Chores : Routine (sometimes unpleasant but necessary) household tasks

Ma Ingalls used to say:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

I tried to stick to that routine… It was easy to put laundry into a washing machine, I hated ironing but I did some of my own, I didn’t have to mend anything so Wednesdays I tried my hand at embroidering, butter was bought from the store (I had cream in a jar once which I shook for hours and hours and nothing happened so I gave up), Fridays I cleaned my room and helped with general housework, I helped with baking on Saturdays but was not successful with the resting on a Sunday afternoon. I have to be honest and admit that the set routine didn’t last very long for me. Sorry Laura! I got back into it though when I had my own house to look after.

Ma’s routine : back-breaking work without today’s modern conveniences. Imagine doing the week’s laundry for 5 children and 2 adults by hand. Monday’s chores alone would’ve tired me out for the rest of the week.

When this modern Laura got caught by her grandma committing the “sin” of knitting on a Sunday, she was well and truly scolded for not resting. That never made sense to me. Some chores had to be done on a Sunday. Sundays were special. That’s when we had the weekly roast with all the trimmings AND dessert. Five kids and a mother and father.
My sister and I (the three boys NEVER helped) cried many a silent tear over the LOAD of dishes to be cleaned. (Silent so we didn’t disturb others who were “resting”). Pots, pans, plates, side plates, dessert bowls, knives, forks, spoons, serving cutlery, serving dishes, glasses, coffee mugs, even breakfast dishes added to the pile. It took us 2 to 3 hours sometimes when we were really lazy. Or 30 minutes if we felt very diligent and Laura-like. We took all the dishes outside once and hosed it down… we listened to music and cried into the soapsuds over the beauty of “Butterfly, my butterfly, I’ll come home to you one day”. Anyone remember that song?

Sunday lunch, traditional and delicious in many a South African home. Roast started in the oven before going to church in the morning. Lamb or beef or chicken. On special occasions a gammon. Roast potatoes (always) – my mother’s favorite vegetable. Rice. Cauliflower with cheese sauce. Sweet carrots. Stewed fruit. Bean salad. Gravy. Canned fruit with custard and jello. Or trifle. Or sometimes a baked pudding. Apple tart with custard. Fruit cocktail tart with a coconut syrup.

Sunday in South Africa was definitely not a day of rest. Too much activity getting up, getting dressed, church, Sunday School, cooking, eating, cleaning, church again!, eating again!, cleaning again! When you went to bed you rested, which wasn’t something special for a Sunday. You did that every day.

Only when I got older, did I truly appreciate the “resting” part on a Sunday and I have to admit, it didn’t have any religious meaning to me as such. It was just so very nice to have a little snooze when you didn’t have to bother with those “sometimes unpleasant chores”, because you now had children to do it.

Not the dishes afterwards…