The Ladies Page

Country Echoes

By MAE BABER R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

Perhaps it was the need of a new spring and mattress for our bed
that gave birth to the following poem. After paying the bill I
realized how much cheaper we slept at one time. Do you remember
when it was Straw Changing Day some years ago?


Spring house cleaning time, in the days
I recall
We pulled the striped straw-tick out
into the hall
And slid it downstairs, out the solid
wood door,
Leaving a trail on the sitting room
floor –

A cough for your trouble, a sneeze,
and a groan
As we ripped out the stitches that
Granny had sewn
And lit to the litter a farmer-size
match, Then went for the second. We lifted
the latch
To Mom, with hot water for washing
the ticking
On which itchy straw tufts were
stubbornly sticking.

We took up the carpet and added more
To the blazingest fire your eyes ever
For burning up wintertime, this was
our joy
When we girls were maidens and
brother a boy.

Dad pitched out the straw where still
hidden deep Pure gold was preserved on which to
For all of us labored, each one had
his task
And as feet nimbly flew no questions
you’d ask
For the day of new straw in and old
carried out
Was one when no shirker was troubled
If you didn’t co-operate, ‘Out of the
For this was a busy one – straw
changing day.

By night-time, Ah Me, why the house
smelled of wheat,
The tickings so fat they upended your
And you knew of all nights the risk
was too great
For the floor was too far you questioned
your fate,
But a certain warm something called
you to your bed
And you felt the stars reaching to
jewel your head
While you dreamed of new plush on
the sitting room floor
When you’d helped carry wintertime
out the front door.

Then, there were folks who used corn husks in the ticks and when
you rolled over in bed you almost woke up the fellow sleeping in
the next room.

I’m wondering if you remember the old wood box which seemed
to get empty so much faster than you wanted to fill it?


Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment