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The Drinking Gourd

Submitted by: wvhomecanner on May 27, 2010
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The Drinking Gourd

My Roane County-born Grandmother kept things — things that didn’t make sense to me as a child. A silver spoon, wire threaded with stacks of fancy buttons, a gourd with a hole cut in it’s side and a loop of twine sticking out the stem end, and more.

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Dad …

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My Roane County-born Grandmother kept things — things that didn’t make sense to me as a child. A silver spoon, wire threaded with stacks of fancy buttons, a gourd with a hole cut in it’s side and a loop of twine sticking out the stem end, and more.


Dad and Grandma in 1934.

As I have grown and aged, I more and more come to understand the things she saved.

Great-Grandmother Bird Wolfe Paxton in 1925.

When the gourd first came to me there was writing on the bulbous end. The writing said that the gourd was “given to Bird Paxton” (my Great-Grandmother) by an ‘Aunt’ who grew it in the 1860’s. As a younger woman I displayed the gourd on my kitchen wall for years. Sadly the writing faded and so has my recollection of the name of the ‘Aunt’ and the exact date it was grown and gifted.

This gourd was a drinking gourd that hung on a nail and was used by my Grandmother’s Mother to drink cool, clean water from the well. Keeping the gourd that touched her Mother’s lips so many times over so many years was obviously of great importance to her.

We have so many kitchen and household ‘toys’ and gadgets these days that it’s easy to never know (or just forget) what daily importance such a thing as a drinking gourd held well over 100 years ago. It was one less thing needing to be purchased. Making do with what could be grown or re-purposed. Gourds became drinking vessels, ladles, darning eggs for socks, birdhouses, musical instruments, rattles to keep babies occupied ….


So, now it’s me who keeps things–things that won’t seem to make sense either, but one day maybe someone will understand why I kept the things I chose to. Who I was and what was important to me? That it wasn’t the ‘things’ but the memories that they represent? Hmmmmm.

Well, I think I’ll start now by telling about the drinking gourd ……

You can also find Dede at Yahoo’s Canning2.

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Comments

12 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 5-27
    4:53
    am

    Dede, how lovely to see and hear about your wonderful heirloom. That gourd has a wonderful patina, I can imagine how smooth it must feel. A truly beautiful treasure.

  2. 5-27
    6:17
    am

    That is a beautiful post, Dede! A wonderful treasure you’ve been left with to keep. Isn’t it strange that as you grow older you actually know what it means to “keep” these treasures, but when we’re younger they were just things that were pretty.

    🙂

  3. 5-27
    8:18
    am

    That was beautiful, Dede, and so is that gourd! I share you heart in this!

  4. 5-27
    9:23
    am

    Dede, I don’t understand what darning eggs for socks is. Can you explain this to me. The gourd is neat.Linda

  5. 5-27
    11:22
    am

    We usually used an old lightbulb for a darning egg! Ahh, what memories this post triggered. Thank you, Dede!

  6. 5-27
    11:53
    am

    Linda…in case you have not received an answer to your question about darning eggs.

    Socks with holes were sewn closed by putting the sock over a light bulb with the hole at the top of the bulb. Needle and thread was then used to darn the hole closed. This was my first sewng job as a young child. Oh my! Does this mean I’m actually gettng “old”? LOL.

  7. 5-27
    12:09
    pm

    What lovely memories!!!!

  8. 5-27
    1:40
    pm

    Thank you for sharing the pictures and memories. What a treasure you have!

  9. 5-27
    3:26
    pm

    What a wonderful thing to own. Anything that belonged to my grandmother is so very special to me. I have her fried potato bowl. It could have been used for anything, but she only put fried potatoes in it for some reason. It holds a very special place in my china cabinet and in my heart.
    Sweet memories are such precious things. The older I get, the more I realize that my folks and my grandparents were right about so many things.
    LoveYa,

  10. 5-27
    7:04
    pm

    Thank you for the nice post. Keeping family memories alive is very important, I think. I have my Great Aunt’s lefse rolling pin. I also have a 100+ year old flute. It came somewhere from my mother’s side of the family. Unfortunately, I don’t now where or how it came to us.

  11. 5-27
    10:19
    pm

    Dede and Darlene Thank you for letting me know about darning. Darlene no we are never getting old. I decide that a long time ago. I never heard of that being done. I just sew them up with my hand in the sock. I will have to use a light bulb next time. Linda

  12. 5-28
    9:46
    am

    Your history that you’ve shared is absolutely lovely! Thanks for letting us have a peak into your life.

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