Lessons From a Great-Grandmother

She said:

A woman should always have a kitchen with plenty of spoons and bowls; cinnamon and apples. She should have clear space to work and a good recipe book. She should whistle to spread happiness over her preparations.  There should always be flour in the bin.  The cow should be treated with respect; it will one day be your sustenance.  The same for the chickens in the yard.

A woman should have her own bath and a garden of roses and hyssop here and there, especially next to the white cabbage. She should have ripe blackberries. And sunflowers. There should always be sunflowers in a woman’s garden.

Her voice should be soft so when she, on that rare occasion, raises her tone she will be heard. Even the men who normally ignore will hear her. She should wear no adornment other than clear eyes and a firm gaze. She should embroider.

A woman should be above reproach.  Her dress should be modest and show not a snippet of ankle.  She should rub lemon juice on the backs of her hands.  She should not have an unpleasant odor.

A woman should rise early, retire late, work with specificity and love with generosity.  She should know that God resides in the last drop of water as well as the first.

A woman should read.


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