Friday, December 11, 2015


“Why was it so complicated,” Ina asked herself, “to make a nightdress for a doll? After all, going to bed is one of the most important things a doll does.” After lengthy deliberation during which she wondered if she were the only person in the world who thought a doll needed a nightdress, she finally settled on a pattern. However, time didn’t permit her to start it.

It was baking day. Ina had just slipped four loaves of white farm bread into the oven when she heard Jack calling from outside. "Ina! Come quick!" Ina quickly stepped to the back porch to see what was wrong, but Jack didn’t need to say anything. The stench of skunk that greeted her nostrils told her all she needed to know.

You see, on Wednesday Jack had beefed a long yearling so that they would have plenty of meat for Christmas and the following weeks, what with company coming and all. And because they had fresh meat on the premises, Jack had set some traps to catch any wild animals that might be attracted. This morning he found a skunk in one, and in the process of handling it, his hands were affected with skunk “perfume.”

Ina immediately made a solution of diluted Clorox bleach in the wash pan and took it out to the porch so that Jack could wash in it. That didn’t immediately obliterate the scent, so he set a pile of tree branches and garden waste afire. The wet pile smoldered and Jack stood in the smoke. They continued the process of treating, alternating bleach and smoke. By suppertime, his company was tolerable, though Ina laughed that perhaps they had traded one noxious effluvium for two others.

Bathing was a Saturday night event, but due to Jack’s unfortunate experience, they decided to bathe this evening. That was fine anyway, thought Ina, because she and Shirley were going to town tomorrow. It would be nice to be freshly clean for shopping and also not to have to deal with bathing after a tiring day. An extra pot of water was added to the stove late in the afternoon. After supper, Jack set the washtub in front of the range while Ina gathered bath items, such as soap, towels, and a cotton bath mat. A hot bath was prepared and enjoyed first by Shirley and Ina and then by Jack.

“My!” thought Ina. “Wouldn’t it be nice to bathe in comfort whenever one wished.” It wouldn't happen for her. "No use to think of these things."

So, Ina didn’t have time to work on the doll today – well, not much. She re-braided the doll's “hair” and then tacked the braids to the side of her head to keep them from falling back. KW


Chris said...

Oh! Poor Jack! There's nothing like that skunk smell. . . And aren't we blessed to bathe or shower whenever we want--hot water pouring from the tap! I'm always thankful.

Kathy said...

I'm thankful for water, too, and it still seems like a miracle in the farmhouse. And again when water causes problems, I think Ina is probably having a laugh.

The future may see us being conservative with water again.