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
  • Repairs still needed

    Lawmakers once again kicked the can down the road on making needed repairs to the state Capitol. By a 62-34 vote, they turned down a Senate-approved plan to authorize up to $160 million in bonds to repair the nearly century-old building....

    April 24, 2014

  • Health care needs have reached critical stage

    Once again, the Republican-led Oklahoma legislators are leaving Oklahoma’s neediest in the dust with their proposed 2014-2015 budget. Studies by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Can’t have it both ways

    Local sheriff Joe Lester wasn’t among the state sheriffs and lawmakers protesting the removal of state prisoners from county jails this week. The sheriffs, some of whom have protested by having too many state prisoners in their ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Help for rural America

    A drive through rural parts of the Southwest can be depressing. For sale and for rent signs are prevalent. Businesses along main streets have closed. Unless they are close to a major interstate highway, many communities are in decline....

    April 23, 2014

  • Embarrassment to Oklahoma, again

    The standardized testing that was halted in local schools Monday is another embarrassment to the state. The same thing happened a year ago and Oklahoma gave them another chance....

    April 23, 2014

  • Time to move on; exit of Sebelius is right choice

    From the moment it became obvious that healthcare.gov wasn’t working, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became damaged goods for the White House....

    April 23, 2014

  • Happy birthday to us

    We don’t expect any cake and that many candles might be dangerous but today is the unofficial 125th birthday of Norman....

    April 22, 2014

  • Hero of Haarlem … for common good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Reform is necessary

    Editor, The Transcript: Last year, the legislature passed laws reforming the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which was a good start, but more is needed. Recent media reports have revealed that the ODVA employs M.D. and D.O. ...

    April 20, 2014