When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.
Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…
Granddaddy’s Egg Basket
One of my favorite things I loved doing when I stayed at Granddaddy McKinley’s farm was gathering eggs with his egg basket.
Granddaddy’s chicken coop sat alongside the path that led to the barns. Mostly during the day the chickens were allowed to roam around the yard, but if they saw you come outside with the food pail – they flocked around you. Once they were fed, you could then easily access the chicken coop without the fear of them swarming on you as you peeked through their nest hunting for eggs. There’s nothing like having fresh eggs – I always hoped for the double yolks.
The one thing I cringed upon entering the coop, was having to step in the chicken “poop”! Now anyone who has been around chickens will understand what I’m talking about; and it’s one place you never want to go barefoot!
Mama had a pet chicken she called necked! Imagine having to go out in the yard and yell that? But they were way out in the country, so no one would have heard. The chicken had no feathers, not quite sure why, but I remember her saying something about the other chickens bothering it, so maybe they pecked them off. The chicken followed her in the house sometimes, but one day the screen door caught “necked” in the neck and – well that was the end of him. Wonder if he ended up in the pot that night? Granddaddy didn’t waste anything – he was very frugal.
There were also a few chicken nests outside in the yard beside the ones in the chicken coop; he had nest boxes on the outside of the smoke house – so they all had to be checked when empty. You didn’t dare attempt to chase a chicken off her nest, unless you wanted to be chased. I never understood why some nests were elsewhere outside of the coop, but I’m sure he had a reason. They were also closer to the house, so that might have been his reasoning – after all if you needed one egg, it was a closer walk to those nests.
My children and grandchildren will never be able to enjoy the fun of gathering eggs in this basket – but they’ll know I did -and the basket will not be tossed – its history has been told and preserved.
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© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco