by Curt Kovener
(This is an encore column from the Curt Comments Archives.)
As a youth I loved going to Grandma & Grandpa’s farm near Dudleytown. And I suppose my Mom & Dad appreciated the break from reining in a rambunctious rascal of a son.
Grandma always wore a big apron when around the farm. Unlike a tie around the waist apron, this sleeveless smock was somewhat like an overdress. Perhaps the female readers of this column remember making such an apron in Home Economics? But maybe it has been so long that they don’t remember Home Ec? Or maybe with the emphasis today on technical training, STEM classes, and dual diplomas, maybe knowing how to cook and sew isn’t important. Afterall, we can always get an unhealthy meal at a restaurant and go buy a new item of clothing when a button falls off.
But we all should remember those big aprons Grandma wore…even if they aren’t worn much today.
The principal use of Grandma’s big apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material.
But along with that, aprons served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken house, the apron was used for carrying eggs. When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy grandchildren. And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow bent over the hot canning stove. From the garden, it carried in all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled on the front porch, it carried out the hulls to the chicken yard. In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the lane, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When it was mealtime, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to lunch.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.
The health department would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. But I don’t think I ever caught anything from Grandma’s apron but love.