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Holli Deal Bragg - Living life in a simple and uncluttered way

Holli Deal Bragg - Living life in a simple and uncluttered way

Holli Deal Bragg - Living life in a simple and uncluttered way

Holli Deal Bragg

      The house was an old farmhouse, grayed with age, rusty tin roof, and absolutely fascinating.
      So were the couple who lived there - grayed with age, rusty from arthritis, and absolutely fascinating.
      Bud and Willie Mae Deloach were like grandparents to my brother and me. We loved to visit the elderly neighbors who lived in a style reminiscent of the past. Life to them was likely hard, but we children were delighted with the unusual habits and chores.
      The old well beside the house had been modified to allow an indoor water supply, but we still loved to pull up a pail for a cold drink. We would drop the pail and listen to the plunk as it hit the water.
      The tin dipper made the water special; better than mere tap water, it refreshed us like nothing else. Getting a drink of "well water" became a tradition for us every time we visited, even if we were not thirsty.
      Ms. Willie Mae babysat us sometimes, and we loved to spend time with her. The old house was built in blocklike sections separated by hallways that opened to the cold air - covered with a tin roof but really what they called "dog trots" back in the day.
      One of the rooms was a parlor where we roasted during winter weather as the fire blazed in an old wood stove. We liked to remove the burners to peer inside at the raging red flames. When we got too hot, we would step outside for a cool breath of air, since there was no way to turn that heater down.
      Another "block" contained the bedrooms with old iron beds and chamber pots tucked underneath. Long chains drooped from bare light bulbs, and the beds were covered with hand-made quilts.
      Those quilts were made by Ms. Willie Mae herself, from old clothes and scraps of cloth she collected. Nothing store-bought there; the quilts she gave us for Christmas once were crafted from clothes we had outgrown.
      The quilting room was empty except for a chair, old fashioned sewing machine and a quilting frame suspended from the ceiling.
      Another "block" of the house held the kitchen. There, we ate many a homemade doughnut, which were really canned biscuits deep fried and rolled in sugar.
      Ms. Willie Mae would slice a square half gallon of ice cream and freeze those slices separately. When one of us wanted something cold and sweet, she would pull out whipped cream containers holding slices of Neopolitan or butter pecan goodness, and my brother and I would sit at her antique table, kicking our feet with joy.
      I loved exploring the barns outside, where old farm equipment hung from nails and horse shoes, nailed with the "u" facing upwards to hold the luck in, graced the tops of the doors.
      We helped tend the garden, digging deep into the black dirt to find new potatoes, or hoeing weeds away from the corn. We swung from the gates and climbed the ladders to the loft and found bits of broken pottery or maybe, once in a while, an antique marble.
      What fascinated me the most, however, was the smaller building that sat a good distance away from the house. One summer day, I learned the reason why that little building was so far away.
      A summer outhouse in use never smells pleasant.
      In those modern times, which at the time was the mid to late 70's, the Deloaches still used an outhouse. None of the blocks of rooms that made up that odd house contained a bathroom. As a matter of fact, the only running water was in the kitchen.
      I found it hard to believe that the elderly "Pops" Deloach, who crooked his cane around our necks and laughed as he pulled us closer, actually made the trip out to the outhouse when the need arose.
      I am sure the chamber pots came in handy when it was raining, or very cold, or very dark. I cannot recall ever having to take advantage of either the outhouse or a chamber pot during those evenings when they kept us, and I am quite sure I avoided that situation at all cost.
      In looking back, however, I realize how hard life must have been in a drafty old house with no heat other than a wood stove; with no water except in the kitchen; with no modern amenities.
      But was it as difficult for them as it would have been for me? Were they just accustomed to the hardships? As I recall, both Willie Mae and Bud Deloach were as happy as anyone could be. Maybe, just maybe, it was because they kept their lives simple and uncluttered.
      Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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