The Dirt Queen (my mom) grew up on a small farm just an hour north of here. She grew up farming with her 6 siblings. I was fortunate enough to spend the majority of my childhood here. Ninety percent of my childhood memories involve my Grandma and Pawpaw's place. Nearly every Thanksgiving was spent here, and every Christmas up until my Pawpaw passed away. At Easter the grown-ups would hide eggs all over the place for us. We would search everywhere for them until we found every last one.
(You can click on the mosaics to enlarge them)
I would run and romp through the woods, and the creeks with my cousins. Not a care in the world, or shoes on our feet.
When we ate, we had the grown-up table, and the kids table. I always wanted to sit at the grown-up table. Now, I choose the sit at the kids table.s
We would all sit on the front porch for hours, then move to the back yard once the shade got right. It was hot no matter what. Grandma and Pawpaw didn't have an air conditioner....just some oak trees.
We would sit in the back yard and swing until it got dark, or the mosquitoes were about to tote you away.
Rocking in the heat of the afternoon, until the night of dark fell upon us. You never got cool, it was always hot. I remember one summer I had chicken pox, and my aunts took me up there. I thought I was going to die. Heat and chicken pox don't mix.
At night, you could hear every cricket, frog, and cicada within a 2 mile radius. It was and is, the sound of heaven to me. A peaceful, calming sound.
We would jump these fences, crawl underneath or whatever we had to do, to get to the other side. No telling how many holes we ripped in our clothes. We didn't care.
My Dad would buy me and my brother kites, and we would go out into the pastures and fly them on a windy March day. The cows seem to enjoy it as much as we did.
This gate used to lead to the chicken pen, where my Grandma would get us fresh eggs. I wish I could make biscuits like my grandma could. I remember her having big buckets of flour and lard, and going to work on those biscuits. No one can make a biscuit like her. I would give anything to walk in that kitchen and have her whip up some biscuits.
We would gather chestnuts from under the trees
There was a trail through the woods that led from my grandparents house to my uncles house....no telling how many times we walked this trail, or rode the four-wheelers.
We would fish in the pond. We usually swam in my uncles pond. It seemed more swimmer friendly. I look back now and wonder how many water moccasins were sitting around me in that pond.
Or on the creek banks as we played around. I loved to play in the creek. I told myself that I would come back when it got warm, and play in it this summer. Look at it...how could you not want to!
Every Christmas my Pawpaw would load all of the grandkids onto a trailer he had made that attached to his tractor. He would pull all of us over to the prairies where we would pick out a Christmas tree. We would haul it back and decorate it. We somehow always manage to cram 20+ people in their tiny living room, with that big 'ol tree.
This is where I learned about hunting. My Pawpaw, dad and uncles would all go hunting. My grandma would sit out on the porch. Everytime she heard a shot she would say," That sounded like Jerry". She was usually right! I always wanted to do what the boys did. I was the oldest girl grandchild, 4th oldest grandchild (out of 11). Apparently no one seemed to care that I was a girl, and they let me do what the boys did. This is where my love of the outdoors began When I think of my Pawpaw....I think of his tractor. He was always on it. Always pulling us in the prairies on this tractor,
I never saw any danger when I was there. My parents, and my aunts and uncles just let us run around and be carefree. I guess they never worried about what could happen to us. I guess they figured that they survived running around there....we would too.
We would build hay houses in this barn, and play for hours. I never worried about snakes or spiders...just how big to build my hay house.
We would listen to the Martins as the nested in the house. We would sit by the fire and try to stay warm. Many good storied were told in front of this fire.
The doors are old and weather, but still in tact.
The house was a "shotgun" house. Now for ya'll non-Southerners....a "shotgun" house is a small house that you can open the front doors, and shoot a shotgun out of the back door. The house has 6 rooms. My grandma was always telling us grandkids to "get on the other side of the house". I think that is funny now....because the house is only 2 rooms wide!
My Pawpaw loved to sing, and play the guitar. My brother and I inherited his talent to play by ear. I play the piano by ear, and my brother plays the guitar.
My brother now has my Pawpaw's old Dobrough guitar. It is OLD! It still sounds good, even though it is more for looks now.
My brother took these photos of my Pawpaw when he was in high school. That was a long time ago. He had a photography class and shot these of my Pawpaw. They are some of my favorite pictures.
I feel blessed to have had a place like this to grow up. This place made me who I am today. It made me fearless, adventurous, and the outdoors person that I am.
For me, holidays have never been then same since my Pawpaw died, and my Grandma had to go into a nursing home. I always feel like something is missing. I need to go to the prairies with my cousins, get our tree, and come back to everyone crammed into the living room.
Times change, people change, and places change, but the memories are all the same.