FIELDS, BARN, FARMHOUSE: When Doug and I were very small we spent a great deal of time with Mom and Papaw while our mother was attending college. In later years we always managed to spend at least one week there every summer as well as visiting at least one weekend every month throughout the year. The fields, barns, river, pond, orchard, and the farmhouse held many opportunities for adventures.
THE HAYLOFT: I remember playing in the hayloft, and feeding all the animals - cows, chickens, guineas, ducks, cats, dogs, peacocks, horses, and the mule, Rhody. We used to wait for the plowing to be done to get the chance to ride Rhody back to the barn! We even helped with moving the cows. Sometimes down at ground level, and sometimes from the vantage point of the wagon. The story goes that on one occasion, I was on the ground waving my tobacco stick like a true cowgirl, and from the wagon, Doug called out "Head 'em San, Ol' San's not afraid of them!"
POPCORN: I remember popping home-grown popcorn in a basket over the fire, and cracking black walnuts on the stone wall by the old cellar. If we cracked enough walnuts and did not eat them, we could get Carol to make fudge for us.
SUGAR DADDY: I remember Uncle Gene visiting at bedtime and giving us a treat such as a Sugar Daddy and our mother would make us wait until the next day to eat it. At that time it was hard to tell which was worse, not getting a treat, or having to wait to eat it. I guess it was our mother's way of teaching us about delayed gratification (pretty heavy stuff for 3 and 5 year olds). In truth, she probably knew the sugar would keep us up for hours and we all needed to go to bed.
CHURNING BUTTER: I liked to tag along with Mom and Papaw doing their chores, and in later years, I had a few of my own. Doug and I used to take turns helping to draw water from the well that was off the back porch of the old farmhouse. In this day of bottled water, it was quite a contrast to drink well water dipped from a bucket on the counter back then. Doug and I also looked forward to ringing the dinner bell when it was time to call the workers in for lunch. We could not ring the bell any other time, because it would have been an indication that something was wrong. We liked to churn butter, but probably did not stick with it as long as it took to get the finished butter. Mom was glad to get an electric device to speed the process in later years. I remember watching sorghum molasses begin made, and watching as hogs were processed. I did not witness the slaughter, but did see the meat being cut, and the hams being cleaned and salted for hanging in the smoke house, and the fat being rendered for lard.
WARM SUMMER NIGHTS: Papaw used to say that some of the critters were saying our names on warm summer nights: the katydids said "Sandra Kay, Sandra Kay", and the bullfrogs said "Doug, Doug", and we thought that we were pretty special. Mom and Papaw could always make you feel special.
PAWPAW PATCH: I used to think the song, "Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch" was about the huge cucumber patch that Papaw grew!
QUILTS: I remember the quilt frame Mom used to set up in the living room to make her beautiful quilts. I still enjoy looking at some of the patchwork quilts she made and picking out pieces I recognize from my clothes. Even with so many grandchildren, Mom still tried to make things for all of us, like the pillows, dolls, and quilts she made over the years.
GLAMOROUS MARIANN: I remember visiting Mom and Papaw's house when Cousin Mariann was there. I thought she looked very glamorous and I had to have my hair cut just like hers. My seventh grade school picture will show that something was lost when I told the beautician what I wanted. I was very disappointed that I did not look like Mariann, who may have just won Miss Bluegrass RECC at the time! I did get to copy Mariann again when I followed her lead, (and Rhonda's) and became a medical technologist.
LONG WHITE HAIR: I remember "helping" Mom with her hair. My job was to unbraid and comb it. Watching her braid her long white hair was like watching lightening because that's how fast her fingers moved.
STRAWBERRY JAM: Going to Mom and Papaw's house always meant something good to eat. Homemade biscuits, butter, and Bob White syrup were standard breakfast fare. I liked chicken and dumplings and it was an adventure to see Mom do it all from catching the chicken in the yard to making the dumplings without ever measuring anything! She would make macaroni with sausage and tomato juice for the grandchildren even though she and Papaw did not like it much themselves. Mom and Papaw liked to eat strawberry jam with their breakfast. In later years when Mom did not feel up to making jam herself, she would freeze the strawberries, and when I visited, I would make the jam for them to enjoy.
LAST GARDEN: I helped Papaw with what might have been his last garden, and as always, it was bigger than they needed. It took me a few trips from the house to the garden to get just the right seeds, buckets, and hoes to get to work. I said jokingly, "Papaw, you are working me to death", and in true Papaw fashion, he never missed a chance to tell that tale on me to anyone that would listen! I really had been joking, but that did not dampen his enthusiasm for telling the story on me! I was glad for the opportunity to do something for them after all they had done for me in my life!