Thursday, March 1, 2018

Memories Of March

March can come in like a lion and go out like a lamb or vise versa. We never know what it's gonna bring. Sunny and warm one week, a blizzard the next, and it's the beginning of tornado season in my neck of the woods, but I love March and it's windy days. I guess because it usually brings so many early spring time signs. I look out and see daffodils, forsythia's, crocuses, tulips, and other early flowers in bloom and it warms my heart even on a chilly day. The wind usually blows every day of the month and sometimes late February and certainly April borrows from March. There's nothing like hanging clothes on the line in March and April. Shoot, I always start hanging them out in February when it start's borrowing from March. Nothing like fresh, laundry hung on the line in a good, stiff wind all day.

I remember back when I was a young'un mama would start as soon as the March wind came in, dragging out the quilts and all the bed linens and whatever else she could drag out. You talk about many an all day job that surely was, and every line was filled to the brim and those quilts and sheets would flap all day on those lines. The next pretty day she'd start taking down curtains, dragging out all the winter coats and anything else she found laying around. Whewww, after all of that we thought she would be done but oh no. She'd tell daddy to pull off those long handles , they were going in the wash. I can hear him now, “I ain't pullin em off to catch my death of cold till the first of May and ye ought to know that by now.” Of course he had several pairs but he acted like it was the only pair he had to save his life. Let's just say mama always won the debate.
Oh, I can't forget how she'd get us all together and we'd have to drag the mattresses outside to sun all day and the pillows were hung on the line to air out as well. But we always did this several times a year in the warmer months.

Spring cleaning came early with mama and March was her month. She always said, “waitin's what broke the wagon down and I've gotta get in that garden soon.” But what she really was hankering for was not just the vegetable gardens but the flower beds. While daddy was out looking for certain types of tater seed (and he wouldn't stop till he found them if it took a week or two) mama was buying up more flower bulbs. He'd always tell her, “I hope ye know, ye can't eat them flowers.” Oh boy, what came next wasn't to purty. Mama loved her gardens and worked hard in them just like all of us but she loved her flowers more. I do believe daddy finally figured that one out cause he kinda kept his mouth shut in later years. But in all honesty she did have a green thumb and everything she put in the ground came up. Mama did take pride in her gardens too. I know why she started her spring cleaning so early. She knew when that garden stuff came in she'd be busy in that hot kitchen canning all summer with the sweat dripping off of her brow. 

The only thing I don't like about March is those stinky skunks. They always start passing through mostly in the early mornings and it's hard to stick ye head out the door. We sure did dread walking out the door to go catch the school bus when that stink was lingering. It made us feel like it was on our clothes and just knew someone would get a whiff and turn their nose up at us but if they ever did they never let on. And that's the one thing that has delayed a lot of laundry hanging for me. There's been times I would leave the laundry basket sitting full till the March wind got up enough in late morning to blow the scent out. You talk about pitching a fit when one had passed through when mama started to hang her laundry out. She called them pole cats and she always said, “ if it wasn't fer getting stunk up so bad a body ought to tie a paper poke to their tail and set it on fire.” I still laugh today when I think of her saying that and it comes to mind every time one passes through. But one good thing about the March wind, the scent doesn't last long be it March or April.

I'll never forget one March day our dog Ole Mack tangled with a skunk. He was a full blooded collie and with that long hair it was the dickens getting him cleaned up. We couldn't stand it when he came near us, poor ole feller. I never in my life seen as much water carried from the spring and boiled in an old iron pot in the back yard for his bath or I should say several baths. That was the one time I saw mama part with some of her canned tomatoes. She opened those cans and poured several of them in that old wash tub. Shoot, we never did buy anything like tomato juice from the stores. It took us a while to get him clean enough not to smell it and it worked. Ole Mack was the most gentle dog we'd ever seen and I think he quite liked it cause the scent just about got him too. After we got him cleaned up we had to start over and all of us had to take a bath as well and after that we prayed really hard we'd never have to do that again. Of course, skunks come and go and leave their mark just for show and I do believe they laugh as they spray and go.

March can surely bring in anything including those stinky skunks and if I look close enough I might see wild ducks swimming down the creek at the back of my house. And I love hearing the frogs start their croaking late in the evenings but the sweetest sound is the spring birds and their serenading.

But in spite of all the things that can happen in March I focus on the good things and good memories. All of life's pleasures and treasures awaken from their long winter nap. It awakens my heart and soul to new birth and a refreshing feeling comes over me of what's to come. And sometimes it can start as early as February when it takes a notion to borrow from March.

                                              © Susie Swanson, 2018

                                               Happy March Everyone


  1. March winds are coming in like a lion in Indiana today! I enjoyed your story very much. Sounded like my grandparents discussing the vegetable garden and the flowers!

  2. I enjoyed your March memories, Susie. Poor old Mack and tangling with a skunk. I bet he was as glad as you all were to get the skunk smell of of him!

  3. It was funny to hear about the skunks around your neck of the woods growing up, Susie. I've never heard them referred to as pole cats before. What a hard worker your mama was washing all the quilts and sheets and curtains, and then hanging them on the clothes line to dry. I love the month of March as well. And you're right.....the weather is unpredictable. It was starting to warm up here, and then it rained a lot today! But it's good for all those flowers coming to us in Spring. Thank you for your wonderful story tonight, Susie. You have the nicest childhood memories, and they warm my heart reading about them. : )


  4. Susie, I love reading about your growing up life. It was lots of work, we did lots of the things you spoke of, but not taking the mattresses out in the sun. We wiped them with damp cloths though. Wipe down the bed springs. Glad your mom got to plant flowers too. I just saw a dead skunk in the road yesterday...I hate that smell. LOL Blessings for a nice weekend, be safe. xoxo,love, Susie