I started this blog yesterday and really had some neat stuff in it. I stopped to do some research and lost what I had done. Well, today I don’t remember what I wrote yesterday. I do remember that it was really good though.
Yesterday my daughter, Darcy, got a new dehydrator. I can tell from her google+ post that she is very excited. Her first load in the dehydrator was apple slices and apple bits for oatmeal. I commented that I remembered my mother soaking dehydrated apples in lemon water in preparation for making an apple pie. We seldom had fresh fruit when I was a kid unless it came from a neighbors peach or pear tree when it was in season. It was only at Christmas time that we saw some citrus, apple, nuts and hard Christmas candy.
Darcy asked “Really Dad? In San Antonio or Sherman? Was fresh fruit just not available or was it too expensive?” The short answer is that it was rarely available.
Somewhere in the back of my memory, as a kid I remember helping stuff these stockings. It must have been at church because I remember other people helping, not just family members. For some reason I especially remember gathering the nuts from different bags to put in the stockings. There were Brazil nuts, not called Brazil nuts back in those days. I think I was near teenage years before I knew they were really called Brazil nuts. There were also almonds. Raw almonds. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to eat this nut. It was much later that I discovered roasted nuts. Walnut, peanut and pecans made up the balance of the mix. The walnuts were always my favorite.
The candies were made up of wide 2 or 3 loops of ribbon candy and assorted hard candies. I remember one of these candies had a non-color purple-ish color that when held in your mouth for awhile would reveal a soft non-flavor chewable center. There was always a large peppermint candy cane. As large as the stocking or more, sometimes sticking out the top. For some reason I remember peppermint tasting more pepperminttyer back in those days. It was always put in first. None of these had wrappings like today’s candies would have.
Just as a sideline, I looked up Brazil nut because I didn’t know if it was called Brazil nut or Brazilian Nut and found this tidbit of information from Wikipedia. The Brazil nut is a large tree, reaching 50 metres (165 ft) tall and 1–2 metres (3–6.5 ft) trunk diameter, among the largest of trees in the Amazon Rainforests. It may live for 500 years or more, and according to some authorities often reaches an age of 1,000 years. The stem is straight and commonly unbranched for well over half the tree’s height, with a large emergent crown of long branches above the surrounding canopy of other trees. So there you have it.
Other than the dehydrated apples, here are a few other things I remember. There were small stores around where you could buy meat. Because we didn’t have good refrigeration, people would shop for meat daily. Speaking of refrigeration, we had an ice box. I don’t know how often the ice man would come, but often he would stop in front of the house, load a big block of ice on his back, bring it around to the back door, let himself in and put the ice in the small ice box. We would steal a small sliver of ice from his truck while he wasn’t watching. I don’t know what all we kept in the ice box other than milk that the milk man brought the same way as the ice man. Oh yeah, Ralph Brutton, a church member, was a garbage man. He came to the back of the house, picked up both cans at one time on his back, carried them to the street and emptied them in the truck and brought the cans back to the back of the house. My ambition as a small child was to do what Bro. Brutton did, I wanted to be a garbage man.
All this was in the years that I had to walk 5 miles to school, uphill both ways and often in 3 feet of snow.
I hope Darcy enjoys her very old modern appliance, the dehydrator. Wish I was there to watch.