Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Day We Bought the Separator


The Day We Bought the Separator
Who ever heard of a separator? It was an apparatus that was invented in the early days to separate the cream from the milk. I heard my parents discussing the plans to buy a separator. "What’s a separator", I asked. Mom said, "It’s a machine that lets the milk come out one spigot and the cream come out another one". I asked, "How does the cream know which spigot to get in?" My smart brother, who knew everything, said, "Its because it keeps to the right, and the milk keeps to the left, anybody should know that, Dummy". This was a big event, it would compare to buying a big flat screen TV today. The store that we bought it from delivered it to our house. It was an exciting day. We had to decide where to set it up. We decided on the screened-in back porch. I say "we", but I don’t recall that my opinion counted for much.
Most farmhouses in that era had a screened-in back porch. The back porch is where we kept the wood and kindling box, the wash tubs, scrub board, ironing board, and an extra table, a shoe rack for muddy shoes and a couple chairs plus a lot of things I have no doubt forgotten about.
It finally came and was set up on the porch. Now we need to figure out how it works. It has the big bowl that sets on top and the brains of the operation was several pieces that had to be cleaned after each use and than reassembled. We called this action, putting the separator together. Ray and I wanted the honor of having the job. I finally won out because, as I pointed out, I was the girl. Mom’s job was cleaning the whole operation each day and I soon heard a few grumbles about how much she disliked the job. Daddy had the job of pouring the milk into the bowl and cranking the handle until all the milk was separated. The honor of, putting the separator together, soon grew extremely boring so I decided I would allow my brother, Ray, to have the honor of the job. When I approached him that I had a change of heart, and I would let him have the pleasure of putting the separator together, you would have thought I suggested he should get a sex change operation. He let me know in, no uncertain terms that, putting the separator together, was a girl job. I asked Bennie, my next brother in the lineage, if he would like the job of putting the separator together. He asked, "Do I look like a girl to you?"
Guess who put the separator together until we moved to the city. The only girl in the family at that time.