This morning as I was eating my oatmeal for breakfast, my mind wondered back to many years ago as a boy on our family dairy farm in Central Indiana. My dad and I are coming to the house from our early milking of 26 cows that started at precisely 5:00 am. We both wash up and sit down to the breakfast table with my mom and brother at exactly 7:00 am.
There is a huge plate of made from scratch biscuits, eggs fresh from the hen house just a short distance away, ham, bacon or sausage from our butchering done in the late fall each year, homemade gravy and an assortment of jams, jellies and preserves made with tender loving care by my mom from fresh produce picked from our orchard and berry patch. There was also freshly made sorghum molasses and honey purchased at a nearby sugar cane farm that also sold fresh honey from their bee hives.
I want to take time to bring you up to speed on those biscuits. There was no recipe for them. It was just common knowledge handed down to mom by her mother and from her mom and so on back thru the generations. It’s just knowledge that the girls were each seemingly born with. Mom would mix all the ingredients, humming as she went along, kneaded the dough, rolled it out and used an ingenious device to cut out the biscuits known as a Clabber Girl Baking Powder can. She would cut out as many as she could, re-roll the remaining dough, cut out some more until there was a bit of dough left that was not big enough to cut two biscuits, so she tenderly patted it out to make one last very large biscuit. I remember that when that biscuit was broke open and put on a plate, it would hold a ton of homemade gravy. Dad usually got this one.
Immediately after breakfast, it’s back to the milk house for me to clean up the milking utensils and sanitize them as per Grade A Regulations, clean up the milk house, then back to the house to get ready for school at 8:00 am. Ah, the life of a farm boy.
So now as I sit silently eating my oatmeal, and toast, I can at least dream and remember when there were better days. With my oatmeal, I also take pills for my heart, my joints, to lower my cholesterol and to keep my arteries free of plaque. But the one thing that just never ceases to amaze me is how these all these pills know where to go…
Conrad Wayne Ware
Cedar Falls, IA