"Christmas on the Farm"
Wondering what the Realy family would make of a twenty-first-century urban biker chick pulling blue hospital booties over kick-ass black leather boots before gingerly padding through the farmhouse, I opened the creaky screen door.
A modest $2 later, a tween girl in period clothes in the parlor informed me that the tiny red mittens under the austere Christmas tree festooned with clip-on candles wouldn't have been wrapped no wrapping paper back then. The mittens accompanied a little hat and a wooden train, a spare array of gifts.
Upstairs in a bedroom, two giggly girls asked me if I knew why the ceramic chamber pot's lid bore a crocheted cover. I didn't. The cover helped muffle clatter, so one's siblings sharing the room wouldn't be awakened.
The girls pulled back the bedding to show the woven rope platform underneath. "When guests would come, they'd tighten the ropes, and that's where we get 'Sleep tight,'" said one. "And this [tick] was filled with chicken feathers, and sometimes they had mites which would bite, and that's where we get 'Don't let the bedbugs bite.'"