Homespun, a word not used often any more. The opposite of homespun is “store bought”. In a simpler day, “one” fended for himself. Homespun was the reference to “homemade” clothing. It was usually an ill fitted, coarse material that one wore. It became fashionable to acquire “store bought”. There was an air of wealth connoted to “store bought”.
I think often as the simpler times as the easier times, but I don’t relish the idea of coarse clothing. Simpler as easier is probably just a fiction in my head. But, I did run across something the other day.
I drove down the lane to our neighbors. He is a young family man that lost both of his parents a couple of years ago. I visit, on occasion. He has been planning to build a new home and expected to break ground this spring. Our shared lane is about 3/4ths of a mile long, I live about half way, he is at the end and over a hill. I could smell smoke, as I said, I drove on down.
He walked me over the general lay of the house and attached garage. He had been pushing out trees, burning shrubs, sticks and clearings. As I walked across the cleared knoll, I got the whiff of a sweet aroma.
I asked about the smell. “Sassafras”, he says. “Sassafras”!! I said. “I haven’t seen sassafras around here for years”. “Oh, I’ve pushed out four trees and have more around here, do you want some?”. I started pulling roots out of the ground, off balled up tree stumps dug out, until I had about a pound of roots.
If you clean then boil the root, you can make a reddish colored tea. Only best if used in the spring, later in the year the tea becomes bitter. Originally, sassafras was the base for sarsaparilla, or root beer. Along came some root beer hating chemist and decide to see what would happened if sassafras was boiled down to a molasses thickness at a gazillion percent concentration and injected into mice. Well the mice got cancer, so the FDA became sassafras haters and pulled sassafras out of root beer as its favor ingredient. The FDA and other root beer hating chemists found a way to make the root beer flavoring by combining a bunch of those hexagons with CH’s OH’s, C’s and other strange letters, and claimed artificial was better!
Well back to MY story. I took the roots home, cleaned and boiled them. The house was filled with sassafras aroma. Lovely!!! Sassafras tea, hot or cold, is better served with sugar. I’ve been drinking a lot of it.
I’m trying to remember, do I like it because it reminds me of old times, or because its’ really, really good. Well, it is really really sweet. I think, I like it because it’s sweet.
Yep, homespun, reminds me of sassafras. Sassafras reminds me of my youth. And as I think about it, youth is always remembered as simpler.