Primitive Sense

Primitive SenseThe public open house I had today at 15 N. Ohio here in Mason City was far more of a success than I’d expected.  Likely the sun being out and no more wind was a big help.  With the sun being low in the sky, the whole house was filled with it’s warming light. I was quick to point out how the main living area being so open, allows natural light to enter that large area dawn to dusk.  There was a handsome young couple with a youngster who’d be a perfect fit for it.  I was already seeing them living there in my mind’s eye.

With it being so cold out, and no appointments for the morning, I spend most of it in the office tidying up and preparing the thrasher’s table I have in the back for some serious sorting out and the organizing of last year’s income and expenses so to be prepared for the inevitable—the tax man.  Whenever getting that 100+ year old table ready for a workout, I think of all the workers that were seated at that table during harvest time back when neighbors and friends got together to help each other with their harvesting of grains.  I’ve seen a number of photos over the years of what those noontime tables looked like and all those workers gathered around them filling up on all the homemade meals being provided by the owners.  What better way to say, “Thank you” from those farmers who needed help with their harvests?

My grandmother spoke of the daunting tasks facing her mother and sisters in cooking meals for those many in their country kitchen during the dead heat of summer with no fans or air conditioning.  Some of the more wealthy farmers had summer kitchens built outside their back doors for that very purpose.  I’ve actually been in a few replicas and understood why they were built.  Keeping as much heat out of the house was the main purpose of having those kitchens.  Without knowing what they were until I was told, I thought them to be playhouses for farm children.  On one of those dusty gravel roads over in Mitchell County, there’s a farmstead that still has one, and when driving by I smiled to myself while thinking, “I wonder if they still use it during the summer?”

I did notice where some of the super rich have half-open grill houses where huge barbecue grills and preparation counters are installed.  I guess they’re the modern up-scale forms of summer kitchens.  Instead of being used to feed workers, they’re now used to feed the party animals.  It’s just one more example of how some of the old ways have been tweaked to satisfy the needs and tastes of our ever-evolving world.

I know you all have had this happen to you, but I really can’t help but share my not so funny little story.  Since I knew I was going to be busy tomorrow, I decided to take in another area church service.  I seated myself halfway up the nave and a little off the center aisle.  When the pastor came walking up from the rear, everyone stood.  Suddenly I was overwhelmed by an odor akin to dirty diapers.  I tried not to make much movement at all for fear those around me would think it was me having passed a gargantuan gas.

I slowly moved my eyes from side to side in hopes I’d see some sign of embarrassment from those around me.  Nothing.  So I scanned the row ahead listening for a giggle or a bit of flinching and again, nothing.  It must have been one of those silent big ones, and whomever did it, was very cunning in not allowing anyone around them to suspect it was him or her.  We all know some of the oldsters can’t help but inadvertently let winds, but all those surrounding me were far younger.

As I was leaving, I happened to notice a gentleman behind me and a little to my left whom I’ve spoken with a few times over the years.  Oh Mercy!  I hope he didn’t think it was me and later telling his wife that I was the one who released that lingering foul odor.  That particular church visit will certainly be hardcoded into my memory.  That was one time I  ‘ll be wishing our primitive sense of smell wasn’t so acute because I smelled ka ka!

Joe Chodur

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