Es Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Eck
(Originally published in the December 14, 1983 issue of
The Shopping News)
By T.H. Harter
Ball kummt die Butcher-Zeit un derno gebt’s Metzelsupp un Brodwascht. Meindscht du noch as sell eens vun der grosse Daage waar uff der Bauerei bei uns Buwe? Kannscht du dich noch erinnere wie seller Daag as kumme is wie mir uns als gfreed hen fer die Sei fange un sehne es Beef schiesse?
Lang vor Daag mariyets is als der Daady uffgschtanne un’s Feier unnich em Kessel gschtart fer die Sei briehe. Eens noch em annere sin die Nochbere beikumme mit alde blechne Laddanne. Wie’s amohl hell gnunk warre is fer sehne, is es an’s Sei schiesse gange. Generally als nein zu zehe grosse, feddi Sei hot’s gekoscht.
About zwee Uhr sin mir naus gschickt warre fer’s Beef aus em Schtall dreiwe fer doot mache. Was is als unser Hatz gejumped bis es gegracht hot un er is umgebatzelt. Eb Middaag hot die Chopper-Machine aafange glebbere un es Waschtfillsel is aafange in der Zuwwer rolle. Es Fleesch fer die Lewwerwascht hot im Kessel gekocht un was hen mir doch als Sei-Niere gesse un grank warre un gekotzt!
Im Nummidaag, about vier Uhr, is es Wascht schtobbe aagange un sell hen mir als about es menscht enjoyed vun ebbes, awwer about selli Zeit hot’s ghesse:
“Buwe, geht un dutt eier Fiederes!”
Mir hen net gwaart fer es zwett Mohl gheese warre un hen aa net lang zerick gemault wie die Buwe duhne heitzudaags. – Em Daady sei Schtiffel waare aus Harnischledder gmacht un hen em yuscht schee gfitt unnich der Rockfliggel! – Uff em Weg naus noch der Scheier sehne mir die schwatz Katz uff em Beef-Wamber hocke un die Hinkel schtehn rum uff eem Beh un waarde fer ihre Welschkann. Der Seischtall is leer un der Hund hockt hinnedraa un fresst am Beef-Kopp. Bis mir unser Hoi, Schtroh un Welschkannfuuder runner gschmisse hen ghat, die Geil gedrenkt un’s Vieh gfiedert, un allegebott eens abgfochde, dann waar der Gschpass so zimmlich veriwwer un es Nachtesse waar ready: Brodwascht, Lewwerwascht, runde Kichlin un Ebbelboi.
Un derno is es Gschwetz aagange:
“Du hoscht die Wascht zimmlich gut gedroffe!”
“Ya, awwer sie hen blendy Sals.”
“Ich meen, sie hedde e wennich meh Kaeyanner hawwe kenne.”
Un so geht’s um der Disch rum. Yeders hot sei Sixpense zu gewwe un glei is der Daag veriwwer – der Daag wu mir uns schunt wocheweis gfreed hen druff. Wu waar der Gschpass? Mir kann ihn net sehne. Un doch waar der Butcher-Daag eens vun der grosse Daage im Yaahr uff der Bauerei.
Der Butcher-Daag was mailed to us together with many additional clippings of Dutch newspaper columns on October 31, 1983 by Mrs. Ruth E. Mumma of Route 4, Lebanon, PA. She wrote: “I am a collector of old cigar boxes and in this box were these old papers. I tried very hard to read them but can understand and read very little of them. My grandfather and parents spoke German but very little to us children, although we did pick up a few words – but not enough to be able to read and understand it. Hope they will be of interest to you.” Yes, indeed, Mrs. Mumma, these letters are of great interest to us! So this week our Deitscher Schtrohhut is raised in salute to Mrs. Ruth Mumma!!!
In 1983, there appeared a book which is widely known among the Pennsylvania Dutch: “Boonastiel.” It is a collection of dialect newspaper columns by the late Thomas Hess Harter, the former editor and publisher of the Bellefonte, PA “Gazette” and before that of the Middleburg, PA “Post.” The character “Gottlieb Boonastiel” was created by Colonel Harter. Years after his removal from Middleburg to Bellefonte, Harter’s “Boonastiel” letters were run and re-run in many rural newspapers.
The 1893 “Boonastiel” book was republished by the late A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. in 1942 (in Harrisburg, PA), at which time Aurand had obtained the necessary plates for printing an enlarged edition. Der Butcher-Daag appears on pages 59-60.
Soon butchering time will be here and afterwards there will be “butcher soup” (gift of liver-pudding, sausage, etc., made at butchering time) and sausage. Do you recall that for us boys that was one of the greatest days on the farm? Can you remember that when that day came how we looked forward to catching the hogs and shooting the beef?
Long before dawn, Dad got up and started the fire under the kettle in order to (heat water to) scald the hogs. One after the other, the neighbors arrived with old tin lanterns. Once it was light enough to see the pig, shooting began. Generally, it cost nine or ten big, fat hogs.
About eight o’clock, we were sent to chase the beef from the stable, so it could be slaughtered. How our heart jumped until it cracked and he fell down. Before noon, the chopper machine began to rattle and sausage meat began to roll into the tub. The meat for the liver pudding cooked in the kettle and how we ate pig kidneys until we got sick and threw up!
In the afternoon about four o’clock, the sausage stuffing began and that we enjoyed just about most of all, but about that time came the word:
“Boy’s, go and do your feeding!”
We didn’t wait to be told a second time and didn’t talk back as the boys do nowadays. – Father’s boots were made of harness-leather and just about fit under the tail of one’s coat! – On the way out to the barn, we saw the black cat sitting on the beef stomach and the chickens were standing about on one leg waiting for their corn. The pig stable was empty and the dog was sitting in the rear and gnawing at the beef’s head. By the time we had thrown down the hay, the straw and corn fodder, watered the horses and fed the cattle – and now and then had a tussle – the fun was about gone and the evening meal was ready: sausage, liver pudding, round cookies and apple pie.
And afterwards the conversation began:
“You got the sausage just about right!”
“Yes, but it has plenty salt.”
“I am of the opinion that it could have had a bit more coriander.”
And so it went around the table. Each had to give his sixpence and soon the day was at an end – the day that we had looked forward to weeks ahead. What was the source of the fun? One can’t see it (visually). And yet butchering day on the farm was one of the great days in the year.
December 14, 1983