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Out On The Mudline

Newfangled Washing Machine Intimidating

By W. P. Sissell

The Week That Was

One never knows when things will jump up and catch you unaware. This past week has been like that for me—even with all kind of help from our daughters and son and their families. Although I knew how to wash the old fashioned way: Get the black pot out, build a fire around it after filling it with water— that’s to boil the clothes in after they come from the rub board and soap tub. Then there’s the rinsing tub and the bluing tub for some of the clothes. I learned about bluing when I taught Chemistry. Sometimes and in some places the water had to come from a flowing spring and sometimes, as was our case on the O’tuckalofa farm, unless your house was above the water level of the flood plane.

Sometime after we returned from the Grenada Hospital where Dr. Craig Williams realigned Nannette’s left big toe—even added a couple of screws in there to keep it in line, she, Nannette, let me know that we were past our original agreement that she would take care of the household and I would see after the fields. I agreed with everything she said but asked her to instruct me in the usage of the array of equipment in our back entrance hall-laundry. There, side by side, is a washing machine and a dryer. Many, if not most of you, are familiar with these machines of today. Our washer was purchased just a few months ago. The control panel with its multiple knobs and switches would more than do justice to a small airplane. Some of the planes that Mr. Elvis Champion used in dusting our cotton in the delta did not have as many knobs and gauges as that new washing machine.

I remember an afternoon when Mr. Champion insisted on making one more flight. When I insisted that he would have trouble landing when he got back to the airport (old airport on number 7 not far from Oxford). As my men loaded the plane, Mr. Champion asked, “Bill do you know what runs right past that airport?” When I was slow in answering, he answered for me, “how about Yocona River?” I had to agree. He followed with, “look to the east now Bill.” I followed his directions and saw a full moon not far above the horizon. He followed his directions with, ‘Bill, have you ever flown at night, along a river, when there’ a full moon like that?” I just shook my head as he boarded his duster and waved good bye as he took off. After he emptied the dust hopper, he flew over me as he flew eastward along that moonlighted path of water.

This morning, one week after Nannette’s foot surgery, she has partially returned to HER kitchen giving appreciated directions as I do a little of the work she does with so much ease. This morning I made the coffee with the coffee-maker and her permission (I didn’t get to drink mine because the girls, Nancy and Susan got there before I could finish. I had been too busy looking for the garage door opener. We’re “gonna” make it though.

Our Doctor, Craig Williams, is a neighbor to some of you. He lives in the “Pine Valley” area and likes it there not just because of the area but especially because of the low traffic flow. I’ve got some kinfolks there too. My mom was a Brower and used to carry us regularly to see her aunt Mamie Wilbourne (I know she had another name). I also had a number of students at Northwest from the Coffeeville area and our daughter Susan found Taylor Riddick, from Coffeeville

I do hope that you are looking forward to a great 2011.

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