This is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm marking one item off my "bucket list." I love telling stories, yarns, etc. and for the past 25 years have written weekly articles for the DeKalb Newspapers and now I get to try blogging. It has been said of me that I write about old days and old ways, along with modern tales of our adventures here on The Windy Knoll, our home place. Drop in just any time to see what's going on. Now let me say up front I'm no Julia Childs or Paula Dean - not even a distant relative - but I will be writing about cooking now and then. As best I can remember the only thing considered fast food in this house is a cake mix. I cook from scratch like the old timers used to do. I'll be posting old and new articles and in most cases the published date will be to the right of the title. That way you can read along (with a few pictures) and see what the aging process has done.

Thanksgiving Long Ago

NOTE: Our first Thanksgiving without Mrs. Crumly. I sure do miss her.

5x7 SOFT DSCN0137Thanksgiving at this house was only just a little different from a regular day.  We usually had some kind of company and dinner was enjoyed in the middle part of the day.  Mother always “dressed” a hen and made chicken and dressing.  I don’t remember the rest of the menu but it was always dressing.  The table would be full as we had preserved enough food the summer before to eat well during the winter.

Some times we played some of the games I mentioned a few days ago, but lots of conversation and laughter filled the day, too.

When night time approached, no matter if it was Thanksgiving, chores had to be done: bringing in wood — stove wood and wood for the fireplace– had to be fetched and it had to be enough to last  ’til after daylight the next morning.  Corn had to be shelled and fed to the chickens and the eggs gathered. Life stock had to fed and watered — we had to draw water for them from the well — and the cow had to be fed and milked.  We called all this “doing the night work”  or “tending to the things.”

I have such a little tolerance for my inability to do what I used to do, but I’m making myself a promise that I’ll be more thankful for what I am able to do.  Doing this blog is one of them and I’m thankful for you who read it.  You count some blessings for which you can be thankful, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Sears and Roebuck Catalog 1991

Sears and Roebuck Catalog – memories bounce out as I sit here and thumb through the pages of the colorful Christmas Wish Book.  At the same time, John is looking at the “big” catalog and grumbling about prices.

Sears is the only place we can find those wonderful coveralls that John wants to live in.  I’ve threatened to bury him in them if I outlive him.  He would like that!  He just declares that they are not sized like they used to be – what really has happened is that since he quit smoking he has added some pounds, and that’s where the sizing difference comes in.  It’s virtually impossible to find short coveralls anywhere else.  It’s equally hard to find a man’s shoe in size seven.  It must be nice to be small!  I, too, have trouble finding clothes, but for altogether different reasons.

When I was growing up here on the Windy Knoll, I remember that at this time of year, we always kept an order going to or coming from Sears.  Sometimes whatever we ordered was the wrong size and had to be returned.  I would wear the Christmas book out thumbing through it and making my list.  Of course, I did not get all that was on the list, but had fun wishing.

We ordered lots of goodies from the catalog- yard goods, scrap bundles (for making quilts), clothing to fit whatever the season – and then there were the school supplies. I remember in the fall, when the new catalog arrived, the first thing I did was to look at the new book satchels.  I always got a new book satchel and after the order was sent off to that Ponce de Leon address in Atlanta, I religiously met the mailman until the order came.  It was most disappointing to unpack and find something ordered did not come, or find that something was not satisfactory and had to be returned.

I shall never forget the fall I was a senior in high school, I ordered enough maroon-colored cordudroy to make a new suit and Mrs. Marvin Elrod in Crossville made it.  She was a wonderful seamstress and I felt so dressed up wearing that outfit.

The mail-order houses were a great help to country people, and I don’t know how we would have made it without them.

Come to think of it, mail order houses (there are a lot more of them now) are still a big business and I enjoy using them.  In fact, I still look forward to receipt of the orders, just as I did years ago.  Instead of just watching for the mailman, now I listen for the sound of that UPS truck. Of course, Jake alerts us to the UPS arrival with his fierce barking.  Our Atlanta daughter sees to it that we stay on lots of mailing lists, as she also enjoys shopping by mail. Guess I passed that tradition on to her.

Shopping by mail — it’s just one of the small pleasures of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Superstitions 2005

NOTE: The remedies and superstitions written here are not medically proven – so try them at your own risk.

In the days when country doctors were few and far between, folks had to do much of the doctoring themselves and some of these old remedies have been passed down through the generations.  One most popular medicine of precaution was that of sassafras tea.  The roots were dug in the early spring (March, I think), washed, boiled, strained and then the tea was sweetened either with sugar, honey or sorghum.  Drinking of this so-called tea was supposed to remove the winter impurities.

Cough syrup was another home remedy made by many and each family has/had their own favorite.  Ours was equal parts white lightning whiskey, lemon juice and honey.  Even after you stop coughing you might want to “sample” this mixture now and then—using it as a preventative.

Around our house kerosene was kept handy.  Somebody was always being injured in one way or another.  I went barefooted in the summer and sometimes would step on an upturned nail and, of course, kerosene was quickly poured on that wound.  When my daddy would cut himself with a saw or whatever, he used kerosene to treat it with.  Children would oft times stub (we called it stump) their big toe and it was washed with kerosene and a “stall” made from an old worn out sheet or flour sack.  The “stall” was held in place with a string attached to it and then the string was tied around the ankle.  Flour sack pieces were used because they were much softer texture than other kinds of sacks.

Sand Mountain sorghum mixed with a generous amount of baking soda made an excellent remedy for burns.  One time our eldest stood too close to an open fire and her little overall leg caught fire.  John quickly put it out with his bare hand and then mixed up the above mixture and applied it.  She doesn’t have a sign of a scar.

Jewel Weed is a good remedy for poison ivy and supposedly the two plants grow relatively close to each other.  Not so here at the Windy Knoll.  We have the ivy, but no Jewel Weed.  Jewel Weed needs a damp place to grow and there is no such place here – even in a normal year.

Apparently, my daddy could cure asthma.  A Geraldine resident would tell you today about this happening in her family.  Daddy would notch some type stick and when the child outgrew that notch the asthma would be gone.  I’m unsure what kind of wood was used, but as I remember it the stick was Sour Wood.

Supposedly people who have never seen their daddy could cure the Thrush in a baby’s mouth.  Old timers called this malady “thrash” and my sister-in-law was one of those people who had never seen their daddy.  Her father was killed in a ginning accident before she was born.  Ruby had numerous requests to blow in the mouth of afflicted babies in an effort to cure this rash.

Now let me tell you about my problem.  I have a thing-a-ma-doodle on the bottom of my foot (sort of a corn-like thing).  It’s on the ball of the foot, but just below my little toe.  It’s sore and it’s painful.  Various people have looked at it (no doctors) and have called it different things.  One friend calls it a calcium deposit and claims she can get it out.  She scraped bark from a White Oak Tree, boiled it, strained it and I’ve been soaking my foot in it every day or two and she is picking the “calcium” out of there.  It’s much improved, but the process is not complete.

About superstitions – It’s supposed to be bad luck to put black in a quilt and if one pieces a quilt called the Lone Star, she’ll be left a widow.  Now if some lady wants to get rid of her husband, she could try piecing a Lone Star and put black in it.

Another oldie is to hang a dead snake on the fence to make it rain.  Well John plowed up a snake in the garden a few days – it was wrapped around the tines of the tiller before he knew it.  He hung it on the fence, but we don’t know how long it will take it to rain.

Daddy wouldn’t let me sing in bed – said it was bad luck.  If a black cat crosses the road in front of you it’s supposed to be bad luck, too. If a Cardinal pecks at his reflection in the window pane, it’s bad luck.

No doubt the reader of this can recall some old remedies and superstitions of his own from his style of country living

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Ah, Beautiful Blossoms of Winter

NOTE: A blog post from one of Mrs. Crumly’s unpublished works.

It’s a sight to behold, the blossoms on our sun porch – and it January.  Several years ago a friend gave me an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas.  Then, apparently, forgetting what she had given me the year before she gave me another blub the next Christmas.  Well this year these plants have been a show.  The last bulb bloomed with two very large bright red blooms and has gone out; however, Number One is still in bloom.  Every year it produces two stalks and each stalk has four super large red blossoms.  Gorgeous!!

Maybe twelve years ago I was given a strange looking plant by a friend in Gardendale.   She told me it was some kind of orchard and it bloomed in January.  Of course, the plant has grown over the years; I’ve repotted it, rooted from it and given plants away.  The blossoms look somewhat like small hyacinths and there are eight white blossoms now open.  After it finishes the bloom cycle, I’ll have to prune again.

This is to say nothing of the African Violets in bloom at the same time.  The violet story is another pass-along plant story.  A number of years ago I had a friend who worked at place that sold plants and she would grab plants headed for the garbage can and try to save them.  One year she brought me eighteen violets in need of repotting, pruning, etc.  I went into action, repotted, pruned and gave away more than plants.  I have 12 left which were repotted this fall and heavily pruned.  Four of them are now in bloom with buds showing on other plants.  These are really pretty blooms – variegated – at least most of them are.  My favorite is the purple and white one – of course, it would be since that’s Geraldine High School colors.  One year in Georgia a friend asked me if I help repot her violets.  We got a table out in the yard, emptied the overgrown violets out and I pruned and pruned, and then reset.  That night when her husband came home, she cried and said, “Mrs. Crumly has ruined my violets.”  Well in a few months she had the prettiest violets one could imagine.

Another pass along plant was given to me this Christmas and when I opened the gift I couldn’t help but shed a tear or two.  It was Paper White bulbs.  When I was a child Mother used to grow winter Narcissus (which is what Paper Whites are ).  She put gravel in a shallow pot, put the bulbs in the gravel with a little water and then stuck them way back in the cabinet and left them in the dark for several weeks.  Today’s bulbs are handled differently; however, in gravel and I planted in a deep jar to help hold up the stalks.  Their blooms are opening.

This has to be some of the best of country living.

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

It’s Jigsaw Puzzle Time

John and I became fans of jigsaw puzzles while he was in the U. S. Air Force.  We spent many hours at the USO where there were always puzzles on the tables — we also enjoyed singing around the piano and just visiting with other service people.  Christmas-Jigsaw-Puzzle-001

Now in the winter we always keep a puzzle on the sun porch.  It’s right by the window and one can sit there, soak up sunshine and attempt to find the puzzle pieces while leaving everything else go.  You should see my house and how it needs attention –who cares?  It’s our house and our mess anyway it’s no fun to hold onto the walker and try to run a vacuum.

Last week our youngest came and brought two new puzzles — one being a Coco Cola one and the other a Christmas scene and made by the Lang Company.  I always have Lang calendars hanging out here on the porch and now I have a puzzle.  It’s a really nice one with thick pieces making it easier for John to pick up the pieces.  Perhaps you didn’t know, but my maiden name was Lang and I brag to my family that this company is owned by some of our rich cousins.

Puzzle after puzzle will be constructed here this winter and we have a stash.  Our oldest had a big box of puzzles shipped to us and not one puzzle has been opened from that big box. We used to do the 1,000 piece ones; however, now we opt for the ones with 500 pieces.  A few years ago, our family doctor (my nephew) in NYC gave us a 2,000 piece puzzle — it was the Brooklyn Bridge and a night scene.  Wow!!  We had to have an extension put on the card table the puzzle was so large.  John hardly touched it and I struggled ’til I got to the sky, which was all shades of purple, and I gave up.   Thanks, Sam, but no more biggies for us.

This is one of the ways we’ll spend our winter days as we long for spring and enjoy country living.

NOTE:

This puzzle below was recently finished by my mother, Mrs. Mary Sue Austin.
This puzzle was recently finished by my mother, Mrs. Mary Sue Austin.

This puzzle was recently finished by my mother, Mrs. Mary Sue Austin.

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A Windy (very windy) Knoll Report

Whew!  For an old couple this is a busy week.  We can’t handle going somewhere every day and this week is doctors week for us.  We’ll keep I59 hot as we run up and down the interstate to meet various doctor appointments.  And on top of that, we’re freezing.  We are having an early fall here.

Wish you could hear the conversation as we travel along — it’s a lesson in mechanics (I think).  John doesn’t drive the 70-mile-an-hour speed limit and, of course, we are the slowest ones on the road. The reason?  It would burn too much gas. Vehicles small and large, to say nothing of the 18 wheelers, whiz right on by us.  You would think we were in reverse.  Then John’s conversation starts about how “he (meaning the other driver) has his RPMs revved up.”  I don’t even know what he’s talking about, but just listen.  He sees things differently since he spent so many years working as an airplane mechanic.  Then he is in awe at the length of the trailers the big rigs pull and has lots of comments about that.  If it’s a flat bed trailer and he can see what’s on there, we have a conversation about what it is and maybe where its headed.  I thought ours would be the only such conversation; however, I was telling a younger friend about this and they happened to be travelling in the opposite direction on I59 one of the same days we were and they had a similar conversation.

We’ve been told already this week that John has some macular degeneration and that gives us a new concern.  He already has to have a flash light to read the thermometer or set the correct temp on the oven.  I can’t imagine this man being blind — wow, his caretaker would have his or her hands full. He is such an active person — for him to sit for any length of time is virtually impossible.

So much for a Windy Knoll Report — perhaps you’d rather read the telephone book — but nevertheless, this too, is country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

As Time Goes By…..

DSCN5465-001As I am all nice a comfy on my bed with my screen door open to feel the nice cool breeze and hear the rain (I know I may be the ONLY person in Alabama with a window open on this cold wet Sunday afternoon) watching the birds come and go to the feeders. I am so sad that I did not get to take our fall ride over Sand Mountain with Mrs. Billie Crumly. The Lord called her home June 22, 2014. Seems like only yesterday to me.DSCN1722-006

The trip last year with Mr. John and Mrs. Crumly was very nice and beautiful but the leaves this year were really much better than last year because of the rain we have had. She would have loved to be in the car riding around just looking at God’s beauty. But, she is getting to see all of God’s beauty, with God. How about that for great looking fall colors. Eternity of fall leaves and beauty.

DSCN1815-001I just wanted to share with all the blog readers, and there are many, some of the photography I have been blessed to do the last few weeks. Mrs. Crumly has really been on my mind so strong this fall with each and every photo I have posted here. I still want to pick up the phone and ask her, just one more time like she has not told me 5 times already, what plants do I need to bring in and what is ok to leave out for the winter. I think just maybe I have that figured out now. We will see what is still alive next spring.DSCN1652-001

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

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Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama

Oh and that wonderful bread or Friendship Cake she could make. I can just smell it now. That would be so nice for us here in North Alabama on this cold rainy day with a hot cup of coffee.

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

I remember our talks about how I just did not see butterflies or moths around my home anymore. Well she took care of that after she passed away. My yard had several different butterflies and moths for the first time ever.  DSCN1017-002

When Mrs. Crumly started the blog she was afraid no one would read it. “What if I cannot think of enough things to write about every day,” she would say. With all due respect, I knew she would always have something to write about each day. Then as time went on she was so thrilled to be getting 400 hundred hits a day. FOUR HUNDRED hits a day, what a thrill. Four hundred quickly became 1,000, yes ONE THOUSAND hits a day. WOW! She would just cry when she would call me and tally up the numbers every night at 9:30pm. And you would have thought an earthquake was coming when she had 2,000 hits in one day she would be so excited.  DSCN1801-001

On behalf of myself, Donna Crumly Harvey, Beth Crumly Littlejohn and Mr. John (the man who makes everybody walk the line, and I do mean er’body as Aunt Bill would say) this little web blog that Mrs. Billie Crumly started on June 1, 2013 with the very first post being, “Reminiscing With A Friend” and 490 post later has had no fewer than 4,218 hits A DAY since October 28, 2014. OVER FOUR THOUSAND HITS A DAY!  WOW!

White Hall Methodist Church. Hammondville, Alabama.

White Hall Methodist Church. Hammondville, Alabama.

 

I am not much of a math genius but my calculator is and it told me that in the first 8 days of November, ‘Country Living’ web blog received 43,125 hits.

I will say it again.

43,125 HITS ON MRS. CRUMLY’S WEB BLOG, ‘COUNTRY LIVING’ IN THE FIRST 8 DAYS OF NOVEMBER.

Do you think Mrs. Crumly is bragging to F. Scott Fitzgerald or Mark Twain?  (ha ha, a little Sunday afternoon humor, or not?)

Humming Bird at The Windy Knoll.

Humming Bird at The Windy Knoll.

I want to thank each and every one of you, the readers, for your patience when a new blog is not posted every day. That is just not possible with our daily lives to be lived. Country Living has readers all over the world so I have found that in leaving a blog post up for more than one day, seems to still be getting thousands of hits a day. Donna and Beth are two very busy, always on the go kind of ladies. And as you know, Donna is also nursing her husband back to a healthy life after lung surgery. Beth is not only teaching school but she is also in school. Me, well I never know just what each day will bring. I am blessed in so many different ways. Blessed with such good friends and family. Blessed with the ability to make each and every day just what I want it to be, most of the time. Living with MS and other health issues, as some of you know, can and will change a day in an instant.DSCN1052-001

As a famous radio disc jockey, Casey Kasem, would say at the end of his program, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

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Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

I like that. Stay humble in life but keep reaching for higher goals, just like Mrs. Crumly did with the web blog. Enjoy your surroundings and love all the life you possibly can in every hour you are given.

God Bless you all and have a GREAT week.

20140810_192321-001P.S…..again I am not a writer or even think that I am. I apologize to all my Auburn University professors that tried to teach me the art of writing, spelling and using the correct form of the word. I could blame it all on my MS, but my MS knows it is my fault not his. Ha Ha!

I will borrow three of quotes, quotes that I heard a thousand times or more in 3 years at Auburn University, which one of my favorite people/friend/professor at Auburn University uses after his e mails and on his Facebook page, Mr. Ed Williams.

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama.

“Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise.”
– Strunk and White

“To get your ideas across use small words, big ideas, and short sentences.”

Nothing you can’t spell will ever work.
Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)

And now all those sick, horrible feelings of being graded are coming back up. So please don’t hold me to any of those journalism rules.

NOTE: CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Story of This Old House

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The Home Place

Built in 1895, if this house could talk imagine all the stories it could tell.  Births, deaths, storms,  and reunions.  The sills (underneath) are 12×12? hand-hewn white oak and the studs are 4×4? undressed pine lumber.  When we were renovating, thirty years ago, a man who had been born here in 1897 came to visit and as he came up the steps at the front porch he said, “Willie fell off this porch right over there and broke his leg.”  Willie was the man’s brother and he told how they had helped clear the land just north of the house so it could be cultivated.

I’m the third generation to own this farm, but I don’t think my grandparents ever lived in this house.  My daddy and his first wife (pregnant) were building a “cook room” onto the back of the house when she got sick and died in this house that winter. She left two small children. It was the flu epidemic of 1918.  In 1919 Daddy married my mother and then I came along in 1928 (born in this house).

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The Home Place

 

We sat by the wood burning fireplace and tried to stay warm — we always said we froze on one side and burned on the other.  Our beds were in that same room and, then as time went on, Mother wanted a living room and the front door was moved over to the bedroom window — another bedroom wall was moved back creating a bedroom in what had been the hall.  Thus a living room was born.

John had to tear the “cook  room” off the back of the original house due to termite damage — the room was built right on the ground.  He also tried to level the other rooms somewhat.  The original house had no underpinning, but had pillars of sand rocks.  These rocks had wedges stuck in between them to help in leveling and steadying the house.  The wedges (made of dogwood) were called “gluts” and we’ve kept one here just to show. (The glut story has been passed down by word of mouth and I cannot find it in the dictionary — maybe you know another story).

When my half brother and sister were children in this house an old man lived upstairs and they called him “Uncle Ed” and now when we hear a strange noise we say it’s just Uncle Ed visiting.  I may be repeating myself, but one night when John and I had just gone to bed the commode in the guest bathroom flushed — and we were the only ones in the house.  John told that to a group of men who met in Geraldine and one of them said, “And you still live there?”  John having  plumbing knowledge knew exactly what had happened.

Since we’ve been here (1985) we had a Texas lady come here just to see the house — it seems her family had lived here at one time and she just wanted to walk where they had walked.

The house is located atop a knoll and there’s nearly always a breeze — lots of times, wind– felt here and thus the name “Windy Knoll.”  It’s the home place and we welcome family members to visit and remember things from their childhood as they visited grandparents here.  The boys laugh and say, “Every time Granddaddy got a new dog he named him “Cooter.”  Every dog had the same name.  John and I and our immediate family have made many memories here — although in more recent years,  As we count, there have been seven generations of this family who have walked here.  It’s definitely country living.

Another view of the Homeplace

Another view of the Homeplace

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Aunt Bill Rambles — Hi-Jac Quilt

Hi-Jac Quilt

The Hi-Jac Quilt

Hi-Jacs wuz made in Fort Payne, Alabama — at one time called “The Sock Capital of the World.”  A Hi-Jac is (wuz) a little sleeve that could be slipped on the bottom of a 6 oz Coca Cola bottle and it kept the hands dry while the drink was enjoyed. Back then when ladies got all dressed up and went out to a “function” or  ”shin-dig” they wore gloves — usually white gloves.  The little sleeve looked and felt much like a sock and some man that worked at the mill where they’s made took enough home to his wife fer her to make a quilt.

The quilt is super heavy, and has some batt in it.  The quilting on it is not much — just enough to hold the lining, top and filler together and that’s about all.  On a cold night like we’ve been a-havin’ hit would help keep you warm, but hit’d be so heavy you couldn’t turn over.

Billie don’t need it and she’s donatin’ hit to the Depot Museum in Fort Payne next week.  They’ve got Hi-Jacs, but don’t have nair quilt made of Hi-Jacs.  Billie thinks Fort Payne is where hit ort be since them Hi-Jacs wuz made there.  Of course, Hi-Jacs ain’t  made no more — at least not made in Fort Payne.  China or somebody across the waters may make them.  Hit’s all part of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A Special Commodity, Ice 1990

With living today, it seems ice is taken for granted.  Why, all we have to do is open the refrigerator door (or in many cases that don’t even have to be done) and out comes the ice. Not so in days gone by.  Ice was special in my growing up days and we only had it to enjoy on a part-time basis – and a very sparse part-time at that.  To say we protected it and savored it would be somewhat of an understatement.

At this house we had an icebox.  One compartment was insulated (somewhat) and would hold a 50-pound block of ice which cost 50 cents. Another compartment was just below the ice section where small items could be stored.  The big door side held milk and larger containers of whatever.  When we were fortunate enough to have ice in the house, it would be on the week end and that big block was wrapped with layer after layer of newspaper to try to keep it as long as possible.  We only opened the doors when we had to and they were closed in a hurry.  Having the ice meant we could enjoy cold milk (and milk that wasn’t spoiled from heat) and iced tea.

One chore that demanded oft-paid attention was the emptying of the pan under the icebox.  The pan caught the water as the ice block melted and it made a mess in the floor when it ran over – so we had to remember to pay special attention to that detail.  Usually, that was my job.

Sometimes the ice truck would come by our house, but most times we would have to buy ice from the ice house in Crossville (4 miles away), or Collinsville (12 miles away) and bring it home.  We didn’t have a car most of the time and we could only get the ice if we were riding with somebody with a car.  What did an ice house look like?  John and I surmise it would have been maybe 8’x10’ with very thick walls that were filled with sawdust for insulation.  The ice was shipped to Crossville and Collinsville from an ice plant in Albertville (15 miles to our west).  We still remember the tools used when handling ice – ice picks, large tongs and ice hooks.  Perhaps the ice would be delivered to ice houses in 50 and 100 pound blocks.  When have you ever seen an ice pick?  In our vast collection of stuff there is an ice pick. – a necessity back in those days.

The ice pick was used to chip smaller ice from the large block for adding to iced tea.  Even after people on this mountain got electricity and refrigeration, I remember hearing it said that the tea cooled with block ice tasted much better. Another time the ice pick was used was to chip off ice for making ice cream.  Some of my fondest memories are those of time spent under that large tree in my Uncle Blake’s yard.  It would be on a Sunday afternoon with the family gathered around and somebody would be turning the crank on the ice cream freezer.  I don’t remember the size of the freezer, but it must have been larger than one gallon, as there were lots of mouths to feed.  That old freezer would squeak and groan and the ice would get hung as the turning took place.  Lots of coarse salt would be added to the ice in the freezer to speed up the freezing and, of course, the freezer would be covered with a tow sack or two.  It was helpful, too, for a child to sit atop the freezer to help hold it still for the turning process.  The ice cream was thought to be better if it were allowed to “set” a while after it was frozen, but that seldom happened with that crowd of hungry folks.

John and I also remember when the old Crossville picnic took place on a Saturday in July and drinks would be iced down with chunks of ice in wash tubs or maybe special drink boxes.  Back then drinks were a nickel and many times they were called “dopes.”  Coca Cola came in 6 oz bottles, but the RC was larger; however, it still cost five cents.  That old picnic also had lemonade (made with real lemons) which had been made in wash tubs and was dipped out into the paper cups (before the days of Styrofoam) with a long handled dipper and cooled with ice chunks.

As you enjoy ice on one of these hot days, take time to remember what a special commodity ice was in days of long ago.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now
Billie & John Crumly 1945 Part of what Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation"