Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, January 14, 2013

Laundry. Cheap Entertainment



And each of the eight brothers had a sister . . .
My Mom had eight brothers.
And each of them had a sister.
My Mom.
Most of the time, this was a good thing.
They played together.
Worked together.
And when someone put a banana peel down Mom's back at school, they 'protected' her.
It was a good balance.
Being the only other female on the farm meant work, however.
Besides helping with things outdoors, she had indoor chores.
Cooking, cleaning, dishes.
Laundry.
Those 'invisible' things that go unnoticed until they don't get done.
Of all of them, the most entertaining was always the laundry.
You never knew what you would find . . .
There was one very firm rule in the Berg household.
You cleaned your plate at mealtime.
Much of the food was produced on the farm and Grandpa Berg took a very dim view of any of it being wasted.
Each of the sons, and the daughter, had to show an empty plate before they were allowed to leave.
If they had been served something they didn't like, they had to eat it anyways.
Or get creative.
Uncle Leif, the youngest of the brothers, got creative.
He knew that those vegetables and potatoes he had been staring at had to go somewhere.
He just didn't want them inside of him.
What to do?
Hmmm.
No dog or pet was allowed inside the house, so one couldn't slip food to them under the table.
His parents would notice any significant quantity of food simply thrown on the floor.
His options were definitely limited.
But he would think of something . . .
When Mom and Grandma Berg were doing the laundry, it was Mom's responsibility to turn out the pockets on the boy's trousers.
Inevitably, it was an entertaining enterprise.
Especially when they got to Uncle Leif's.
Because that was when they discovered what had been done with those unwanted and totally unnecessary vegetables and potatoes.
While he had been sitting there, contemplating, he had come up with the most ingenious and inventive method of making them disappear.
He was wearing trousers.
And they had . . . pockets.
What followed was inevitable.
Back in the laundry, Mom turned out each pocket to discover little, dried up memories of yesterday's dinner.
Clever.
And, as I said, entertaining.
And that's just the laundry.
Imagine what he could do with such things as . . . bedrooms. Chores.
Livestock.
But that is another story.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hmmmm. Pant cuffs. Yet another undiscovered country.

      Delete
  2. Isn't it interesting how kids learn crafty things at such an early age? Mom commented that Leif had to be a magician because he sat right beside Grandpa. I tried that same trick myself but Dad caught me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either he was sneakier or our Dad was more observant. Hmmm . . .

      Delete
  3. :-) While I've yet to meet a food I didn't like, I applaud ol' Leif's efforts. :-)

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too have been known to eat, not only mine, but everyone else's at the table. Sigh.

      Delete
  4. Uncle Leif chuckled at this memory, Diane. Thanks. But one of his worst situations was trying to chew bull meat from an older critter, having seen more "productive" days! So... once again into his pocket it went:-). Leif suspects there were other pockets from the family holding those "treasured" pieces after that meal !

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh-oh ... did he get in trouble after the dried-up remainders were discovered?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Gramma thought it was funny . . . That's what I'm going with.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks for the visit! There are many, many wonderful blogs out there!

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  7. Only one sister for all those brothers?
    Your mum should have kept going and had seven more girls....
    Yes, of course I'm kidding!
    I never liked that clean your plate rule.
    Especially if we had mutton for dinner. I'd chew and chew and chew, but just couldn't get it down. nowadays, mutton isn't sold much, it's been replaced by lamb or baby lamb. I still don't like it, but now I'm grown up so I don't even buy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you. I'm definitely not a mutton or lamb aficionado! But put gravy on it and down it goes!

      Delete
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