Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 1-24-11 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 1-24-11

My mother-in-law only ever gave me one piece of advice – carry a small purse. Doing that should preclude having your purse be the tote bag for various family members when the family is out and about. Yet, there are certain things moms, grandmas and wives are expected to fit into that small purse, and among these items are toothpicks, Kleenex and hard candy or mints to suck on.

It was an amusing moment last week when right after the roast beef meal at the local Chamber of Commerce Ag Appreciation banquet, a 20-something young man asked his grandma for a toothpick. Fortunately she is member of the local cattle women’s group and a requisite item in her purse is a small size toothpick dispenser, a promotional item of the cattlewomen. She fixed him right up. Knowing her, she also likely had the additional expected necessities in her bag. It is sort of like the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared,” when you carry a purse.

You may have memories of the old Art Linkletter television show, variously called House Party, The Art Linkletter Show and Life with Linkletter, during its TV run from 1952 through 1970. (The program began on radio in 1945, but that was before my time.) This is how I remember it and I’d appreciate hearing from readers who will confirm or correct me. I asked my usual sources – google, You Tube, my aunt and my husband – for help in confirming what I think they know and they all failed me. I’m confident readers will come through.

One of Art’s gimmicks was to periodically ask audience members for some oddity to see which woman might have it in her handbag. I don’t recall any time that the object in question was not produced. My recollection was the segment was called “What’s in the Bag?” Art would request things like a collapsible yardstick, a specific sized screw or washer, a stick of butter – just about anything that no one would be expected to have in her purse – and one of the women in the audience would produce it.

This got me to thinking what might be found in a farm/ranch woman’s purse, beyond the typical necessaries, on any particular day. During calving season it would not be a surprise to find an O.B. glove, a couple of elastrator bands, and an envelope of electrolyte. For reading while waiting in line to unload the grain truck at the town elevator, Gwen Peterson’s “Ranch Women’s Manual” and/or Lee Pitts’ “At the End of Dirt Roads,” would likely be found stashed in a satchel, along with snacks. Any time of the year the handbag or in some cases, backpack, might hold a receipt for parts, an auction bill torn from the Fence Post, a jackknife that can double as a toothpick in a pinch, and a spare set of keys for every pickup on the place.

Now men in the city have gone to carrying bags. I wonder if they carry their wife’s lipstick?

Peggy is looking forward to getting straightened out on the subject of Art Linkletter. Her internet latchstring is out, and letters would be welcomed through the Fence Post.