This afternoon a look at this old gristmill brought back memories of its original use––or at least what my dad intended to use it for. I think he bought it at an old junk store called Fry’s on North Main Street, here in Weatherford, and being a do-it-yourself kind of guy, thought he could grind his own cornmeal.
It did grind the shelled corn he poured into its hopper, but turning the wheel produced nothing close to the fine meal Mother used for cornbread, It was very coarse, more like chicken feed, so it was retired to the barn where many years later I retrieved it and have now placed it in use far different from that of long ago.
I think he frequented the junk store quite often, and probably for the same reasons most of do nowadays–-to find something useful at only a few cents on a dollar, or something surprising nice. Like the cobalt blue cathedral bottle he bought for my mother.
One day he came home with an old cast iron kettle and from then on, it sat on the back of the cookstove, providing a constant supply of hot water. It held the heat much longer than the previous aluminum one. And yes, I still have both. Would I throw anything away?
No, of course not, and glad I haven't. The old "hot water heater" has turned into a great piece for holding those Christmas poinsettias.
Usually, Dad’s suggestions were followed withoutquestioning. There was never, never, any argument––until the time we had no milk.
Cows are not providers of a constant supply of milk. They take a break to have a baby calf and then again become a dependable supplier of fresh milk. This eventuality is something a farmer plans for, but plans are merely plans, and occasionally reality rules. So for several weeks we had no milk.
In these modern times, a trip to the grocery store would be the logical thing to do, but these are tales of farm life in the Depression Era. A person did not drive twelve miles to town to buy milk, plus the ice to keep it chilled, in order to have fresh milk for a couple of days. Not even to pour over your morning cereal.
Dad started each day fortified with a hefty breakfast: a bowl of oatmeal, some sort of cured pork,( although it usually began to taste a bit stale between hog-killing times), an egg, and several biscuits.
On the other hand, I refused to eat those slimy oats, merely poked at my eggs, would not drink milk, and was generally a bratty kid at breakfast time. So, even in those hard times, I was humored with boxed ceral—usually Post Corn Flakes which at that time cost less than 10¢ for a large box.
So-o-o, we had no milk. Dad doused his bowl of slimy oats with generous helpings of butter and sugar. I stared at choices: my box of dry cereal, the platter of scrambled eggs, or the remaining dish of oats. My father suggested I add sugar and water to the corn flakes and they’d be almost as good as before.
With the choices before me, that seemed like the best idea so I dished up my corn flakes and sugar, and tried the new watery taste. It was a taste I never tried again. And Dad never suggested it again.
Ah-h, the good ole days!
Ah-h, the good ole days!