Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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 ya got common sense ya can go far in life.  He’d be the first to admit he didn’t get much schooling as he put it , in one door and out the other. But times were different back then, kids 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 ya you’ll have to lay in the jailhouse cause I can’t get ya 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 worrying 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 fretting. Daddy slowed the old truck down and stopped, waiting for them 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 them. My sister said, I wonder why they didn’t wanna check us daddy, and daddy said, I told ya 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 scuffling 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 everyone of them 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 wasn’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 kids to get as much education as possible. They always said, ya never know what you might face in life and how much ya may need it. They were pretty stern on an education and today I know why and appreciate them even more so. But common sense goes along ways and my daddy was living proof of that . He lived life to the fullest everyday 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 sayin 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 eat it up.. 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. You sure did leave a lot behind for us all to enjoy.

© Susie Swanson, 2014

I know I've wrote alot about my Daddy but there's so much to tell and remember. He's been gone since 1998 and he lived to be 94. The picture above was taken two weeks before he passed away. He was an open history book and lived and seen so much in his life. I'll keep writing my memories cause when I'm gone they'll be gone. I miss my hero today but he left me with so much love and such wonderful memories.. Blessings, Susie

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Memories Never Age

                                                     From the time she was a little sprout
                                                     She walked with a happy song
                                                     Old dirt roads were the common route
                                                     Where so many feet traveled upon

                                                     Walking hand and hand together
                                                     Her little grandma by her side
                                                     Eight short years seemed forever
                                                     A happy little girl with joy and pride

                                                     She came to learn so much more
                                                     As she listened along the way
                                                     Visiting many, walking to the store
                                                     Was the usual routine each day

                                                     Or sitting on an old fence rail
                                                     Eating an apple under the tree
                                                     Grandma gathering apples in her apron tail
                                                     The taste of that apple, what a memory

                                                     Skipping along, looking for a pretty rock
                                                     Running through the creek, busting it wide
                                                     Hardly a shoe, never a sock
                                                     Stumping her toes, she never cried

                                                     Her mouth running ninety miles an hour
                                                     Asking questions, curious as could be
                                                     Grabbing a crabapple, oh how sour
                                                     Her grandma warned her aimlessly

                                                     Walking to church many a time
                                                     And Decoration Day an annual event
                                                     Dinner on the ground a sure fire sign
                                                     The whole day they rejoiced and spent

                                                     So proud of her pretty, little church dress
                                                     Her mama made, especially for the day
                                                     And those pretty roses were the best
                                                     Sitting on the graves in a big bouquet

                                                     Carrying that little doll her grandma gave
                                                     With piercing eyes blue as the sky
                                                     The smallest things are worth the save
                                                     Worth more than money can buy

                                                     So many memories for a small girl
                                                     Tucked away of a few short years
                                                     Her grandma wasn't long for this world
                                                     Golden memories wipe away the tears

                                                     In her mind she'll never lose sight
                                                     Of her grandma on that distant shore
                                                     Her voice she still hears each night
                                                    Go to sleep now, tomorrow we'll do even more

                                                     Today she smiles with a happy heart
                                                     Turning back time and each cherished page
                                                     She and her grandma will never part
                                                     Although she's grown, memories never age

                                                        © Susie Swanson, 2014

                         In memory of my sweet grandma. She's been gone 54 years today.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Old Lady

Back when we were growing up my daddy was gone a lot, off working. He helped to build roads, bridges, etc. He’d be gone for a week or two and sometimes three before he got to come home for the weekend. He’d come in on a Friday night and go back Sunday evening. We all hated to see him go but we knew he had to work to make a living but it didn’t stop us from missing him really bad.

I’ll never forget one Friday night when daddy came home he brought a pretty, reddish looking dog home. He said this older couple that he ate with a lot through the week gave her to him. He loved home cooked meals and he paid the older couple to be able to get a hot supper plus he said that old lady could cook the best ya ever seen. They gave him the dog cause she was a squirrel dog and she needed to be able to run and hunt and the man wasn’t able to take her plus they lived to close to the city.

We thought she was the best thing to come along since penny candy and it didn’t take us or her long to get attached.  Daddy said her name was Lady but it wasn’t long till that was changed to Old Lady. She was a very, gentle dog with a heart of gold. When it came time for my brothers to take her squirrel hunting, she’d run on ahead and have one up a tree before they could get there. We soon found out how good a squirrel dog she was. They’d bring back the squirrels and mama would cook em and make gravy or dumplins out of em. She’d wag that tail like she was so proud of herself when they’d come back from a hunt.
Then one day Old Lady went missing. We looked for days and days and the boys plowed through the woods calling out her name but she wasn't to be found and our hearts were broken. We walked around lost and couldn't get our minds off of her and where she might be, if she was hungry or thirsty, hurt or sick, and we didn't want to think the worse.

When  daddy came in from work the following weekend we saw him coming out the road and we run to meet him to tell him Old Lady was gone and it broke his heart too, we could see it in his eyes. Daddy helped us hunt for her all weekend and kept telling us she’d come home soon enough. I think he only told us that so we wouldn’t be so sad and heart broken, cause he had to go right back to work that Sunday evening.

Then my uncle, came by one day just to stop in a while like he always did. He was the best feller in the world when he didn’t have a little nip in him but when he smelled of it mama would put him in the wind, if you know what I mean. On that particular day mama said something that made us all take notice. She said it loud enough for all to hear cause we’d been telling him how Old Lady was gone and we didn’t have a clue as to where she was at. Mama said, there’s one thing for certain and one thing for sure if somebody has stole that dog and carried her off she’d make sure they were thrown in the jailhouse and they threw away the key. We didn’t know what to make of it except to think that mama  missed her as bad as we did. After she said that my uncle just politely got up and left.

Then something strange happened the very next day. We were out in the yard playing late that next evening when one of the boys looked up and saw Old Lady coming out the road. He hollered, there’s Old Lady and we all looked out the road and run to meet her and grabbed her around the neck. She was so proud to see us too. She was standing there wagging her tail and she even laid down on the ground to let us pet her. Then about the time mama walked up one of the boys spoke up and said, I wonder where she’s been all this time. Mama said, she’s back and that’s all that matters.
We never did find out for sure what happened to her or where she’d been. I often wondered but it was never mentioned again.

Old Lady was still around when I grew up and got married. My husband went hunting with her and the boys too.  They’d even take her possum hunting with em. She’d tree a possum just as fast as she’d tree a squirrel. He fell out of a tree one night while trying to climb it and get the possum out and broke his little, pinky finger. He wouldn’t go to the doctor and it’s still crooked as Old Lady’s hind legs were.

When we got Old Lady she was about three years old and she lived to be seventeen years old.  Our hearts were really broken one morning when we found she’d gone to her reward. Things were never the same anymore and I still think of her yet. She sure did earn her crown, she was the best dog we ever had. We had many dogs to come and go while growing up but there has never been another dog like her and I can only imagine the many squirrels and possums she’s treeing in heaven. Old Lady will forever remain in our hearts and a big part of our family.

©  Susie Swanson, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Look And You Will Find

                                             It blossoms in rare form
                                             so graceful and tenderly
                                             engulfs the strongest heart
                                             with flames of purity

                                             It strides through valleys
                                             across the ocean wide
                                             nothing can deter it
                                             on wings it can glide

                                             A beautiful flower in bloom
                                             always willing to share
                                             or creatures of nature
                                             spreading wonders everywhere

                                             With a song upon its lips
                                              beautiful lyrics so grand
                                              follow, it will lead you
                                              clear across the land

                                              Years can not stifle it
                                              nor chains can not bind
                                              love is there for the taking
                                              look and you will find

                                               © Susie Swanson, 2014

I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day. I'm sorry I haven't been around lately or visited all of your awesome posts. I've had some kind of nasty bug for weeks and it will not turn me lose. It's a viral bug and has to run it's course. I absolutely sweat and burn up one minute and freeze the next or both at the same time. So far it has stayed in my head and not moved to my chest but hopefully all the winter time weather will be gone soon and we'll shout it to the rooftops. This has been a bad winter for everyone in one way or another. For all of you that have been buried in cold and snow, I feel for you and sending prayers. We had a big snow this week.. 7 inches to be exact with more expected tonight. Soon it'll be spring and we'll all feel better and do the Happy Dance and I can hardly wait. Blessings to all, Susie

Friday, February 7, 2014


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, 2014        

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Sleepwalking Tale

A sleepwalker can be defined as someone that’ll drive you crazy trying to keep up with em all the time.
They have no knowledge of what they do or where they’ve been. It’s the people around em that has to be on their toes and constantly jumping out of their skin.
We had a sleepwalking cousin that used to stay at our house quite a bit. When he spent the night it was Katie bar the door and lickety split.
That boy could sleep walk with the best of em and that’s no lie. My mama never slept a wink, she was always on standby.
He’d wait till the wee hours of the night and everyone was fast asleep. He’d come out of that bed and like a deer, mama would leap.
She’d have to put him on a pallet in the middle of the floor. He slept in the middle with two of my brothers, he still hit the door.
There were a few times mama dozed a little and that boy beat it all. She found him one night at the back of the house down on all fours tryin to crawl.
She had to give him a big shake to get him awake. She said, son wake up and stop this stuff for goodness sake.
My poor mama was a nervous wreck when he came to stay.
She loved him like one of her own but all she could do was pray
And lock the doors up really tight, padlock,  key lock and any other lock, it was an awful sight
He scared the living daylights out of us all one night.  Mama woke us up to help search and we looked till close to daylight.
We found him sittin up against the old woodshed at the crack of dawn. He’d slipped out quicker than a cat could lick and was gone.
We never could figure out how he did it so well. That boy was scary as a booger when he took a sleepwalking spell.
He’d have this blank face and scary, glassy, lookin eyes. He acted like some walkin zombie, I tell ya no lies.
Needless to say, mama loved him but was filled with dread every time he came. She said, there’s somethin wrong with that youngun, in the daytime he ain’t the same.
So mama decided to go ahead and sit up one night and watch him real close. That boy never turned over till daylight and the sun rose.
He was really a good kid and loved staying at our house all the time. He would have moved in but mama would’ve went crazy and lost her mind.
We loved him like a brother and tried to adjust. He was the most gentle and kind soul but a sleepwalker ya can’t trust.
He sleepwalked in his own world and never remembered a thing. Till today I call him the sleepwalking king.
And he sure did love mama’s biscuits and gravy every morn. He’d be the first one to the table and act innocent as the day he was born.
He’d eat like a pig and was ready to head out with the boys to play.  Just a normal kid doing kid stuff until the end of the day.
After supper when he’d get his belly full mama would try to talk him into going home. After all, she needed a night’s sleep and the tiredness shown.
He’d always come up with some kind of pitiful excuse to stay and mama couldn’t turn him down and everyday her hair turned more gray.
This went on for quite a few years till the older he grew. We actually missed him and mama did too.
Now, I’m not gonna name any names but I’m sure he  knows that we still love him like our own. I wonder if he still sleepwalks now that he’s married and grown.
My mama said one time, I sure do dread it someday for his wife.  She’ll be put to the test, she’ll never sleep the rest of her life.

© Susie Swanson 2014

I don't know why I wrote this one but if a certain cousin I know finds out  he'll die laughing. I can only imagine what my mom would say. LOL  .
The temps got up to 60 here today and the snow and ice is almost gone. Tomorrow is Groundhog Day and I sure hope he gets his predictions right this year. The best I can remember, last year he predicted we would have an early spring and when it came time for spring winter really started coming in. We even got a little snow in April. People were wondering how and when they were gonna get their gardens planted. Oh well, I hope ya'll are getting a break from the snow and ice. Blessings, Susie