Jack’s Mid-Missouri Memories: Things I Miss and Things I Don’t
When older people who grew up together talk, there is sure to be the inevitable comparison of today to the good old days of their youth and how much they miss one thing or another. I join them in missing those less complicated times, but I wonder if the reason we miss them could have more to do with our ages than the fact that times were better.
That said, I do spend a lot of time missing certain things. I miss the summer days that seemed to go on forever when I was a kid. I miss walking barefoot to shaver creek to fish. I miss sitting on the front porch with Mom and Sis, just talking. I miss the friends I vowed never to lose touch with, but did. I miss the feeling that the whole neighborhood was my family. The list goes on, but I can also list a few things I don’t miss.
I don’t miss walking to the coal shed through snow for a bucket of coal on cold winter mornings, or cleaning out the clinkers and ashes from an obstinate old heating stove before I could build a fire. I don’t miss carrying the kerosene can to Reeds Grocery store on the corner of Fourth St. and Emmit Ave. in Sedalia, Mo., to fetch fuel for the cook stove before mom could cook a meal. I don’t miss shivering in the outside privy in the winter time, or smothering there in the summer, and I sure don’t miss using those alternatives to toilet paper. I don’t miss cutting weeds with a hand sickle or mowing grass with a muscle powered push mower. I don’t miss spading a garden, pulling weeds or hoeing by hand. I don’t miss taking baths in a #3 galvanized wash tub on the kitchen floor, especially in the winter.
There are more things I don’t miss of course, but as with most people, there are so many more that I do. I do miss that feeling of warmth on my back that felt even warmer coming from a coal or wood fire I built myself. I miss Mom’s biscuits that seemed to have a different flavor than the ones baked today with gas or electricity, maybe because of that walk to the store. I suppose even in most of the don’ts, there are some areas I have to admit I miss, but that outside privy is not among them. Gardens were a source of pride in those days when everyone had one, so I guess I do miss showing off the big tomato, or perfect cucumber I grew myself, and I guess that made the blisters, and calluses hurt less.
My mother told me when I wrote this memory that it was always a fight to get me into that galvanized tub, and although I’m not as reluctant to take a bath today, I do prefer the large porcelain tub I bathe in now. I do, however, wish I could still fit into a #3 washtub.
Tune in to Jack Miller on Newstalk 1050 KSIS every Monday morning to hear excerpts from his book of Mid-Missouri Memories, titled ‘Unhurried Days.’