Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our stories are worth listening to.

On Saturdays I do things around the house. Some Saturdays I'll have to work a little while, and that's ok. Generally though, Saturdays are for shopping the yard sales early, listening to the Public Radio shows and reading magazines or papers I've not gotten to all week. I like this because it is food for my head. Today I found a metal mixing bowl for my old Kitchen Aid mixer. It had a small dent in the side, but it's just fine. Those bowls cost about $30 and I got it for $5.

When I was a kid Saturdays were when we went to town to get groceries and do shopping. We would leave early and be there just as the stores opened. In a small town Saturdays are as close as you get to traffic. Every business was open, the Courthouse was open and so were all the banks. Now on Wednesday some of these places and all the doctors and dentists were closed. I have friends who live in that small town still and it's the same now on Wednesday.
In the afternoon I would help my grandmother take a bath. Mom would make a cake. My sister would mow the yard and both we girls would take our weekly bath. We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was eight and the way we took a bath was to use the tub in the milk house that was used to wash milk cans. We would each carry a kettle of boiling water and take towels down, partially fill the tub with cold water and add the hot water; one tub and two girls.

This was also the day we washed the car, made sure our clothes for church were clean, pressed and rolled our hair. The one day of he week you were to look your best was Sunday.

Grandmother had been born twenty years after the Civil War. She grew up on a farm in northern Kentucky. She was the oldest of fourteen children and said she had spent her youth taking care of babies. She never went to school past the fourth grade but she loved books. I would read to her. As a kind of exchange she would talk about her life. Grandmother is the person who first told me stories and I have never gotten over listening to people talk about their lives.

Every one has a story. Some have hundreds. Sometimes they won't tell you all their stories, but it is amazing how easy it is to get a story.

Today on "This American Life" the producers of the show chose nine counties in Georgia and divided them amongst their reporters and staff. The reporter visited their assigned county and went into café's, stores or the courthouse and asked a random person, "Who is the most interesting person you know in town?" Sometimes they would have to go to several people because when they got to the one someone recommended, they would suggest another more interesting person! The idea was based on a Charles Salter's newspaper column in the Atlanta Journal in the 1970's entitled "Georgia Rambler."

If you'd like to hear today's "This American Life" go to iTunes and download the podcast for your iPod.

I sometimes type up stories people tell me. I'm not disciplined with this. Usually it will be a couple of paragraphs I put in my journal. Meeting a lot of different people I cannot remember names, but years later if they mention something about their life, I can bring that story up and immediately we're. I'll think, "Oh this is that guy who had the 1965 Mustang and his ex-wife painted it purple one day when she caught him messing with her sister!
It started raining again tonight after dark. All day the temperature was below 90 degrees and humidity was only 50. This week we got strong rain every day but Friday. Usually overnight and I'd wake up at the sound. Nice to go back to sleep listening to rain.

Next week it is predicted to be almost a repeat of this past week; 90+ days and hard rains.