Monday, December 10, 2012

Amanuensis Monday--Elsie Crocker’s Manuscript, Part 11: Leisure Time

To read this project from the beginning, click here.

Sorry about the delay in publishing this installment of Elsie’s manuscript. For some reason it slipped completely off my radar last Monday. I suspect that may happen a few times this season as we all prepare for Christmas.

On one side of our property for a ways ran a canal. It was short distance from the house. The canal furnished some of the water Dad used for his irrigation. We had a good well for our drinking water. Our neighbor, Mr. Church got their household water from our well. Mr. Church would come with a wagon drawn by two horses and in the wagon was four big barrels. He would fill them up and then drive one half mile home.

This land on the other side of the canal, Mother called “wild” It was mostly sagebrush, where rabbits, a few harmless snakes, and a lot of wild flowers, lots of pretty mosses, I loved that pretty moss. The moss was soft like velvet. We had a lot of fun exploring this land. We would pick flowers for our mother. My brother Bill would find a wild rose for me, he knew I loved them, they were scarce.

In the winter time we loved to tracking their little foot prints in the snow. The foot prints usually lead to a hole in the middle of a sagebrush bush. Some times we would find a snake skin. Do you know they shed their skins every year. Some of them were whole length of the snake and some were torn and in pieces. These were our treasures.

At bedtime, after a day of exploring, Mother would check us for wood sticks. Sticks are dangerous left unnoticed. They work themselves into your body, to get out you have to be careful not to pull their heads off. The heads keep in digging. The ticks live in the sagebrush, will stick to who or what comes near them. They caught onto sheep and dogs and can be carried elsewhere. They can course scarlet fever.

Once in a while my brother would catch me a little cotton tail rabbit. He made a little pen for it. The pen had a mesh bottom, which we could move, every day to a new place on the back lawn. This kept him clean and gave him all the green grass he needed. His name from the white tip on his tail. It looked like a small ball of cotton. We’d have him for a few days then Mother would let it out. She said she never let him out but, “that the ol cat must have gotten him.” This happened several times, so Bill and I gave up getting them.

On Sunday, afternoons, Mom and Dad, in their bib and tucker would sit in their rockers and enjoy, a afternoon o relaxing. Dad would smoke his weekly cigar and finish reading his newspaper.

He always read the newspaper to her while she was busy getting breakfast. All of us kids liked to have them outside together, taking it easy for a change. My brothers and sisters would play on the lawn, close by. If it was very hot afternoon Mom would make us a drink from soda, vinegar, water and a little sugar. It sizzled and sputtered and tickled our noses when we drank it. Different from the cold drinks of today, we enjoyed it very much, we didn’t know any better. I think everyone did the same those days.

At night we would sit on the top steps and watch the pretty dragon flies dancing in the light, showing off their beautiful colorful wings.

We would play games on the lawn. Ring Around the Posy, Hide an Seek and Pump Pump Pullaway. Also Kick the Can which my mother didn’t like as she was afraid it would wear out ou shoes to fast.

One of these times I stepped on a wasp. The sting was so hot I thought, I had stepped on one of Dad’s cigarette butts, that was still a light. This was the first wasp I had ever been stung by. No fun. Wasps are larger then yellow jackets and mostly black, on their bodies. A wasp can sting many times but a honey bee but once. On a sting by a honey bee you had to pull out the stinger, the bee would die soon after. If we got stung we would run for some soft mud or for the soda box. They would help ease the pain. We had a lot of bees so we got stung many times, we also ran barefooted, we also had a clover lawn that had blossoms the bees loved.

Dad had many flowers, he was very proud of them. We weren’t allowed to pick them only for special occasions. He said they would last longer and look prettier outside, so everyone could see them. He always had violets, Mom loved the fragrance of the violets.

I am very curious about the game Elsie calls Pump Pump Pullaway. It is not one I have ever heard of from another source. I would be curious to learn how to play it.

To continue with the next installment of Elsie's manuscript, click here

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