Written By Galen White
Back In The Good Ol’ Days, Of Course
Like most six years olds, playin’ alone soon turned borin’ and unbearable. A little of it went a long way with me and I soon made the remark to my mom that I didn’t have anything to do. Now, I quickly learned NOT to make such a remark for it was mind-blowin’ at how fast mom or dad could up with somethin’ to replace my boredom. It was almost as if they were magicians as events and chores seemed to materialize from thin air. naturally, their magical boredom replacement acts usually did not come close to my definition of fun.
This particular instance, mom was churnin’ butter. I, of course, had no idea of what she was doin’ other than it looked like it might be fun to me. Hey! Splashin’ a wooden thingamajig up and down in a container of milk and cream wasn’t much different than slappin’ a stick or stompin’ my feet in a mud puddle just to see how far the splash would go.
Although the ceramic or crock container had a wooden lid, mom had placed an old dish rag around the top to prevent splatterin’. You know how splatter is; splatters always seem to find a way to splatter. Most likely, the splatterin’ is what made it look like fun to me.
As a result, I asked my mom if I could do what she was doin’. I shoulda caught on that somethin’ was rotten in Denmark by her exuberant and excited reaction. She was tickled to death that I asked to help, and almost knocked my front tooth out when shovin’ the plunger into my hands.
Regardless, I grabbed ahold and commenced to pumpin’ the plunger up and down, over and over, and was happy as a pig soakin’ up sunshine. It was fun and like was grand “cause my mom was so proud of her youngest son. About two minutes later, the thought of wishin’ mom hadn’t been quite so eager for me to take over this chore had crossed my mind a couple of times. Ten minutes later, the thought was non-stop and there was no doubt at all. I was beggin’ to get outta the job! If I had been slammn’ sticks or stompin’ my feet in a mud puddle, I coulda stopped whenever I wanted. This was different.
You know how moms can be. “No, you’ve gotta keep it up or the milk won’t clabber and I can’t make butter” she said. She tried to con me by oohin’ and ahhhin’ about how I was doin’ such an excellent job. She again said how proud of me she was braggin’ with this and that, and, “Don’t stop ’cause you’ve got a good start on makin’ butter!” I began to think I was the “butter” ….., you know, the goat in this here scene.
Well, the butter was made, which was another of those things that I still remember very well. Mom would take the result of my chunin’ and pat it into a two-fisted size mound, and then put it in the ice box. Now, you may call it a refrigerator, but back in those days we still called it an ice box. The buttermilk mom and dad drank. And no, ol’ Galen didn’t drink buttermilk. Still don’t. Furthermore, ain’t no plans in the future to do so, either!
Anyway, the next mornin’ when I slapped a couple pats of butter in the hot, homemade and right-from-the-oven biscuits, catchin’ a fig preserve on the edge of the biscuit as I drug it through the fig preserve syrup, and shoved ’em in my mouth ….. it ….. well ….. uh ….., ….. ‘scuse me folks. There are just some things so emotional that I can’t talk about without tears wellin’ up in my eyes!
Yes, sir. There just ain’t nothin’ I like better’n hot buttered biscuits and homemade fig preserves. As I said, it was work makin’ the butter, but the taste provided a memory that will never be overshadowed or forgotten. It’s just one of the reasons I like the good ol’ days ’cause….. that’s the way my world churned.
Galen White has written articles for several papers in North Louisiana and is now retired.