That old feather bed


Last updated 6/15/2022 at 6:04am

My Aunt Voe used to put me up in an upstairs feather bed when I would visit.

I don’t know what kind of feathers she used, but they made an extremely soft mattress and likewise the sleep.

Voe was what you could correctly say “old fashioned.” Yet she was a counselor to many of the younger members of the family.

She was the postmaster at the Palouse post office, knew everyone in town, and more about them than was necessary.

Anyway, Voe had a foot in both worlds — one in the early 1900s and the other in what were then modern times.

In addition to the feather bed, there was a bearskin rug on the floor that scared me pretty good when I was young.

When I would lay down on that feather mattress, it would fold up around me and make me toasty warm.

Voe also made her own soap chunks that my wife would sell in her shop in later years.

As a kid, I often would go to her house with my parents for pinochle gatherings.

During that time, pinochle was the game of choice, and I would watch intently until I got sleepy and went to bed.

I soon learned how to play and would be called on when they didn’t have the correct number of players.

In a few years, canasta became the game of choice and they would play until the early morning hours. So I learned to play canasta so I could join the family around the card tables. That’s how I learned to play a variety of card games.

When Voe would talk to us, we felt that we were the only people around. She was a favorite for many of us at the time.

Voe and her husband Ralph, my dad’s brother, were always kind to us and just lived up the hill from us.

I remember in the spring when I would drop by the post office to say hello, I could hear the baby chicks just waiting to be picked up. I don’t know what was involved in mailing baby chicks, but I know they didn’t put stamps on them.

Voe lived into her 90s, and I remember returning to Palouse when her grandkids had an auction of her things.  I was lucky enough to get a thing or two.

Before she passed, when my wife and I would return to Palouse for a visit, we would take Voe to her precious little hideaway on White Pine Drive in northern Idaho.

It was a small turnoff, easily missed, just a ways past Idaho’s largest white pine tree. The tree later blew over in a windstorm, so you could walk its length and see how large it really was.

True to form, Voe would pack a lunch and we would sit on a downed tree and enjoy it.

We had very strong family ties, especially in my early years.

Voe was a canner and would have scores of veggies, fruits and meats in the basement cellar.

She was a sewer also and made many quilts. I remember she made me an afghan for my 50th birthday.

I purchased a two-acre lot from her thinking that someday I would build on it. Never did, but I broke it up in half-acre lots and added it to the town as the Lucas addition.

How lucky I was to know her so well. I can safely say they don’t make them like that anymore.


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