Today was Sunday – church day – but the minister would not be here. Instead, those who attended the little Methodist Church at the cemetery some 2 ½ miles distant would gather for Sunday school. Weather permitting, the minister would come the Sunday before Christmas.
Before church, Ina prepared a nice pot roast of beef with vegetables from last summer’s garden – potatoes, carrots, turnips, and onions. It would be ready for an early afternoon dinner. There would be four for dinner including Shirley’s beau Henry.
Ina liked Henry well enough. He was polite, well-spoken, and helpful, and she was glad that Shirley had someone to take her around. But -- he was poor as a church mouse. Like many young couples during this Depression, Shirley and Henry were trapped – needed at home and unable to strike out on their own.
While Ina and Shirley did the dishes, Henry helped Jack with the afternoon chores and then left to help his father at home. After the dishes were done, Shirley suggested they work on their Christmas gifts. While Shirley embroidered on the dresser scarf she was making for Aunt Bertha, Ina stuffed the doll with cotton. As the pattern showed, she stitched across the doll’s knees and hips to make joints, but she was chagrined to discover that the stuffing was too tight for the doll to bend her knees and hips anyway.
“That’s the trouble,” grumbled Ina, as she and Shirley assessed the doll. “One learns as one goes along. I could do better next time, but there may be no next time.”
At the end of sewing session, the doll was stuffed and her opening closed by hand. In the evening, Jack, Ina, and Shirley sat near the radio in the dining room to listen to programs. Radio reception was clearer at night, you know. Shirley fiddled with the dial on the old battery-operated radio, tuning in a station out of Portland. KW
[Since I couldn’t find a cotton roll such as we used to buy at the drug store – at least not affordably – I stuffed my rag doll with Fiberfill by EcoCraft, an eco-friendly product made from corn.]