I remember back when my mom and several ladies would gather together in the morning to sit, drink coffee, and ‘visit’, (not one of them would admit to Gossip). The moms hustled their children off to school before getting dressed and hotfooting it to the ‘klatsch. They didn’t want to miss a single word…

 

The Kaffeeklatsch

A Kaffeeklatsch is the German phrase for an informal gathering that includes coffee. The days of the Kaffeeklatsch are long passed, and it’s a shame. There was a bit of gossip, but I was never able to hear any of it. I remember eavesdropping once and listening to boring stuff like which grocery store had hamburger on sale, or where to get the best price on shoes for the children. I heard stories of, ‘When I was young, my Mama…’, and then the recipe swap. Much to my dismay, I heard ideas for Capital Punishment for Children, which was usually about the time I hurried outside. I prayed I wouldn’t get caught listening and discovering firsthand how cruel some of those punishments could be.

 

Enamelware coffee pot; tea cakes

Who in the World is ‘Tob’?

Today I realized the Kaffeeklatsch has been revived, with a bit of a switch. Instead of gossipy women, it hosts a group of gossipy men. There is one man that is always talked about. His name is ‘This Old Boy’. Now, This Old Boy, (Tob for short), is a very busy man. Tob is in Natchitoches, Minden, Ringgold and Coushatta, all at the same time. Tob either doesn’t have the sense that God gave a Goose, or he is downright brilliant for the swap he made – seems he traded some guy a wild pig for a brand new tractor.

Tob’s daddy was tighter than a tick but had the nicest, weed-free pastures you will ever see. Unfortunately, Tob didn’t inherit that skill, but he can grow more vegetables than anyone, and in the weediest patch around. Tob went to an auction and got a baler for chicken feed, but with that price, surely it will fall apart with the first pass.

It is always nice when conversation shifts to solutions to world problems. Of course, the world around here stops about 25 miles out, so it’s not too hard to do. This is when we find out that Tob has got a tractor for sale, or has the parts needed to fix a baler. The best price for fertilizer is offered, and a few recipes are swapped.

I am still only an eavesdropper, and virtually invisible, but I wish they would tell me where Tob lives. I heard he has a single cow milker that I would love to get my hands on.

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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