Chapter 8 Dance at Grandmother & Grandfather's House
Part 2 - Grandmother and Grandfather's House
Grandmother came to the door and stood there smiling, calling to them to come in. She said that Grandfather and Uncle George were already at work out in the maple-tree forest. So her father went to help them, while Laura and Mary and their mother, with Baby Carrie in her arms, went into Grandmother's house and took off their coats.
Laura loved Grandmother's house. It was much bigger than their house at home. There was one great big room and then there was a little room that belonged to Uncle George. There was another room for the aunts, Aunt Docia and Aunt Ruby. And then there was the kitchen, with a big stove, where Grandmother cooked.
It was fun to run the whole length of the big room, from the large fireplace at one end all the way to Grandmother's bed, under the window in the other end. The floor was made of wide, thick slabs that Grandfather had cut from a tree with his axe. The floor was smoothed all over. It was scrubbed clean and white. The big bed under the window was very soft, because it was full of feathers.
The day seemed very short while Laura and Mary played in the big room and her mother helped Grandmother and the aunts in the kitchen. The men had taken their lunch to the maple-tree forest, so for lunch they did not set the table, but ate cold venison sandwiches and drank milk. (Venison is deer meat, just like pork is pig meat.) But for supper Grandmother made hasty pudding. (Hasty pudding is corn porridge or corn congee.)
She stood beside the stove, pouring the yellow corn flour into a big pot of boiling, salted water. She stirred the water all the time with a big wooden spoon and poured the corn flour in until the big pot was full of a thick, yellow, bubbling mass. Then she set it on the back of the stove where it would cook slowly.
It smelled good. The whole house smelled good, with the sweet and spicy smells from the kitchen. There was also the smell of the wood from a hickory tree burning with clear, bright flames in the fireplace. And there was the smell of a clove-apple beside Grandmother's mending basket on the table. (A clove-apple is kept fresh with many spicy cloves pushed into it.) The sunshine came in through the sparkling window panes and everything was big and clean.
At supper time her father and grandfather came in from the forest. Each had on his shoulders a wooden yoke that Grandfather had made. (A yoke is used to carry heavy things). It was cut to fit around their necks in the back and cut to fit over their shoulders. From each end hung a chain with a hook and on each hook hung a big wooden bucket full of hot maple syrup. Her father and Grandfather had brought the syrup from the big kettle in the forest. They steadied the buckets with their hands, but the weight hung from the yokes on their shoulders.
Grandmother had made room for a huge brass-metal pot on the stove. Her father and grandfather poured the syrup into the brass pot, it was so large that it held all the syrup from the four big buckets.