Every year when fall starts comin in with that cool nip in the air and the skies are crystal, clear and blue as far as the eye can see, it takes me back to some good memories of those long ago falls, when we didn’t have a care in the world.
Having to hit the ole school bus after tromping through the thickets all summer wasn’t somethin we looked forward to but after we got back into the groove of things we found it wasn’t so bad after all, till we got the yellow bus fever. We found out the hard way after cryin wolf a few times, it doesn’t work.
Mama used to say she wished school went the whole year round. But that was because we worried the daylights out of her.
I asked her one time what worrying the daylights out of her meant and she told me it meant driving her crazy as a bess bug and since we were always into one thing after the other, it was no wonders she had so many gray hairs in her head. I never did ask her what a bess bug was.
They had some funny, ole sayin’s back then but we grew up listening to em so much we took em at what they meant, not what they said.
Every year when the remnants of the garden were gone and mama had canned everything she could including the leftovers from which she made the chow chow, ( man was that stuff good with a big pot of pinto beans ) the whole family pitched in and took up all the taters and carried em to the tater hole. Daddy and the boys would get busy clearing off the patches before cold weather set in. They’d be nice and clean come spring when garden plantin time came in.
They’d pile all the corn stalks, bean vines, etc. in a big pile in the middle of the patch. Sometimes they’d have to make two or three piles. Us younguns could hardly wait till daddy decided to burn em. That’d usually come on a nice calm night or late evening when the wind was still. He always said it was better to wait till after a good rain and the ground was kinda damp. He worried about catching the woods on fire a lot. He’d only burn one brush pile at a time and let the others go till later on.
If we were lucky we’d manage to save a little money and have some marshmallows to roast. We sure did look forward to playin in that fire and roastin marshmallows.
Mama would scold us by sayin, “every one of ya is gonna wet the bed tonight, playin in that fire.” I don’t remember any of us ever wetting the bed but it sure got me to thinking sometimes. Just another ole sayin to get us out of the fire .
We loved to poke at it with sticks and throw a little kindling on it as we called it. The longer that fire burned and the higher the flames, the more we liked it.
It’d smolder all night even after daddy got it burnt down enough to risk leavin it till morning.
Before we had to leave to catch the school bus come morning we’d run back out to the smoldering fire, grab a stick and poke some more till mama’d put us out of it and tell us to get out the road before we missed the bus. She said, “uns are gonna ruin your clothes and they’ll smell like smoke all day long.” We were used to that since we had wood heat in the winter we smelled of smoke anyways, didn’t bother us none.
All the brush piles would be burnt by frost and we had to figger out other ways to have fun. We never did have to look far. We made up our own fun as we went along.
We always had to walk out to the main road a purty good ways to catch the school bus. We’d dare one another to stick their tongue to the mailbox on a frosty morning. It’d freeze our tongue to it and it was hard to get lose without pullin the skin off. One morning my youngest brother stuck his to it just about the time the bus came and he tried to get it lose and finally had to jerk it off. When we all got on the bus I looked at him and he was close to tears but wouldn’t let on. I knew he was hurtin somethin fierce.
After that happened and mama and daddy found out about it they put a stop to it in a big way, or so they thought.
When the weather came in even more colder and daddy was home and not off workin he’d walk out with us to the road and build us a fire so we could get warm. He’d tote a little kindling out and just enough wood to get it going good so we could warm our hands and when the bus run he’d be the one to put it out before he went back to the house.
My oldest brother kept on till he talked him into letting him build it and it’d save daddy walkin out with us. Daddy didn’t take much to that idea at first but he finally gave in. I’m sure he came along behind us and checked on it after we caught the bus.
My brother was always good at building fires in the wood heater and cook stove and he could build a nice little fire, if I say so myself. The only problem was, when the bus came one or two of the other boys like to kick it and send that fire sailin.
After a couple times of doing this, it all came to a kietis and we had to do without a fire. It’s a thousand wonders it hadn’t caught the woods on fire or worse.
When the first snow flakes started fallin we jumped fer joy. We loved the big snows that came in knee deep. We’d get outta school quite a while. One time I remember schools shuttin down fer two weeks. It was all we could do to plow through it to get to the barn to feed the cow or to milk, but that didn’t stop us.
All we had to put on our hands was an ole pair of worn out socks. We were in one door and out the other. We’d throw snowballs at one another, make snowmen and slide down the hill on anything we could find. Sometimes it’d be an ole piece of cardboard or if we were lucky an ole car hood. It’s a wonders we didn’t all get killed with all the chances we took.
We’d run inside long enough to warm up and eat a bite and back out we’d go. We’d eat enough snow cream to get the sore throat but as fer playin outside in the cold it never hurt us none. We were use to playin outside come spring, summer, fall or winter.
Some of the stuff we got into and done may not seem like much fun to some but we were just a bunch of younguns having the best of times and enjoying the simple pleasures in life and puttin more and more gray hairs on our mama’s head.
There was always plenty to do and we never had a care in the world.
© Susie Swanson, 2014
In Memory of my sweet Daddy and Mama