Monday, March 23, 2009

Bad Days

In today's paper, I saw another name that caught my attention. Sadly it was in the obituary page. The lady, may she rest in peace, had a most unusual name - Cinderella Butler.

Cinderella lived to the ripe old age of 96, praised as
'a devoted wife and mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother who believed in God and led by example. She had a quiet strength which was felt by all who knew her and loved her and it was that strength and love and her trust in God's mercy that carried her home.'

In another post dated December 10, 1907 this couple,
Mr. & Mrs. Olin Rice, had a very bad week.

'One day last week while physically stroking a pet cat, Mr. Olin Rice, of this place was severely bitten by it. (I had to include this photo taken in the early 1900s. I doubt Mr. Rice's cat was a gentle looking as this little girl's. A cat bite can become a serious infection. My husband was bitten by a cat in the finger and was put the hospital when it became infected. He almost lost it.)

One day last week, Mrs. Olin Rice was cooking a lot of potato rinds and cabbage for chickens in an iron kettle, when, the water having all boiled away, the kettle exploded with a terrific report, scattering po
tatoes and cabbage oil around the room.'

Did you know you could feed chickens boiled potato rinds and cabbage? I didn't. I don't think I would have wasted
good cabbage on some common gallinaceous farm birds unless it was a side dish after their destiny to the dinner table had been fulfilled. Mrs. Rice must have stepped out of the kitchen and busied herself with something that took her mind off her pot of chicken feed. How many times have our mother's told us not to leave the kitchen when you have a pot on the stove?

I am curious as to why the kettle, most likely made of cast iron, exploded once the liquid had been boiled away. Imagine the potato skins and cabbage oil splattered over the walls and floors. I've never heard of cabbage oil either. Mrs. Rice must have let out a scream when the explosion occurred, and imagine her horror when she ran back into the kitchen and saw the mess she h
ad to clean up.

(Update on the writing. I submitted the synopsis and first three chapters to Barbara Scott at Abingdon Press for my next novel, Beside Two Rivers. On Friday my husband and I took a short trip over to the Potomac River near Harper's Ferry. This is a photo I shot with my digital camera. In the novel, there is a scene where my heroine is standing at the percipice of a bluff overlooking the river. I call this 'Darcy's Bluff'.)

(Surrender the Wind is now available on for pre-order. Amazon has discounted the novel at 20% off the cover price, from $13.99 to $11.19.)


Stina Rose said...

I just dropped by to let you know that I have enjoyed following your blog, and have given you a blog award! :)

Rita Gerlach said...

Thank you so much!

Jessica said...

Congrats on subbing! I have a partial too (the one you read) so I know you must be feeling a little nervous. My nails are gone (not literally, lol)
Anyways, interesting post. I have a theory about this Rice fellow. He's violent. He wasn't petting the cat, I bet, but about to throw it. And then, I don't think her pot exploded. I think he threw it against the wall. Poor lady.
What do you think? LOL

Can't wait to see if your new story gets accepted! :-)

Jessica said...

There's a flaw in my theory. Cast iron wouldn't break against a wall, would it?

Jaime said...

It is nice to hear bad days have always been around! lol Poor, poor Mr. Rice :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

Real life is often stranger than fiction. LOL! Cabbage rinds, eh?

Susan :)