Did you know all this?

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor.”

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low

Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell.

Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof… Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.”

They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

Whoever said History was boring

It’s over, we’re finished and I don’t love you any more

How do I say these words to her?

This question had been weighing heavily on his mind for weeks now.

He had finally given up on the relationship but did not know how to tell her.

In the beginning, he felt special.

The conversations, messages, and phone calls were all alluring, often personal and seductive in many different ways. She often shared tantalizing videos with him.

He felt that she could be the one.

He had been tempted to try another for his new relationship.

Some seemed interesting to him, but he felt they were just a little too tawdry, maybe a little bit fake. He steered clear of them.

There were others that were interested in him as well. He found some to be too glamorous, too full of life and zest for him. He thought they might only be interested in his money.

He soon discounted all of these and turned his attention back to her.

She always treated him well. She always met all of his expectations. She even offered him gifts regularly. She never seemed interested in money. She seemed to care for him because of who he was and how he treated her. She regularly told him that their relationship was built on trust and respect. This made him happy.

She was always pleasant when he saw her. Her smile lit up the room and her soft voice was always pleasant to his ears. The other guys were jealous of his relationship with her. “Wow man, you got lucky,” they would say.

Every time they talked, she was eager to hear from him. She wanted to listen to him share his dreams and his plans for the future. She was delighted, often giggling when he talked about “taking their relationship to another level.” He enjoyed making her feel special.

Early in the relationship, he was ecstatic. He was overjoyed that he had found the one for him.

However, relationships don’t always last. In the fifth year of their relationship, the happiness began to deteriorate.

She began treating him with less respect and compassion. She nearly stopped caring about his needs and desires altogether. When he asked her to help him with something, she acted as if he was being unreasonable and pushy.

Yet, her expectations of him never changed. She expected him to spend money on her, just as always. Regardless of how she treated him, she expected him to fulfill all of her needs.

Over time the divide between them grew deeper and wider.

When they talked, she acted as if she pretended there was no problem. However, he could feel the passion was no longer there.

“Our relationship is important to me, I’ll do anything to keep us together,” she would say. Sometimes with emotion, often as if from a script. This hurt him.

She said, “I care for you and want our relationship to grow.” He had heard these words from her so many times. Eventually, he no longer valued them.

Each time she failed to deliver on her promise to do better, they talked. He wanted her to do better in the relationship. It was as important to him, but he could tell it was not important to her.

“Please, trust me. I will do better. I need you,” she would say. These pleadings stung him deeply each time she uttered them.

The conversations slowly turned into only email messages. He no longer wanted to talk with her, yet he still did not know how to tell her it was over.

At times he felt that despite the trouble, he should stay with her. Their relationship had gone on for nearly five years now. This was a long time for him.

He asked some of his friends what to do. Some suggested that he keep trying. Some friends tried to introduce him to others.

Some days he worried about her, while other days he was so upset he just wanted to call her one last time and yell at her, “It’s over! You have ruined our relationship and I never want to hear from you ever again! Go away!” Yet, he was not an angry man and would never say these words to her.

Even while trying to solve the problems she would send him letters and gifts as if their relationship was still alive. This hurt him even more. She did not seem to see their relationship crumbling.

In time it became clear to him that she no longer cared for him at all. She was just desperate to keep a broken, one-sided, relationship alive. Likely her only concern was that he would find another.

Finally, after weeks of her constant failings, with no new commitment to being a better partner, he decided the time had come. He knew how to tell her.

He sat down on the porch of his beach house, the salty mist sticking to his face, the oncoming storm blowing sand across his bare feet. He opened his laptop computer and clicked on compose a new email.

Dear Danica (aka GoDaddy)

It has become quite clear to me that you do not care about my needs any longer. My site has been down far too often over the past few months. Therefore, I have created a new relationship with BlueHost.

I’m sure this new relationship will be much better for me.


I wrote this story as a creative writing contest for Writerweekly.com on 4/14/2013.

A Member of my family died

A member of my family died this past week.

As teenagers, my 4 daughters brought her into our home back in 1996, within a month or so of moving to North Carolina.

She had perfect manners, was well behaved and quickly learned the rules of living in our house. I could not ask for a better adopted member of the family.

They all grew up together and became close friends. The memories of seeing them play together are many and vivid. They played together in the back yard, front yard and in the house. They would curl up together and watch TV, listen to music or read a book. They even cried together over personal pain, family problems and sometimes it seemed even while watching chick flicks.

When the girls came home from school she was there waiting for them, eager to say hello and to get a hug. Always there to listen to what they had to say about class, the bus ride and the new friends they made. Never questioning why or what.

As the girls grew up and started bringing boys over to the house, she was there to check them out and give her sign of approval, or not. Generally approval was always given, however I believe that one or two of the boys did my make the cut based on her criteria. She accepted almost all guests to the house as another friend, many as if they were another member of the family.

As the girls grew up and started leaving for college or to get married and start their own families and homes, you could see in her eyes that she was sad. Yet, she was always happy to see them when they came back to the house to visit. She welcomed them, the son-in-laws and then the grand kids every time she saw them.

In time the grandkids started curling up with her to watch TV, run thru the yard with her and play with her just like their mothers used to. Never a bad time or cross word between them. She was very clearly happy to be a member of our growing and changing family.

For a few years we had another house guest stay with us. This was good company for her because they liked to do the same stuff. Without the girls around they played together in the back yard, walked around the neighborhood with us most evenings and curled up together in the family room. They generally ended up sleeping together in their bedroom or in the master bedroom with my wife and I on cold or rainy nights.

Unfortunately, in time this guest left to go back with her family. Again, she was sad to see yet another friend leave. You could see the sorrow in her eyes, but there was not much we could do. We tried to get them together now and then at either our house or my oldest daughters place. They were so happy to see each other when they could.

She lived in our house as if it were her’s to protect. Always letting us know if someone was in the yard or driveway. Always paying attention to the neighborhood, including stray animals and late night drivers that we would have missed because we slept thru the simplest of things. She cared the most for my wife’s safety. Protecting her from real, perceived or even the simplest of harm. One day she actually saved my wife from a rampaging daughter who unbeknown to all of us, was just fooling around. Megan lost a good pajama bottom that night.

She never asked for much. A good meal, a warm bed and hug now and then. She rarely got in the way or caused much fuss. Like most of us, a loud storm scared her and we had to rescue her. Now and then she needed medical attention, especially as she got older, but heck, the rest of us do too.

Eventually our house got quieter as the house guests stopped coming over as often, the girls all left and the grandkids only came over now and then. She stayed to herself most of the time as my wife and I chased our careers and hobbies which did not include her. Our travels left her alone more and more as she got older. Even though we had really good care givers taking care of her in our absence, we hated this for her and tried to make it up to her when we were around.

Over the last few months we did a lot of traveling so we let her stay with our oldest daughter and her family. She really enjoyed this because there were lots of people to play with, as well as her favorite house guest that now lived there. She loved to hang out with the kids and just lounge around with them. She seemed the happiest when one of the twins would curl up with her and just hang out.

But time takes a toll on all of us. And, she was aging, not more than most, but age was taking a toll on her. Slowly her age started to slow her down and even made it hard for her to get around. She lost most of her hearing and started to care less about the activities of the neighborhood. No more alerts about someone driving down the street, the door bell ringing or even that a stray wild animal was in the back yard. There was something peaceful about the way she watched rabbits play in the back yard. Yet, I knew that in her heart she wanted to chase and play with them, but couldn’t.

A few weeks ago it was very clear to all of us that her days were all but over. Never a tear or complaint from her as she struggled to get around. Even with all the medicine that we were giving her, we knew it was time. As grumpy an old man I may pretend to be, I knew that the task I had to do would be painful for me. I also knew it had to be done. I looked at my wife and daughters, they also knew what I had to do, I saw the sorrow in their eyes and the pain they felt as I made the plans for her final moments.

I’m a grumpy old man, love being a grumpy old man, but – I’ll miss this old girl.

Lots of good times having you as a member of our family. By far the best adopted member of our family. The memories we have are plenty and vivid.

Thanks for being a member of our family Becca.

Rest girl knowing your spirit will last forever with all of us.

Thank you for being our friend.