Sunday, February 22, 2015

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 everyday. 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 drinkin water in the world and we always had a little dipper hangin 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 workin in the garden we felt like drinkin 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 playin 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 playin and splashin 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. 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 playin in the dirt and runnin through the thickets.
I do recall her scrubbin 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 if I had to. And we never know just how much water we use till it’s gone. Water is a precious commodity and having it close by is an even bigger blessing.

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 ya 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, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In Her Corner Of The World

She came from humble beginnings
A place she grew, learned and loved so
Across many mountains, hills and valleys
There was nary a trail she never came to know

Where a simple, little home became a mansion
And laughter sounds a stronger note than tears
Still holds their rhythm in the scheme of life
 In the wind’s sweet insistence from yesteryears

How many childhood days did she play and run
So happy and carefree through those ancient fields
Feeling the wind and rain brushing against her face
So many praises rise above for the joy it still yields

When she closes her eyes she can still see it clear
And hear the humming of the little, honey bees
Under crab apple trees that still bloom in the spring
She faintly smells the perfumed, petal rippling breeze

And the gathering of family around the fire at night
So many cherished memories still fresh in her mind
A father telling his life stories to each of his young
A mother sewing on quilts, a sure legacy left behind

An old oil lamp sits in the window, guiding her path
Leading her onward to that little mansion home
Where the door is open and the light shines bright
She steps inside to a welcome, the best she’s known

Those familiar voices she hears are music to her ears
Gathered around the table, giving blessings galore
The simple, little things in life, are the best of wealth
Even a bowl of milk and bread is worth so much more

Many seasons have come and gone like yesterday’s wind
 The memories will always be close beside all of her days
For the pleasures of this world is found only in the heart
Perhaps across some shadowy valley or ridge, in joyful ways

 And when she is bearing a load up some steep hillside
Familiar echoes are there, pulling her homeward bound
The cool, mountain air upon her face is still just as fresh
Yet still the earth beneath the paths lie packed and brown

A cool drink of water straight from a mountain spring
Where the mountain still hold its kingdom and crown
Crystal, clear waters flow from it’s downward sloping
Can quench a thirsty soul better than any to be found

She’ll never forget where she came and where she’s been
Or the many miles while spreading her wings to fly
 Trying to find the end of a rainbow takes an eternity
But the gold lies within her heart underneath the same sky

In her corner of the world the mountains are her legacy
She never knows what lies beyond a hilltop but delight
For the things that cause memories to awaken her soul
She so yearns for, she shall sit down and write and write

© Susie Swanson, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

If We Could See

If we could see beyond a sorrow
Beyond a present grief, as God can see
We would be braver, knowing some tomorrow
Will still hold happiness for you and me

If we could only glimpse through other eyes
To see the things that is God’s plan and design
We would be more strong and would be keeping
In our hearts, peace and hope through every darkened time

If we could see beyond blurred eyes and weeping
Knowing again the road will smooth before our eyes
By putting our full trust in God and his promises
The lessons of life will unfold to make us wise

We are so blinded by our grief and heartache 
The suffering of so much sickness, sorrow and pain
That we forget the joys beyond believing
God’s promise of healing and peace will be ours again

© Susie Swanson, 2015

I hope all of you are well and surviving the winter. Some are having it really rough and others like us have been blessed so far. Our winter has been in and out but nothing like last year. 
I'm still having health issues but I'm getting by, God has seen to that. 
I wrote the above poem to help others and the very fact that we've had two deaths in our families this week. Mine and my husband's nephew lost his sweet wife Wednesday. She lost her battle with cancer. Then yesterday morning the phone rung around 6am telling us that my first cousin had died suddenly. He has had Chron's Disease for many years and he woke up around 3am hurting and his wife called an ambulance and he died on the way to the hospital. He was only 51. He practically stayed at our house all the time when he was little. Since I had four brothers already, he among several more just blended in and when one decided to hightail it home we missed them. But ya don't have to be old to die and we know they're both in a far better place than we are ,It's the miss that hurts so bad. Thanks for ur patience and understanding and most of all your prayers this past year for me. I know there's lots in worse shapes and I do pray for them also and ya'll are in my prayers daily... Blessings, Susie