The Ladies Page

BRANDON WISCONSIN R.R-2 ZIP-539I9

Today my husband picked up the daily paper. ‘Humph,’ he
commented tersely. ‘I guess it’s a good thing I am going
away tomorrow. By the looks of things I wouldn’t have a cook
anyway.’

I laid my spatula down uncertainly. ‘What are you talking
about?’ I asked. ‘Don’t I usually cook?’

For answer he handed me the paper and pointed out a front-page
story: FIX YOUR OWN MEALS WEDNESDAY, DAD: GIRLS GOING OUT ON
STRIKE. This was the headline. There was to be a national
woman’s strike against menial jobs and kitchen work, it
said.

It was now my turn to say ‘Humph’ and ‘Humph’
again. ‘Not me,’ I went on. ‘I like it from where I
stand.’ I slipped the still warm applesauce and freshly-baked
rolls onto the table. ‘Nobody but me is going to mess around in
my kitchen as long as I can hold out,’ I said to myself. ‘I
may not be the world’s best cook, but, so help me, I’m no
slouch either.’

Mr. B. chuckled his nose further into the newspaper as he waited
a moment for his cup of hot coffee. I think he has me where he
wants me, in the kitchen, and I surely won’t argue about
it.

The last thing I want to be is one of these bewigged, painted
witches we see on our city streets and many other places. And as
far as the other extreme goes the long, straight hair hanging to
the waist, mixed in with love beads and dirt is hardly my dish
either. It must be I am out of step with this generation. Somehow,
when a chunky woman packs her fat fanny into a pair of stretch
pants and then ties an apron over this insult, I about faint.

Last week I tried my hand at being a Hippie only for an hour or
two, mind you, but as I combed my hair back into order, and put it
up again I felt somewhat normal, really. The fact that I had to do
this in a cut-over grain field, with the wind blowing briskly, and
our outside rear view mirror my only aid to reflection, wasn’t
too helpful. But I got myself together even under such
handicaps.

Back in early summer Mr. and Mrs. B were appointed chairman and
chairlady of a neighborhood committee for building of a Farm Bureau
float for a local community fair. We chose the theme WHAT KIND OF
NEIGHBOR ARE YOU? One family owns a jeep. They painted it red, (it
needed painting, they said) and the sides and roof white. On this
went our theme in neat black letters with the emphasis on YOU. This
jeep ably pulled our float.

The fourteen-foot flat-bed wagon we divided into two neighboring
yards, one neat and attractive, the other a shameful mess. We had
no trouble getting neat people. Our neighbor, Arnold, and his wife,
Leona, were seated on lawn chairs in a snug enclosure of white
picket fence (cut out of cardboard and painted) and embellished
with a box of blossoming marigolds and patriotic trimmings. Arnold
was melodiously playing his accordion.

But you just should have seen what was on the other side of that
wagon tires, junk, a rusty tail pipe, an old car seat, bottles,
pails, a beat-up bathtub, and two Hippies. They were Milton, a
life-long neighbor, and myself. Snow fence, wreck and sawed in
half, was our enclosure, and as we rode the parade route we tossed
garbage on our neighbor’s yard. They were marvelously forgiving
people and kept picking it up as fast as we messed up their place.
Of course, they deposited it in a nicely painted rubbish can. I
believe they did give us some not-so-friendly looks. I was really
too busy to notice. All taken into accord we had a heap of fun, and
we hope we taught a lesson.

Indeed, we hope we taught a lesson! To me, this being so utterly
casual in our dress has gone a bit too far. And so have the demands
of our sex for equal rights. I shall always be delighted when a man
opens a door for me, shields me from some of the rougher tasks of
life. I love being a lady, even if I have to work hard at being
one.

How do you ladies respond to that one cigarette commercial
indicating that we really have it made? Baby? BABY, INDEED! We are
not all silly little chicks nor are we all stickers where kitchen
work is concerned. This ad makes me ill to the core. We women, who
are Homemakers at heart are sick, sick, sick of being portrayed as
slinky sex symbols, and I want to speak out for these Women,
Mothers, Homemakers, who draw their families to them with love,
concern, and good cooking. There are still millions of us, and
believe you me, We Are Not On Strike.

During August we had the joy of having our whole family, and
their offspring back under the home roof. As we counted noses there
were anywhere from nine to nineteen for meals for thirteen days. I
about ran out of ideas but they never lost their appetites. It was
three years since we had all been together and it was a heap of
work.

One boy baby fell into the cactus plants and we had kitchen
counter removal of spines from his body. A toad got away from one
of the little boys and hopped under the clothes dryer. He later
showed up in the basement then when brought up for inspection into
the living room lost all his fluid on our nice new carpeting. It
was work again, the constant cleaning up.

But Strike? Strike because we have a labor of love to perform?
How unthinkable! Mother love is a gift God gave us and with mother
love go pots and pans, scrub pails and mops, and a perennial dust
cloth.

Yesterday we moved our last chick into her own apartment near
where she will teach this year. What a look of happiness was on her
face as she settled down. Her own home for the first time! As I
watched her I thanked God that all women are not the rebellious
self-seeking kind, and that many young women will take their needed
roll as keepers of their homes. In these true women lie the very
seeds of our survival. May God bless them richly.

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