When I was a child spring was when people dug the roots of
sassafras trees, scrubbed them and made a delicious pink tea that
was supposed to thin our blood. We didn’t know blood needed
thinning, but we looked forward to the treat of that different
kind of tasty drink.
Spring was when kids finally got to shed long-legged underwear
and we could easily pull our long dark stockings up above our
knees. In winter we had to fold the knitted cuffs of our long
underwear and carefully pull the socks up so there would be the
least possible number of wads showing above our shoe tops. The
underwear wasn’t always wadded up under our socks. After a
Saturday night bath, Mom laid out my freshly washed underwear and
long socks and the dress I was to wear to Sunday school. When
dressing the next morning that underwear fit snugly at the ankles
and there was no problem about it making wads in my socks; it
stretched after being pulled on and off several times over my
feet and ankles during the week.
Another kind of spring was a large, pyramid-shaped coil of
black metal that showed underneath lots of cars. They made the
ride smoother not really smooth but somewhat better
over frozen, rutted roads or the same roads when mud ruts dried
hard as rocks in spring.
Springs were also under the feather mattress of my bed. They
supported the part that made the bed soft and cozy, Mom saved
some of the softest chicken feathers to make bed pillows.
Sometimes she saved enough soft feathers to stuff a huge
ticking to make a feather mattress. Beds were not trampolines and
not for bouncing on at all. My feather mattress had to be fluffed
when the feathers gathered up in corners and flattened out where
my body pressed them down as I slept. Mom fluffed the feathers by
taking the huge bag off the bed and shaking it in every
direction. All of the feathers went to one end and then to the
other. Then she put it on my bed and leveled it with her hands.
Spring, to me, was when there were fishing worms under every
rock or piece of wood that had been on the ground all winter.
Warm weather would bring them to the surface and I’d peek
and say, "Stay there, I’ll need you on the
It doesn’t take an almanac to tell us when it’s
spring. We see redbud tree buds along roadsides swell and wait,
and suddenly, they open their rose lavender blossoms to transform
country lanes into Mother Nature’s picture frames. Wild plum
and pear trees blossom in white, about that same time. If we walk
quietly, listening, we hear honeybees busy gathering and storing
pollen and nectar in their hives.
Moles poke up mounds of finely clawed earth to bring air into
their deep underground abodes. Our year-old dog, Midnight, stalks
moles at daylight, one foot off the ground, head cocked sideways,
listening. After a flurry of digging she puts her nose deep into
the earth smelling and listening. I quit watching her long enough
to make a cup of tea. Mems, the other dog which seldom digs, is
sleeping where early sunlight warms the grass. Before my tea is
ready Midnight brings the limp mole to Mems and nudges her to
wake and enjoy her gift.
Last week spring was bustin’ out all over, the day to
usher in daylight-saving time. Busy fixing Easter dinner for nine
guests, I missed half of the sermon; I forgot to set the clocks!