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Topic: Dirty Feet and Foot Washing
Replies: 4   Last Post: Jul 15, 2020 10:28 PM by: SeantheObscure
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Dirty Feet and Foot Washing

[5]
Posted: Jul 15, 2020 7:41 PM
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Most of the houses in the deep south in the 1800's were built from long leaf yellow pine. The resin laden pine was a deterrent to rot and termites. Very few houses were painted. Common practice was to build the flooring above ground to allow circulation of air between the flooring and the ground. Another practice was to build the kitchen and dining area away from the living area and connect the two with an open breeze way. This was a safety feature because a wood burning stove was used for cooking and open fireplaces were used for warmth.

Washing machines were not yet in vogue. A wood fired cast iron wash pot was used to boil the clothes in soapy water. The clothes were removed from the wash pot to a galvanized tub for scrubbing and then to other tubs for rinsing. Clothes lines were strung around the yard so that Florida sun could dry the clothes.

This will set the stage for a story told to me by a friend many years ago. He lived with his family in a rural area of North Florida in a house as described above. Near his house was a church his family attended that practiced foot washing. Some time during the 1930's, the church was holding a revival and many of those attending the revival came for several miles away. My friend's parents offered their home for those that needed to stay overnight. People were sleeping anywhere there was room and apparently it was customary for the people to place their shoes on the breeze way before going to bed.

Among those families attending the services were several boys the same age as my friend that my friend's brother. Boys will be boys and they needed a little excitement. One of the boys suggested they get some of the ashes from under the wash pot and sprinkle the ashes in the shoes of the adults that were on the breeze way. That sounded like a lot of fun so they went into action. The next day at the foot washing ceremony, many of the worshipers had extremely dirty feet and there were a lot of embarrassed worshipers. Since all of those with dirty feet had spent the night at my friend's home, it was easy to put two and two together. My friend and the other young boys received several lashes from a limb that came from a peach tree in their garden. That was the one and only time my friend put ashes in anyone's shoes.

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Re: Dirty Feet and Foot Washing


Posted: Jul 15, 2020 7:58 PM
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Good story..enjoyed.


Re: Dirty Feet and Foot Washing


Posted: Jul 15, 2020 9:27 PM
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Those foot washers would be Freewill Baptist and they still practice that today. I always wondered how they did that. As for those old houses, if they ever caught on fire, it was almost impossible to extinguish. That pine that they used to build those houses is what we know as fat lighter, a great fire starter. Thanks for the story.

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Re: Dirty Feet and Foot Washing


Posted: Jul 15, 2020 9:34 PM
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Great story Joe! Funny and fairly harmless stuff.


Re: Dirty Feet and Foot Washing


Posted: Jul 15, 2020 10:28 PM
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The resin in old pine lumber turns transparent and is as flammable as a match stick, kinda' like solid propane. My father would tell a story about when he was in training in a camp in Texas prior to shipping out to Europe when he and my mother knelt down before bed to say the Rosary (very Catholic) and in the middle of a "Hail Mary" he looked down at my mother's feet and said "Holy Christ[mas]! Your feet are filthy!!!" They finished the rosary and mom had to wash her feet before getting into bed. They used to laugh like [heck] about this memory... and I'm sure there was more to the story....

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