Remember chores, more on Labor Day weekend


Sheila Scognin

Conservations heard Sunday before church were about Labor Day. For the most part folks were looking forward to having the day off Monday from work and school supposedly to rest, but too many do not rest due to having work to do at home or being on the lake, which brings to mind unlimited chores.

Beamon always says this time of year reminds him of county fair time and the fun kids could have at that looked-for treat. He tells of being able to do wondrous things at the county fair for a dime. That got you in the gates and allowed for some treats to fill an empty stomach. The secret was hopefully the silver could be found for each child to pass through the gates of Funville. Ten cents 80-odd years ago equals several dollars nowadays.

Someone else spoke of long years ago when a young worker, who was not the brightest star in the Milky Way, was furious if his employer did not pay him in money other than “little money” as he referred to a dime. So always his pay never included the thin little dime or he would throw it as far away as possible.

Labor Day when we were growing up meant school began for us the very next day and there was always a touch of fall in the air. Usually it was cooler in the mornings and sometimes we needed long-sleeve garments early, but we kids never bothered with one because then we had to keep up with it during the day. There was not an abundance of clothes for any season at our house and mother made those for us.

Holidays and Sundays were not work-free for us. School might be out and no public work was done, but that did not stop milking cows, feeding animals, making beds and cooking. I never figured why cooking was labeled as not working. Good grief! There is no harder chore than slaving in the kitchen over a hot stove and back then we only had one oscillating fan to sir the stifling heat. Nevertheless, we cooked because at our house there was no such thing as sandwiches or cereal to make the meal easier on the women.

Breakfast was a full meal and then right into cooking pots full of from-scratch food for lunch (dinner). No slacking off either, which meant boiling beans or peas that took the longest to cook. If we had a roast, potatoes, carrots and onions were added to the pot and usually hot yeast rolls were rising. A green salad along with a dessert completed the meal. A three-layer cake or at least two chocolate or coconut pies graded the table, which took time to make. Only when our brother was sick did we ever leave the table without cleaning it off and washing and drying the dishes.

One of us stayed at Ishmael’s bedside when he was awake and I have often wondered how folks tended to loved one who were sick for years. Now there are health care centers where those in need of constant care can stay. I barely remember a “nursing home” when we were kids. There was only one hospital in Lufkin way back then and none of us kids were born in one. We got to see more that one and M.D. Anderson than we wanted to visit. Christal and I were grown women before becoming a hospital patient.

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David Crain stopped by MeLinda Harris’ beauty shop to get his hair cut. I was finishing up my “beautiful trial” one more time. It had been too long since I had seen him but when he started to leave he said he had heard bad things about me “on the street.”

Somebody’s imagination would soar to make “bad” find me in Loper’s Pharmacy or Brookshire Brothers.

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Joyce Webb was laughing when she said she can’t get into the grocery store before being told her brother, Neal Denman, or nephew, Frank Clark, is either there or not there yet.

They do that to me, as Neal is my uncle and Frank is a cousin. No need to think of doing much in a small town where most know you and the others are watching out the deli window!

I did hear one many say if they started the Blue Law again, he would be a rich man. Walmart would be closed on Sundays.


Sheila Scogin contributes this weekly column about Huntington-area residents.