I seem to have created some interest in my Grandpa in an article I wrote a few days ago.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the fact I did not get to spend a lot of time with my grandparents on their farm. Since I was a city boy (actually, a small-town boy), I found the farm a magical place. There was always something going on, often things you did not want to happen, happened anyway.
Even though I was very young, I was amazed about the things the women did on the farm. They made their own soap. I don’t know the recipe, but I remember it being gray in color and was cured, or dried out, in a large pan and cut into squares with a large butcher-type knife. I suppose I could dig around on the Internet and get the recipe for soap, but all I have from memory is that ashes, lye and animal fat were used and that’s all I remember. But that soap was used for everything … washing clothes, doing dishes, and thrown into the tin tub when Grandma thought it was time for me to have a bath.
I also remember the cloth sacks they got flour in, or sugar, or some other product. And these were washed and dried and used for dish towels and other rags for general purpose. Some of these cloth sacks, when enough of them were available, were made into everyday dresses. It was something that didn’t happen at my house. I went along on a wagon ride into the woods where Grandpa and my Uncle Everett had found a vein of coal. There, they took a pick ax and knocked coal loose to heat the house. Another thing we didn’t do in town. (Uncle Everett was my grandfather’s eldest son and lived on the farm.)
The hay mow, which was in the horse barn nearest the house, was a great play area. The hay was pitched from a tall wagon into the loft and was there for the horses. For a small boy, it was a great place to romp and play and be away from the prying eyes of those in charge of me.
The things we ate and drank always tasted better on the farm. The women would churn butter with an old, wooden churn and I would acquire a taste for buttermilk. (The buttermilk you buy today in the grocery store is not the same thing.) I was so amazed that the orange drink they made in a big pitcher ended up just being Kool-Aid. The difference in the taste was well water on the farm, so unlike the city water in town.
Grandma took one day a week and baked. She would make all of the bread the family used, dough for all the pies, and she always took unused strips from the pie dough, baked them smothered with cinnamon and sugar, and made a private feast for me. Always when I visited, she made me a cold, milk cocoa concoction that was just cocoa, sugar, a splash of vanilla, milk and water. I don’t know if it was my youthful eagerness, or something I didn’t understand in the making of this drink, but I’ve never been able to duplicate the taste.
There were always many mysteries about the farm that only a small boy would try to understand. Perhaps it was because I was only there for a few weeks at a time, but I found it this way. Maybe it is just the musings of an old man remembering those days of youthful fun on the farm.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.
I seem to have created some interest in my Grandpa in an article I wrote a few days ago.
- Opinion Columns
RONN MOTT: Rabid Republicans
The so-called news people at Fox News can hardly sit still long enough to report on the latest gossip or untruth about our sitting President. They can hardly contain themselves.
LIZ CIANCONE: Smell of fresh air gave way to dryers
Remember when clean clothes smelled like fresh air and sunshine rather than fabric softener and dryer sheets?
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Is it regulation that doesn’t make sense or evening the playing field?
I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about how Indiana’s alcohol laws personally impact me, but that changed last fall when my daughter got married.
Mark Bennett: High-profile mural connects historical dots from city to river
At 96 feet wide and 2 stories tall, the power, impact and value of the Wabash will be evident.
RONN MOTT: Mushrooms = Hoosier happiness
Someone wrote or said a few years ago a statement that would define the word “Hoosier.” According to this urban legend, a Hoosier is somebody dribbling a basketball around the Indy 500 while eating a fried, morel mushroom. It did not define me, at the time.
RONN MOTT: Israel’s Air Force
Recently the Israeli Air Force bombed and rocketed a convoy leaving Syria going to Lebanon with rockets that were going to be used to attack Israel. It did not get there. It was destroyed.
RONN MOTT: Media merry-go-round
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. That isn’t a unique phrase to this writer or to this era in time. But, when it comes to the musical chairs of broadcasting, it certainly applies.
LIZ CIANCONE: Courts see a different appearance than cops
Have you ever noticed the transformation between the arrest of an accused lawbreaker and the first appearance in court?
MARK BENNETT: Life at face value: Mom’s simple advice still presents a valuable daily challenge
Most moms don’t base their advice on scientific research.
(Unless, of course, your mother is a scientific researcher. If so, carry a No. 2 pencil and take good notes.)
SUSAN DUNCAN: Advice to the kids on Mother’s Day
Just so you know, now settled firmly into middle age, I think of “kids” as anyone in their 30s and younger. I also accept that many of my elders view me as an upstart whippersnapper, though snapping even my fingers nowadays can be a chore.
FLASHPOINT: Again in 2013 General Assembly, middle class generally ignored
Last year, the people of Indiana entrusted the Republican Party with some of their most precious possessions.
RONN MOTT: ‘Raccoons II’
In the Algonquin Indian language, raccoon means “working with hands.” They are really cute little fellows until they injure a child, or a pet, or leave feces around where you certainly do not want it.
RONN MOTT: ‘NRA Convention’
At the recent NRA Convention in Houston, Texas, where the right-wing political hot air almost lifted the convention's building off its foundation, the NRA trotted out the forever yours political dame of the right wing, Sarah Palin. Sarah did not disappoint.
RONN MOTT: ‘Heritage gone’
The last high school I attended was being torn down just a few days ago. I didn't learn about it until I saw classmate Dick Mills on television and a display he had put together about State football championships in the middle 1930's. I began elementary school with Dick Mills. That was Matthew South Elementary School on South Sixth Street in Clinton, Indiana. After seeing Dick on TV, it dawned on me that all schools I had attended in Clinton have been torn down.
LIZ CIANCONE: We always want more than we need
Washington seems more preoccupied with the unemployment rate than they are about the constant stalemate. Still with thousands out of work and the unemployment rate hovering somewhere between 7 percent and 9 percent, it does deserve more than a passing nod.
MARK BENNETT: Should I stay or should I go?
Some have their Bill Clinton-era Cavalier packed (with the trunk bungee-ed shut), apartment cleaned (except for the fridge), and iPhone GPS locked onto the fastest route out of Terre Haute. Others are staying — until they find a better job, or because they’re starting a career here, or because this town feels like home. In each case, a new stage of life begins today.
College Class of '13 gets a little extra advice
Local college grads will hear commencement speakers offer life and career advice this month. We’re offering them an extra dose here from folks who’ve found success in various vocations and regions of the nation. Many have Terre Haute roots.
RONN MOTT: Things that go bump in the night
I live in a very old house. There are all kinds of noises that occur, especially at night, or so it seems. Aside from the various creaks and pops from old wooden floors and walls when the furnace heats up and sends warm air into the rooms, we, my wife and I, have heard other noises.
RONN MOTT: Around the dial
At lunch the other day with Terry Tevlin (First Financial Bank), I bumped into Dale Mahurin. I hadn’t talked to Dale in a long time and inquired about his wife, Julie Henricks.
Julie has returned to the radio microphone doing a weekend gig on Mix FM. For fans of Julie’s show on WTWO-TV, don’t worry, she’s not leaving … just multi-tasking. Welcome back to the radio airwaves, Julie!
ANDREA NEAL: Newspaper journalists still make a difference
A recent survey ranked newspaper reporter as the worst career of 2013, just below meter reader and lumberjack, but you wouldn’t guess it from the stories told by journalists who gathered in Bloomington to see six of their own inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
RONN MOTT: George Jones
I got to Nashville in the early ’70s, hired by John Patton, who had been a DJ for WBOW earlier in his career. Then, he was managing WMAK in Nashville and I was promised a top sales list and received the yellow pages (many a promise like this has happened to people in this business). I also did sports commentary for the morning man and would ultimately do a season of play-by-play and a short TV schedule for Tennessee State.
LIZ CIANCONE: Old age is in email of the beholder
My Best Friend isn’t much for writing letters, so email has opened a new world for him. He can dash off a few words to a high school friend or his college roommate — now living in Florida and Washington State,
MARK BENNETT: Spirited response to a rising river
The power within the Wabash revealed itself last week.
FLASHPOINT: Time has arrived for overhaul of TV news
Former FCC Chairman Alfred Sikes gave an address in 1992 in which he claimed television news was too superficial and too focused on visuals.
RONN MOTT: Remembering Pat Summerall
I don’t remember how I first became aware of Pat Summerall, but the first time I heard him was on a New York radio station (WCBS, I think). He was doing the sports for the morning man and exchanging some opinions about sports and such with him.
RONN MOTT: What I don’t know
I was watching a segment on the History Channel the other night while I waited for the end of “The Big Bang Theory” and a show I had seen before. It was “Sex in History.” And the two segments I watched were about Ben Franklin and Howard Hughes.
RONN MOTT: You, me, and the Muslim world
I don’t know how to do this. I’m a fairly intelligent human being, but the events of the past week in Boston have turned me emotionally inside out. It’s more than the people who died, it’s more than the people who were injured … some permanently,
LIZ CIANCONE: A memory test from the oldtime radio days
For some reason, I seem to be the go-to source for all sorts of obscure information out at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
MARK BENNETT: Littered with irony: Why do people callously discard their trash, and who are they?
Though they aren’t acknowledged by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are basically two demographic groups of people … Those who would dump their old toilet on the banks of the Wabash River or a rural roadside. And those who wouldn’t.
RONN MOTT: China
The recent blustering by North Korea and their weaponry, which now includes ICBMs, has pulled into full attention America’s involvement with China.
- More Opinion Columns Headlines
- RONN MOTT: Rabid Republicans