I was going to write a column about flour sacks, when lo and behold, the mail brought a poem about them from Phyllis' cousins, Alice and Loren Gunderson of Bethalto, Illinois.
"Aha," I said. "That would make a good piece to write about!"
The verse by Colleen B. Hubert told about the various ways flour sacks were used in the olden days.
In her verse she wrote:
In that long-ago time when things were saved,
When roads were graveled and barrels were staved,
When worn-out clothing was used as rags,
And there were no plastic wrap or bags,
And the well and the pump were way out back,
A versatile item was the flour sack.
The sack could be filled with feathers and down
For a pillow, or t'would make a nice sleeping gown.
It could carry a book and be a school bag
Or become a mail sack slung over a nag.
It made a very convenient pack,
That adaptable, cotton flour sack.
Bleached and sewn, it was dutifully worn
As bibs, diapers, or kerchief adorned.
It was made into skirts, blouses and slips
And Mom braided rugs from one hundred strips.
She made ruffled curtains for the house or shack,
From that humble but treasured flour sack!
As a strainer for milk or apple juice,
To wave men in, it was a very good use.
As a sling for a sprained wrist or a break,
To help Mother roll up a jelly cake.
As a window shade or to stuff a crack,
We used a sturdy, common flour sack!
We polished and cleaned stove and table,
Scoured and scrubbed from cellar to gable,
We dusted the bureau and oak bed post,
Made costumes for October (a scary ghost)
And a parachute for a cat named Jack,
From that lowly, useful old flour sack!
So now, my friends, when they ask you,
As curious youngsters often do,
"Before plastic wrap, Elmer's glue
And paper towels, what did you do?"
Tell them loudly and with pride don't lack,
"Grandmother had that wonderful flour sack!"
© 2010 Robert F. Karolevitz