambling – and why not?
We’re just killing time, really. The last hours of a lifetime.
I pick a spot by the picture window and we gaze outside.
Beautiful yard. Even if her vision’s fuzzy, I hope
she can still catch some of the spring colour.

She looks around the huge room, discerning
a bit of the high ceilings and classy woodwork.
“My grandfather built this house,”
she informs the man, with a touch of pride,
not remembering that this isn’t a house.

When we first brought her here she thought
it was a junkyard, the final habitat of old and unwanted.
But that memory’s gone; now, thankfully, she likes
this place her grandpa built — sometimes just worked on.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,”
the old fellow snaps. One of the lucid ones, bad luck.
Held captive here by his lack of mobility, perhaps,
but wheelchairs don’t affect the understanding.

“He did!” Mom insists. “My grandpa built this place
and Uncle Pete helped.” Because didn’t they both live here?
And weren’t they both carpenters? Good ones, too!
She remembers her Dad getting letters from his sister;
she and Uncle Pete did live here, back in the ’30s.

Her dad was blind so she read everything to him,
so she knows. How dare this man contradict her!
Of course she remembers her grandpa. Even Uncle Pete –
if only from those letters Aunt Catherine wrote.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
But his harsh retort just bounces off her certainty.
I decide to continue our stroll and wheel her down the hall
while she can still be right – and he’s definitely wrong.

Have Some of My Cake

Good morning to all my readers and followers.

Bright sunshine forecasting a beautiful day and I’m celebrating my birthday by having a coffee, doing the laundry, and generally staying home and avoiding all human contact. 🙂

Not quite true, as I’m cooking supper at the seniors’ residence this afternoon; also, my dear husband gave me a card and a kiss before he left to pick up a few groceries. Thankfully,  I can visit online as well, so won’t you all join me this morning for a cup of coffee, a piece of cake, and a few relevant verses.

CoffeeCake.Farooq Sharif

Here are a few haiku I wrote yesterday, combining thoughts of warmer days to come with our current situation:

morning joggers
run rings around
my safe space

a bumblebee
not knowing the law
comes way too close

if only mosquitoes would get the point of social distancing

Fire in the Forest

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was COUNTLESS BRANCHES

A forest of living, greening branches can be an inspiring sight, but here’s an account of a raging blaze started in the felled trees on a homesteader’s farm. They were set ablze by the hired man, who had good intentions, but seriously lacked common sense. The REBLOG button on his post isn’t working, so I’ve reprinted this from Flatlander Faith.com. See the original post HERE.

[This is an excerpt from a Canadian Classic, Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie, first published in 1852.  At the climax of the crisis described here, she buries her head in her apron. It was her custom to  pull up her apron to cover her head for privacy when praying.]

The winter and spring of 1834 had passed away. The latter was uncommonly cold and backward; so much so that we had a very heavy fall of snow upon the 14th and 15th of May

A late, cold spring in Canada is generally succeeded by a burning, hot summer; and the summer of ’34 was the hottest I ever remember.  No rain fell upon the earth for many weeks, till nature drooped and withered beneath one bright blaze of sunlight; and the ague and fever in the woods, and the cholera in the large towns and cities, spread death and sickness through the country.

Moodie had made during the winter a large clearing of twenty acres around the house. The progress of the workmen had been watched by me with the keenest interest. Every tree that reached the ground opened a wider gap in the dark wood, giving us a broader ray of light and a clearer glimpse of the blue sky. But when the dark cedar swamp fronting the house fell beneath the strokes of the axe, and we got a first view of the lake my joy was complete: a new and beautiful object was now constantly before me, which gave me the greatest pleasure.

The confusion of an uncleared fallow spread around us on every side. Huge trunks of trees and piles of brush gave a littered and uncomfortable appearance to the locality, and as the weather had been very dry for some weeks, I heard my husband talking with his choppers as to the expediency of firing the fallow. They still urged him to wait a little longer, until he could get a good breeze to carry the fire well through the brush.

Business called him suddenly to Toronto, but he left a strict charge with old Thomas and his sons, who were engaged in the job, by no means to attempt to burn it off till he returned, as he wished to be upon the premises himself in case of any danger. He had previously burnt all the heaps immediately about the doors. While he was absent, old Thomas and his second son fell sick with the ague, and went home to their own township, leaving John, a surly, obstinate young man, in charge of the shanty, where they slept, and kept their tools and provisions.

The day was sultry, and towards noon a strong wind sprang up that roared in the pine tops like the dashing of distant billows, but without in the least degree abating the heat. The children were lying listlessly on the floor for coolness, and the girl and I were finishing sun-bonnets, when Mary suddenly exclaimed, “Bless us, mistress, what a smoke!” I ran immediately to the door, but was not able to distinguish ten yards before me. The swamp immediately below us was on fire, and the heavy wind was driving a dense black cloud of smoke directly towards us.

“What can this mean?” I cried. “Who can have set fire to the fallow?”

John Thomas stood pale and trembling before me. “John, what is the meaning of this fire?”

“Oh, ma’am, I hope you will forgive me; it was I set fire to it, and I would give all I have in the world if I had not done it.”

“What is the danger?”

“Oh, I’m terribly feared that we shall all be burnt up,” said the fellow, beginning to whimper.

“We must get out of it as fast as we can, and leave the house to its fate.”

“We can’t get out,” said the man, in a low, hollow tone, which seemed the concentration of fear; “I would have got out if I could; but just step to the back door, ma’am, and see.”

I had not felt the least alarm up to this minute. Judge then my horror, when, on going to the back door, I saw that the fellow, to make sure of his work, had fired the field in fifty different places. Behind, before, on every side, we were surrounded by a wall of fire, burning ferociously within a hundred yards of us, and cutting off all possibility of retreat.

I closed the door and went back to the parlour. Fear was knocking loudly at my heart – I felt stupefied. The girl sat upon the floor by the children, who had both fallen asleep. She was silently weeping; while the fool who had caused the mischief was crying aloud.

A strange calm succeeded my first alarm; tears and lamentations were useless; a horrible death was impending over us, and yet I could not believe that we were to die.

My eye fell upon the sleeping angels, locked peacefully in each other’s arms, and my tears flowed for the first time. Mary, the servant-girl, looked piteously up in my face. The good, faithful creature had not uttered one word of complaint, but now she faltered forth, “The dear precious lambs! Oh such a death!”

I threw myself down upon the floor beside them, and pressed them alternately to my heart, while inwardly I thanked God that they were asleep, unconscious of danger.

The heat soon became suffocating. We were parched with thirst, and there was not a drop of water in the house. I turned once more to the door, hoping that a passage might have been burnt through to the water. I saw nothing but a dense cloud of fire and smoke – could hear nothing but the crackling and roaring of the flames, which were gaining so fast on us that I felt their scorching breath in my face.

“Ah,” thought I – and it was a most bitter thought – “what will my beloved husband say when he returns and finds that poor Susy and his dear girls have perished in this miserable manner? But God can save us yet.”

The thought had scarcely found a voice in my heart before the wind rose to a hurricane, scattering the flames on all sides into a tempest of burning billows. I buried my head in my apron, for I thought that our time was come, and that all was lost, when a most terrific crash of thunder burst over our heads, and, like the breaking of a water-spout, down came the rushing torrent of rain which had been pent up for so many weeks. In a few minutes the chip-yard was all afloat, and the fire effectually checked. The storm which, unnoticed by us, had been gathering all day, and which was the only one of any note we had that summer, continued to rage all night, and before morning had quite subdued the cruel enemy whose approach we had viewed with such dread.

The imminent danger in which we had been placed struck me more forcibly after it was past than at the time, and both the girl and myself sank to our knees and offered up our hearts in humble thanksgiving to that God who had saved us by an act of His Providence from an awful and sudden death. When all hope from human assistance was lost, His hand was mercifully stretched forth, making His strength more perfectly manifested in our weakness.

“He is their stay when earthly hope is lost,
The light and anchor of the tempest-toss’d.”