When my mother was very young, they had a milk cow named Blue. Her older brother and sister, Ronald and Hazel, were in charge of milking chores. Twice a day, every day. Blue was a good old cow who kept their icebox overflowing with milk and thick, rich cream for several years.
One sad day, Blue ran out of milk.
A dry milk cow is of no use on a ranch. My grandmother cried as my grandfather put the wooden stock rack on the back of the pickup, loaded Blue up and hauled her off to the auction. He came home with a washing machine.
Until that point, my grandmother had done all of her laundry by hand, with a galvanized tub and washboard. The washing machine was a minor miracle. Ronald and Hazel were so excited, they hustled down to the well, hauled up water, heated it, and washed every piece of laundry in the house. Then they rode over to their grandmother’s house, collected her laundry, and washed it too.
Eventually, of course, the novelty wore off, and hauling water and washing clothes became just another chore for the kids. But my grandmother?
She shed a few tears for ol’ Blue every time she used that washing machine.