Wednesday, March 8, 2006

I See Now What I Would See Then

As I sit here on a part misty/part sunny Easter Sunday afternoon, I gaze out the window to see all the evidence that Spring has finally taken over the chills of Winter. I see the pear trees, wisteria, bridal wreath and other shrubs blooming, the grass turning green, the wild cane sprouting up with new white sprouts. I see Lonesome Pine with it’s yellow pollen blowing with the wind. I see the relocated, soon to be replaced tractor shed. I see a white storage building filled with quite a bit of DTAB’s stuff. I see the back of the garage carport that will soon be my workshop, the scuppernong arbor and the barn. I see the old shop with all the old plows, cotton scales, etc. nailed on the wall and the inside filled with tools, some antique, some modern and up to date. Most of all, its filled with memories! I think of all the old times here and what I would see from this vantage point when I was a boy.

I would have seen a croquet court laid out over the level, grassless yard, a big water tank that had gravity flowing water from the old spring across the road, water would be dripping off the platform that would freeze into huge icicles during winter. I would see the three huge hedge balls at three corners of the tank platform.

I would see me using a hoe as a road grader and grading roads all around the croquet court complete with graded ditches and bridges. Then, to be sure the ditches would take the water off the roads, I’d run water thru them and watch it run all the way over by the smoke house. I’d see Joe and me shooting marbles in the back or side yard.

I would see the horse shoe court past the water tank and the fox hound and chicken yard fences beyond that. Also, I’d see the tractor shed and the old blacksmith shop and the old barn with the mule wagon under the shed just behind Pinto’s old stall.

I would see the horse and cow lots and the cane mill out past the cow lot where Daddy would make the most delicious cane syrup each fall and we would tumble off the cane chew pile and we would drink the fresh cane juice on a cold day.

I would see the little Chinaberry tree to the left of the basketball goal at the south end of the croquet court. I see myself spending enormous amounts of time playing croquet and shooting basketball goals.

I’d see the old smoke house with all the wonderful smoked meats and large containers of cracklins and pure leaf lard.

I’d see the old meat cutting table at the south side of the smoke house where all the hogs were cut up and placed by the window to be salted down to start curing before it was hung and smoked.

I’d see the big iron pot with a fire built around it filled with fatback and sowbelly being cooked down to get the lard and become the cracklins.

I’d see Mother or Lucy grab hold of a fryer chicken by the neck, give it a couple of flips round and round ‘til the head came off and it would hop around the yard until all reflexes were gone.

I would see Marie Antoinette, Claire’s leghorn hen strutting around the back yard.

I’d see the old dinner bell beside the back door steps that I’d ring when Lucy said, “Sonny, tell ‘em dinner’s ready.”

I’d see Joe and me pitching rubber balls against the old concrete back steps, then fielding the return.

I’d see the old log potato house by the north end of the croquet court where we’d store Irish potatoes in the summer and sweet potatoes in the fall.

I’d see a wash tub on the back porch with newspapers and Daddy’s old raincoat over a prized block of ice, then see different ones turning the old ice cream freezer.

I’d see me getting sick from eating too much salty ice and throwing up, but that only made for more capacity for the good half melted, home made ice cream!

I’d see Ring, Jimmy, Tip, Daisy Mae, Jenny, Judy, Bing, Harry, and all the other dogs and cats all around the back yards.

I’d see the pigeon house with its flyway out to the left, behind the smoke house.

I’d see the two-hole outhouse with the Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel catalogs used for “other than selecting things to order stuff from!!”

I’d see the old chicken house and all the pear trees, the apple tree and the scuppernong arbor to the north and west of the chicken house.

I’d see the pole where hogs were hung to dress and the platform with the sloped barrel where the slain hogs would be dipped in hot water to loosen the hair from their hides.

I’d see the clothes lines loaded with clothes Lucy had washed at the old spring and brought down and hanged to dry.

I’d see the hog pens out behind the old blacksmith shop.

I’d see Lucy churning on the back porch with one of us sitting in her lap looking at the “wish book” (Sears Catalog), or her telling us a story or singing us a song.

I’d see Dennis and Tommy splitting wood between the water tank and the two big oaks after crops had been “layed by.”

I’d see the stove wood neatly stacked under the woodshed alongside the garage. (The house wood would be stacked level alongside the old “Office.”)

I would see me loading my wagon with at least 50 sticks of stove wood just to haul it from the wood shed to the back steps.

I would see Mama Wright coming out the back door and using Joe’s pied stick horse to kill a ground rattler lying by the steps.

I’d see the J-berry trees with ripe berries all over the ground and fresh, purple chicken manure all over the yards and steps that when stepped in with bare feet would ooze up between my toes.

I’d see Jack Ezell and I running across that level yard and me tripping and falling on the back step and cutting my left eye brow.

It really is amazing to see again in your mind of things long ago as they compare with the now!