It was always this time of year when my grandmother would begin her spring cleaning.
They slept on hommade feather beds, and the feathers, through the course of sleeping on them, would become flat and lumpy, so as soon as warm weather and the sun shined down for a good length of time, she would have my grandaddy pull the heavy mattresses outside and lay them across sawhorses to sun.
She would put on her old bonnet with the cardboard stays to shield her from the hot sun and would take my grandaddy’s walking stick and the beat the mattresses to release the dust and loose feathers.
The quilts that had been used to keep the feather beds warm also were put in the sun, hung on her clothesline to soak in the fresh air and sunshine. I can remember just how good her bedlinens smelled after such an airing. Back in the day, there were no ‘scent booster beads’ to add to the wash water as we have today, so the only way to make them fresh was the sunshine.
With the beginning of spring, I always seem to remember so many things about her and the great times that I had as a child growing up in that old clapboard house straddling the county line.
I cannot say that she was a spit polish and shine housekeeper. There was always a little dust on the mantel where her old windup striking clock set, and the old wood floors might need to be swept from all the dirt tracked in from the yard.
She always stayed busy with the things she enjoyed like quilting, canning fresh from her garden, and cooking scrumptious meals. She was a gracious hostess and had lots of friends and family drop by, almost right at mealtime.
She always wore a bibbed apron, made from flour sack material or some pretty piece of cloth that somebody had given her, and she would always go into her tiny kitchen and prepare a meal fit for royalty on that old Sears-Roebuck fire-driven stove, and always with enjoyment.
She loved company, especially those who brought her news since they never went anywhere except for church or a doctor visit, and then they were picked up by family since they never owned a car, and neither could drive.
Life was so easy and slow back then, no hurry and scurry or running off to do this or that, but just to live a laidback life and enjoy the time they were allotted here on earth. I never saw her get flustered when unplanned company dropped by and she always had one of her chocolate cakes or a pie to offer the visitor.
Oh but to enjoy a such an unencumbered life now! No more running home at the last minute to prepare a “semi-homemade supper,” or hurrying to a ballgame, or cleaning the kitchen before helping your child with homework. Our lives have become so harried and pressurized that so many of us suffer from stress-related complaints.
Take a few minutes here and there and as they say, “smell the roses.” Put a chore on pause and hold your babies, call your grown-up babies, read that book, or take a nap. It will all be waiting on you when you are ready!
Ms. Edna’s Chocolate Cake
and Frosting Recipe
½ cup of cocoa powder
½ cup of boiling water
2 cups s.r. flour
1 cup of lard (now I use shortening)
4 large eggs
1 cup homemade buttermilk
1 T. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
Mix all really well, dry ingredients first, and pour into 2 greased and floured cake pans. Cook 350* for 30 – 40 minutes.
6 T. flour
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 t. vanilla
Mix dry ingredients and add milk. Bring to a boil and cook for about two minutes. Once cooled beat by hand until fluffy.