by Pettus Read
As the cold December winds made their way across the cedar tree covered Tennessee farmland, I made my way to the kitchen door of the old farm house occupied by my Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie. The winds outside were knife sharp, but the glow coming from the lace curtain outlined windows of the couple's kitchen seemed to make the day much more bearable.
After I made a soft knock on the gingerbread white trimmed back door, Aunt Sadie opened it while also wiping her hands on her apron. She had been making lunch for Uncle Sid who was at the kitchen table reading the local newspaper and fussing about all the "peckerwoods" up in Washington, D.C. who were messing around in his business. The house smelled of fresh baked bread and the room's temperature could be compared to a summer day on the beach in lower Alabama. They liked it that way and as the years seem to be catching up on me, I understand why.
Everything seemed to be just the way it should be in their rural home. Both were glad to have me visit and before I could tell them that I was only stopping by to say hello, Aunt Sadie was making a place for me at the round oak kitchen table. She had fried chicken, baked bread and a pecan pie for lunch. There was no way I was going to turn that down. What I needed to do on down the road would just have to wait.
As I sat down at the table with Uncle Sid, I could see Aunt Sadie busily moving around her kitchen getting everything ready for our noon-time meal. The handcrafted apron she had made herself and wore that day, was a multi-task tool that only a homemaker could appreciate.
She used it as a pot holder to take her pie out of the oven. It also became a dish towel whenever one was not handily available. And most importantly, it covered her dress to keep it clean when she and Uncle Sid would be making their weekly trip to the grocery store later in the day.
Sitting there thinking, I realized that aprons are pretty important items and their daily use is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Aprons were once worn by all ladies at home while doing their chores. Both my grandmothers and my mother could always be found in an apron whenever in the kitchen. It was in someway a uniformed symbol that these ladies were important to the wellbeing of the entire household whenever they were in their aprons.
An apron could have lots of meanings back in days-gone-by. Whenever a young man seemed to not venture too far from home or get married when people around the community thought he should, it was said that he needed to cut his mama's apron strings. Or, other kids would tease other children about hiding behind their mama's apron.
I will have to admit, mama's apron was a pretty safe place when the world seemed to be coming at you a little too fast. There are times now that I wish I had an apron or two to hide behind.
I guess we don't cut the apron strings anymore, but instead, cut off the credit card or the cell phone account to get our children's attention when we think they need to grow up. But, a good apron still comes in handy when tears need to be dried every now and then.
Aunt Sadie's apron is a real good reason for what is right in this country. If we had more aprons handling our world's problems and taking care of business in the same manner that they were used for in past years, I'm sure the world and our country would be a lot more enjoyable place. We probably could take care of Uncle Sid's "peckerwood" problem up in D.C. if apron strings were used.
My visit on that day with Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie was one that made my heart grow just a little bit larger in home-fire thoughts. It made me appreciate the fact that I did grow up behind some wonderful women's aprons.