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Country Ramblins'

by Tamara Hillman
April Showers2011

April is here, and let’s pray the sun comes with it! Even April showers would be a welcomed sight in some areas if it meant snow would melt off faster because of warm, spring rains. We use to call late snows, ‘Rotters’ because when it fell from the sky hitting the old and dirty snow left on the ground, it would melt more and more of it away!

Many a time, I remember jumpin’ snow banks to hunt Easter eggs with my brothers and cousins. We thought nothing of it—that’s just the way things were in the Methow Valley. And, oh, was there a lot of mud everywhere. Dad always had to haul in extra gravel to fill muddy potholes in our driveway winter thaw had left behind.

Just the fact of it being spring once more meant lots of cleanup and work on the farm. Fences had to be propped up and wires stretched from tons of snow breaking them down, barns had to be raked out and what hay was left—stacked in neat piles, and chicken coops had to be shoveled out, (oh, what an icky smell of pure ammonia this stirred up, plus, you know what other stink was mixed in!)

Mom would immediately start her ‘Spring Cleaning’ in April too. She’d scrub down, and wash everything in the house, including curtains to be hung on the line ‘til dry in the Chinook winds.

Between Mom and Dad, there were plenty of cleanup chores to do, but we were so glad to be free and not cooped up indoors, we gladly volunteered. The air smelled so fresh, and the wind felt warm blowing through our hair. Wild flowers were everywhere—Buttercups covered the fields, (they love cow manure) and just below the snow line were beautiful Bluebells, and huge Sunflowers—these stunk to high heaven, but Mom being Mom, would actually put them in a fruit jar full of water, and set them on the kitchen table if we brought her a bouquet in our grubby little kid hands. Thank God, they wilted in a day.

Easter CrossEaster meant church services in our BEST HAND-ME-DOWN CLOTHES, where we learned the TRUE meaning of why we celebrate this special day of our Lord. Then, we’d be off to a huge meal at our house, or at the cousin’s place in town. And whatta meal it was—Mom’s cottage cheese and pear salad, ham, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs (made from those we kids hunted), breaded tomatoes, acorn squash from the cellar, dessert, and all the fresh milk we could drink! YUM! I don’t cook anywhere near that anymore, (nor do any of my friends) but in the fifties and sixties, THAT WAS TRADITION!


Upon request, I was asked to add a little tale I told on myself about needing to clean STUFF out of house ‘n home, and even my crammed full purse, so here it is…


Don’t miss the prose just below it about ‘Spring Rotters.’

Granny Tam


PRIDE GOETH BEFORE STUFF

Pride Goeth Before Stuff

I pride myself in thinking I have an orderly house until I look about, and noticed it’s crammed full of unnecessary stuff!

Why do I collect hoards of items I do not need, will never use, and take very little joy in owning?

Any analyst would say I’m filling some unknown hole in my life, but somehow, I think it’s merely a closet, cupboard, or an extra large purse I’m stuffing to overflow. As I gaze about, I realize my husband and I live in only three rooms of this three-story house, amid enough furniture to fill three more homes of equal size.

I have three closets stuffed mostly with “clothes too small” but the voice of my sub-conscience keeps saying, “Maybe someday.” We have too many hard-earned dollars in collected antiques that fill curio-cabinets continually needing dusting—and oh, how I hate to dust. I own enough jewelry to fill a treasure chest, and enough crystal, china, and real silver to cater a gala White House event.

The kitchen is equipped with every dish, pot, pan, and gadget one can imagine, including a turkey roaster for a bird I have no intentions of cooking in the future. There’s a seven-foot hide-a-bed couch taking up half the living room just waiting for that overflow-company I never invite, a collection of liquor decanters for this couple who rarely drinks, and shelves of leather-bound books I don’t have time to read. I ask you, what household needs three TVs, a computer, CD player, phonograph, tape deck, two VCRs, a DVD, and stacks of paraphernalia that go with them all? When, and why, did I accumulate all this stuff, I wonder?

My purse is so full I can barely heft it onto my shoulder. In it I carry a wallet, several credit cards, enough change to break a five dollar bill, three ink pens, a check book, savings book, address book, a magnifying glass, clippers, hand cream, nail file, a small bottle of Advil, Kleenex, a small calendar, cell phone, toothpicks, dinner mints, chewing gum, and lipstick I never wear. In a side pocket of this same purse is a key chain dangling with car keys, house keys, and extra keys I’ve long forgotten what they open, close, or start. Is it any wonder I have a standing appointment with the chiropractor for my back problems?

Of late, I’ve been feeling this insatiable urge to pare down to bare essentials, put up a circus tent, and have a gigantic yard sale, if only to save my children the task of sorting through it all when I am deceased. I surmise, if we take pride in what we collect in our lifetime, and if who we are is defined by what we accumulate of this useless stuff, then let my headstone read: “Here lies Tamara, her pride goeth before her stuff!”

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Tamara Hillman

©2001

FOOTNOTE:
Thank the Good Lord, we moved four states away from that three story house into a one-level, ranch style house in Arizona when we retired—99% of my stuff had to go!


SPRING ROTTER


Snow on the level was sinking fast by March

And only a few soft, spongy inches remained.

We knew spring was fast approaching

And soon muddy ground would appear

With flowers popping, grass pushing through,

And budding trees showing glorious colors of green…


Then came the rotter…


I felt the chill of an early, wintry morning

As I filled my second cup of coffee

And continued writing at my computer,

But something caught my eye from the window—

Snow—big, white, fluffy flakes twirling and swirling

Down, down, down atop the snow remaining,

And with its wetness, melting the old away!


Tamara Hillman

©2007

 

 



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