millie

Back in the day I grew up all that was for sure was the present moment. On that day there was not a lot of time to worry about the future. To insure shelter and food on the table families became absorbed in daily activities working and living off the land. I feel memories for this era are rich in history filled with heartfelt appreciation of the past, teaching us much about the time and place in it. 

As a child we lived in a house next door to grandma and Pa’s house a short distance from the Artemus Road. In those days the Artemus Road wandered aimlessly like a withering snake among blackberry bushes and briers, along a sloping hill where honeysuckle blooms scented the air in late spring. The Vile Lumber yard was across from Uncle Bill McCormick’s pastureland... where “Uncle” John Shorter pastured his cows along with Big Red, a horse I loved to ride.

The mouth of the lane where I lived was dusty in summer and muddy in winter. The lane was winding filled with ruts made by horse drawn wagons going and coming from the lumber mill. There was a worn path leading from our house to grandmas with huge snowball bushes standing like tall graceful soldiers guarding the humble place I called home. 

Our house was in need of a fresh coat of paint and the old tin roof rattled when the wind blew and a rusty screen door shrieked loudly when it opened. The floor was covered in linoleum and a few valued scattered rugs were for my brothers and I to rest on after evening baths in front of the fireplace. The ceilings were high and the walls were papered in an old rose pattern... The open fireplaces heated the house except in the main living room. We felt fortunate to have a large gas heater to keep us comfortable warm in the coldest of winters. We ate in the dining room just off the living room near the kitchen. 

The kitchen was like an icebox in the winter and a furnace in the summer. The kitchen had a gas cooking stove, a built in sink without running water. A large bucket of water placed on a table by the stove came from grandma’s well. Electricity came to the lane before I left home. We had a center light hanging from the ceiling in each room. We were grateful for the light at the end of the day. 

Our food was good as nothing can compare to southern home cooked food fresh grown from our garden. Mom standing on the back steps could be heard calling out to us when meals were ready. My brothers and I hurried home from the cow pasture taking turns washing up before sitting down to homemade biscuits, fried chicken and a skillet of fried potatoes with fresh cabbage slaw on the side. Sometimes when mom was in the mood to bake our favorite dessert pineapple upside down cake from scratch no box cake in those days. As children we spent hours playing in the fresh air entertaining ourselves. We did not know what it was to be lonely. 

Our mom was always busy washing laundry, carrying water from the well, cooking meals, feeding chickens and planting beautiful gardens and finding time to sew and do handwork to help fill their needs. Life was simple for us but GOOD. My thoughts for today, since those days the world has changed and so have I. Our lives in all aspects are a journey toward a destination. Our values define who we are. 

Our attitudes shape the world. O have learned with all the progress, love is still the greatest force on earth... until I reach my destination I’m enjoying the journey and lessons along the way. 

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