100 years ago…. Well almost.
“I’m feeling punk.” She said. “I’m worried.”
Her 71-year old son who lives 2 hours away wasn’t answering his phone on Christmas Day.
The hubby spent some time on the phone searching, and located him in the hospital. He was experiencing shortness of breath, but would be going home after some treatments.
“I feel so much better,” she exclaimed, “and I’m hungry now.
Our subsequent dinner conversations lead to the celebration of Christmas and how it had changed in her lifetime.
I remember getting an orange in my stocking! That was something! We never got oranges any other time of year. It was a special treat to get that.
My brothers would shoot a wild goose for Christmas dinner. Sometimes we would have wild rabbit instead. Wild rabbits were really good. But we had to quit eating them because they got spots. It was Tularemia, and it was fatal to people.
We decorated by stringing cranberries and popcorn.
I don’t really remember much about the gifts, but I’m sure we must have gotten a small one.
I encouraged her to share some of the other important events in her life.
Bill and I got married in a little Presbyterian church that was next door to the courthouse where we got our marriage license. It was just us and Bill’s mom and brother. We had to have a parent because Bill wasn’t 21 yet. Then we drove to his aunt’s house in Kelso.
Our faces must have reflected our excitement because she said, “I bet you two just got married.”
We said, “Yes we did!!”
So she crawled up in the attic and pulled out a bottle of Dandelion Wine. (This was during prohibition) Bill drank it, but I was only 18 so I don’t think I did. Then she fixed us a wedding celebration lunch.
We moved to Pullman (the home of Washington State University) so that Bill could finish his college degree. I was so lonesome. He would go to the library to study, so I went along and read books. I read so many books.
Two weeks before he finished, he sent me home to visit with my sisters. That was my chance to say goodbye. We were moving to Payette Idaho, and I wouldn’t see them for a very long time.
Bill taught school there for 6 years. Then they returned to Pullman for 1 year where Bill completed his advanced degree.
It was during the depression so money was very tight. I got a job cooking for 10 young men. Five dollars a month. The boys were going to school and working their way through the School of Agriculture. They were such gentlemen. ..Always so polite and well mannered. They were easy to work for. At Christmas they bought me candy.
They said they liked everything but rabbit. So, on my final week of employment I tricked them. I cut up a rabbit and cooked it just like chicken. They told me that was “the best” meat they’d ever eaten. Then I told them it was rabbit. So, I pulled one over on them!
While she was talking with us an elderly gentlemen walked up and greeted us with the sentiments of the season.
Oh, that fellow thinks he knows everything. There is a woman that lives here who is 100 years old. She tells people that I am her daughter.
Several staff members came by to wish her Merry Christmas.
Oh you know you are my favorite, don’t you?
Auntie Fern punctuates her conversation with giggles and guffaws. She is a positive and happy person. But, she also says she is tired and ready to go home.
I hope she waits awhile. There are more stories we need to hear.