I seem to have created some interest in my Grandpa in an article I wrote a few days ago.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the fact I did not get to spend a lot of time with my grandparents on their farm. Since I was a city boy (actually, a small-town boy), I found the farm a magical place. There was always something going on, often things you did not want to happen, happened anyway.
Even though I was very young, I was amazed about the things the women did on the farm. They made their own soap. I don’t know the recipe, but I remember it being gray in color and was cured, or dried out, in a large pan and cut into squares with a large butcher-type knife. I suppose I could dig around on the Internet and get the recipe for soap, but all I have from memory is that ashes, lye and animal fat were used and that’s all I remember. But that soap was used for everything … washing clothes, doing dishes, and thrown into the tin tub when Grandma thought it was time for me to have a bath.
I also remember the cloth sacks they got flour in, or sugar, or some other product. And these were washed and dried and used for dish towels and other rags for general purpose. Some of these cloth sacks, when enough of them were available, were made into everyday dresses. It was something that didn’t happen at my house. I went along on a wagon ride into the woods where Grandpa and my Uncle Everett had found a vein of coal. There, they took a pick ax and knocked coal loose to heat the house. Another thing we didn’t do in town. (Uncle Everett was my grandfather’s eldest son and lived on the farm.)
The hay mow, which was in the horse barn nearest the house, was a great play area. The hay was pitched from a tall wagon into the loft and was there for the horses. For a small boy, it was a great place to romp and play and be away from the prying eyes of those in charge of me.
The things we ate and drank always tasted better on the farm. The women would churn butter with an old, wooden churn and I would acquire a taste for buttermilk. (The buttermilk you buy today in the grocery store is not the same thing.) I was so amazed that the orange drink they made in a big pitcher ended up just being Kool-Aid. The difference in the taste was well water on the farm, so unlike the city water in town.
Grandma took one day a week and baked. She would make all of the bread the family used, dough for all the pies, and she always took unused strips from the pie dough, baked them smothered with cinnamon and sugar, and made a private feast for me. Always when I visited, she made me a cold, milk cocoa concoction that was just cocoa, sugar, a splash of vanilla, milk and water. I don’t know if it was my youthful eagerness, or something I didn’t understand in the making of this drink, but I’ve never been able to duplicate the taste.
There were always many mysteries about the farm that only a small boy would try to understand. Perhaps it was because I was only there for a few weeks at a time, but I found it this way. Maybe it is just the musings of an old man remembering those days of youthful fun on the farm.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.
I seem to have created some interest in my Grandpa in an article I wrote a few days ago.
- Opinion Columns
RONN MOTT: A friend celebrates his 90th
I went to Charlie Fox’s 90th birthday party Sunday last. He was standing greeting people as they came in the door. I never saw him sit down even one time. He looked more like a man celebrating his 60th rather than his 90th.
RONN MOTT: Cigars
Leaving Baesler’s Market the other day, making my round of errands, I started to re-light my cigar. It was left over from the day before and I did not place it in the humidor. It had gotten too dry, so I threw it into my garbage sack asking myself the question, “Why do I do this?” Well, I do it because I enjoy it.
MARK BENNETT: Walk of Fame inductee would stand tall in any era
Unlike most of us, Amory Kinney didn’t let the wall around his comfort zone grow taller as time passed.
RONN MOTT: Cats, Inc.
I suppose we should give her a cake and a candle, but she would be happier with a handful of “treats” you can find wherever you shop for groceries. I’m talking about the two-year anniversary of the first cat we adopted. If we had known there were going to be more, her name probably would have been different. She was Orange Crush, a small, bedraggled, starving, Golden Tabby female that wandered into our yard a little after Thanksgiving. She had been badly maltreated.
MS. TAKES: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of. Our friend, Bill, stopped by our table to offer holiday felicitations and the conversation turned, as it often does this time of year, to Christmas.
LIZ CIANCONE: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of.
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Bobby Leonard symbolized the feisty competitive flair of the old ABA.
RONN MOTT: Collett Park Christmas Walk always a special event
Since I live right across the street from Collett Park, I enjoy very much this particular neighborhood. And since I have walked around it a few times, I’m familiar with the 0.8 of a mile it takes to walk around the park. The Christmas Walk is a walk around the neighborhood. There were approximately 15 homes involved and open to the public this year
RONN MOTT: Rule Changes
Watching the beginning of a new basketball season reminds me of my attempt to play basketball in high school. On the B-team, at a township high school my freshman and sophomore years, I fouled out of a great many basketball games.
RONN MOTT: A Hornet’s Nest
I seem to have kicked over a hornet’s nest in my criticism of the American health care system.
The basic fact of the matter is this: We do not have, in America, the highest-rated health care system. We are not in the top 10, nor top 20, but somewhere in the middle 30s. Yet we pay more for our health care than any other nation in the world.
LIZ CIANCONE: Mourning a death is a personal exercise
One does not properly “celebrate” an assassination, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are a lot of nuts out there. Coverage this past week of the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination still has the power to disturb, but all the theories won’t undo the facts.
MARK BENNETT: Letter from coach’s young daughter put pro sports, Christmas in perspective
Most of us sympathize with people forced to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That list is growing, now that Black Friday has morphed into Black Thursday, causing retail employees to join doctors, nurses, hospital staffers, police, firefighters, emergency responders, military members, convenience store clerks, road crews and media to spend holidays at work. Ideally, we’ll feel gratitude when we require their services on those special days. Too often, their sacrificed time gets taken for granted.
Terry Leonard wanted the executives to remember her dad, and their family, at Christmastime.
And, amazingly, they listened.
THOMAS L. STEIGER: Cultural tendencies are what unite and divide us
For the last 10 days a story has been circulating on the Internet adapted from the original source in Tufts Magazine.
Ronn Mott: Memories of long ago Thanksgivings
Like many youngsters growing up in this part of Indiana, the holidays were always something full of good times and, of course, going to Grandma’s house.
RONN MOTT: I remember
Someone said the other day everyone remembers where they were the day John Kennedy was shot. I certainly do.
RONN MOTT: Too Much
I’ve been very fortunate, so far, in my lifetime. I’ve not been hit with any major disease that could, ultimately, kill me. I’ve only been under the knife twice and neither operation was life threatening … tonsils and a kidney stone too large to extract in a normal way.
LIZ CIANCONE: The greatest invention ever? Frozen orange juice
We were talking the other day and someone posed the question: “What do you think has been the greatest invention of all time?”
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I attended the unveiling of the Larry Bird statue on Saturday, Nov. 9, and found the proceedings to be wonderful.
RONN MOTT: 95th
Nov. 7, 1918, was a few days before the war to end all wars actually ended. It was 95 years ago. The last veteran who fought in that war has passed away. The growth America took after that war also has passed away and so did Prohibition, ending the sale of alcoholic drinks and giving birth to what became known as “organized crime.”
RONN MOTT: The Bully
The mess the Miami Dolphins find themselves in is a simple case of bullying. The man who would like to be rather “incognito,” Richie Incognito, is not. The entire world knows about him now and his bullying may have been sanctioned by his Miami Dolphins’ football team.
LIZ CIANCONE: Even mild forecast can give you the shivers
The local weather report the other evening included a bit of folklore. Our weather guru said that the story is that if snakes have not crawled off to winter quarters by late October, we were in for a mild winter.
MARK BENNETT: A degree of success
Determination to get that diploma Larry Bird’s deepest bond with fellow ISU alums, students
RONN MOTT: Obama ‘stubs toe’ — and worse — so far on Affordable Care Act
Abraham Lincoln, after losing the race for the available Senate seat (National Senate), was asked by a reporter how it felt. Mr. Lincoln said, “I feel like a sixteen-year-old boy who has just run across a field and stubbed his toe on a rock. It hurts too much to laugh and I’m too old to cry.” President Obama has run into a similar situation. He certainly has stubbed his toe on the rock of his administration, The Affordable Care Act.
RONN MOTT: ‘My team lost’
My team lost. The team I have been a fan of since 1946 lost the World Series.
I’m surprised they did as well as they did. The St. Louis Cardinals limped into the final seven games of baseball this year with perhaps the best young pitching staff, but everything else fell rather flat. Two power hitters and one was hurt early in the Series, which left only one power hitter … not enough to beat the booming Bosox.
RONN MOTT: ‘It's a job’
I was recently talking to Jim Meece, Republican Parke County commissioner and history teacher at Turkey Run High School. (WAXI 104.9) We talked about many things … one of them being Congress and what they’re supposed to do.
LIZ CIANCONE: Extra hour gives more time to reset all the clocks
At the risk of becoming a bore, I really hate daylight saving time.
MARK BENNETT: Brad Fenton and friends set dominos in motion to make Larry Bird statue a reality
The idea has been out there for awhile, floating.
Locals in the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s would say, “They need to put up a statue of Larry Bird. I mean, one of the all-time greatest basketball players played right here in Terre Haute at Indiana State University.”
RONN MOTT: Thoughts about the ‘Redskins’ controversy
I am not amused by the uproar for the Washington NFL team to stop calling themselves the “Redskins.” I think it is, frankly, much to do about nothing.
RONN MOTT: Confederate States of America
During the government shutdown a handful of veterans and a whole bunch of Tea Party activists picked up the fencing that blocked the WWII Memorial and dropped it in front of the White House. And then they began to wave the Confederate flag.
RONN MOTT: Hard Luck
If you want to know how smart the Tea Party has been, just read the headlines.
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