Monday, September 24, 2007

Growing up...

Babs asked for stories. Here is mine.

I grew up about 50 miles southeast of Dallas Texas, out in the country, but not quite into "East Texas".
50 miles might as well have been 500 in the early seventies. Mom and Dad had 1 acre with a house. But all around us was farm land and cow pastures. Mom made the drive to Dallas for work, and Dad was a school teacher, later a principal. Most of my family, grand parents, uncles, great uncles, cousins etc., were in the "area". Many of the great-uncles farmed and ran cattle.

Most of the time before I was old enough for school, and everyday in the summer, I stayed with my grandmother who lived about 5 miles away. Grandfather made the drive to Garland working in a battery plant. Other cousins were usually there too.

Days we spent outside, grandmother wouldn't let us in the house until lunch most days. We didn't watch TV, there were only 4 channels we got on the antenna anyway. We played in my grandfathers garden, he had about an acre of garden. We thought we were playing, my grandmother had contest to see who could pull up the most weeds. We dug potatoes and
stored them on the floor of the shed, same with onions. Every day one of us made the trip to the shed with a hoe to get potatoes for lunch. The hoe was to kill the snakes that hid in the shade of the shed. I remember picking a shucking corn from their garden, and freezing or canning all we could. I loved that fresh corn then and I miss it now. To this day I dislike canned corn and consider it a shame that anyone has to eat it. I think of my grandfather whenever I cook fresh corn.

My grandparents had well water, not city water. I remember that I didn't like the taste of all the minerals in it. I drank it in tea or cool-aid just fine, but not alone. That well water was ice cold. The well was about 70 feet deep, and pumped to the house with an electric pump to keep constant pressure, just like the city people had. On the hottest summer day, when we were dirty and sweaty from playing outside, grandmother would hose us off and make us sit on the porch until we dried before we were allowed to come in the house. The water was so cold we nearly froze in the 100 degree summer sun waiting to dry.

For fun I could go fishing in the tank (stock pond) in the pasture next door. When I got old enough, about 10 as I recall, I could take my BB/pellet gun and go hunting. Many a day was spent catching grasshoppers and crickets, and then using them as bait for fishing.

I'll never forget looking from their house toward the well and seeing an entire field full of Indian Paintbrushes.

We knew everyone for miles around, mainly because there wasn't that many of them. My grandmother took us around in an old Ford Falcon station wagon to make sick calls on the folks. Many a time she took us so I and my cousins could help with some chores for someone.

I remember my grandmother buying fresh milk and eggs from folks around her. I remember her making dresses for her ladies in the community. I remember never being turned down when I asked if I could go fishing on someones place. I remember making the drive to town once a week to buy groceries. That was the day we had "treat day", and would stop at the Dairy Queen for a Cherry Coke.

I remember having all the family get together as often as once a week sometimes for a fish fry, or other meal. My grandfather retired when I was fairly young, and I remember him smoking briskets for the family. Sometimes he would smoke 8 or 9 at a time. Most of the family would meet for supper at my grandparents each Wednesday. I remember fried bologna, chicken fried steak, fried spam, fried potatoes, and fried chicken. I remember my grandmother cooking "red beans" and corn bread, still one of my favorites. I remember that my grandmother keeping leftovers in the "deep freeze" all week, and Friday was goulash.

I remember neighbors stopping by to visit and just check on everyone to make sure everybody was OK. I remember always stopping for someone who was stuck or broke down on the side of the road.

I remember sitting in lawn chairs in the side yard everyday and watching the road in front of the house as people passed, not many did, and we knew who they were and where they were going.

I remember "party line" telephones. Everyone out there had them. Each house was on the same phone line as about 4 or 5 others. Everyone had a distinctive ring. If it wasn't your ring, you didn't answer it. If you had an important call to make, you often picked up the receiver and asked the people on it if they would hang up so you could make your call.

What I remember most was that people were friends, and friendly. People helped each other just because they wanted to. I remember family get togethers. I remember that the world was smaller, and time passed slower.

I miss it.

Mr Fixit

1 comment:

Babs RN said...

Excellent! I love it!

Every year I try (not always successfully) to get my hands on a couple bushels of Silver Queen and then spend a weekend shucking and creaming it and putting it up (though I keep some out for dinner - mmmmmmmmm fresh creamed corrrrnnnnn.....)