APRONS

Living on the farm and raising my four boys was a delight for me. I used to spend afternoons in the kitchen, making apple and cherryPies for my hungry crew. I remember one day when I was up to my elbows inFlour when my second oldest son came in, looked at me and asked, “Why areYou wearing that thing?” He was referring to my red and white striped apron. I didn’t wear one that often, but there were times when one wasNeeded. Making pie crusts from scratch or making cookies were among thoseTimes. My aprons were all made in similar fashion. They were cut from theSame pattern, but these were very special. You see, each one was made whenMy sons reached eighth grade. Each boy in that class had one specialproject to complete and that was to put together an apron. Each wasUniquely finished and I still treasure them. One is a royal blue. Its special feature is the button that sits aLittle low. The red and white apron has a unique tie. A hole was cut inThe side of the apron and the end of the tie simply knotted through. TheThird was a denim blue with its pieces cut a bit jagged. The last is justA red one, my favorite color, but not finished. Each one is so special andI still wear one to this day. No one seems to wear aprons anymore. Yes, you can see them on theChefs in each restaurant and at all the fast food places and pizzaEstablishments, but you don’t see them in the kitchens of today’s homes. I think my mother wore one every day she spent in the kitchen. I Ever remember her being there without one of her terry clothCreations. I can see her frying chicken for us, wiping the sweat off herBrow as she stood over the hot stove. A real trooper! I’ve never tastedchicken as good. I can still see her wringing her hands on the apron asShe stood at the phone hearing some bad news about the neighbor. I canRemember going to her apron on the day I broke my collar bone ridingHorses. She dried my tears and comforted me. That comfort was extendedMany times as I was growing up and still today. That apron was alwaysThere. Maybe in the future we’ll go to a museum and see a fascinatingArtifact through a glass window. It will be called an apron. The Will read something like this: a piece of cloth or leatherWorn on the forepart of the body to keep the clothes clean or defend aPerson from injury. In the early days it was used to dry the tearful eyesOf troubled youngsters and often became a source of solace. Worn from theEarliest part of creation until the early twentieth century. These are nowNon-existent. It may not seem important, but in truth our use of the apron is fadingAway. It’s sad to me. It is just a simple piece of cloth, but I can’thelp thinking of its significance — the pilgrims, Florence Nightengale,The pioneers, Aunt Bea, Dennis the Menace’s mother, Mrs. Wilson, my motherAnd grandmother. Will it someday become extinct like the dinosaurs? WhatDo you think? Now that I’m a grandmother, there are times when I still slip my apronOn and stir up big beautiful meals in my little kitchen. Instead of mySons, it is now their precious little ones who run to me with their tears.Those tears are buried in the folds of my apron and sealed over with myHugs and kisses. I hope that someday they will look back and remember the softness ofMy apron. — Mary Frank