I wake up on a Saturday morning and make my way to the kitchen to start breakfast for the kiddo. I mix a batch of biscuits while sausage is cooking and then put together a sausage gravy while the biscuits are baking. My daughter wants a new dress for her doll so we pull out some scrap fabric, needle and thread and I make her doll a dress. We plant small vegetables and flowers in the front garden and get excited to make a salad with our garden fresh tomatoes and bell peppers.
Normally when I reflect on my childhood, it’s some painful memory of the bad things that happened. My grandmother wasn’t the nicest or most loving guardian. She was often times quite cruel to me and created a lot of issues that I’m still dealing with as an adult. But I will still say that I feel rather sorry for kids that didn’t get to grow up with their grandparents. Despite the bad times there were valuable lessons that I learned growing up on that ranch with grandparents.
My granny was an exceptional homemaker. She was downright professional in her ability to maintain a home. Things were cleaned on a regular basis, meals were always cooked from scratch, and many of our outfits were handmade. During the summers we picked peaches and grapes and made our own jams. We picked and canned vegetables from my great grandfathers garden. We licked the nectar from the honey sickle flowers that my great grandmother grew on trellises lining the front porch. My granny taught me hospital corners, count back change and how to make earrings from puzzle pieces. When we asked how to spell a word we were told to look it up in the dictionary much to our annoyance. She taught me that newspaper cleans glass and mayonnaise cleans ivy leaves and removes the residue left by stickers.
I don’t think kids get these little life lessons anymore. I try to pass them down to my daughter as much as I can remember. I find myself wanting to relearn a lot of these things. My granny, for all her prior faults, is still like my domestic encyclopedia. “Granny what can I use instead of vegetable oil in brownies?” Applesauce. “Granny there’s some strange white stuff on my crape myrtle trees what do I do?” Mix up some dish soap and water and spray it off. “Granny how do I get rid of this sore throat?” Gargle with some salt water.
Grandparents grew up in a time when self sufficiency was still a skill to be instilled into children. I see so many kids down that don’t know how to do anything on their own. Sadly we’re losing these last generations of grandparents that still have these valuable lessons to pass down. What I have to offer my daughter is only a faint memory of what I was taught. I love seeing how amazed she is watching me do something like make a doll’s dress or cooking something from scratch. When I can get ink out of a shirt or crayon off a wall, she thinks it’s magic.
I guess in a world of electronic this and instant that… these “old ways” really are a kind of magic.