Wednesday, September 23, 2015

God's Canvas Of Colors

                      The calm beauty of a sunset on a beautiful, painted sky
                      With big, puffy clouds softly floating by

                      A red rose in bloom kissed by the morning dew
                      Sparkling in the sun under a sky of blue

                      A long, rolling meadow of emerald green
                      With a light, fluttering breeze and quite serene

                      An ocean so blue as far as the eyes can see
                      With each stroke he painted far across the sea

                      The eyes of a child smiles with a tender caress
                      His gift to this world filled with joy and happiness

                      Teardrops falling from an old mother's face
                      He captured them all with sorrow and grace

                      A multi-colored rainbow after a shower of rain
                      A wonder of beauty only God can explain

                      The twinkling of stars on a moon light night
                      A measure of his power on a canvas so bright

                      A tiny, yellow butterfly fresh from its birth
                      A token of his love and a heart full of worth

                      A snow covered mountain standing so high
                      With breathtaking beauty it creates a great sigh

                      The song of a turtle dove at morning's dawn
                      Brings peace and love for everything that's wrong

                     I marvel at the tapestry so beautiful and grand
                     Painted by the master with a gentle, loving hand

                     His canvas of colors are a sight to behold
                     He painted a masterpiece more precious than gold

                                      © Susie Swanson, 2015

                    Happy Fall Ya'll. My Favorite one of all.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Country Bride

The dress hangs in the closet
Yellow and gray with age
Time has erased its beauty
Like winter turns grass to sage

Memories, oh how they linger
The day it was brand new
 A country bride so happy
A soldier’s love so true

Autumn’s sun was shining
The day of harvest moon
A day of glorious beauty
To be sanctified at noon

She looked across the meadows
Grass was turning brown
Seeds of love were abundant
Early harvest cleared the ground

Church bells were calling
A country bride to be
A soldier’s wife with honor
To love and raise a family

The meadows are now green
Her hair is silver gray
The fruits of her labor
She enjoys them everyday

The country bride is now older
A more wise mother and wife
She truly discovered the blessings
Of a full and grateful life

© Susie Swanson, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Not A Care In The World

Every year when fall starts comin in with that little, 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 trompin 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 worryin the daylights out of her meant and she told me it meant drivin her crazy as a bess bug. 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 listenin 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 includin 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 clearin off the patches before cold weather set in. They’d be nice and clean come spring when garden plantin time rolled around.

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 young’uns 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 catchin 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 ye is gonna wet the bed tonight, playin in that fire.” I don’t remember any of us ever wettin the bed but it sure got me to thinkin sometimes. Just another ole sayin to get us out of the fire .

We loved to poke at it with sticks and throw a little kindlin 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 smolderin fire, grab a stick and poke some more till mama’d put us down 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 mornin. 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 cold 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 kindlin 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 daddy into lettin him build it and it’d save him 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 buildin 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 snowflakes 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 in the cow pasture 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 used to it 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 young’uns having the best of times and enjoyin 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, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Making Do

My mama came from a family of ten kids, two girls and eight boys. She grew up in a close, knit family that believed in working for ye keep and learning early on how to survive and get by. Many times she told how they survived the depression and made do with whatever they had.

Back then everybody grew their own food but the basics were hard to come by. During the depression they gave out coupons and they’d pick em up at the little local store. The storekeeper would hand em out each month according to how many was in a family. He always had to keep records of what he handed out fer the government. He helped people out a lot too. They’d bring their canned goods in and exchange em for something they needed. There was always someone in need and he knew he would be able to get rid of it all.

Mama said most of the time they’d just get a couple pounds of coffee to do a month or five or ten pounds of flour, and a bucket of lard with their coupons. If they were lucky to get an extra coupon they’d get a small bag of sugar or an extra five pounds of flour. The flour came in cloth sacks and their mother saved them up and sewed them into dresses and shirts.

 Mama said that grandma would boil the same coffee grounds over and over till that coffee was so thin ye could see through it. Even after the depression started easing up and grandpa went to work for the WPA and they had a little more to live on grandma was still in the saving mode and kept boiling the coffee grounds over and over. My grandpa got tired of it and told her one day, now Sarie (Sarah) stop boiling them coffee grounds over so much. What ye doing, straining it through a white rag, you can stop now I want some real coffee not stained water. It was hard for grandma to change, she’d been in the saving business to long.

They always had plenty of cornmeal for bread since they grew the corn and grandpa carried big toe sacks to my other grandpa’s old grist mill every week. She said they only used the flour for breakfast cause they sure did love them cathead biscuits and gravy. There was many a morning they had to eat cornbread with their gravy cause they didn’t have any flour. Of course, cornmeal gravy and cornbread is the best eating around.

She and her brothers used to trap rabbits and take them to the little country store in exchange for some of the basics they needed. This was after they cleaned the rabbits up good and the head had to stay on them. My grandma knew exactly what the rabbits were worth by how many they had caught. He paid by the pound and she knew it. She’d make out a list of what she needed and send them to the store to fill it.

One time she and one of her brother’s that was the closest to her in age caught ten rabbits and took off towards the store with the rabbits on a stick and grandma’s list. On the way to the store her brother told her we’re gonna get us something good today. Mama told him, no we can’t cause mommy knows exactly how many rabbits we got, she’s made her list. He stuck his hand up under his coat and pulled out another rabbit. He said, I told you we’re gonna get us something good today. The only problem was the rabbit didn’t have a head. Apparently, while they were cleaning them one lost its head someway and he’d stuck it under his coat. The storekeeper always wanted them with their heads intact. He had a little shed over to the side of the store building that people hung their rabbits in.

When they got to the store and hung their rabbits they went in and told him how many they had and gave him their list. He walked outside and went in and looked at the rabbits from the door and counted them. He said, somebody’s counted wrong this time, you’ve got eleven instead of ten.
 Mama said her brother spoke up and said alrighty, we got enough to get us something good this time. The storekeeper told him ye sure do, so pick out what ye want. Her brother pointed to a big jar of candy sitting on the counter and said we want a whole, paper bag of that candy. He filled their list and the bag of candy and they headed home. The candy was chocolate drops and can still be bought today, especially around Christmas time and they’re rich as can be.

On the way home they eat the whole bag of chocolate drops and by the time they got home they were sicker than a buzzard. They started puking and they puked all night. My grandma didn’t know what in the world to think. She was up with em all night trying to clean up the messes and do what she could fer em.
The next morning they felt and looked like death warmed over. When grandma seen they were on the mend she asked em what did they eat to get so sick. They’d been taught all of their life not to lie and knew if they did they’d be in worse shape than they already were so they told her the truth. She marched them back over the road to the store and made em tell the storekeeper what they’d done. He just stood there and looked at em fer a bit and then he spoke up and said, well I guess they’ve been punished enough this time but it better not happen again.
From that day forward they didn’t take another rabbit without its head and they never eat another chocolate drop as long as they lived.

To say times were rough is an understatement but they survived the best way they knew how and mama said they never went to bed hungry a night in their life. They always had something to eat even if it was an old possum baked in the oven. I guess that’s why she hated the sight of an ole possum. Back then times were so hard they had to make do.

                                          © Susie Swanson, 2015

The picture above is my mom, her daddy and mama back when she was young. 
Notice how tall the corn is. Blessings, ~Susie