Monday, June 20, 2016

Mama's Tiny Treasures






Many years ago mama found some tiny, odd looking seeds in her bird seed when she was feeding her birds one morning. They looked so strange and she was so intrigued by em that she decided to stick em in the ground and see what might come up.

She decided to plant em by the front porch post at the corner of the porch in case they had vines so they’d have something to climb on. She kept em watered for a few days and then one morning she walked by the porch and looked down and low and behold there were two or three little green plants that had topped the ground. She kept a watch on them for a while and found out they were a vine of some kind cause they started climbing up that porch post. Out of curiosity, we all got in on the mysterious vines and kept an eye on them every day. They climbed really high till they reached the ceiling of the porch and then they started running across what I call the wall plate (mantle) of the porch. They soon began to bloom and the blooms were white. By that time we were so excited and anxious to see what kind of flower they might turn out to be. Mama kept saying they were Morning Glories cause they had the same kind of leaves but we were all still skeptical.

Daddy fixed it all when he came in the door one day and said, ye better get rid of them vines, they’re them Ole Japany vines and they’re gonna get in this house and kill us all. We all laughed till we hurt. Anybody and everybody that ever knew daddy knew he made up his own words as he went along and we never knew what was gonna come out of his mouth next. If folks didn’t know what he was talking about they played like they did and tried not to laugh in front of him but sometimes that was hard to do. He even called people’s name wrong, like my cousin Keith. He called him Cheith and it wasn’t cause he couldn’t say it, he never had a speech problem in his life, that was just his way. Keith would answer him and go on his way just like everybody else.

Back to the subject at hand, I’ll never forget the day a tiny gourd appeared on those vines and we were in awe. Daddy was the one that noticed it first and said, these are some kind of gourds, maybe they ain’t them Ole Japany vines after all. Sure enough, as more and more appeared and grew more large they were gourds but each one had its own unique shape and color. Some even turned out to be very multi-colored and they all had different shapes. They grew about three inches and stopped. To say we were amazed is an understatement cause we’d never seen gourds like that. Mama and daddy had planted and grown many gourds before but none like those and the leaves were even different on the vines and that’s what threw us off. They hung down from those vines clear across that porch mantle like some kind of Christmas decorations and were so beautiful.

That whole summer everybody that visited was so amazed by those little gourds and even more amazed by how mama came by the seeds. She told everyone that was her lucky find. We’d always been amazed at her cause she could walk through the yard and look down and pick up a four leaf clover and I’ve never found one in my life.

When fall came in and it came time to harvest the tiny gourds mama gathered every one and put them in a big bowl. She said she was gonna let em dry out over the winter and keep a few seeds from some of em.

When spring time rolled around she planted those little seeds in the ground, nary a one came up. We were all as disappointed as mama even daddy, especially after he’d found out for himself they weren’t Ole Japany Vines.  We were looking forward to another summer of watching those gourds come up and grow.

Mama kept her little gourds for years cause they last a long time and they were her pride and joy. Mama is gone now and her little gourds too, and I only wish I could turn back time and watch her stick stuff in the ground and the enjoyment on her face when it came up. But that one particular summer it didn’t matter how many flowers or how big the gardens were she took the most pride in her little treasures.


She had a green thumb and everything she planted came up in one fashion or another. I know heaven is so much more beautiful with mama there cause she’s planted everything she can get her hands on. I can’t help but wonder how many tiny gourds are growing and hanging from the vines making more beautiful decorations in heaven.

                                              © Susie Swanson 2106

Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Hero





When I go home across the hills at evening
 My little flock of memories gather in
A gentle peace and quietness will settle
I look back and remember my hero once again

The man I always knew and called daddy
That worked so hard to keep us fed
With a wrinkled brow and callused hands
He provided a roof and a place to lay our head

I see him in the garden, come early spring
With his overalls on and his favorite hoe
He stayed with it from the beginning to end
Nary a weed was allowed to grow

I see him in the winter, in the fallen snow
Splitting pine for kindling to start a fire
Gathering in the night’s water and wood
  In his plaid coat and gloves, his favorite attire

Each day I hear and see him with his dog Toby
I’m going out to the old place, he’d say
As they happily walked through my yard
Oh what a keepsake memory today

I see those big, apple trees he planted
Tall just like daddy, oh how they grew
So many treasures I have come to enjoy
When it comes to my daddy, I’m like glue

He’d tell straight out, he never had much school
Couldn‘t read and write, certainly no degree
The gift of knowledge flowed through his veins
For ninety four years, he taught constantly 

To all that listened and wanted to know
Wisdom from the most wise is a gift to behold
As my daddy eased on down through life
So much joy came in pouring out his soul

He walked each road, climbed every hill
He knew everybody for miles around
If they didn’t know him, they came to know
 He owned and had many a stomping ground

So many examples he set before me
So many memories, such good times
From when I was little and even grown
He taught me life lessons, only he could design

 My daddy is now walking and talking in heaven
Up there where fathers are a chosen kind
I’m now left with my precious flock of memories
And my hero’s love he gladly left behind

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Happy Father's Day to my Dad in Heaven and to all Father's. May your day be as special as you. Blessings

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

That Little Backyard Spring






Our family was so blessed when we were growing up in so many different ways. We came to appreciate what we had more every day. We didn’t care if there wasn’t any indoor plumbing, we made do with what we had. And unlike so many people that didn’t have well water like us and had to tote their water all uphill, we had a little spring in the back yard. All we had to do was grab the bucket and step off the back porch and walk a few feet. That was the best drinking water in the world and we always had a little dipper hanging on one of the hedge bush limbs that grew out over the top of the spring. We also kept one in the house as well. Those were the handiest little dippers and the water even tasted better.
 Every time one of us came through the back yard we’d grab a cold dipper of water. After working in the garden we felt like drinking the spring dry. But we never had to worry about it going dry cause as long as I can remember that spring stayed full all the time, even in the hottest part of the year.

 It run out down the side of the yard as a little branch and we liked to catch spring lizards in the summer.
We also loved to wade that little branch and play in it what time we wasn’t playing in the creek. Sometimes mama would pitch a bar of soap at us when we headed towards the creek and say while you’re at it take a bath. We didn’t care that the creek water was just as cold in the middle of the summer as the winter like the little spring. We’d lather up good with the soap and throw it on the bank of the creek and keep on playing and splashing till suppertime. We’d go in home wet and wrinkled up like a prune and the first thing mama’d say, “did uns wash with that soap like I asked uns to?” She sure did believe in being clean.

That little spring came in handy for many things. Back before we got a frigerator we’d put our milk in the spring to keep it cold. We even put our homemade butter in there too. Mama would put it down in a glass, milk jug or bowl with a lid and stick it in the spring. That cold, spring water sure took care of us in more ways than one.

And the many buckets of water that we carried, I could never count in a million years. Come wash day we’d carry so many our arms felt like they’d fall off, some to heat outside in the big black pot over the fire in warm weather or on the wood cook stove in the winter on wash day. And there was plenty of rinse water to carry as well. It’d take the whole day cause we had so many clothes, bed linens, etc.

In the summer we’d carry buckets after buckets to fill up the wash tubs and sit em in the yard in the sun all day to warm so we could get our weekly baths that evening in the bedroom or the ole smokehouse. In the winter the tubs were placed in the kitchen by the wood cook stove. We had to heat our bath water in big pots on the cook stove in the winter.
 We took baths in between too, the only way we could in a wash pan.

Mama made sure we never went dirty to school, church or anywhere for that matter. Her motto was, “there’s to much soap and water in the world to go dirty.” And the one I liked the best was, “rags are honorable long as your hind end ain’t shinin and they’re clean.” She always made sure we washed behind our ears and she’d tell us to be sure and clean them rusty ears. I don’t think there was ever any rust behind our ears, except for the boys and that was cause they‘d been out playing in the dirt and running through the thickets.
I do recall her scrubbing some of the younger ones ears before with a wash rag and soap. I heard her say one time, “if I catch that rust on them ears one more time I’m gonna scrub em till they’re raw.” She’d even tell daddy the same thing. I heard her tell him one time, “you’re worse than a youngun to let your ears go rusty.” He must of remembered it cause later on in life after we all were about grown and we had indoor plumbing he hollored at me one day to come and check his ears after he’d took a bath. I inspected his ears and he looked like he’d scrubbed em raw they were so red. I told him they were clean as a whistle and he said, “ I just don’t know about your mammy anymore, she sure is bossy.” It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

Yep, that little spring was a life saver. Before dusky dark every evening we’d grab the water buckets and carry in the night’s water, come morning they’d be empty again, my name became, “Go Fetch.”

We all had our own share of chores to do and tried to take turns but sometimes it fell on the one that was the most handy. The boys helped daddy chop, split and carry in the wood. In the winter time it was worse. They had to keep both wood boxes filled, one for the heater and the other for the cook stove. And there was always plenty more water to be carried from the spring.

That little back yard spring sure was a God send and kept us going for many, long years. Times have changed and I admit I wouldn’t want to carry those buckets of water again unless I had to but back then it was a necessity and I’d do it all again.  We never know just how much water we use till the bucket's empty. 


Back when times were different
Water was a most useful resource
And carryin plenty of buckets
There was never any remorse

The dishes needed washin
Clothes were hung out to dry
And washin those dirty ears
Was a rule to always comply

Havin water nearby and handy
Was something to be admired
A cold dipper of spring water
Is something to be desired

And fightin over the dipper
With plenty of glasses around
Was worth every drop of spring water
There’s none better to be found

Awe, how useful that water could be
And bath time was worth it all
Even if those big wash tubs
Held so much ye had to crawl

 The branch was an added bonus
With quite a runnin spree
It felt so good on bare feet
Flowin to the next stream or sea

Even catchin spring lizards
Was such a joy and thrill
Just to make a few pennies
To a kid is surely a big deal

I still miss that little spring
And will forever be grateful for
The many buckets I carried
And my go fetchin chore


© Susie Swanson, 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Echoes





                                                 The steeple stands so proud
                                                 The echoes are still there
                                                 When I listen very close
                                                  I hear singing in the choir

                                                 And preaching was a plenty
                                                 The Sabbath was its day
                                                 That old alter was the key
                                                 Most humbly they did pray

                                                 Those old weathered boards
                                                 Oh what stories to be told
                                                 The congregation was all there
                                                 And the bell chimes were gold

                                                 They came from far and near
                                                 Parked under trees with shade
                                                 In the dirt where they sat
                                                 Many wagon tracks were made

                                                 The mules were so content
                                                 As they grazed on green grass
                                                 Slightly peaking their ears
                                                 When a big Amen was passed

                                                 Plenty of shouting and rejoicing
                                                 Still hangs in every crack
                                                 No memories will ever be lost
                                                 Nor echoes will it lack

                                                 Such a big part of history
                                                 And a grand, old Godly place
                                                 It touched so many hearts
                                                 With beauty, dignity and grace

                                                 That old door is still open
                                                 Just like it was before
                                                 Calling, calling to someone
                                                 Come on in there's still more

                                                 Listen closely to each sermon
                                                 There's many left to hear
                                                "Amazing Grace" still echoes
                                                 Through the wooded path so clear

                                                 © Susie Swanson, 2016

The picture above is an Abandoned Church in Lincoln County, Wisconsin. Built in 1907.

I know this is a Repost but though alot of the new followers might enjoy it as well.
Happy Sunday and God Bless, ~Susie~

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Daddy's Driving





My daddy was the smartest man I ever knew and he was my hero. There wasn’t anything that he fell short of when it came to common sense and knowing how to get by. He always said, if ye got common sense ye can go far in life. He’d be the first to admit he didn’t get much schoolin as he put it, in one door and out the other. But times were different back then, young'uns had to help with the work, planting, harvesting, etc.

What time daddy wasn’t in the fields helping his daddy plow he was at the gristmill helping to grind the corn people would bring for their bread. That’d be an all day job. They’d come in home and eat supper and head towards the corn patches and plow till pitch dark. They’d get up before the crack of dawn and head back out to the fields. Then his dad would tell him, you get on up that hill to school son. Daddy said, he’d stay for a little while and get something on his mind to do and slip out the back door. That teacher would keen his legs good the next day with that hickory limb but it didn’t do any good. He’d do the same the next chance he got. His daddy would jump on him when he got home and sometimes do the same as the teacher but it didn’t stop him none.

It wasn’t easy to get a book education back then but daddy learned early on how to get through life. He never let it stop him with anything except one thing and that was getting his driver’s license. He never would try. He said since he couldn’t read and write what was the use in trying. He always said, what are they gonna do with an old man like me if they catch me, put me in the jailhouse and throw away the key. If they did I’d have it made with three square meals a day and there’d be less expense and worry for your mammy to have on her shoulders. Of course mama didn’t see it that way and always said if they catch ye you’ll have to lay in the jailhouse cause I can’t get ye out.

From the time daddy was old enough to hold the reins he drove an old wagon helping his dad and I guess he figured why worry about a license now. There was so many old, gutted, out roads he traveled down in an old wagon and later on in life he helped build them and Dams too. He worked for the WPA (Worker’s Progress Administration) when President Roosevelt signed it into law. He always said it was the best thing to come along. That’s why he knew every road around.
I can honestly say he never did get caught and was blessed to never be in an accident. We told him he had angels riding with him and God for sure.
But there was this one time he came mighty close. He always took the backroads when he got the chance but sometimes he had no choice but to hit the main roads.

He was taking my sister to the doctor one day for a recheck on her knee that she’d fell and twisted a few weeks before, when they came upon a road check. She was around twelve or so and it scared her. She yelled, “oh no we’re in for it now daddy.” He said, “calm down and stop ye worryin so much.” She said, they’ll put you in the jailhouse daddy, you ain’t got no license.” He told her again to calm down and stop frettin. Daddy slowed the old truck down and stopped, waiting for em to get through with the car in front . The officer waved daddy on through when it came time for him to pull up and be checked. Daddy slowly pulled on out and they stopped the vehicle behind em. My sister said, I wonder why they didn’t wanna check us daddy, and daddy said, “I told ye they ain’t got time to fool with an old man like me.”

They got to the doctor’s office and when they walked inside, daddy walked up to the window and said, “we’re here to get this gal’s knee checked, you know the one that tore her knee up while scufflin at school.” One of the ladies asked my sister what her name was and she told her. Daddy found him a seat in amongst a bunch of old fellers and started running his mouth as if he knew every one of em and they did the same. Who knows, he probably did. He knew everybody and if they didn’t know him they’d get to know him really fast

Daddy couldn’t write her name down on the clipboard or his own name either for that matter but it never stopped him from facing what life threw at him and he would walk into the biggest crowd to come along and made himself at home. He never saw a stranger.

I remember when he finally gave up his driving. His reflexes weren’t as good as they once were and it was for the best. The old truck just sit there for the longest time and everyday he’d crank it up just to hear it run. We felt sorry for him but it was for the best. He finally gave in and sold it. And he never mentioned driving anymore.

 He taught me a lot about common sense and how to get through life. I’m so glad I got the privilege to attend school and learn what I did. My daddy and mama encouraged us young'uns to get as much education as possible. They always said, “ye never know what you might face in life and how much ye may need it.” They were pretty stern on an education and today I know why and appreciate em even more so. But common sense goes along ways and my daddy was living proof of that . He lived life to the fullest every day and walked up and down the same roads that he help build. After we lost daddy the doctor told us that’s what kept him going was his walking. The only times I can ever remember him being in the hospital was when he had to have a couple of minor surgeries and being put in for his blood pressure being to high, as he called it the swimmy heads.
That’s saying a lot for an old man that lived to the ripe old age of ninety four. I bet he’s talking to everyone he comes in contact with up in heaven and if there’s a chance he can drive, he’s doing that too.


I still hear him sometimes as he walks through my yard and those famous words, “I’m going out to the old homeplace to check on the garden and see if that groundhog has finished it off.” Of course, that was just an excuse to go back to the old place where he was born and raised and where he raised his own family. He loved that old place and he followed his memories, just like I’m doing today. 
Thanks daddy for showing me how to follow my heart and giving me so many great memories and lessons in life. You sure did leave a lot behind for us all to enjoy and live by.

                                            © Susie Swanson 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Warrior




I have fought a hundred battles
In my mind I’ve seen it all
I have raised my gun against the enemy
And seen my comrades die and fall

I have carried the armor of courage
Always wanting to do my part
On land, sea, jungles and deserts
It will always lay heavy on my heart

For my brothers and sisters that have fallen
I will always remember them well
So much sacrifice, they gave their all
In that place we all called hell

Inside, the battles are still raging
In my mind I still see and hear
Mortals, shells and the enemy
In my sleep they still appear

Yet each day I try to carry on
Although I have cried many tears
If I had to do it over again
I would shed my coat of fears

And walk straight into battle
With my head held mighty high
For the freedom I fight hard for
 I am willing to lie down and die

I will always be a Warrior
Even after I am dead and gone
Please do not forsake me
Fly old Glory proud and strong

© Susie Swanson 2016

My Heartfelt Gratitude goes out to each and everyone.
May God Bless you all!!

Here's wishing you all a nice Memorial Day Weekend. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Little Things




I learned a long time ago the little things are the most important in life and can’t compare to wealth of money or material things. When I was growing up we didn’t have much material things and sure didn’t have any money but we made do with what we had and was so grateful and blessed beyond measure.
We turned little things into big ones in so many ways. We never had fancy, store bought toys to play with. We made our own play things with a lot of imagination and a whole lot of ingenuity.

We built playhouses all over the mountain side and we never stopped till we had a grand little playhouse. We’d use old pots and pans that mama had discarded due to the holes in em or she’d let us have an old worn out bed sheet, etc. We used anything we could get our hands on when our imaginations kicked into high gear. We’d play all day if we had our chores done and didn’t realize how hungry we really were till mama hollered, “supper time.”

My brothers made their own cars and trucks out of shoe polish bottles, matchboxes, etc. When they’d get tired of playing house with us girls they could be found playing on the red, clay bank over from the house. They’d play for hours pushing that dirt and using their imagination on that bank. Mama grumbled a lot over the dirty britches and knees that were worn out but she kept em washed and clean. Clorox was her best friend and soap was our best friend, according to mama.

On Sunday afternoons we’d get a treat and we looked forward to that. In the afternoon the whole family would go on a picnic, especially in the warmer months. Daddy always planted watermelons every year and when one got ripe we’d stick it in the spring to get cold. Mama would cook a meal fit for a king and we’d carry our food in boxes, etc. and grab a watermelon out of the spring and start out walking. We’d walk way back in the woods till we found the right spot to eat. We’d spread out our food on an old blanket or sheet and we’d eat till we popped. That was the best eating anywhere. It tasted so much better on the outside surrounded by nature than at the table.
We’d explore every little hole and corner and mama would tell us not to wander off to far and step on a snake. Daddy loved to explore as much as we did and we’d all spread out in different directions and knowing those woods like we did we never had any trouble finding our way back. We always made the whole evening out of it and by the time we’d walk back home it was sundown and the animals had to be fed.

If daddy took a notion to go another direction the next Sunday afternoon we’d all jump on the back of his old truck and ride the backroads till we’d find the perfect place to stop and rest a while, as daddy called it. He’d park the old truck under a big, shade tree and search till we found the right spot to spread out our food, even if it was in a cow pasture under a big shade tree. If it was early spring we’d pick a bunch of poke salat and if we found a creek or branch somewhere we’d pick some creasy greens to take home and cook. There’s different types of creasy greens but mama always said the ones that grow near water are the best.
 When it came time to head in home we’d jump on the back of that old truck and it felt like heaven with the wind blowing against our face and skin and we savored every minute of every mile.

We’d hurry and do our chores when we got home so we could watch Wild Kingdom on our little black and white TV. It came on every Sunday evening and we looked forward to it so much. Of course, this was after we got a TV. After it was over we’d go outside and play till mama hollered, “young’uns ye better get in this house before ye get a snake wrapped around ye legs.”

And then there was the little creek and all its glory. We had one particular spot that made for a big pond and it was called The Old Mill Pond. It was named after the gristmill my grandpa, daddy and uncle had operated so many years earlier and was located just up the creek a piece from where the gristmill sit, or what was left of it.  You talk about having a blast, we did. We’d play at that pond till sundown and we got so hungry and tired we’d almost crawl in home for supper. Mama would give us a good going over for laying in the creek so long, as she called it. But you talk about cooling off on a hot, summer day, there was no better place to be found than that cold, icy creek. The water stayed just as cold in the summer as the winter. We made many happy memories there and till this day when I step in that cold creek that happens to be located behind my house It takes me back to my childhood and those long ago days we all enjoyed so much.

We had the best time of our lives running through the thickets, woods or playing in the creek.  It’s a wonder we didn’t get snake bit but snakes never crossed our mind. We were to busy being a young’un and living the good life and loving every minute of it.

I loved it when families all came together and something as small but yet so big like sitting down at the table come mealtime was the natural thing to do. I can’t remember a time we didn’t all sit down together to eat and that table full of a delicious bounty we grew in the gardens or big bowls of gravy and hot biscuits hitting the spot each morning. Mama always took time to cook a big breakfast for us before we went to school each morning even after she went to work on a public job.

I miss those days even more now since I’m grown. In this fast, paced life we’re living in, folks ain’t got time for nothing anymore. It makes me sad knowing all those little things are still there wasting away.


 Our childhood and imagination was our best friend and the little things were big things in that long ago place where time stood still and all was right within a childhood world. I just wish I could ride the back of that ole truck one more time with daddy going five miles an hour, what joy it’d bring.

                                        © Susie Swanson, 2016