Archives for : November1954

In A Minute

I caught myself repeating those words as I cradled the phone up to my ear while talking to Mags, peeling potatoes and answering the tugging I felt on my apron. Daisy needed something and I wasn’t listening to her. She could’t see what I was doing with my hands at the sink as the peels fell into the bowl. After I realized that I had repeated the words, I paused, finished my conversation with Mags, rinsed off my hands and bent down to look into Daisy’s face. I wanted her to know that I was there for her.

Mothers spend a lot of time communicating to their kids. And a lot of it concerns safety directions. Some days I feel like I’m moving from possible accident scene to conceivable mishap as I supervise Daisy and Stevie. Daisy doesn’t deliberately look for trouble, but being short lends itself to having to access areas that sometimes require climbing. She regularly has scraped knees that require kisses for soothing but I try to anticipate situations that might bruise her beautiful head. Stevie has the daredevil gene and looks for obstacles to climb, jump, hurdle or fall from. His knees are perpetually scraped, as well as his shins, elbows, wrists and hands. We’ve already experienced stitches and the sight of blood doesn’t seem to upset him. Maybe he’ll be a doctor.

I don’t want anyone to think less of my mothering skills, but I don’t mind the occasional small injury. I want my children to explore when it pleases them. What I don’t want is to repeat the words “in a minute” while completing a task that should come second. After I gave Daisy a kiss, she held up her favorite doll, Katy. Katy’s buttons are difficult to fasten. I finished pushing the buttons through the snug holes and handed Katy back to Daisy. She smiled and ran back to her game. I returned to my peeling and had a brainstorm. Tomorrow night, I would serve “Minute Rice” with pork chops. That one convenience would give me plenty of time to watch the kids play longer. I need to look for more convenience foods to start to serve to save more time.

Falling for Fun

When the weather starts to turn cooler after the early rush of the start of the school year and scouts and sports becomes more routine, we have made a yearly trek to the apple farm to pick a couple of baskets and drink some fresh cider. The children enjoy the ride on the wagon out to the orchard, it’s good exercise and we get to bring home lots of yummy fruit to make into pies for the holidays. Steve likes the fresh hot doughnuts that are made on site and manages to eat two or three every year with his fresh cider. The air always has that first especially crisp feel to it and our cheeks get red from the sting of the wind. The horse-pulled cart lets us enjoy a bygone experience of wagon-riding and we huddle together on the benches looking out at the fields. There are a lot of “natural” smells at the farm and plenty of chances to turn up our noses at unusual odors and giggle. I’ve never been very fond of horses but they manage to bring out the country girl in Daisy. Daisy always remembers to ask to visit the stalls and see the other horses. She has no fear of them and wants to be held up to whisper in their ears after she lets them take a piece of apple from her hand. I dread the possible spit they leave but try not to make an icky face as they get their mouths so close to my little princess.

Girls and horses have always been a thing. I had a friend named Kathleen when I was in grade school who kept horses in a small barn behind their house. They lived at the end of a long road that bordered a farm so she had plenty of space to ride. At school, she constantly drew pictures of horses and was the only person I knew who owned cowboy boots that weren’t for show. I was invited out to her house one afternoon to ride with her. The horses looked huge to me and I know that I was nervous. Kathleen told me not to appear nervous but I had no way to shut it off and just pasted a smile on my face when the horses looked at me. Kathleen had expertly saddled the horses and there was a set of boxes placed next to the post where the horses were tied to help me get up and onto the horse. I gently put my foot in the stirrup and threw the other leg over. I sat up in the saddle and made sure that my feet were in the holders. Kathleen’s dad guided the horse away so that Kathleen could get on another horse. But she just jumped up and somehow got her foot in the stirrup at the same time that she made it up onto the saddle. She looked like an expert and sat up tall. She gathered the reins in one hand and somehow steered the horse away from the barn. My horse followed hers and we started down a trail. I was bumping along without knowing what I was doing and Kathleen gave me some directions on moving my knees and legs while keeping the reins in my hand. It wasn’t torture but I was still was a little anxious. We approached a beautiful open pasture and I finally let out a big sigh. It was beautiful and I was beginning to understand why Kathleen liked riding so much. Kathleen looked over at me and told me that the horses would probably pick up a little speed. What? You mean go faster? I was not ready and as soon as both horses reached the opening, they both took off. It felt like full speed to me, but there was no way to gauge except by the increase in my heart rate. I didn’t scream, but only because I don’t think I was breathing. The horses slowed at the other side of the pasture, almost automatically. The relief must have shown in my face. Kathleen looked exhilarated. We gently rode back to the barn by a woodsy trail and I enjoyed that part more. When we returned, Kathleen’s dad helped me off and asked me how I enjoyed the ride. I told him that it was fun but was surprised by how fast we went. He just chuckled a little. I have not ridden a horse since that day.

Daisy smiled over at me and giggled a little when the horse took another bite from her hand. I liked that she was at ease with the horses. I didn’t want her to have the same fears I had. I was too shy and quiet and always afraid to offend. Girls should have all the chances they need in the world to do everything. The world had changed a lot since the war and women were experiencing new things everyday. Daisy would be a part of that next new world of women. I am certain that their world would be better than mine. I’m not complaining about how good we have it now. We live in the suburbs in dream homes with every convenience. Our children have opportunities that we didn’t have growing up; I wonder what the future holds for them?