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Water Dipper, Wood Stove and Wood Pile: Things a Southerner Needs to be Happy

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

When my Parents Married

there was NO get in the car and head to Walmart to get certain necessities of life. My parents married young and either my grandpa (dad's dad) or mother's mom, told them, you have to learn how to use the things that you have. This advice was priceless to them--for both of them savored these sage sayings. Before you start mumbling about my parents being stingy, please don't. They saved what they didn't use and used what they saved when they needed something. Another piece of priceless advice.

Eyes on a wood stove.

Eyes on a wood stove.

The Photos That

you see on this hub are NOT the exact items as I am going to tell you about. That would have taken me (in 1961) to be clairvoyant--look into many years into the future, but I didn't possess such powers. I, like my parents, grew up with things that we all used and all of ended up taking them for granted.

I remember well the aluminum water dipper. No matter where we lived, I remember well seeing that utensil hanging near my dad's aluminum water bucket and with my Mathematical Wizardry, I saw early on that the Dipper and Bucket belonged in my mom's kitchen, so all was fine with that fact. Another fact was how I loved drinking the cold well water that we drew in our front yard. No matter how hot the summer's were, "that" water was superb. It made me almost happy to do some manual work to get hot enough to grab that dipper and drink until my heart was content.

But I did learn that if I worked my fool head off, that meant me having "draw water" from our well and when I had drawn the water, my next move was to take the water back to where my mother had it sitting in our kitchen.

If you look very carefully, you will see the photo of things we called "stove eyes," that simply put, were four pieces of circular-shaped iron to cover the stove openings where the fire could get mother's skillets and pots hot enough to fry and boil things. Her fried chicken was so good, I started praying on Monday for Sunday to hurry up and get there.

When my dad and mom married, my grandpa (dad's dad) gave them ten bucks to set-up housekeeping. Ten dollars. More like them coming into a lot of money. My dad told me once that he and my mom bought enough groceries with money left over to buy our mule enough food for a month and the seed to plant some crops that my dad would harvest and sell them when the harvest came in. I have to brag on my dad and mom. As cold or hot as the time was, I never heard one of them complain. Me? You bet I complained. Let me ask you this: if you had a choice, would you (in my day) rather go fishing or go help your dad work in the cotton field in the hot summer sun?

Why my parents (yours too) married, the Nation's Economy was in better shape than it is now. I cannot explain it since I am far from being an Economics Guru, but I do know that when my mother did her shopping, she brought home from six to eight bags of groceries that "we" ate. Not just me. From age one through 12, I seldom ate anything to speak of. But when I learned that vegetables would not kill me, that made a world of difference. But my original point was: in 2018, my wife can buy three (plastic) bags of food at Walmart and has to pay right at $100.00. Plus the bags are not as full as the ones that my mother bought.

The things that my dad say was really important were his drinking dipper and bucket, his wood stove and wood pile that (he said) had to be kept cut and dried in order to have plenty of fire in the winter time. Guess who was always elected to hit the woods and help him cut the wood? I think that I will let you think on that one for a bit.


If you were raised in the south, you should know what this is.

If you were raised in the south, you should know what this is.

A wood pile that didn't need replinishing that much.

A wood pile that didn't need replinishing that much.

When I was older and before I married, the things that my parents said would roll through my mind--and when I was enjoying some great vegetables, corn bread and maybe fried chicken, I looked into the kitchen and see my mother humming "Amazing Grace" and doing her cooking. Then at each time, before or after school, that I had to have a drink of water, I would see that aluminum water bucket and matching water dipper. Yes, those vegetables and other delicious foods that my mom prepared, all tasted much better because the foods were cooked on a wood stove.

And as for the wood pile, it never went down.

© 2018 Kenneth Avery

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