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Category: Nostalgia

An Unassuming Writer?

An Unassuming Writer?


Yesterday, during the writers’ meeting in La Junta, I sat unobserved in the corner, listening and taking copulas notes. Being shy and quiet is my nature.
I learned that I should use punctuation in my writing. I learned that a bullet isn’t used in place of an indent for a paragraph. I learned I have a spell checker. I learned margins are not one-inch. I learned I have a lot to learn if I want to become a writer.
The meeting ended on a grand note.
Pat Zabriskie jumped up from her chair and said, “I have to get going.” She then charged out the door. I picked up my note book, which was five pounds heavier than when I arrived at the meeting–heavy with the notes I had taken–and exited the building.
You can imagine my surprise! There on the sidewalk lay Pat on her back, her feet in the gutter, and her shoulders on the side walk. In my haste to help her, I almost tripped over a bicycle and 507 Florida grapefruits. Pat had her mind on something else when she exited the building. She didn’t see the teenager on a bicycle pulling a Red Flyer wagon loaded with grapefruit.
“Pat! Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yes, I am. Now help me up before someone calls the cops.”
“Okay.” I said. “What happened?”
Pat got this cute smile on her face and said, “I didn’t see this young man and his bicycle and the Red Flyer wagon loaded with grapefruit. I jumped over the bicycle and my shoe lace caught on the handlebars of the bicycle.”
To make a long story very short, Pat wasn’t hurt. I understand her husband told her, “From now on always tie your shoes when you go to town.”
This account is the truth as I remember it.]

Oris, the truthful observer.

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A quick stroll down memory lane…

A quick stroll down memory lane…

You know there’s always a story… Oris is talking instead of smiling for the camera, but then… how could he compete with the smile of his lovely bride.

Daughter Marcia shares –

Seriously…how much to you LOVE this picture of Mom and Dad?!?! Especially, Mom, hmmm? I LOVE it!!! Just look at her! She’s so beautiful in this one…it just captures her so perfectly! It says it was taken in July 1965…so just before I was born. I LOVE it and wanted to share it with you, even if it does make us both cry all night long, okay? Love you!

Marcia Lynn McClure

Daughter Luanna adds –

I love you, too! And yes it’s going to make me cry but it’s worth it to remember her like this!

And friend, Betty Butler, comments –

I was in high school when these two visited my parents often. Patsy would try to keep Oris reined in. “Now ORIS!!! behave!”. He was the tease and bane if my teen years. And she the guardian. Love her and her giggles. And she sure loves my red headed boys..

There’s always a story at the George Castle. Go ahead, click on the link on the right and pick up a copy of his book Along the Back Roads of Yesterday to read one of his delightful essays, or more…

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Archaic Sayings and Where They Originated

Archaic Sayings and Where They Originated

We can learn a lot about ourselves by looking to the past. History not only provides us with a nostalgic glimpse at how things used to be — like with these classic childhood toys — but its lessons can still teach us things today.Many of us fondly refer to “the good old days” when times were purer and life was simpler.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. Once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.

If you had to do this to survive, you were “piss poor.”

But worse than that were the really poor folks who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were considered the lowest of the low.

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.

However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, and finally the children. Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs with thick straw-piled high and no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the term, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.

Hence, “a thresh hold.”

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In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day, they lit the fire and added things to the pot.

They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests, and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the “upper crust.”

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom of holding a “wake.”

In old, small villages, local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (“the graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell.

Thus, someone could be “saved by the bell,” or was considered a “dead ringer.”

Now, whoever said history was boring?

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