This is a busy time of the year for me. My walnuts are beginning to ripen and I'm not the man I used to think I was. The nuts don't ripen all at one time but spread it out over a month, or more. I won't get as many nuts, this year, as I think the tree might have been injured, a little by the city spraying some weeds, nearby, with a little to much wind. I only have one tree but it produces nuts like they were going out of style. Two years ago, I got 27, five gallon buckets of nuts. I don't know whether to brag or complain about them. Any way, I'm trying to find an excuse for being late for being late with my email. Some times I wonder when I'll run out of things write about, that I have already done so. Once in a great while something comes to mind. Just the other day I remember of Mother picking wild grapes along Joy Crick, on our old farm in Kansas. Yes! I know we are supposed to say “Creek”, but to us, it was Crick. The fact is, the name, on paper, was “Moorhead Creek”, after an older resident. I don't know which name is used, now.
Those wild grapes were not all that great. the grapes, themselves, were no more than 1/4 of an inch in diameter, and as sour as could be, and consisted, mostly, of seed. Mother loved to make jelly from them. Those vines grew, here and there, along the creek, climbing high in the trees and single vines got as big as 2″ in diameter. Now, that brings up another memory. In WW 2. A army Tank busting gun was developed that resembled a musical (?) instrument, somewhat, like a Base horn, invented, ( put together with plumber's pipe ), by a character on the radio,. If I remember right, named Bob Burns, and having a spot on Bing Crosby's show. At the end of his rendition he would always drop it on the floor with a clang, proving it's origin. Bob was from Arkansas and proud of his home town and would brag about it, quite often. One time he was asked just where his town was. His answer was quite lengthy. He said the train could take you such and such a place where you must switch to an automobile, then to horse and buggy. After that a saddle horse, ending up by swinging in on a grape vine. Oh yes, the name of the instrument was, Bazooka. The instrument did not catch on but the name did, but if I'm not mistaken, the gun with the name, did.
I've been trying to figure out how I got off on the subject above and the only thing I could of was that, I had a grape vine in my back yard with lots of grapes on it, and my daughter, Doris, came in and helped me put up a number of quarts of juice, a short time ago. I fully intended to write on another subject, on page #10, from my Hickory Nut book but page #11 comes, very slightly, closer, so I am switching to it. At least it has a little to do about eating.
( I skipped page #10 but will use it in my next email. This page fits in a little better. )
Everybody ought to have an Aunt Ethel. It was an experience in my life, to know her. She was a nice person but I never felt quite at ease in her presence. She was a bit tall and some what on the angular and austere side. Her house was always as neat as a pin but never quite comfortable. I think the atmosphere could be typified by the fact that even in the in the coldest winter her beds were fitted with white linen sheets. That may not mean much to those raised in a mild climate, but to us mid-westerners, and before the days of central heating, it could be almost unendurable. I don't mean to imply that we were a bunch of mollycoddlers. I've awaked many mornings to see frost gathered on the shingle nails sticking through the under side of the roof over our heads. However we always had heavy cotton flannel blankets and the chances are that we went to bed with a heated, flat iron at out feet.
Aunt Ethel couldn't stand tobacco smoke. One of our brothers-in-law smoked a pipe, almost all the time. Makes me think of two ladies that were talking and one lady remarked that her husband got a lot of sentiment out of his pipe. The other lady replied, ”Yes, my husband gets a lot of sediment out of his too and isn't it disgusting, that black icky stuff? One time this brother-in-law was at Aunt Ethel's place and got out his pipe, but before lighting up, he asked Aunt Ethel ”Do you mind if I smoke?”. She replied, “Not if you don't mind if I get sick.”
There were a couple families, of we relatives, living in the same valley and at one of our get-to-gathers, at her place, one summer, she experienced an experience. all ice-cream was home-made and each cooks had their own recipe. Store-bought ice-cream was simply unthought of, in those days. As far as I'm concerned, all ice-cream is good, just that some is better. This time hers was delicious and pleasing but with an unrecognized flavor. Everybody raved about it and wanted her recipe and asked what flavor it was? She was quite nonplused and replied that it was just ordinary vanilla flavoring, “I got it out of this bottle right here on the shelf.” She picked up a bottle to show them and on it, in bold letters, was, “WATKIN'S LINIMENT”.
Thirty years later I suffered a frayed tendon in my left shoulder which, eventually, required surgery. In the mean time I tried every ointment, or liniment, I heard of, as well visiting most doctors. In no way did I wanted to go under the knife. The last concoction, I ran onto was guaranteed not to rip, run, ravel, or bag at the knees. Good for internal, external or eternal use. I asked a doctor about it. He wasn't excited. He said it was OK but wouldn't help me any. It was much like the rest of the ointment or liniments. It's chief ingredient was used in most all of them, METHYL SALICYLATE. “That's great,” I said and getting out my pen and note book, I asked how it was spelled? He replied, “M-e-t-h— Awe, WINTERGREEN, that's what it's made from.” Later, the name came back in my mind. Methyl Salicylate? Liniment? Wintergreen? Light began to dawn. Wintergreen candy! Aunt Ethel's ICE-CREAM. No wonder it tasted so good. Aunt Ethel had passed on by that time but I have a story I like to tell.