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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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The Truth Is...

The next time you are tempted to complain about how bad we have it, just imagine living back in the 1500's:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and stilled smelled pretty good (if that makes sense) by June. However, the odor was starting  to get quite strong. So, the bride carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence, the custom of carrying a bouquet when getting married. (No "offense" LeVaughnda)

Baths back then 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 that 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 that was piled high) with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs, etc.) 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."

Also, 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 really mess up your nice clean bed - hence a bed with big post and a sheet hung over the to 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 kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed was place in the entrance way - hence a "thresh hold."

In those 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 the 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."

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

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days and be near fatal. 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 the coffins, I out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought 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 - hence the "graveyard shift" - to listen for the bell. As a result someone could "be saved by the bell" or the were considered "a dead ringer."

Is all of this the truth? You make up your own mind. I do know that when it comes to spiritual matters Jesus said in John 8:32, "And you
shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. " Do you know the truth? More importantly, have you obeyed the truth?

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward