Friday, August 15, 2014

Grateful For Shoes

It seems we all take fer granted the little things in life, never once thinking about what it would 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 something 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 everyday 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 younguns the same way. My mama always said, “be happy with what ya got, there’s lots of folks got less”. and she also said, “all the finery in the world can’t bring 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 getting 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 younguns. 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 fer 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 flapping. 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 younguns 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 fer a while with his sniggerin and laughing 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 fer 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 chose. Even in later years folks brought their britches to her to patch em. She couldn’t turn anyone down. Mama had a soft heart fer people cause she remembered her raising. And she always said, “be proud of your raising.”

 She always got the Sears and Roebuck or Speigel catalogs in the mail and every year 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. 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 were 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. I wanted those sandals so bad that I could taste it. Mama didn’t mind ordering em but wanted me to have something that would keep my feet warm with frost fast approaching. All of my old shoes were worn out and there’d be none to fall back too. I kept on till she ordered them 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 he 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. He’s still there today in the exact same spot. There’s no tellin how many shoes that man has fixed over the years. And if anybody needs their shoes fixed today, he’s the man to do it.
He also has 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 in the summertime. We never dreamed he’d love em so much. He was comin in the front door one day and there was a step up ya 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 ya 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 run 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 busting 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 fer shoes when ya got none at all and ya feet feels like a block of ice.”

                                                            © Susie Swanson, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

That Old Wooden Chair

 That old wooden chair was his favorite spot to be
Sitting in the sunshine in the warmth of the day
Looking out across the land he loved so much
It stirred up memories that carried him away

He always took pride in those big cornfields
 He plowed from sun up to sun down
There’s nothing left but underbrush now
Nary a stalk of corn planted in the ground

Those fields made good corn back in the day
He hauled many a load to the gristmill
Even if it took him all day in that wagon 
On an old gutted out road, most of it uphill

He always tried to share his bounty with others
Everyone wasn’t fortunate to have a good year
Even the stalks made for good fodder
That livestock sure did make it disappear

There was always plenty of planting going on
Whether it be corn or gardens growing so kind
Had to eat come summer or winter
Everything was canned, nothing was left behind

Even before the harvest had time to come in
He thought about winter and what it would bring
He had to keep the home fires burning, or else
If the weather got to bad and firewood got lean

He’d been all over those mountains and hills
Cutting and snaking out wood, it was the only way
That old mule knew how to work hard
He sure could pull that sled on any given day

One can never have enough wood to burn
In the winter when the sun sets low in the sky
Back when he was young and strong
Work was a pleasure, he could never deny 

He could still hear those cherished words
Come on home now, it’s suppertime
He’d grab a dipper of cold, spring water
A sure cure for a hot thirst every time

Sitting on the porch in that old wooden chair
With his sweetheart, wife and best friend
Meant more to him than anything in the world
Oh how he yearned to do it all over again

There’s that pretty little grove of apple trees
Been there many a year, and so content
She helped to plant them, they brought a smile
Even with their trunks so bowed and bent

Her pretty flowers still bloomed in the spring
He always told her she had a green thumb
More beauty than an old man’s heart could hold
He’d soon see her, she was waiting for him to come

Awe, it sometimes brought tears knowing
Time and circumstance had left him behind
Yearning for the things he’d lost and loved 
 Made him feel like he wasn’t worth a dime

He knew his life’s work was over and done
Remembering those bygone days brought a smile
They sure knew how to lift an old man’s spirits 
From the warmth of that chair, if only for a while

Today the old house is so empty and quiet
 Nary a sound but the mantle clock’s tick
Plenty of reminders in every nook and crack
Over in the corner is that little walking stick

The sun still shines on that little window seat
The little birds sing but there’s no one to hear
So much nostalgia and loneliness left behind
In the heart of that old wooden chair

© Susie Swanson, 2014

 Thought I'd better post something to let ya'll know I'm still alive and kicking. I'm still a long ways from kicking high but I'm getting there. I've missed ya'll and hope to be back soon. . Many thanks for the prayers. God Bless, Susie

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God Is Near


                                           Looking back along the years
                                           I can see the hand of God
                                           Leading me down every path
                                           that my feet have trod

                                           I can see the long, steep hills
                                           that I dreaded so to climb
                                           Now I know he went with me
                                           up them everytime

                                           And I think he walked with me
                                           when I thought I walked alone
                                           Through those far away shadows, dark
                                           valleys I have known

                                           And the times I could not walk
                                           he carried me on through
                                           The sorrows and heartaches
                                           he lessened them too

                                           Though I am only human
                                           he knows me very well
                                           Without him by my side
                                           I would be nothing but a shell

                                           So today why should I doubt
                                           and today why should I fear
                                           Sometimes I shall look and see
                                           even now, God is near

                                          © Susie Swanson, 2014

For several months now I have been in a battle with Health Issues. For reasons I don't care to go into I can not give any details at this time.. I'm now under three Specialists and still have a long ways to travel. Even though my journey has been a long one there's lots of folks out there in far worse shapes and I'm praying for all of them and ya'll as well. I know ya'll have been praying for me and that's what's kept me going. The power of Prayer is an awesome thing and we serve an awesome Father that loves us and sticks by us through thick and thin. What can I say, God is Good All The Time. I want to thank each one of you for your prayers,. Because of my Sickness I'm taking a break from my Blog until my health improves. It has become increasingly difficult for me to keep up with anything these days. I miss all of you and visiting your posts. I have always looked forward to all of them but since I got sick it's been very hard to keep in touch. I'll be back as soon as I can and until then ya'll hold down the fort and May God Bless each one. ~ Susie

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Old Barn

                                                 There's an old barn
                                                 sitting all silent and still
                                                 what a story it could tell
                                                 out there in that big, open field

                                                 Back when times were different
                                                 there were alot of things going on
                                                 to look at the old barn today
                                                 no one would never have known

                                                 It was very fond of the cows
                                                 that used to all gather in
                                                 when it came milking time
                                                 and the milk they were willing to lend

                                                 Oh those pesky chickens
                                                 they were always running around
                                                 looking to build their nests
                                                 for then they were homeward bound

                                                 It could never forget the horses
                                                 that each evening had to be fed
                                                 especially during the winter
                                                 before they were put to bed

                                                 Oh how it loved the children
                                                 when they used to come and play
                                                 up in that big, old hayloft
                                                 each and everyday

                                                 There the old rope is still hanging
                                                  they used to swing on that old thing
                                                  with all their child-like noise
                                                  what joy it did bring

                                                  The old barn surely did feel needed
                                                   in that other place and time
                                                   it seems so sad today
                                                   just to walk away and leave it behind
                                                   In my mind I'll hold on to the picture
                                                   when I walk through that big, old door
                                                   then it'll stay with me forever
                                                   and never be forgotten anymore

                                                  © Susie Swanson, 2014

Hope all is well with ya'll. We've had a rainy few days but that's fixing to change. Cool weather coming in. Practically unheard of this time of year. Canning season is in full swing and I haven't been able to do much this year. Mostly freezing alot of stuff. But like the old sayin, "It'll beat a snowball anyday" Ya'll take care and don't work to hard. Blessings, Suse

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

That Ole Toe Sack

It hangs on a nail in the old smokehouse
An ole toe sack that’s tattered and worn
Placed there for a reason and it's held up well
Especially, during the days of carrying corn 

I can still see him in his overalls and cap
And that ole toe sack slung on his back
Loaded for barrel, heading for the gristmill
 Fresh cornbread for supper, nothing did we lack

When it came time for the harvest to begin
It carried everything that was put there to grow
There was nothing left behind or forgotten
Walking ever slowly back and forth, to and fro

It carried many big taters dug from the patch
Straight to the tater hole and buried in the ground
There was many a sack full of cabbage each year
 The uses for that ole toe sack continued to mound

When the cold, wind blew, it carried in the kindling
That started the fires to knock off the cold
Hued from the pine knots on the side of a tree
He’d turn it wrong side out and use it twofold

It seems some things are never meant to last
Awe, it so often brings a big smile and a sad tear
Knowing fully well those little apples on the tree
Would surely be picked and used every year

Today that ole toe sack is still hanging on a nail
Left behind as a reminder to all that opens the door
In my mind I still hold on to that cherished picture
And it’s slung over his back like always before

© Susie Swanson, 2014

Happy Wednesday to Ya'll. It's a rainy day in our little neck of the woods but can't complain. We've had beautiful weather for the past week.  I haven't been on here much lately and haven't been writing to much either. This is all I could come up with this morning. I'm still ailin some but hoping for some news soon. Many thanks for all of your prayers. They have surely been felt in more ways than one. God Bless each of ya. Blessings, Susie

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let Us Not Forget

                                                   Let us not forget the ancient wisdom
                                                   With which our ancestors walked their days
                                                   Let us carry on with great determination
                                                   With a grateful heart, to God we give the praise

                                                   Let us not forget the mountains they climbed
                                                   In the darkest valleys where they found light
                                                   Footprints are abundant down every path
                                                   All of their yesterdays can be found in plain sight

                                                   Let us not forget the sound of their voice
                                                   In the distance they are still calling us home
                                                   The place where many a prayer was heard
                                                   Shaping our tomorrows until we were grown

                                                   Let us not forget the love that was given
                                                   All under the same roof, each night at bed
                                                   The teachings of God's word, the Bible
                                                   Food for our body and soul, we were always fed

                                                   Let us not forget the many sacrifices made
                                                   Working from sun up until sun down
                                                   The love of family, there's no boundaries
                                                   How proud we must be of them, so profound

                                                   Let us not forget the place from which we came
                                                   May our hearts stay humble and proud
                                                   And listen to the wisdom of all the ages
                                                   Can you hear, the echoes are calling so loud

                                                   © Susie Swanson, 2014

I hope all of my Blogging friends have had a nice 4th. As for me it was just another day this year. I'm still ailing  and hopefully they're getting closer to finding the root of the problem. Strangest thing I've ever went through and that's sayin alot. But, there's people in far worse shapes and I remind myself everyday. Still praying for ya'll and will get around to visit soon I hope. Blessings, Susie

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sacred Ground

                                                     Today I hear the echoes
                                                     so many ways and more
                                                     this place where I live
                                                     my mind goes back to explore

                                                     The ground was not barren
                                                     it was trod upon each day
                                                     the busy sound of a gristmill
                                                     I still hear the old time way

                                                     Wagon tracks were plenty
                                                      back and forth, to and fro
                                                      hauling corn to make bread
                                                      from the fields where they'd grow

                                                     The grinding noise still lingers
                                                     I can hear it so plain
                                                     turning corn into cornmeal
                                                     for everyone that came

                                                    A clear picture I cling to
                                                    as I go on my way
                                                    I see my dear grandpa
                                                    with hair and beard of gray

                                                    The door was always open
                                                    he was everybody's friend
                                                    his goal was to make sure
                                                    they had bread once again

                                                    Oh what a wonderful, place
                                                    and a privilege so much to be
                                                    this cherished, simple time
                                                    in my mind each day I see

                                                    This ground where I live
                                                    nestled away with each sound
                                                    it's an honor to walk upon
                                                    I call it sacred ground

                                                    © Susie Swanson, 2014

In memory of the Grandpa I never had the privilege to know. He died in 1937 but he lives on in the Legacy he left behind and in the many hearts he touched.. Today, I live on the exact same spot where he had his Gristmill. I can just hear it sometimes in my mind. So many people depended on him to help put bread on their table. Rest In Peace Grandpa, you will never be forgotten as long as the words from my pen never runs dry.