Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)
TITLE: Those Precious Memories
By Sandra Eastridge
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After breakfast the men headed for the fields, the women to house duties and the children to play. There was so much to do. We could grind corn in the barn, play in the soft dust of the country lane, swing in the old porch swing, climb the ladder and eat cherries from the heavily laden tree, gather fresh honey, make homemade ice cream, or take a walk over the daisy strewn pasture to check out the pond. Sometimes we would go inside and rock the treadle of the old sewing machine. Some days everyone would knock off early and we gathered at the old swimming hole. What fun to see my adult kinfolk acting like children at play. Oh there was much for a child to do and one never got bored!
There would be trips to town. What excitement to climb into Papaw’s old truck with the bed piled high with bushels of cucumbers and green beans for “tradin’.” Then we were each given a nickel to buy a pack of gum. What a treat that was.
Summertime brought tent revival meetings with my uncles preaching. Sunday mornings meant Sunday school at Sweden Baptist Church where many headstones bear the names of those I love. My grandparents, uncles and most of my aunts are gone now. Some of my cousins are gone. Some before their time like little Teddy who died with polio before he was a year old. We lived within walking distance and I played with him every day. I was six. This was my first experience with the Grim Reaper.
My family enjoyed a sense of humor. One hot day my cousin Susie and I walked into the shadows of the barn. Papaw was in the loft with his pitchfork. Suddenly in front of us was a very long snake and Papaw could be heard snickering above us. Well, I immediately knew what had happened. His inner child had taken over and what could be funnier than to scare a couple of girls by throwing a harmless snake in front of them? My feelings were so hurt that my quiet Papaw would do such a mean thing.
Another time my sister, cousin and I were playing in the yard. I looked up to see a horrible old witch come around the corner of the house. She had gray streaked hair that grew long below her waist. Immediately, I began screaming and when I did the witch started cackling which made me scream all the more. The louder I screamed the more the old hag cackled. They had quite a time convincing me my grandmother had taken her teeth out and let down her hair.
Then one time Uncle Ode pinched my nose off and threw it into the coal stove that heated the front room. I screamed bloody murder until someone brought a mirror to show me my nose was still on my face.
My favorite time was after supper. Fast time had not been invented and dark came early. Everyone would gather outside and talk and laugh until bedtime. These wonderful memories make up a part of me. They are my heritage, my legacy; and I am richer for them. I had the fortune to grow up during a time when life was slower and simpler. A time when married children went back to the old home place with their families every chance they had. We worked hard and we played hard. We were poor people who knew the value of family and our Patriarch, Papaw Chambers, showed us by his example how to live a Godly life.
How I looked forward to those weekends and our trips back to the farm. You never knew how many relatives would be there or which ones would come. What was certain was there would be a house full of folks laughing, loving and enjoying being together. It was a wonderful time to be a child.
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