A friend from the Delta called this morning, and we had a fun conversation about feather beds, inherited and new.
She remembered being bathed as a tiny tyke by her mother, wrapped in a couple of hand-made quilts. Then her father carried her to her bedroom and plopped her down in the big feather bed.
"Wherever I landed is where I stayed for the night," she said. For a little tyke, a big fluffy feather bed (not sewn into compartments) would be an enveloping experience, inhibiting any movement.
Ann still has one of her family feather beds that she wants to have re-covered with new ticking. You may not realize that in past generations, from the Middle Ages in Europe to the first generations of settlers in this country, well into the early 1800's, quilts and feather beds were often itemized in a person's will.
Why, you ask? After all, we are bombarded in this day and age for feather or down alternative products and "hand made" quilts, often made in China. When a quilt or a feather bed was individually valuable enough to be listed in a person's will, fabric and feathers were highly valued.
The fabric was either imported from Europe by a ship with sails, or it was loomed, thread by thread, at home. You can just imagine how many chickens it would require to fill a feather bed with the down feathers! (Sorry, just had to share some of my History of Quilting program.)
Before Gordon, I slept upstairs in the Big House without heat in my bedroom at this time of year because I adore jumping from the cold room into a nest of feather bed and a down comforter that had belonged to my great-aunt, topped off by a few quilts. My cats, at the time, would disappear among the layers of feathers at night and reappear mid morning of the next day.
We broke out the electric blankets today for Mama and Unc, for their beds and also a small one for Mama's recliner. Mama and Charlotte will enjoy that warmth as they sit together for hours on end each day, watching TV and watching the birds eat outside the window.
(Charlotte, one of the Westies, was asleep this afternoon against Mama's chest, her little body floating up and down as Mama breathed. That once-terrified puppy mill victim has found her personal utopia.)
I don't like electric blankets. Just Google "electric blanket warning", and you will be surprised at the variety of suspected health problems attributed to sleeping under electric blankets. I would not say that I am afraid to sleep under an electric blanket, but it sure is a good excuse to go All Feathers!
Besides, the feather bed and comforter somehow radiate my body temperature, and I stay perfectly comfortable all night. I remember as a child often waking up way too hot under my old electric blanket.
Mama raised me on stories of saving feathers from the chickens the family raised for food up until some time after World War II. I'm not sure when Grandma stopped keeping chickens, but Mama hated them. It was one of Mama's chores to execute the chickens designated for the table on Sunday.
One of these days, we will have chickens again here on the farm. I want clean food, no chemicals and clean meat processing. Most especially, I want to gather eggs each morning! I CHOOSE to never outgrow Easter Egg Hunts!
Gordon has been a sweetie to adjust to my love of a bed full of pillows and feathers and layers of quilts and comforters. The Westies love all the pillows and layers of fluff. It is adorable to see four little bed heads pop up from all over the bed when Gordon or I get out of bed.
Is it any wonder my favorite book as a little tyke was The Princess and the Pea. If that children's story is out of vogue for children these days, try to find a copy. Adorable.
If we each spend 1/3 of our respective lives in bed, then we all should treat ourselves like Princesses capable of feeling a single pea in a towering stack of feather beds and comforters!
Yes, indeed, I am just rambling tonight, buried under layers of warmth with the laptop in my lap. Peyton Manning and the Colts are about to play the Tennessee Titans.
Of course, I am cheering for Manning, who comes from 100 percent Mississippi bloodlines. Even Mama and Unc are staying up to root for Manning! (Just because Peyton happened to grow up in New Orleans and attended college in Tennessee and now lives in Indianapolis, he is still a Mississippian as far as we are concerned! HA!)
Now to figure out which pictures to post with this prattle.