The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 13, 2013

Those lean years

NORMAN — Lilly peers over the top of a chair, curiously watching her Granny pour heavy, cream-filled milk into a huge glass container with a big wooden paddle on top.

“What's that, Granny?” she says.

“A churn,” comes the answer. “I guess you’ve never been around when I made butter, have you?”

“No. I didn't know you did that.”

Lilly watches every stroke of the paddle as her Granny turns it faster until finally her turning meets with too much resistance. Granny lifts the paddle.

“I need to see if yellow solids are floating around on top and clinging to the paddle,” she says. As soon as there are enough, she scoops yellow chunks up into a clean flour sack and squeezes out the remaining milk. She forms a couple of squares of rich, yellow butter and puts them into the wooden icebox.

“Here, Lilly, scrape the rest of it off the paddle,” she says, handing it over on a plate. “Put it on this warm bread.” She gives Lilly a couple of hunks of bread still warm from the oven. “Here. Strawberry preserves from last year.”

“How about tomorrow morning?” Lilly says, licking her lips.

“How about you clean up?” Granny says.

Lilly's Granny and Gramps lived in a raw new territory during its lean years. As long as they were able to care for themselves and relatives or neighbors in need, they believed they were OK.

Their children — Lilly's parents — lived during the Depression years after l929. They lost their jobs and had to move back in with Lilly's grandparents. After a couple of years, the world began to right itself again.

“Lilly — do you think you could go to a different school now?” her mother says. “Your Dad finally got a chance for a real job, but we would have to move.”

“No more WPA?” Lilly asks. “No more Daddy digging ditches and carrying those heavy metal things that nearly break his back?”

Her mother nods.

“Well, OK!” Lilly shouts for joy. “I'll miss Granny and Gramps, but they'll come see us.”

Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Action mostly closed due to cutbacks

    Editor, The Transcript: The Community Action, at 1155 E Main St. in Norman, for decades has served Cleveland County with the following everyday services: a food pantry, short-term housing for the homeless, providing rides for those without ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • Nutritional article should be accurate

    I read with interest the July 13 article “Are low-carb diets really healthy?” by Cassidie Day. Unfortunately, a number of statements in this article were incorrect. The first problematic statement was, “Carbs are an essential nutrient ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Hospital story headline was too sensationalized

    Editor, The Transcript: On July 18, The Transcript ran a front page article with the headline “Lawsuit filed against Norman Regional — Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups.” As a first page ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014