CHURNING BUTTER

I’m uncertain how we skipped into the conversation, Judy and I. You know how chats proceed sometimes. Something is said that evokes something else. It flits from one thing to another . Then you have no idea how you spent the last few moments talking about something else.

In this evening ‘s case, I noted to Jude that I used to churn butter every Friday night as a kid. Yeah, I guess that is something else.

In fact, I wondered aloud to Judy… How many folks in Hunterdon County are talking this evening about their old butter churning days. Hundreds, right ? Well, maybe not.

“Sounds like you had one free-wheelin’ social life”, Jude noted, just a tad cynically.

“Just because I churned butter on Friday nights doesn’t mean that I was a social outcast”, I countered.

The fact was, Dad had an egg route on Saturday, peddling the dozens in the hoity toitier neighborhoods of Somerset County.

Some of you corporate types might refer to Dad’s butter on his egg route as a “line extension “.

Oh well. I wonder if today the whole butter thing would have been allowed. Surely some little law would preclude it today. Don’t you think ?

2 thoughts on “CHURNING BUTTER

  1. Pete,

    While we didn’t churn butter (we had no cows), Mrs. Haver and her daughter Ella, did. Sam Haver farmed with horses and had a rather large farm on the “Fox plantation” down the hill from us. During the Summer, Ella and her Mom would sit outside in the shade during the afternoons and churn butter. We got our milk from the Havers and it was my job to go down there and get the milk (in “tin” pails) and to return empty pails to be refilled. Everybody’s full milk pails were put in the cooler, a cold spring water filled and covered pool in the milk house. Our milk pails were distinguished from everybody else’s by a light green dab of paint on the lid.

    I got to visit the milk room every couple of days and would visit with Ella and her Mom while they churned butter. Your blog brought back some great memories.

    Ella Haver went on to get a Master’s Degree in chemistry and taught school for many years in Hunterdon County. Her Aunt, Jenny Haver, was the Hunterdon County Superintendent of Schools for many, many years. Ella went on to create a very successful college scholarship foundation (named in honor of her Aunt Jenny) for students in northern Hunterdon County. Ella recently died at the age of 105 or 106 (beating her Mom’s record of 104 by a few years). Unfortunately, with Ella’s death, the Jenny Haver Scholarship program seems to have died.

    On our annual July forays to Clinton Kathy, Beth, and I would always visit with Ella at her house out in Sidney (but her address was Annandale). She had great gardens (cleverly fenced to keep out the deer) and every year at local fairs won prizes for her flowers. She gave Kathy and me our prized recipe for “kippered cherries”. Ella loved to play board and card games, and Kathy and I would play them with her on our visits. We had a lot of fun playing those games with Ella.

    Ella was a typical Hunterdon County Republican, she adored George W. Bush and had many pictures of him in her dining room. The Havers started out as Presbyterians. Ella remembered coming out of the Clinton Presbyterian Church after services one Sunday and looking across the “valley” (where Beaver Brook flows) and seeing the three story Clinton school on fire. It burned down, and her Dad (Sam) was hired to clear the wreckage of the destroyed school and to level the land for the construction of a new school (which was the one I attended). Sam did this job (by himself) with the help of his horse Barney. Barney was one half of the team of Barney and Bob. I worked in the fields with this team and was especially fond of them (because one of the horse’s names was “Bob”).

    Sam remained a life-long Presbyterian, but Ella and her Mom drifted on over to the Baptist Church. Ella finally ended up a Methodist. Such were church politics in Clinton of that bygone era.

    Ella told me about a practical joke that Sam once played on a farmer from down Hamden way. This joke has to be the epitome of Hunterdon County farm humor. Sam’s big barn (to this day Sam’s barn to me is the best barn ever, it was so well made and cleverly constructed; unfortunately it is no longer there) was right on Leigh Street (which further south turns into the country road that heads down to Hamden). Well, one day when Sam was working in his barn up by Leigh Street, here comes the old farmer from Hamden with his horse and wagon; and they are headed into Clinton. Now Sam knows that this old farmer is quite deaf, so when the horse and wagon get close enough, Sam quietly whispers, “Whoa.”

    Well, to the consternation of the old farmer his horse stops. “Giddyup,” says the farmer. “Whoa,” says Sam. This goes on a few more times. But this is where the story ends. I assume that the farmer finally got into downtown Clinton, but I do not know if he ever figured out what had happened or if Sam had ever confessed.

    Well, that’s about it for now. This is Friday, so I have to get back to telecommuting.

    Keep them thar blogs a comin’ and stay safe!

    #1

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    • #1, Wow ! I write a short little blog and get a dissertation in return . Good stuff, too. I had Haver brothers at Alexandria school… Bill and Bob. They lived in Pittstown. I certainly remember Ella, too. Upstanding lady, she was.

      Bob, have I asked you this before?…. You are a wealth of local history . To what extent have you written your memoirs ? If you haven’t then l encourage you to get started. My lifetime pales in comparison to yours ! There’s so much you have to share.

      Add it to the agenda for July .

      Gotta go.

      Sent from my iPad

      >

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