Monday, March 31, 2014

God's Way

                                                            He calms the mighty ocean
                                                            with the whisper of his breath
                                                            heals the sick and afflicted
                                                            restores a lost soul from death

                                                            His eyes are always wide open
                                                            to this world of peril and woe
                                                            he rises to each occasion
                                                            and miracles continue to grow

                                                            He is the road to salvation
                                                            our mighty sword and shield
                                                            the rock of all the ages
                                                            he proved on Calvary's hill

                                                            I'll look to his love in all things
                                                            in the wave of each swaying branch
                                                            in each breath, each step and moment
                                                            I'll pause to my God and give thanks

                                                            So when turbulent waters surround me
                                                            and clear skies turn to gray
                                                            I'll look for sunshine beyond them
                                                            and let God have his own way

                                                            © Susie Swanson, 2014

I want to give ya'll a little update. I'm having some sickness right now that's been going on for quite some time. I'll not go into details but I wanted ya'll to know I've missed your wonderful posts and visiting your blogs. It always makes my day. I will be back soon God's Willing,  and please keep me in your prayers and I'm praying for ya'll as well. Hugs and love, Susie

Monday, March 24, 2014

Barbed Wire And Roses

                                                      The beauty is twined along the fence
                                                      Where roses grow amidst the wire
                                                       Across the green meadow
                                                       In greenbrier

                                                      They appear in spring so luminous
                                                      Kissed by the morning dew
                                                      In sweet insistent wind
                                                      Refreshing and new

                                                      One single red rose among the thorns
                                                      Placed with love and certainty
                                                      A rose of crimson red
                                                      Bright and lovely

                                                      A young girl's heart is mesmerized
                                                      For a thing of beauty so strong
                                                      She stands breathless
                                                      Such beauty strewn

                                                      Across the years and distant shore
                                                      My grandma smiles upon me
                                                      The red roses she placed
                                                      Lives in my heart
                                                      Through eternity

                                                      What shall we leave behind when gone
                                                      For those who follow behind
                                                      Twined in barbed wire
                                                      Roses so divine

                                                      © Susie Swanson, 2014

It's that time of year again . Time to watch for grandma's roses to take a bow. She planted them many years ago clear across the community. Up and down the roadsides, in the fields, tangled in the old barbed wire fences, anywhere and everywhere she could stick a sprout. They've thinned out over the years but there's enough left to find when they are in bloom. I have some in my yard along with lots of the other neighbors. Her Rose Legacy lives on and what a beautiful Legacy it is.  Hope ya'll are enjoying the few and far between spring days. Blessings, Susie.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring's Parade


                                                    The sun arose this morning
                                                    against a clear, blue sky
                                                    The birds sing a new song
                                                    a sign that spring is nigh

                                                    Trees awaken from their sleep
                                                    and long winter's rest
                                                    Tulips raise their little heads
                                                    all fancy, frilly and dressed

                                                    Meadows are green and lush
                                                    sparkling with morning dew
                                                    Daffodils join the parade
                                                    of spring's march brand new

                                                    Dogwoods will soon reign
                                                    in snow covered bloom
                                                    Honeysuckle will cast a spell
                                                    of sweet, fragrant perfume

                                                    A fresh and welcome breeze
                                                    spring is such a thrill
                                                    Winter's last whimsical stroll
                                                     bows down to kneel

                                                    © Susie Swanson, 2014

Yep, tomorrow is the first day of spring on the calender that is. I know everyone feels the same as me, bring it on. This has been one of the roughest winters we've had in many years and it just doesn't want to let up. As my daddy used to say. "It's gonna be a late spring". Hang in there folks it won't be long now, I hope. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Funny Papers

When I was growing up I loved to roam through the neighborhood and visit the neighbors, especially the older folks. Walking by myself down an old road was safe back then. I never had any worries or fret about anything happening. It was a very different time, unlike today. Everybody walked everywhere they went. There wasn’t many vehicles on the roads and the few that we saw were people we’d known all of our life.

 There was this one older lady we called Miss Maude and I loved to visit her every chance I got. She lived by herself and loved to see me coming. She wore her hair up in a little bun in the back and always had on a little apron like both my grandma’s wore.
She always saved me the Funny Papers out of her Sunday newspapers. She subscribed to every newspaper there was and they only put the funny papers in the Sunday editions.
For the ones that don’t know what I’m talkin about, it’s the comic strips. We always called them funny papers.
She found out early on that I loved to read em cause when I’d visit her and we’d sit on her little porch I’d pick up her newspapers that she’d laid down and start reading them. I loved sittin in that little porch swing, swinging back and forth, listening to her talk while she rocked in her rocking chair.
She’d tell me about how it was when she grew up and I could see the sparkle in her eyes when she got in a big way of talkin. I kinda figured it out that she got lonesome and that’s one of the reasons I loved to visit . The other reason was to listen to her tell about her memories. That always intrigued me so much. I loved to listen to the older folks talk about the way it was for them in their childhood and the things that happened way back then. They lived in a very different time and saw so many things. Things that I could only see through their eyes and relive in their heart.

It’d be close to suppertime before I’d leave for home. She’d say, don’t forget your funny papers and I’ll have you some more in a few days if you’ll come on back and see me. I’d tell her that I’d try. I’d head towards home cause mama always told me not to stay so late and be back by suppertime. I’d wear those funny papers out reading them so much.
Then one day she told me to ask my mama if I could help her do some housecleaning chores. That tickled me to death and I asked mama if it’d be alright and she said as long as I wasn’t so late getting in. I never neglected my chores at home. We all knew what needed to be done and we did it without being told.
I’d help her put out her wash and hang them on the line. She’d wash one day out of the week and even then she only had an armful compared to what me and mama had.  I knew all about washing clothes in the wringer washing machine cause I’d helped mama enough. Sometimes I did her dishes, dusting, etc. she’d give me a quarter or fifty cents for helping her. That was big money to a kid back then. It burnt holes in my pockets till I could get to the store.
Then she told me to ask my mama and daddy if one of my brothers could come and mow her yard occasionally. Mama said it’d be alright but she’d only let my oldest brother. He was the only one she trusted to run that push mower of Miss Maude’s. It was the kind of mower that didn’t use gas and ya had to really push. Since her yard was small, flat and not big hills, it didn’t take him long to do it. I’d be doing somethin else in the house for Miss Maude while he was busy mowing. She’d give us a little money and we’d run to get home and show it to mama and daddy. It made us feel so big and proud that we’d earned it on our own. I’d put a little back and save it for Christmas, just waiting for the chance to go to the Dime Store in town.  I knew mama and grandma tried to go just before Christmas each year. I always had in mind to at least get mama and daddy a present since they hardly ever got anything. Of course, they always said if we had food on the table and a place to lay our head we had plenty.

 That would always be in the summer. When school started in the fall we’d try to go in the evenings as much as we could and we’d sit on that little porch and listen to the crickets and katydids and Miss Maude talk about her memories. It’d be dusky dark when we left for home.

I miss those days and all of the older generation that lived around us. I loved visiting with them and listening to what they had to say. It was a goldmine of wisdom and knowledge.

Today the little house is gone, along with so many more. They’ve all been replaced by new ones. But every time I pass by I can see Miss Maude sittin in that rocking chair and me in the porch swing, swinging back and forth. I can still hear her talkin and see her eyes light up when she tells how she walked to that one room school where they said a prayer each morning and the Pledge Of Allegiance and how they got by during the Depression. My daddy had told some of the same but it never got old. It always brought sunshine to my heart and food for my soul.
 Back when times were simple people enjoyed life more, and oh how I miss those funny papers.

© Susie Swanson, 2014

Hope all of you are feeling perky. Spring can't decide if it wants to hang around long here. Up one day, down the next.
I'm sorry I haven't been around lately to visit ya'll. Still fighting with this bug that I've had all winter. I've missed ya'll and will check in when I can. God Bless, Susie

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Definition Of Spells

I know everyone has heard the word Spell before, but it can have several different definitions. Example, she sure can spell them words good, or she came and sit with us for a spell today and the one I like the most, she’s having one of her spells..
I’m gonna use the last one to describe three special ladies that were very dear to me. My mama was sweet as they come and had a mild disposition and easy going. I was blessed to know both my grandmas and we called one big ma and the other little ma. Big ma had a little more skin on her bones than little ma, so that’s how we came up with big ma and little ma.

Now the only kind of spells I ever remember my mama having was when us kids or daddy got her dander up. She’d tell daddy what she thought about the situation and walk off.  And with us kids it was a different story. She always kept plenty of hedge limbs hidden so she could grab one when she needed it. When my brothers would find one and they’d slip it outside and break it into. I’d tell on em every time I saw em do it. She’d walk back outside and break another and shake it at em. She stripped our legs every time we needed it and we probably needed a whole lot more than we got if the truth be told.

Big Ma was good as gold and never said a harsh word about anybody or said much of anything till it came down to the wire, kinda like mama.  She’d tell ya about it and walk away. But that usually came from grandpa. He always wanted three meals a day cooked and he wouldn’t eat enough to fill the palm of his hand. He called her “Chief” cause he always said she had a little Indian in her. It’d come his dinner time (lunch) and he’d say, don’t ya think it’s time to stir up a bite of dinner Chief. She’d stop her quilting or whatever else she was doing and go build a fire in the wood cook stove and cook up a fine meal. I know cause I eat there enough times.  But what made her have one of her spells the most was when pa got up from the table and she’d look over at his plate and say, lookie there at your plate. Ya didn’t eat enough to stick in a cat’s mouth and ya want a hot meal three times a day. He’d say, I eat all I wanted Chief, you and this gal can finish it off. Big ma’s face would turn blood red at his remarks but that’s about as far as she’d go. The next day it was the same. That’s the only kind of spells I remember her having except when one of her boys got her riled up when she was cooking or canning and standing over the wood cook stove and the sweat was drippin off of her brow in the middle of the summer. One of her grown and married sons walked in the kitchen one day and started telling her she was doing it all wrong and she slapped his jaws till they rung. He moved on in a hurry.

Now my little ma was a very different story indeed. She could take some of the most strange spells I've ever seen or heard of before in my life.
Many a time I heard her upon the mountain praying so earnestly and it brought tears to my eyes.  I could never understand how come she had such strange spells occasionally. I asked mama one time since she took the brunt of em, why little ma had spells like she did and mama said it was in her blood and she was just contrary. Now I didn’t know much at the time about such things till my daddy had a few of his own. Mama said they were both alike when it came to having their spells.

One day my mama wanted to go visit her own daddy and mama and all of us kids were going with her. We had to walk back then everywhere we went and they just lived upon the hill as we called it. Little ma didn’t want her to go, she was afraid she’d get back late and she wanted her supper cooked on time.
While we were all gone she took mama’s snuff that she dipped and emptied the whole glass in the little branch that ran down the side of the yard. When we came back she was acting like nothing ever happened. She said, it’s about time ya got back. Don’t ya think it’s time to fix a little supper. Mama never said a word, she just turned and walked into the kitchen and started cooking supper. After we all eat and got up from the table mama went to get her a big dip of snuff and it was gone. Mama looked everywhere and settled on the fact that she wasn’t gonna find it. Little ma spoke up and said, here ya can have some of mine till ya get ya some. Little ma always kept a small box of snuff in her apron pocket. Mama took her up on it probably knowing fully well what happened to her own. The next morning little ma grabbed that  little pocketbook that she always carried on her arm and took off out the road just a hoofin it.  She hollered, “I’ll Be Back After While, I’m Going To The Store“. When she came back she handed mama a box of snuff and said, now here’s ya some snuff, I hate to see ya go without. Mama said it was the funniest thing in the world but she didn’t dare laugh.

There was another time that she took one of her spells cause mama didn’t have dinner (lunch) on the table when she came in from working in the garden. She went outside and filled a little pie pan full of sand and walked in the living room and poured it out all over the living room floor. Then she carried the little pie pan outside in the yard and jumped up and down on it till it was flat as a flitter.
 Mama never said a word and let the sand lay there. Our neighbor who happened to be little ma’s nephew and daddy’s first cousin came by and stopped in fer a spell. He stopped when he looked in the front door and saw all the sand laying there. He sit down in a chair on the front porch and ma sit down beside him and said, just look at that floor in there, now ain’t she some housekeeper. Mama never said a word, she looked at him and grinned. When he got ready to leave, ma went back inside and before mama could say a word he spoke up and said, she had another one of her spells. I know all about em and you don’t need to say a word. She can be a little wildcat when she wants to be. I don’t see how ya stand it sometimes and mama replied, I just go on about my business and pay her no mind. She thinks she’s spitin me but she ain’t.
I think that hurt little ma worse than anything when she seen she couldn’t get anywhere with mama. Mama never did sweep or pick up that sand, little ma did it after she got over her spell.

Before mama married daddy my little ma and daddy lived by themselves. Little ma did her own cooking back then but when mama moved in she turned it all over to her. Little ma drawed a small pension each month and she’d give mama most of it to help feed us. She’d keep a little for herself to buy her snuff and the few things she bought at the Dime Store when we got a chance to go to town. Even though daddy worked all the time, he only brought home so much. He had to pay fer his room and board, as he called it. He was just happy to have a job. Since he was gone a lot he didn’t know the half of it, as mama used to say.
 I’m sure mama told him a lot that went on and he’d have one of his talks with little ma but she paid him no mind and did what she chose.

Now don’t get me wrong, little ma was a kind hearted and sweet person. Everyone that knew her loved her and she’d give anyone her last old sittin hen knowing she’d be tough as a pine knot after she was cooked. She’d even wring it’s neck and take it to em if need be. She always said she couldn’t stand to see anyone go hungry. But everyone knew she could have her spells when she didn’t get her way.

Then one cold February morning my little ma passed away. Mama was by her bedside holding her hand and watched her draw her last breath. Mama, daddy and his brother had been by her bedside all night and was expecting it. Mama had broke away long enough that morning to cook em some breakfast and they were sitting at the eatin table when mama walked in the kitchen and told them she was gone. Us kids had slept like a log and didn’t know anything till morning. We sure did cry when that black hearse backed up to the steps. That was the first time I ever saw my daddy cry. The doctor had told them some months earlier that he thought she had cancer.

My mama always said she had no regrets and would do it all over again if she had to. She said she could never be mean to her. Her conscious would never have let her.

 Now don’t get me wrong , my little ma may have had her spells but she loved my mama and would do anything in the world fer her, even though she had a funny way of showing it. And she could pray the sweetest prayers I’ve ever heard and shout the loudest to be nothing but a fence rail.
 My mama never said a harsh word to her and I admired her so much, especially after I grew up and came to understand it more.

God Bless my sweet mama, my big ma and my little ma. I love them all so dearly and miss them so much in spite of their spells.
I guess we’ve all had our spells at sometime or another. But I wouldn't  know anything about that, you’ll have to ask my husband about it.

© Susie Swanson, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Forever Near

It should not be so difficult to find
The long way back if we but turn
Down the little road we once trod
Across the fields where memories burn

We may find again that little home
Where a lonely cricket sings a song
The place we grew and loved so well
Our yearning hearts have missed so long

To watch the sun set over the horizon
While sitting in an old porch swing
Playing after dark on a summer’s night
The moon is more bright than anything

Running across those hills and hollows
The joy of swinging on an old grapevine
Landing in the middle of the cold creek
How can one really ever leave it behind

Playing outside on hot, summer days
Running barefoot till the first frost
These are the things on which to dwell
If once we stray or ever become lost

 Even those cold, winters we loved so
We found things to keep us occupied
To wake up in the morning to a big snow
Climbing those hills where we loved to slide

Feeling the warmth of that big fireplace
Was such a welcome time each night
Playing games on a homemade board
Enjoyment was never far from sight

That old homeplace we love so well
Where we learned and lived so carefree
Coming home to supper, can’t you just smell
The best food anywhere, you’ll have to agree

Around every corner, nook and bend
There is an echo left to be found
Of childhood days that were well spent
Every time our feet hit the ground

Yesterday’s light shines bright with pride
On timeless memories we hold so dear
If we would only hold them close beside
The past will forever be near 

© Susie Swanson, 2014