The post last week The Englishman who went up the mill and came down astounded showed details from the life of a paprikamiller in Szeged-Szentmihály. Mária Lábdy’s memories now continue with her mother’s role in the paprika business and we’ll touch upon drink problems, too.
“My parents were respected and liked by the community. When they were invited to a local wedding, people would replace horses and pull the cart where we were sitting themselves. This is how we went to and came home from weddings.
My Mother was a very competent person: she was inventive and quick. When the mill worked at night, she would keep a night watch. She slept in her daywear so that she could be quick to tend to business. We had this chief paprikamiller called Vince. He liked wine. He was a really good paprikamiller, he knew his job very well and the locals liked to tip him with a little money and some wine. When my mother saw him drinking at night she through the wine bottle out into the street. She made a strong coffee for him and gave it to him with the words: Now, you drink this, Vince. Probably they didn’t totally give up drinking, but she made sure the work was well done.
Mother was central to the business in every way. Locals would often ask her: Milady, when do you ever sleep? She was the first to get up and the last to go to bed. True, everyone got up early then: in the fall paprika farmers worked not only in the fields but they prepared their own paprika for milling. My mother met them first thing in the morning in the mill to take over their paprika and schedule it for milling. After that the farmers went to the fields to finish paprika harvest.
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