Saturday, February 6, 2016

Grateful For Shoes





It seems we all take for granted the little things in life never once thinkin about what it’d be like to do without.                                   
Hard times were a way of life back when I grew up and my parents had it even worse. Folks made do the best they could with what little they had. Just having food on the table, a bed to lay our head or somethin that we don’t even think twice about today, a pair of shoes on our feet was worth so much more. God’s blessings are poured down on us every day and we don’t know how fortunate we really are. If folks had to live like that today they’d never make it.

My parents grew up in a different time and learned to appreciate even more so, the little things in life. They raised us six young’uns the same way. My mama always said, “be happy with what ye got, there’s lots of folks got less.”And she also said, “all the finery in the world won’t bring ye happiness.” I came to find that out over time and sittin down to milk and bread for supper was a feast compared to some, or getting a new pair of shoes when school started in the fall. I’m a simple person and it doesn’t take much to please me.

We went barefoot through the warm months so much that we had trouble gettin used to shoes when school started. Our feet were as tough as a pine knot and rusty as could be at the end of day. But we knew to scrub em clean before we crawled under mama’s clean bed clothes or she‘d skin our hides good. When we got a pair of new shoes we wore em plum out or handed em down to the next one when we outgrew em. That seldom ever happened.

My mama told how she went barefoot not only in the summer but even after the frost. Her daddy worked hard to keep em fed and put clothes on their backs. She came from a family of ten young’uns. Back then they had big families and lots of mouths to feed.
She talked about walkin to catch the school bus on cold, frosty mornings and how cold her feet would get. When the bus finally came she’d jump up the steps fast as she could and sit in the seat with one foot propped on top of the other just to get em warm. She’d rotate em back and forth till she got to school.
When her daddy finally worked out enough money to get shoes, he’d buy for the ones that needed em the most and the others had to wear what they had till he earned enough at the sawmill. He’d cut a slim, straight stick and measure their feet with it and carry it with him to buy the shoes. All the others that had to wait their turn, he’d take a hammer and tacs and put the soles back together the best he could. He’d try to fix em so the tacs wouldn’t come through to their feet and keep the soles from flappin. He’d even put cardboard in between the shoe and the sole. She said, sometimes the tacs would work their way through to their feet but they weren’t about to tell their daddy or mama cause they had enough to worry about.

Back then shoes were a luxury and they were tickled to death to get a new pair even if they were brogans as my mama used to call em.
 She said some of the other young’uns that were always blessed with new clothes and shoes made fun of em. It really hurt her bad and one evening when she got on the bus to come home, this one boy that had been makin fun of her for a while with his sniggerin and laughin met his match. She’d just got a new pair of brogans and she pulled one off and almost hammered his head through the floor of that bus. The bus driver had to pull over to get it stopped. She said what she was scared of the most was that she’d ruined her new shoes. When she got off the bus she looked em over good and decided that it only helped to wear em in. Needless to say, he never did speak to her anymore . She said he dodged her every chance he got.

It broke my heart when she told that story and now when I look back I realize that was one of the reasons she and daddy both worked so hard to give us more than they ever had. Along the way they taught us to appreciate it too, and never make fun of the less fortunate.
We may not have had the best of shoes or clothes and sometimes my brothers wore their britches with holes in the knees to school but one thing’s for certain, they were clean. My mama always said, “rags are honorable but there’s to much soap and water to go dirty.”

She sure learned early on in life how to patch a pair of britches to last. Of course, having so many brothers and then four boys, she didn’t have a choice. Even in later years folks brought their britches to her to patch em. She couldn’t turn anyone down. Mama had a soft heart for people cause she remembered her raisin. And she always said, “be proud of your raisin.”

 She always got the Sears and Roebuck or Spiegel catalogs in the mail and every year and they had big back to school sales. She called em the wish books cause we’d look holes in em. She ordered a lot of our school clothes on time and made a small payment every month. She couldn’t afford to order much. We mostly wore hand me downs and since I was the oldest my hand me downs came from girls close to my age that lived in the neighborhood. That was after they found out it wouldn’t hurt our feelings none. Most people worried about that back then. When I grew out of em I passed em on down to my one and only sister.

One year I found a pair of the most beautiful, yellow sandals I’d ever seen in my life in the Spiegel catalog I wanted those sandals so bad that I could taste it. Mama didn’t mind ordering them but wanted me to have something that would keep my feet warm with frost fast approachin. All of my old shoes were worn out and there’d be none to fall back too. I kept on till she ordered em and I’ll never forget the day they came. I put those sandals on and pranced around like I was Cinderella.
 Sure enough when cold weather came, I was in a mess. We had to dig out a pair of my best, old shoes and take em to the shoe store in town to see if the well known shoe repairman could do anything with the soles. That man was the best at making shoes look like new of anybody I’ve ever seen. He put the soles back together like new. I wore em till mama got her bill paid down some. She ordered me some warm shoes to do me the rest of the school year. I certainly learned my lesson. Pretty is as pretty does.

Needless to say, that shoe repairman was a God send. There’s no tellin how many shoes that man has fixed over the years.
He also had big racks of new and like new shoes. Daddy bought all of his from that little store. He claimed that was the only place he could find any that fit. Daddy liked his shoes a size longer. We all called them Clod Hoppers. I’ll never forget one summer after he’d grown older and was showin his age, we talked him into getting some men’s sandals. We told him they’d keep his feet cooler. We never dreamed he’d love em so much. He was comin in the front door one day and there was a step up ye had to make to get in the door and he stumped his toe and almost fell flat on his face. We tried not to laugh till mama said, “them Jerusalem Cruisers are gonna be the death of ye yet.”
Of course he and mama wore theirs till the soles fell off tryin to keep us in shoes.


 When I look back on the many times I ran barefoot and stumped my toes nearly off, it brings joy to my heart and makes me wanna do it all again. There’s nothing that can compare to bustin a big mud hole wide open, even if we knew we’d get the toe itch. But as my mama used to say, “there’s nothing like being grateful for shoes when ye got none at all and ye feet feels like a block of ice.” 

                                                © Susie Swanson, 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

Something About February





There’s something about the month of February
It warms my heart despite the ground hog day
He tries to ruin it thinking he’s a know it all
 He can’t predict the weather, there’s no way

Two presidents would roll over in their graves
It’s a very good thing they don’t have a clue
They’d pull out all the muzzle loaders and cannons
Knowing that groundhog was overshadowing them too

 If he thinks he’s going to take over Valentine’s Day
He’s got another thing coming that’s for sure
That’s the one day of the year set aside for love
And cupid’s arrow will not pierce him, I assure

I don’t even know why they want to give him a holiday
He thinks cause he saw his shadow it’ll be six weeks more
Spring will be here soon enough, we don’t need him around
He’s waiting for garden time so he can slip in the back door

I got news for that groundhog and he better listen close
February may be short and sweet but it can stand its ground
There’s no little bushy tail critter going to take it over
Get back in that hole before it becomes your burial mound

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Happy February !!
                                              
                                       

Monday, January 25, 2016

When I See An Old House







When I see an old house on display
So many fond memories come to mind
 Children laughing and playing everyday
So much joy and happiness left behind

I see green grass and flowers in bloom
Big tall trees that reach high as the sky
The kitchen being the most popular room
On the window sill sits a tasty, apple pie

The clotheslines are hanging full as can be
Beautiful quilts airing in the spring time sun
Windows being washed, gardening tremendously
So many chores to do and happily having fun

There’s that old swing hanging from a tree
Where many childhood days were well spent
Oh the sound of children’s voices so merrily
Depicts the joys of innocence that still ascent

When I see an old house it touches my heart
To hear in those home-sweet rooms laughter ring
Knowing such timeless beauty will always stand apart
Like the squeaking noise of that old porch swing

A century of growth, sun and rain can never erase
Or take away the priceless stories still left to tell
Even the old chimney stands proud, tall with grace
A reminder of a fireplace and the warmth that it held

A house holds more than paint, walls and floors
It holds the treasured love of those that lived within 
 So much peace and tears of happiness, it still pours
Built the foundation to last forever without end

When I see an old house it speaks loud and clear
It soothes my soul and gives me peace of mind
To know there’s a clear cut past to others so dear
How could I ever forget or leave it all behind

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

If We Could See





If we could see beyond a sorrow
Beyond a present grief, as God can see
We would be braver, knowing some tomorrow
Will still hold happiness for you and me

If we could only glimpse through other eyes
To see the things that is God’s plan and design
We would be more strong and would be keeping
In our hearts, peace and hope through every darkened time

If we could see beyond blurred eyes and weeping
Knowing again the road will smooth before our eyes
By putting our full trust in God and his promises
The lessons of life will unfold to make us wise

We are so blinded by our grief and heartache 
The suffering of so much sickness, sorrow and pain
That we forget the joys beyond believing
God’s promise of healing and peace will be ours again

© Susie Swanson, 2016

I'm so sorry I've been gone but my health issues have taken its toll and I'm still struggling through. I miss visiting with ya'll and hope to be back soon. Many Thanks for your prayers and God Bless each one. ~Susie

Monday, January 4, 2016

When I Think Of January





                                                     When most people think of January
                                                      they think of the cold
                                                      winter's wrath has settled in
                                                      with a powerful hold

                                                      When I think of January
                                                       my heart dances to a song
                                                       I can hear the sewing machine now
                                                       as it hums on along

                                                       All of those quilts
                                                       I patiently piece together
                                                       will surely keep somebody warm
                                                       in January's harsh's weather
                                                       
                                                       I can't forget those trips
                                                       I take to distant lands
                                                       in my mind I travel often
                                                       with my pen in hand

                                                       With every little poem
                                                        my spirit surely does climb
                                                        and I live every moment
                                                        in every little rhyme
     
                                                         So when I look out my window
                                                         and see the January snow
                                                         I don't mind at all
                                                         if time is moving kind of slow

                                                         I know it can't be long
                                                         until spring rolls around
                                                         and it doesn't matter one bit
                                                         if I stay house bound

                                                        © Susie Swanson, 2016

Quilting is my favorite thing to do , especially this time of year but sadly it's not the case quite yet. I'm still having a lot of health issues and praying so hard for a better year. I miss you all and hope so much to be back soon. Thanks for all the prayers and here's wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. ~Susie

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Christmas Card To You






                                                      Every name is a blessing
                                                      upon this list of mine
                                                      somewhere our paths have crossed
                                                      in another place and time

                                                      Perhaps it was years ago
                                                      or only yesterday
                                                      but every person on my list
                                                      has changed my life someway

                                                     A simple hug or conversation
                                                     a friendly smile or meal
                                                     a spoken prayer to God above
                                                     has helped me grow and heal

                                                     Perhaps God went through you
                                                     and wove his magic twine
                                                     in some small or kindly deed
                                                     to touch this heart of mine

                                                     You wished the gray clouds away
                                                     and prayed for rain instead
                                                     I raised my eyes to heaven
                                                     and found a rainbow overhead

                                                    Worldly things that trouble me
                                                     just seems to disappear
                                                     knowing you are always there
                                                     across the miles or near

                                                    You restore my faith, love and hope
                                                     a bond that will never cease
                                                     so many wonderful family and friends
                                                     brings to me an inner peace

                                                    Each day my list continues to grow
                                                    and each name I hold so dear
                                                    each one has brought Christmas joy
                                                    everyday of the year

                                                   This Christmas Card I give to you
                                                   is more than just a wish
                                                   it's a thank you to God above
                                                   for putting you on my list

                                                      © Susie Swanson 2015

Merry Christmas from my home to yours. I'm still having quite a bit of health issues and will be back hopefully soon and try to visit more with ya'll. May God Bless all of you. ~Susie

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Memories




Christmas is a time for joy and happiness, spending time with family, remembering Christmas past when times were so different, simple but grand.
Sadly, a lot of the old ways have been left behind and Christmas has become a commercial holiday. Not so, back in the day when all we had to wake up to was an orange and apple or one present a piece if we were lucky. We felt rich as a king in our hearts. We’d search through the woods for the perfect tree and sometimes that took days and every year it looked the same. We had to tie the top of it to the curtain rod to get the star to stay in place. It was cut from cardboard with aluminum foil wrapped around it to make it shine. Our decorations were holly berries and popcorn strings wrapped around the little droopy tree. The stockings were hung near the tree the night before, anticipating our once a year Christmas treat.
Then as I grew older I noticed something was missing, mama and daddy never did get a present. I felt so bad on Christmas morning when we all opened our stockings or the one present that Santa had managed to bring each one of us. So one year I fell on a plan to make sure daddy and mama had a present. I started saving every little penny I could save, mostly pay from an older lady that hired me to come in the summer and do some house cleaning and yard sweeping. I put them in an old quart jar in my bedroom closet. I didn’t want anyone to know about them so I kept quiet as a mouse. When Christmas Eve rolled around I kept asking mama if she needed anything from the store for her baking or cooking. I knew she always made a black walnut cake from the walnuts we’d cracked and hulled out earlier in the fall. We always saved some for our Christmas cake. She also made a homemade apple sauce cake too. The rest of Christmas dinner consisted of food we’d canned from the gardens in the summer and fresh hog meat that had been killed just before Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I prayed she would need something really bad, bad enough to send me to the store. We always walked to the little country store just over  the road from the house. I kept asking are you sure you don’t need anything from the store and finally she spoke up and said, well if you want to hoof it bad enough I need a dozen eggs for these cakes. Just what I’d been waiting to hear.
 Since our hens didn’t lay much in the winter we only had enough eggs for breakfast if we had any at all.  I ran as fast as my legs would take me towards that quart jar and grabbed those pennies and put them in my pocket. Mama gave me a list to fill and I found out she needed more than she thought. I just about run all the way to the store. When I got there I gave the list to the storekeeper to fill as usual while I looked around. I already had in mind what to buy for mama and daddy’s Christmas present. When he got done filling the list and I paid him with the money mama gave me and stuck what little change she had left back in my other pocket I reached in and brought out the handful of pennies I’d saved. I handed them to him and said will this much money buy a small box of Garrett Strong Snuff and a pack of Camel Cigarettes? He said, well let me count what you got. He counted each penny and told me I had just enough, which I surely doubt today every time I think about it.
He put the little box of snuff for mama and the cigarettes for daddy in a small, brown bag and I stashed them in my pocket so they couldn’t be seen. I felt happy as a lark walking back home. I didn't even stop but long enough to sit mama’s eggs and stuff on the table and took off towards the bedroom. I took out the little bag and looked for something to wrap the presents in. I came up with a plan to wrap each one in a piece of brown paper cut from the paper bag  that I carried mama’s groceries in. I slipped in the kitchen and found the paper bag mama had emptied and grabbed some scissors and run back into the bedroom and cut a big enough piece to wrap each present in. I felt so much joy in my heart and couldn't wait to see their eyes come morning.  I was all set, come bed time I’d slip back up after everyone went to sleep and put mama and daddy’s Christmas presents under the tree. I laid there so quiet and listened to the old clock tick away until everyone was fast asleep. I had the presents hid under the bed covers. I eased up and tip toed into the living room and laid the presents under the tree. Then I slipped back into bed and finally fell asleep. The noise woke me up come morning and I jumped straight up and ran for the living room. Everyone was there opening their presents and we all got one present. Daddy and mama must have had a little extra money to pay Santa with that year. I got a puzzle cause Santa knew I loved putting puzzles together. After all of us kids had opened our presents I crawled under the tree and got mama and daddy’s present and handed it to them. They both looked really serious and said what’s this? I told them it was something Santa left for them. They opened it up and their eyes lite up more so than the tree. Daddy said, I wonder who told him what kind we used. Mama said, I wonder the same thing but I sure can use it.
At that moment I had the most joy in my heart and worth more than diamonds and gold. Now, I know a lot of folks reading this are thinking how did she buy that snuff and cigarettes and her being just a kid. You gotta remember it was a very different time and era and everybody knew each other. We’d patronized that little store so much and the storekeeper was kin to us. I remember sometimes when we went in there and he had some bananas that were getting to ripe to sell he’d give us a bunch. Times sure have changed today and like I said the old ways have fell by the road side, left behind to fade into the past. Christmas is not about buying presents and spending big bucks just to make sure the kids are happy. It’s about love of family, sharing, thinking of the less fortunate, being satisfied with what you have, teaching your kids the true meaning of Christmas. The little things are the most important in life, not the big things and putting God in our hearts every day of the year.  I cherish those long ago Christmases, although we weren't rich in money, we had wealth a thousand ways more. I wish I could go back to that simple old time when the little things were treasures and worth more than money could buy.

© Susie Swanson,2015

Merry Christmas everyone!!