A Day’s Work – Then and Now!

Pearl Harris

I woke up Monday morning and thought about all the work I had to do that day and then I recalled a day of work in my parents home. I got out of bed at 7 am. They arose at 4 am. I switched the light on – they had to light a kerosene lamp to see. I turned the thermostat up a bit and they had to make a wood fire in the heater. I went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I switched on the light, put a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster, turned on the coffee maker, poured some orange juice, and that was breakfast. They had to make a fire in the wood cook stove, make biscuits from scratch, boil the coffee, fry a slab of ham and scramble some eggs. The man took care of the livestock. Well, I don’t have any livestock – not even a pet to care for. I took the clothes out of the hamper (Monday was always wash day at our house). I put them in the washing machine and then the dryer. They had to draw water, boil clothes in a wash pot and scrub clothes on a rub board and then hang them on the line. It was then time to prepare lunch. I went to the freezer, took out some chicken, lima beans and a cake slice I had put in the freezer. They had to go to the chicken yard, get a chicken out of a coop, dress it and prepare it for frying. They went to the garden and picked beans and shelled them to prepare to cook. They had no refrigeration, so all the food had to be prepared that same day. After lunch, I put the dishes in the dishwater – they had to wash and dry by hand. I had a few things that had to be ironed, so I plugged in the iron and did my ironing. Their iron had to be heated and reheated on the wood stove. Well, it was rest time after all that work. But my mom always had patching or darning to do  – or to do some tatting or embroidery. Well, I read or mostly work puzzles or watch TV. My evenings are pretty much to do what I  want – I may visit the nursing home or a shut in or just visit on the phone. But they had no phone and seldom visited except on Sundays. I have no chores in the afternoon except for a snack for an evening meal. They had to milk the cows, tend the animals and get jobs done before dark. Sometimes we would listen to a radio – Lum ‘n Abner or Amos ‘n Andy. But bedtime for me is after the news around 10:00 or 10:30. They turned in at 8 p.m. I thought I was a little tired until I thought how easy our generation has it. If we don’t want to cook we can go to a restaurant or get “take out”. I don’t think either one of my parents ever ate at a restaurant. It we think maybe we are hard workers – maybe we aught to stop and thank God for all the people who spent a lot of time thinking up the inventions that we have today. Come to think of it – I really wasn’t that tired! Maybe I just got tired thinking about the hard work our parents went through to give us a better life and we hope that our next generations will be able to enjoy what comes in the future. Let’s pray that it will be for the better.

Have a happy Thanksgiving to all.

 

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