Aunt Eunice checking in and praying you are well. As our enforced time at home continues I find my patience is getting thin. There is an old verse that goes “Patience is a virtue, find it if you can, seldom in a woman and never in a man”. I believe it is truly important though to “stay the course” and keep up the social distancing, but sometimes the “collar chafes”! Being inside on these rainy days we have been having has me “chomping at the bit” to get some fresh air. Yesterday I walked with my umbrella. Several days ago I watched through the window as a large pond formed in my back yard. It is still an oversized mud pit! It has a bear’s footprints in it and I am sure he must be the guilty party in the garbage can incident!! These days it can feel like you are under house arrest being home bound as we are, especially if weather keeps you cooped up. I have been taking the time since I have it to go through old paperwork. I found a number of my mother’s old journals. I am not sure if it is because she was from the south or if it was a generational thing, but her writing and her conversations were always laced with sayings. It was the same for the early settlers who had a saying for most every occasion or circumstance. It was a way of teaching as most folk phrases had a “moral to the story” or a message to make a point. Some sayings had to be simple colloquialisms. My mother and her sisters had lots of sayings about water and bridges such as “weights what broke the bridge” in reference to their children saying “Wait a minute” when called by a parent. My mother was not one to get in a tizzy about things. It took a lot to “ruffle her feathers”. She believed it was a matter of “water over the dam” or “under a bridge”. I wish I had more of her calm affability right now.
Some folk phrases like “Angels weep when women whistle” could have discouraged girls from becoming whistlers which was not considered appropriate for young ladies. “A stitch in time saves nine” was a way to teach that a problem should be tackled while it is small rather than when it gets bigger, which is almost always what happens. Some sayings like “it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans” may seem of little use to us. Back in the day though everyone knew whether you were talking about a subject in a size sense or monetary one a hill of beans wasn’t worth much. On the farm there would be animal sayings like “madder than a wet hen. Have you ever seen a wet hen? If so, you know it is very mad indeed. “‘Til the cows come home” means settle in, because whatever we’re talking about or doing is going to take awhile. Cows aren’t known for their speed. A farmer might tell his son ” don’t buy a pig in a poke” as a way to teach him to get a good look at an animal before purchasing it. It’s hard to really see an animal enclosed in a small pen. It was also a message saying be sure what you’re getting into before you commit. “A new broom sweeps clean” may be a reference to a person with a fresh perspective clearing the air. I do find a new broom really does sweep cleaner than my old one. I love getting a new broom, especially an old fashioned one made from broom corn.
Henry David Thoreau once said “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.” I believe he was referring to what I say is “our houses are so much to take care of and take up so much of our time that the house owns us rather than the other way around”. My frustration with being sequestered may sometimes make my house seem like a prison, but I know it is truly a haven. A place to be safe, helping us keep others safe, doing my part to contain this dangerous virus. I am sharing quality time with family, getting my work done from home, accomplishing odd jobs I’ve been meaning to get to. I pray for those on the front line, those who are out of work, those without the necessities they need, those suffering from the virus and those grieving over the loss of a loved one.
I hope we can all find a way to accept our confinement with grace, with patience for what steps are needed to get us to the other side of the pandemic. Take care, my friends, and stay safe. Talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice