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

Updated on February 18, 2018
kenneth avery profile image

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. | Source

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

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Kenneth Avery

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      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, lovethetrain -- thank you so much. I have wished more than once that my dad had asked for my grandparents' wood stove. Call me old fashioned, but grandma's food always tasted the best.

        Am I right?

      • lovetherain profile image

        lovetherain 

        5 months ago from Untited States

        I love my wood stove! Great article, thanks.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, Peg -- how are things out there in Dallas? I am always happy to hear from my friends out west. And thank you for the nice wording you talked about my parents.

        It was all true. They knew work, gratefulness, and loving each other and us siblings. Were they happy all the time? No. No one is, but I did find out in latter years that mom and dad knew perfectly how to hide problems and pain in order to keep us siblings from being hurt.

        Wish I had a ton of gold to give them each morning and that would not even come near what they meant to me.

        Write me anytime, Peg.

        Stay safe.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, Robin -- nice comment. Seriously. I am very hungry at this writing at 7:30 p.m., CDT, Feb. 22, and I have you, my Good Friend, to thank for the food references.

        LOL. You made my night.

        Write me anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Elijah -- I appreciate your comment and relevance of the items and places that you told us about. I ate (sometimes) chicken, but mostly we ate, and was grateful to have, peas, beans, and apples from the trees we had in our backyard. I was so hungry one day I climbed up one of the trees and ate so many green apples that all that I wanted to do was sleep.

        Really.

        But that gorging only made me appreciate the apples that were left.

        Write me anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        MizBejabbers -- oh my goodness! You are so right. Garrett snuff was a staple in those of my grandparents' home like home-grown tobacco was a staple for the menfolks.

        But when my dad grew up, he liked smoking more than chewing, but he did allow himself a chew now and again.

        Thanks, MBJ for the sweet comment.

        Write anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Mr. Happy -- thank you so much for stopping by and for that nice comment which I found very interesting. The "spoon"-like apparatus is a Water Dipper that every Southerner had in their kitchen.

        I loved mine to such a degree that getting a big drink of spring water (that flowed into our well) that when I returned home from school, I didn't greet my mom or whom might been at home.

        I thought about my home life, including my spring water, all of the day at school.

        For all I knew, in 1961, what if my area was being watched by CIA Opps to find out what I was up to?

        Naaaah. They don't know a thing about me.

        But it is always a nice time reading your great comments.

        Write me anytime.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        5 months ago

        Oh yes, I know what that is. We purchased two of them and keep them in our kitchen. While we have running water, of course, we use ours to ladle soup or for filling canning jars. Occasionally my husband gets the urge to can something. We also have two pressure cookers, one of which was my grandmother's.

        She wouldn't let me learn to cook on her wood stove. I was an undersized little kid and she was afraid I'd get burned. I've never had food that tasted as good as that cooked on a wood stove.

        My dear fellow Southern friend, you left out two things that my grandparents thought were essential, a jar of Garrett's snuff for grandma and a twist of chewing tobacco. I don't think the brand mattered to grandpa.

      • The0NatureBoy profile image

        Elijah A Alexander Jr 

        5 months ago from Washington DC

        I don't know about you, Kenneth, but when I drank well water my thirst was always fulfilled without bloating, today's "purified tap" water never seem to satisfy my thirst. We had an aluminum dipper but a galvanized pail. As nomad I noticed when I drank water other animals drank my thirst was fulfilled with less than when drinking city "tap" water. Reasoning with it I realized the microbe "purified" out of "tap water" is as much a part of our thirst as is the water, thus, "purified water is dead water" and why sometimes after "tap water" we are is still thirsty after being bloated.

        When we moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1953, my uncle, with whom we lived, still had a wood stove for cooking until the house was enlarged to accommodate six when it only had two before our arrival. The chickens we ate on Sunday from our yard before the move was never like those bought from, lucky me, the store next door to us although they were both fried on wood stoves, for a time.

        Today I sometimes wonder why we need thermostats in gas stoves when the food always got done and tasted better in the wood ones.

        You brought back memories, Thanks.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        5 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Beautiful piece of nostalgia. My dad was great at reusing nearly everything and making it into something else. He grew up on a farm. Loved that you shared about your parents.

      • RobinReenters profile image

        Robin Carretti 

        5 months ago from Hightstown

        Nice read you took me back to my memory lane we did eat better then my Mom bought us so much bags of food with good veal chops, steaks and always my Sunday breakfast brunch now I buy hardly any fish its so pricey where I live and rarely steaks more rice dishes and veggies are always good and loads of Pasta but higher carbs are no good love the read thanks

      • Mr. Happy profile image

        Mr. Happy 

        5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

        Ohh man! I haven't seen a stove like that in over two decades. Since I left Romania basically. My grandmother had a stove like that at her house up in the Carpathian Mountains. I loved that stove. It always fascinated me how You could take the metal rings out, depending on how big, or small the bottom of your pan, or pot was.

        Often times, when my sister and I would go gathering mushrooms at like four-five in the morning (especially if it rained at night), on our return home we would just put the mushrooms to cook straight on the stove. Just added a little salt and pepper and yummy!! : )

        "I loved drinking the cold well water" - Another priceless experience! Even now though (here in Canada), we have the Water at the cottage coming out of a well. My grandmother had an actual well at her home though - couldn't see the bottom even when it went dry. Not sure why but it go dry when I was a little older.

        I always chose fishing. Field work never attracted me much. If there was some sort of work to do, like picking weeds, or watering trees, I would somehow end-up missing and at my hiding-spot: all the way at the top of my Wall-nut Tree. Nobody ever found me there. I can keep pretty quiet LOL : )

        "in 2018, my wife can buy three (plastic) bags of food at Walmart and has to pay right at $100.00." - I feel Ya. I hardly walk in the grocery store an not spend an easy bill ($100). Costs keep going up but the pay isn't. Not sure how much longer this will work. I did live through one Revolution already, in 1989. To be honest, I am not keen on living through another.

        "If you were raised in the south, you should know what this is" - I wasn't raised in the South. I wasn't even raised in North America so, I have no clue what that big metal spoon is. Looks like a spoon to serve soup. Can't think of the word. Of course it comes out in Romanian, "polonic" but can't think of an English word.

        Ya, I haven't had my coffee yet. I'll blame it on that lol

        Alrighty, I'm gonna go push some weights and go for breakfast. Fun read as always!

        Cheers! : )

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