There was no chance of taming the wild stallion, but undiscouraged, I hung onto the saddle and prayed my scrawny little arms wouldn’t fail me now! The saddle was a folded paper grocery bag and the bucking horse was the baby blue ice cream maker being propelled across our front porch by whoever had energy to turn the hand-crank. My job was to add some stability and resistance to the runaway steed but realistically, what could 50 lbs. of giggle actually accomplish? Every so often the cranker would get tired and pause to add more salt to the ice inside the bucket. Salt helped the ice melt and freeze the milk mixture into ice cream faster.
Salt’s a funny thing. We’re told to monitor it and minimize it in our diet, yet some people don’t have enough and must take salt pills! Tears are salty, but if sweat (which is also salty) drips down into your eyes, it burns.
On the farm, when we put up hay in the barn that was a little bit green, we’d sprinkle salt on top to cure it and when the sheep or cows got that hay, they appreciated the extra seasoning! Mom recalls her dad buying 25 pound bags of salt and scooping some out on a rock for the sheep which would eagerly gather around and “fuss about it all”.
Later the industry made salt blocks, which a couple years ago I thought was going to be our demise. My daughter’s college art professor thought it a good idea to have students carve organic shapes into blocks of salt. Imagine a whole heard of young people carrying their 50 pound salt blocks to and from class! Over the next month, there was neither a family member, friend, nor enemy who happened to stop by that didn’t take a stab at carving that block of salt. We tried files, grinders, and chisels-- and when we toted the evil mass to New Jersey, a circular saw was implemented. At one point someone suggested throwing hot water on it to no avail. One fateful day, university administrators in dark suits, like the Men-In-Black walking in front of a Hollywood fog machine, strolled through the fourth floor hallway which was now filled with a salt cloud. Peering cautiously into the studio classrooms, they witnessed students all gnawing away with artistic abandon. Salt covered the tables, carpeted the floors, and thickened the air…and by the Grace of God, the assignment was halted immediately. Good thing too, because while we all attempted to stay within the bounds of Alex’s vision of an upside down water drop (or tear drop as the struggle wore on), the block of salt on turn-in day looked pretty much like a salt block with the corners knocked off.
Salt is mentioned over 40 times in the Bible, and possibly the most well-known reference is Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of it when she disobeyed God’s instructions and longingly looked back at her old life (Genesis 19:26). It might be tempting in 2020 during these “unprecedented times” to look wistfully toward distractions, but Matthew 5:13-14 is a good reminder to stay the course: Be salt and light. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”
I’m encouraged that while we are riding atop this wild stallion of political and social unrest, Colossians 4:6 helps us hang on, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” We have to ask ourselves: Am I salty --but in a Godly way?
Janet Cowger- Fliegel