‘Country girl’ recalls childhood farm visits
I’m a country girl at heart even though I was born smack dab in the middle of the city and lived there for the first 25 years of life.
But I’ve always had some Laura Ingalls Wilder deep in my heart. There is romanticism in the country life that tugs at me continuously. When I was a young girl my family would visit my Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Jim in Dundee. Now I thought these folks were rich. They lived in a big sprawling house with wide plank floors. There were cracks in those floors, which would allow you to see chickens, dogs, and various and sundry other critters under the house that sat high off the ground.
There were beds in just about every room. Feather beds with fresh white sheets that had been hung on a line to dry in the summer sun. The kitchen was the main room of the house and was furnished with a grand table big enough to seat all the adults that came for Sunday dinner. The youngun’s, of course, sat at a smaller table and ate after the bigun’s. The main attraction to me in this warm wonderful room was the wood-burning cook stove.
That stove was a work of art. It stood along one wall in all its gleaming porcelain beauty like a queen on her throne. Cold biscuits covered with a dishtowel and green onions in a Mason jar were always present on the table. That picture is embedded in my mind like a still life from some famous artist of long ago.
I would sneak a look and a biscuit every chance I got.
My Aunt Bobbie’s boisterous laugh echoed all around. She was a wonderful funny woman whose house was filled with kids and books of every description.
The house was heated with wood-burning stoves in each room. The cool came from the sheer expanse and always-open windows and doors. A continuous breeze kept us from being hot or even warm while visiting.
The smells that emanated from that old Delta place tucked low in the shadow of a levee are fresh in my memory even today. Green onions and baking biscuits can take me back instantly.
As kids we played on the massive front porch, antagonizing the chickens and old dogs as we poked sticks at them through the cracks in the floors. We jumped out of the hayloft of the dilapidated barn and swung out wide on a long hemp rope. We made a playhouse in the corncrib where we played for hours. We rode horses and rolled jacks in the dirt until we turned the same color as the rich black loam in which we played.
Each and every trip brought a new adventure. I couldn’t believe anyone lived with such a wealth of land, house and places to explore. I dreamed of having a similar place when I grew up.
And as I do grow up and older I hope to pass on to my grandsons the same fond memories that I have of my Aunt Bobbie’s. Maybe not quite as primitive as hers because we have now grown too accustomed to the luxuries of life. Fresh running water and blessed air conditioning. But I hope that my home will make my grandsons have happy thoughts. That a certain smell will fill their hearts with gladness, that the song of a passing bird will evoke a fond remembrance. I hope to pass the peace, contentment and wonderment that I felt as a child on to them. I hope they feel as warm and loved in my embrace as I did in Aunt Bobbie’s. She left big shoes to fill.