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Old and New
Photo: So Le
I like new things; perfectly white socks, sharp kitchen knives, tiny spring flowers. But I like old things, too; butter molds, lace handkerchiefs and antique cake plates.

While I was preparing the nursery for the arrival of our first child I discovered an ancient rocking chair in the loft of my grandparent’s barn. It was dusty, rickety, and had plywood nailed over the seat. But when Grandma told me how this cherry wood rocker had traveled to her family’s homestead in the back of a covered wagon I took it home, polished it, tightened the pegs and sewed a soft cushion for the seat.

Pioneer Mothers

Later, as I rocked our baby daughter, I thought of the pioneer women who sat in that chair before me to rock their many infants. What hardships they endured! Stifling prairie heat, dust storms, failed crops, howling blizzards, separation from family and friends...And I marveled that they raised children without the aid of washing machines, disposable diapers, commercial baby food, pacifiers or even running water! For better or worse, rearing a family just isn’t what it used to be.

Some things, however, never change. The mothers who rocked their babies in that chair a century ago gently soothed their cries, nursed them through sickness and sacrificed so they could have the best. And as I do the same it gives me strength and comfort to know my heritage.

I could go buy a new rocking chair that might be sturdier or look better. But I think for now I prefer this link to generations past.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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