Growing up in the country was an adventure filled experience that I will never forget. The community was mostly made up of friendly, country folk. Some were farmers, several were old-timers, a few simply liked the seclusion of the area. Our “neighbors” stretched out for miles. It was normal for us to be talking about the “neighbor down our road” when in reality they lived several miles from us down some dirt road (or as some said, “ov’r ene the holler”).
Childhood encounters flood my memory as I recall the fanciful life we lived. As I wrote about each season, I did write about the good times and cherished memories. This is not to gloss over my growing up years as perfect, but to betray the happy country memories.
A Spring Day
As the sun peered into the house, we knew it was time to rise and shine! Outside the window we could hear the first birds of the year chirping in the morning, bringing us a joyful song.
Springtime was time to prepare the gardens and plant the seed. Tilling, pulling the first weeds, planting flowers, and mulching for a nice finish. One of my favorite parts though was not only planting flowers, but also planting seeds. Rows and rows and rows of corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, peppers, beans, and a lot of tomatoes. Those are many of the vegetables we grew in our garden. We also had apple trees, cherry trees and berries of different types.
The spring evening became longer and longer as summer drew near. When night came, we would close our eyes quickly, after a day of heavy work.
A Summers Day
On a summer’s morning if the rooster did not wake you, then the smell of a home cooked breakfast would. Pancakes, eggs, muffins, or cornbread were some of the favorites! Though the hot breakfasts were more often on the weekend, with cereal and muffins as the usual weekday special, every morning was lovely nonetheless.
During the day time we might be found splashing our boots in the rain puddles or picking buttercups for mom. We would often take a stroll down our “less travelled” road and wander off into the forest to see what treasures we might find. Black berries were also a treat in the summer, they grew wild all around us! (Just don’t step into the poison ivy patch!) We also harvested our home-grown berries and fruit and mom turned them into pies and yummy breakfasts!
When night fell it became dark; no city lights kept us up at night. Instead the songs of the howling coyotes, the tree frogs chirping, coons fighting, and locusts buzzing, may have kept us up at night. But being accustom to the noise, the singing put us to sleep.
An Autumns Day
Waking up in the country, to an autumn breeze was so delightful! Buttoning up our sweaters and tieing our sneakers once again, proved that everything was changing. The cold weather was slowly taking over.
The leaves took on lovely colors, then fell off and covered the ground. We spent many days after school raking the leaves and picking up sticks that had fallen during a storm. We also spent family time harvesting all the vegetables. On Thanksgiving Morning, all the guys went out to hunt; and when they returned, the house was overtaken by the delicious smells of turkey and pie!
On an autumn evening we often listened to a story or read a book before we retired for the night. The sounds of tree frogs from summer were gone now, but the owls joined in the song just a little louder.
A Winters Day
The first thing on a winters morning was to glance out the window to see if all was white. If so, that meant for a day full of fun and adventure, and often a day off school!
When not in school, sledding down long, steep hills, following animal tracks, building snowmen and finding icicles taller than ourselves were a part of our winter adventures. The temperatures were too cold some days though, and we would quickly retreat inside for some hot cocoa by the fire.
In the evening we would snuggle in our blankets to keep warm. All was dark and quiet but a few coyote calls left from summer. There’s but one exception though (or maybe two) for on Christmas eve our little street was lit up bright and in celebration gun shots rang on new years night.