Sugar Bag Days
Where have all the sugar bags gone?
That’s what I’d like to know
For sugar bags were happy days
In times not so long ago.
There's three things stand out in my memory as a pioneers way of life The sugar bag, the kerosene tin and the old sheath knife.
Whoever bought their sugar in a little paper bag!
No, it was 70lbs delivered to us
And I’m not trying to brag
When I tell you of all the things my Mother made from that bit of hessian rag.
There never was a washing day but on my Mother’s tummy
This notice you would see displayed
70lbs PURE CANE SUGAR
We always thought that funny.
Then she made a shopping bag, some oven cloths
Mats for the floor, a holdall for the dusters to hang behind the door.
That cosy mat beside the hearth was completely made of rags
Turn it over and what do you find?
It’s lined with sugar bags.
And then for competition at Show or Institute
‘The most useful thing made from a sugar bag’
And of course a small boy’s Indian suit.
A sugar bag tied to the bars of his bike
Held the paper boy’s ‘Herald’ and ‘Star’
And tacked to the walls of the little ‘out house’
Held squares of paper for the ‘la la’.
It was the swaggies tucker bag, a nosebag for the horse
A farmer’s leggings tied with string to protect from mud and gorse.
The sugar bag was the fisherman’s best friend
It held all his bait, it held all his gear
It held all the fish he would catch
- not to mention a few bottles of beer.
And what about the navvies working in the rain?
Just poke in a corner of the old sugar bag – and back to work again!
The kerosene tin has long since gone
But sometimes I still see the blackened sides
As it stood on the fire to make the billy tea.
Cut lengthways it made a food trough for hungry pigs and calves
And put on top of the old wood range to cook puddings and preserves.
A tin to gather blackberries – luscious, large and black
A thousand uses you could find for the kerosene tin and the old sugar sack.
Why all this fuss about simple things
Oh well, I dunno
It’s just that it takes the memory back
To those days we used to know.