I’m in on the Facebook TBT (Throw Back Thursday) and I typically post a reminiscent, sometimes embarrassing picture from my past. This week, my TBT was Stevie Wonder’s I Wish. Not just because I love that song, love Stevie Wonder, think he is one of the greatest musical talents of our time and as I child I wanted to grow up and marry him. But because of the wonderful memories attached to it.
My Daddy had Songs In The Key Of Life on 8-track and we listened to it over and over and over on the 12 hour near non-stop DRIVE each year on our family vacation. (We only stopped for gas and restroom breaks. For food, Momma packed a picnic basket full of foiled wrapped fried chicken and Wonder bread, fruit, snacks and assorted sides.) Each year, we didn’t go to Disney, or on a cruise or to some resort. No indeed. Those options never entered Daddy’s mind. Every year, we’d take that car ride to visit our grandparents on their farm in Liberty, Mississippi.
On that farm, I remember waking up EARRRRLY each morning to the sound of roosters and the smell of Big Mama’s homemade biscuits, fresh eggs, oil sausages and Alaga syrup. After breakfast we’d be sent out into the summer sun to play all day – and that’s what we did.
I remember jostling with my cousins for a turn to feed the chickens, chasing the hens and getting chased by the roosters. I remember slopping the hogs and feeding them figs from the tree by their pen (actually – we used the figs and pigs for target practice). I remember taunting the raccoon shut up in a cage and running like banshees when it would charge and hiss at us, and the varied experiments on snapping turtles, daddy long legs spiders, frogs and other animals that were unfortunate enough to get caught.
I remember climbing trees, going fishing and Uncle Cleophus allowing us to drive the pickup in the pasture when we were too small to see over the steering wheel. Our excursions were long walks into the pasture to find and mess with the cows, or riding in the back of the pickup truck into town to the icehouse (and trying not to be seen when we attempted to stand up while the truck was in motion on the highway).
I remember being Big Mama’s shadow when she was out in her garden. Pulling something from a vine, wiping it on my shirt (my version of washing it) and eating away. I remember cracking pecans, snapping beans and shelling peas with the women, and never being allowed to go hunting with my Daddy and the men (wise, wise decision). I remember watching with horror the making of hog head cheese and the rope-a-dope swing wringing the head off a chicken followed by the wild running and flapping of the headless body.
I remember sitting on the front porch at night and marveling at the dark dark of the sky, with only stars and the moon to interrupt the blackness, and the quiet quiet with only the sounds of crickets and an occasional log truck rolling down the highway disturbing the stillness. I remember sleeping 3 to a bed, on a couch, or on the floor when the number of family members visiting outnumbered the bedrooms – and wishing I could get a floor spot.
I remember my Grandfather’s stories and how everyone stopped, took a seat and listened when he’d get in HIS chair on the back porch to talk, and I remember the soft, sweet, sweet voice of my Grandmother singing hymns under her breath while she worked or talking to us about the Lord.
Such wonderful memories. Looking back brings laughs, smiles – and today some grateful tears.
Our children were born well after my Grandparents and my Daddy went home to glory. Our kids have done Disney, cruised, been to some exciting cities and stayed at some nice resorts for vacations. None of it compares to those times on that farm in Liberty, Mississippi. I wish our children could see, feel, experience and appreciate some of those moments we had as kids.
I wish those days could comeback once more. Cause I love them so!