As we near the weekend set aside to honor mothers, many of us no longer have a mother to celebrate. This is dedicated, not only to my mom, Bessie, but to those of you who want to remember yours. During my many years as a nurse in the medical sector, I was a Rascal. I say I turned into my mother at a very early age. Here’s why! I was raised on a farm with the opportunity of being primarily self-sufficient. We raised our own produce & canned some for the winter months. We had farm animals that provided all our meat & dairy needs. We even made our own butter & cream. Yummy! There was nothing better than fresh cream mixed with cane syrup on my mom’s biscuits!! Certain fields of corn was raised to grind into corn meal, grits & make hominy. Hominy….. made in a large black wrought iron pot over a fire. Yes….I loved it! My mother sewed most of our clothes & we didn’t have a dryer until I was in high school or later. We sold produce to local merchants & livestock at auction providing funds for almost everything else. My first vehicle was the tractor & if that wasn’t available, the riding lawn mower was the substitute! I would rather get sweaty & dirty working in the field with my daddy than to spend one moment in time cleaning house. Yuck! Of course being a daddy’s girl meant I did what he did anyway so….
Now for the holistic / natural tendencies I possess! In our small town there was a natural artesian well that produced mineral water. Not the crystal clear kind, but the rusty metal looking kind as it contained salt & an assortment of minerals. In 1913 it was accidentally discovered during the drilling process for an oil well. The men noticed as they were exposed to this water, any skin problems they had would disappear. The state had the water tested discovering it contained two pounds of minerals to a gallon of water, bubbling out of the ground from 2,800 feet below the surface at 116 degrees. The State of Louisiana created a Health Resort providing a Motel, Bath House featuring whirlpool baths & massage therapy. My dad was active for years during the development & was actually a masseuse there. Doctors would actually write prescriptions for patients to have a 21 day series of baths for arthritis.
This water was used for any & all medicinal purposes. There was a spicket where we could fill gallon jugs anytime we wanted. We snorted it for sinus / allergy problems, gargled with it for sore throats, etc. There was a small community rectangular pool referred to as “the foot pool” Daily visits provided conversations with locals & outsiders who would come to spend the summer there. Any skin problems were resolved by doing this. We could collect sediment from around the spicket & use it as a paste for sprains/strains, etc. We even threw our dogs in the overflow pond for fleas, ticks, & God forbid, mange. People moved there from all over the state. Some would come stay in the Motel Courts Apartments or another apartment complex, while others purchased small homes used as summer houses so they could come stay. OH…..they all loved our farm produce! A restaurant overlooked a hill & below the entry way was a beautiful koi pond. When I was little my daddy would take me there every day. I always had chocolate ice cream & to this day, it was the best. Below the restaurant was a community swimming pool which, until middle school, was filled with the rusty-brown water. My friends & I worked at the resort & cafe during our senior year of high school. I can still remember the menu & how amazing the yeast rolls were. Turkey & dressing was always the Sunday menu feature. And then there were the pies! The salads were so crispy fresh as the secret was to soak it in a bowl of ice water & MSG. I know now that is a bad ingredient, but then…..it was simply the best. My senses are going crazy even as I type this blog!
With an economic downturn, the upkeep, repairs on pumps, etc. were deemed unnecessary by the state of Louisiana and the resort was closed. This was a very sad era in my life. My dad sold our tractor when I was in junior high school & I was devastated & the closing of the resort after high school compounded my disappointment. Our community dwindled & shrank to almost nothing. As years passed, the state deemed the property at risk & razed the buildings to the ground. The wells were capped, as they still produced even after the demolition. This brings tears to my eyes knowing my beloved childhood memories were just bulldozed to nothing! My dream for many years has been to rebuild the ancient ruins & re-dig the wells.
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.
13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.
14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.
15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.
18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
Why the history lesson? You can see how much natural elements, fresh produce, local farm supported efforts & community played such an important role in my life. As I grew up, I realized how important these were & how I wanted to continue as many of the traditions as possible. In high school I learned to sew & as I had my children, I sewed their clothing. I remember entering clothing in the Parrish fair that even made it to the State fair! I tried to always have a small garden or even bag beds of our favorite things such as tomatoes, watermelon & cucumbers. During the summer I canned veggies & made relish. Synthetic medications were never my first choice, as natural organic remedies were my first pick. To date, I eat organic / all natural. I support local farmers & entrepreneurs. An amazing friend recently made home-made soap & gave me a bar. It is heavenly! Holistic remedies are my treatment of choice for what ails me. I regret not teaching my daughter how to sew, or push for it to be taught to her in high school, but I did purchase a sewing machine for her last year & know she can teach herself via YouTube tutorials or local classes.
I guess the only thing left to do in being even more like my mom is to eat cereal for supper. That happened 4 times last week. I guess I’ve arrived! While there were some habits I never picked up from my mother, such as smoking, I find the things that really matter carried on.
Feel free to share what traditions, habits, methods you have in common with your mom.
Happy, happy Mother’s Day & remember to pass on what matters most!