Saturday, July 20, 2013

The good old days?

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory. ~ Franklin P. Adams

Two things have happened in my life lately that have caused me to reflect about the "good old days."
One was my washing machine breaking down and the other was a fire.

There was a time when I was younger, that I was just sure if we could live like Laura Ingalls in the "Little House on the Prairie" books, life would be wonderful.  They always seemed so happy in those books.  They all loved each other so much.  I was just sure it was because of the simple way they were living.
So our family sold our pretty house in Azle, one I loved very much, and moved a mobile home onto 60 acres of raw land in Jacksboro.  It had four ponds and a meadow.  But we soon found that it also didn't have much water; in fact, for most of the time we lived there, we hauled water in from town.  I got Angora goats, a couple of cows, and a wringer washer because they don't use much water, and it seemed like such a fun thing to do, and was ready to live my Little House on the Prairie life.  I quickly decided it was much too hard for very little gain.  Washing with a wringer washer took all day to get our clothes washed, handling each and every item.  I was hot, sticky, dirty and thinking how dumb this whole idea really was.    I gave it up when my oldest daughter commented that I used to keep toddler Mary Susannah so clean and cute, and now her dresses were usually dirty.  I was not changing her often because it was so hard to wash her clothes...
So I lugged the clothes into town to the laundry mat.  Although that wasn't fun either, it only took a couple of hours if the washers were all free, rather than a whole day.

Also because we were so rural, our phones didn't work half the time either.  I missed the birth of my grandson Billy because it rained during the night and knocked out the phone lines and Celeste could not get ahold of me.  That was so upsetting, because she had to have a C section, and Billy had to spend time in the NICU.  I remember crying on the way to the  hospital the next day.

Our land was full of rattlesnakes and copper heads.  The four ponds were full of snakes, which my boys LOVED to shoot with BB guns.  My son Gage remarked one day after we had lived there a few months that he couldn't find any more snakes to shoot.  I always felt like it was just a matter of time before one of them was bitten.  Thankfully, that never happened.

We finally sold that place after a year and a half and moved to Grandview.  I never had fond notions of living a "simple life" after that.  Simpler, yes, but no more primitive daydreams for me.

Which brings me to the two things that have happened lately.  Number one: my washing machine broke down.
 I LOVE my automatic washing machine.   I also like clothes lines, but the older I get, the more I like my automatic dryer, too...

So the washer quit working about three weeks ago, and no one could come out for a few days.
When they did, the repair man suggested our well had gotten low and air had gotten into the lines.  He instructed me to turn the hose in the front yard, and the bathtub at the back of the house on full blast and let it run for 30 minutes.  That would force all the air out of the lines and fix the washer (it didn't, it took another trip out and new parts to fix it...)
He was right that the well had gotten a bit low, and I hated to let water just pour onto the ground for 30 minutes.  So I decided to fill up the kids swimming pool with the hose water.

And what a blessing that turned out to be...

Because we had a fire later that week!

The really strange thing was that my daughter Rachael had also had a fire in her back yard the day before.  So when a storm was brewing and we could see lightening and hear thunder, our power went out and then Angel-Leah screamed "A fire!!" I thought she was joking because of what happened at Rachael's.
But a quick glance out our window proved she wasn't.  Lightening had caught the grass in the ditch on the side of our house on fire.
Thankfully, Beau was home from Colorado.  I grabbed the phone and called 911 as we ran out to try and save our house.

But when you are on a well and your power goes out - your water goes out, too.  Because the well is hooked up to the power.

But - and God must have been in this - I had filled that little pool the day before.
Mary Susannah, Cynthia and I filled buckets and carried them to Beau, who threw them on the fire:

We called 911 three times, but 40 minutes went by before a fire truck came.  A man from the highway stopped and helped Beau with shovels and hoes.  The wind shifted, too, and the fire began to blow towards the field across from us instead of towards our house.  We finally got the fire out, just as the Grandview fire chief showed up.  Because we are slightly over the Hill county line, Johnson county, which is so much closer, cannot respond to us.  We learned that when we called, the 911 operator thought we were a fire a mile away, and had sent both Itasca fire trucks there.  Since their only two trucks were busy, they were sending Hillsboro fire department to us.  Hillsboro is just under 25 minutes away...

But they did finally come, and sprayed the ground for us, making sure everything was out.

It sure felt like it got close...

But it all ended well.

It might have been a different story if the washing machine had not gone out and I hadn't filled the little pool with water!

So, as Laura Ingalls says:  "This, is now."

I like now.  I like my washing machine.  I didn't like fighting fires like Laura Ingalls, by throwing buckets of water on the flames.  We forgot about wet towels like Ma and Pa used, and also, in our panic, about the fire extinquisher on top of the fridge.

We are checking into tying our house into Files Valley water lines.  So if the power goes out, (and there is a fire, or we just need to flush the wonderful indoor toilet - why did Laura Ingalls never talk about the outhouses she doubtlessly used?) we will still have water.

Give me the modern conviences, while at the same time, let me be frugal and live beneath my means.  That gives me more time to read to my little ones and talk to my big ones. 

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
(W. H. Davies)

 Or to build a worm bin, like I did today!

Let me say like Paul in Philippians 4:12  "I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment."


  1. I remember the wringer washer diapers wrapped around the wringer,If it does, an article of the wash may
    wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a
    piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller .
    Its you're already happened?

  2. It was very tragedy gone with you what i will say i cant understand.

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