Thanksgiving on a sandy-land farm, long ago

Eddie Grubbs Eddie Grubbs The following was written by Eddie Grubbs, a 1956 graduate of Rockdale High School, a retired businessman living in Silsbee. He recalls a Thanksgiving of long ago. The parents he writes about were long-time Rockdale residents Myrt and Rachel Grubbs.—Bill Cooke A s I sat in a straight-back chair at our dinner table, I could see my Daddy with a clear, W.E. Garrett snuff glass with a little bit of water in the bot tom, held in his left hand at an angle. In his right hand he was holding a double- edge razor blade.

He would dip the blade into the water, pull it up just a little and begin shilly-shallowing the blade from side to side. I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was sharpening the blade.

We were in my Mother’s working part of the house. She said, “World War II has been over for two years now and your Daddy is still using the same blade. He bought a box of four blades after the war and there are still three blade in the box.”

My Daddy said he did not need to shop that much. Well, Mother said, “Your Daddy only shaves about twice a month and I’ve only found two gray hairs in his head in the 25 years we’ve been married.”

I could believe that story because I was 17 years old before I ever went to a barber shop. Mother had a pair of hand-held clippers and she cut five boys’ and my Daddy's hair for years. And, Daddy would sharpen those clippers too.

The chit- chat had gone on long enough. Mama told my big brother to go outside and bring her about a dozen sweet potatoes out of the potato bed.

Then she told me to go out to the chicken pen and catch the big old red hen and put her in the chicken coop with some water to drink and let the other chickens outside for the rest of the day.

When my brother asked why the big red hen, Mother said, “She has laid about fifty eggs and that’s about all a hen will lay in her lifetime. So I’m going to use her for chicken and dumplings for Thanksgiving.”

By now, my older sister was outside with Daddy making some lye soap out of the cooked-out fat left over from making hog lard. Most of the hog meat was in the smoke house.

My brother wanted to know why we didn't just have pork for Thanksgiving. Mama replied, “Because I want some chicken and dumplings, that’s why.”

Mother had taken my younger brother with her and gotten the quilts and blankets out of the quilt box and was hanging them on the clothes line so they could air out and lose their mothball smell. It was turning cooler and, as usual, Mama was staying ahead of virtually everything including the weather.

As I was going out to the barn to let the milk cow out so she could eat some corn stalk tops we had cut and bundled for winter feed, I heard some geese coming out of the north. I ran over to Daddy's tool shed and got two old plow points and started rubbing them together, trying to make the noise the geese were making.

It didn’t work and they just kept on flying south.

Well, as I remember, Thanksgiving was great. Mother turned on her battery- operated radio and we had music with dinner. The hot sweet potatoes with the cow butter were the best.

Just an average Thanksgiving day on a farm a long time ago.

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2013-11-28 digital edition

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