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It’s pool time again! I was reminded the other day of the wonderful times spent in our backyard pool when I was growing up. Keith and I spent many happy hours each summer jumping and splashing in that pool that had been tucked behind the house in a corner just outside the back door.
This pool served a twofold purpose during the summer as it was a big wash tub that Mama also used as a rinse tub on wash day. Wash day back then was only one day a week as it was a major undertaking. These were the days before “running” water when all water had to be “drawn” from a deep well by a metal chain and bucket. (I have always heard it referred to as a “trickle” but couldn’t find it anywhere in Google —what do they know, right?)
Wash day was always Monday. The first chore for that day was building a fire under a huge cast iron wash pot (I still have one of those, just in case I need all that hot water again). Daddy would get that done for Mama and head to the fields to work. She would carry buckets of water to the old wringer washing machine to fill it and then take more buckets of hot water for rinsing to the two wash tubs that were on an old heavy bench in the wash house.
She would wash the clothes, wring them out, rinse them and then wring them out again before hanging them on the clothesline to dry. There has never been a perfume or aftershave that smells as good as bedsheets dried on a clothesline. I think of those days often and remember when we got our first automatic washing machine. Mama was like a child with a new toy — and who could blame her? Until the day she went to the hospital before her death in 2015, she washed something in her washing machine every day and then threw it in her dryer. I told her once that she just did it to make up for all those days when it was so hard.
Pool time? Yes, the pool was fun then. Mama would draw water from the well and fill the wash tubs in the summer and put them in the sunshine for the water to get warm. Keith and I would try to slip around and put our feet in the tub without her knowing but could never brush all that Floods Chapel sand off our feet and she would find us out.
Vacation Bible school is getting under way now. Please send your community calendar items to me at email@example.com in order for us to let your community know about your plans for the summer.
Jan Mills is The Enterprise’s customer service representative. Reach her at 252-478-3651 and firstname.lastname@example.org.