Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Mother Nature issues telltale signs of spring

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 weekend."

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!

Click here to return to the index

 Subscribe in your RSS reader

Copyright © 1994-2010 Sue Gerard. All Rights Reserved. No text or images on this website may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author, except small quotations to be used in reviews.