Pa's Smoke House


The first cool days in late August heralded the approach of Fall. Pa was quick to notice. "It's time to start building our own smoke house. There's nothing I like better than your Ma's homemade sausage".

The smoke house was built in the back of our large back yard a bit up from the barn. He first dug a big square hole. Then he built a frame and sides from some old salvaged wood. In our times, everything possibly reusable was saved. Lastly came the tin roof.

A bar was stretched across the inside of the smoke house. From it Pa would hang the home made sausages and the fresh hams and bacon. Pa kept the fire burning in the pit for days at a time. I don't remember what kind of wood he used, but I will never forget the mouth-watering smell of the smoked meat and how good the sausage tasted.

I loved to help Pa, and I was the one he depended upon to supply the wood during the day. There had to be a continuous fire and smoke - other wise the meat would spoil. Pa always complimented me ''Pumpkin (in Polish), you did well. I'm proud of you."

Whenever I was around him. I felt confident and secure.

I'm sure Pa loved all of us equally. He had a gift of making everyone feel special. Despite his workload and our numbers, he always made time to advise. actively instruct, and to compliment us individually and as a group.