|Me at age one.|
The path that took me from the first signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and the accompanying depression when I was a child to the official diagnosis sitting in a psychiatrist’s office when I was 26 is not a straight one.
Though the OCD and depression have affected me most of my life, I remember times when I didn’t obsess about sin, dirt and danger, when I didn’t wash my hands and pray constantly to try to rid myself of that sin, dirt and danger.
I was born in 1963 and grew up in South Central Virginia, in the Piedmont area of the state about an hour from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.
My father was a full time farmer when I was born, and my mother was a homemaker. They brought me home from the hospital to two older brothers, one 11 years older and one two years older.
My mother has told stories about how much I slept as a baby and how the doctor told her to wake me up to feed me because I wasn’t gaining weight as I should have.
I don’t believe my mother was deliberately not feeding me enough or was neglecting me. But I do think it was probably a relief to her that I slept a lot and was a low-maintenance baby. She had a lot of other responsibilities to tend to.
Our farm was a full working farm. We had milk cows, beef cows, pigs and chickens, plus my father raised tobacco. There were animals to care for and crops to tend and things like butter to make and eggs to gather to sell.
One of my earliest memories is watching my mother make butter.
For some reason, I don’t remember her churning the milk from our milk cows, though of course she did. What I remember is what she did with the result of the churning.
I remember her at the kitchen table, holding a golden yellow ball above a glass bowl of water, splashing it and washing it off.
At the same time, she moved her hands quickly, turning the ball and smoothing it.
Then she pushed the ball of butter into the wooden press her father had made. She pushed the butter in tight with a small wooden paddle.
|Inside the butter press.|
The butter pressed up against a flower design inside, and when she pushed the butter out on wax paper, it was round with petals imprinted on top.
I have that butter press now, and it brings back good memories.
Have you ever lived on a farm? Would you like to? What about living on a farm appeals to you? What old way of doing something, like making butter, would you like to try?