Plumping the Pillow

Folks in the farming community have a distinct advantage over the city folks.  This is particularly true of the farm that is an old fashioned variety farm.  Those farmers have a few chickens for their eggs and meat, a few head of cattle for either beef or milk (or both) and perhaps a sow with a littler.  They raise a big garden and grow their own potatoes and root crops for winter supply.

The small farm on which I grew up had a ten acre lake.  It was stocked with fish, it provided water for the surrounding pasture our dairy cows enjoyed, and it was daytime home to our domestic geese and ducks.  Every spring the ducks and geese would lay a nest of eggs, sit on them, and hatch out about ten or twelve young.  The paraded themselves down the driveway to the lake and came home at dusk.

Each fall, my grandfather sharpened the axe and we had a day, usually a Saturday, when those grown ducklings and goslings met with the fate of the chopping block.  Once the heads were off, Grandpa meticulously plucked the feathers off the bird being very careful to make sure the feathers were clean.  Then after the butchering was done and the meat processed, my mom sewed pillow ticking and together Grandpa and Mom would make wonderful pillows.  In fact, my grandfather slept on a feather bed.  The only expenditure necessary was the human energy involved.

Recently I let myself feel very luxurious while I was plumping up the goose feather pillows on my bed.  Those pillows are feather pillows from off the farm.  I suppose they are more than fifty years old.  My mother sewed new ticking and restuffed a set for me when I moved away from home.  Over the years, a few have leaked out through seams that came apart and I have repaired them.  Someday soon I will have to make the set into one pillow that is bed-sized and one smaller.  They don’t plump up nicely anymore.  A few feathers here, a few feathers there, and the loss is starting to become noticeable.

So it is with life.  We blame culture change for the loss, but it is due to our on inattentiveness that we let go of things we once held dear.  Something here, something there, and before we know it, the loss becomes significant.  The words, hold fast are found 15 times in the Bible.  Paul instructed Timothy with the imperative:  “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  (II Timothy 1:13)  Don’t let it slip away.  Don’t let anyone wrench it from you.

Keep the pillow plump.



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