I love the country—and there has always been more than a little country in this city boy. Much of that comes from childhood days spent on my maternal grandparents farm. So many memories . . .
Riding on my grandfather's Farmall and John Deere Tractors, walking down rows of cotton plants and filling a "tow-sack" with fluffy white cotton, going to the cotton gin and marveling at the noisy and powerful machinery that separated the cotton from the seeds and compressed it into bales. Fishing for "craw-daddies" with a piece of cotton string, a slice of bacon and a rock weight. The notorious outdoor toilets (half-moon on the door, the acrid smell of lime wafting up from beneath the two holes in the wooden bench, bumblebees buzzing about and making for a wary time) . . .
Swinging leisurely on the porch swing. Playing with a menagerie of pets that included baby rabbits, ground squirrels, horny toads, lizards and more. Getting to ride ponies - and later, HORSES! - and marveling at (and being a little afraid of) the powerfully muscled and beautiful animal beneath you. . .
Walking barefooted on a dirt road on a hot summer day in air so still that small puffs of dust lingered in the trail of your passing footsteps. Watching shimmering waves of summer heat rise above fields parched golden, listening to the brittle sound of grasshoppers flitting to and fro in the roadside Johnson grass. Cooling off in the hot afternoons with a drink of magical elixir known as "well-water" drawn up in a pail by a rope and pulley and dipped out in a tin ladle. Later, in the evenings, being serenaded by the never-ending evening symphony of cicadas (referred to as "locusts" by the local folks) and then chasing fireflies in the dusk across the front lawn. . . .
Making home-made ice-cream from fresh cream and just-picked eggs and hand-cranking away forever on a sturdy oak container filled with ice and rock salt. Then, by the time the ice cream had finally “set”, being so anxious that you end up eating too much too fast and get aching "brain chills" one after another!
And, at the end of the die, sinking exhaustedly beneath home-made quilts into feather mattresses and feather pillows that swallowed you up, falling fast asleep and dreaming of the fun and joy of the new day to come.
You know, I wouldn't trade those days for all the computer games, internet Cell Phone s and 200 channel satellite TV's in the world!