Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Legend

While traveling down through life,I remember oh so well. An old gentleman I loved dearly that loved to talk and tell.

About his cherished memories of many years gone by. Learning was an humble experience and to listen I always did try.

He talked about his childhood and how he grew up rich and poor.With wealth not of money but riches a thousand ways more.

I'd just sit and listen and feast on every word. Now I want you to read this legend of a man's life as told in his own word.

I lived through the Great Depression when there was no jobs to find. We always had plenty to eat he said, each year the gardens grew more kind.

And when they came in, we canned everything we could. In the winter we killed our hogs we raised and had plenty of meat and the eatin was good.

And hard work was never a stranger, I helped run that old gristmill everyday. If me and my daddy made fifty cents it was more than they could pay.

But we never did ask for money our satisfaction always came, in knowing we helped put bread on their table, it was money just the same.

Back then people growed big cornfields and worked from sun up till sun down. They brought it anyway they could to the mill just to get it ground..

Oh I remember a few that was just plain sorry back then. They'd lay around and let their family go hungry, the more you'd give em the more they'd depend.

I remember this one old feller was the worst I've ever known. Somebody offered him some corn one time and he asked if it was shelled and they told him no and he said drive on.

But most people wasn't like that, they learned to work early on. And there wasn't much time for schooling back then, what I learned I learned on my own.

Back when we were both younguns, me and my brother walked up the hill. To a little one room school housewaht time we wasn't at the gristmill.

That teacher taught every grade and she sure had trouble keeping us in line. I'd slip out the backdoor going home and the next day she'd whoop my behind.

I guess that's the reason I didn't learn and don't know much today. But you know common sense will get you pretty far and go a long way.

You know the younguns today learn alot and have more opportunities than we did. They got the best chances in the world to go farther, but first they need to be a kid.

I started out young learning to be a man and that was fine by me. Today younguns want to drive fast cars, I drove a wagon hitched to mules and it made me feel free.

I was pretty young when when I helped my daddy drive an old wagon to town. It took us all ady to get there and back but it was the only way around.

We'd haul a whole load of pulpwood and they'd pay us two to three dollars a load. Not much money at all for an all day trip on an old gutted out road.

And I can still remember the first car that came through the country side, An old A Model Ford, it spooked the mules pulling the wagons and the old feller just drove on in stride.

After that my daddy died back in 1937 and I helped make his casket before they put him in the ground.
People kept their folks at home back then, there wasn't any funeral homes around.

It seemed after he died times got even more rough.I had to pick up work wherever I could , but it never did seem to be enough.

I remember leaving home at two o' clock in the morning, walked every step of the way. I worked  hard at that old sawmill, never got home till after dark for fifty cents a day.

Most people walked everwhere they went, to me it was never a chore. You know people were a lot more healthy back then and enjoyed life more.

And people took time to visit their neighbors and check in on the sick. Mommy stopped at every house a long the way, carrying that old walking stick.

She'd take em some chicken and dumplins from an old hen she'd killed. Even if that old hen was sitting on a nest of eggs she didn't care, it was her favorite meal.

Mommy prayed a lot for us boys back then. Many a time I could hear her upon the mountain down on her knees praying and God was surely her friend.

And it payed off to, God surely answered her prayers. I made it right with God one night at an old revival and mommy jumped straight up in the air.

But before that I was meaner than the dickens I do recall. I used to slip out the front door of the church when they give the alter call.

Mommy's brother my uncle Tom was a preacher man and he got to watching us and one night he came up with a plan.

Just before he gave the alter call he walked to the front door and laid his Bible down. He said I dare anybody to step over God's word, we climbed out the window and jumped to the ground.

Well I better get off of this stuff or I'll be in a big mess. Uns younguns don't need to hear about so much meance today, it's for the best.

Well we lost Mommy back in 1960, the coldest time I ever seen. They liked to never got her grave dug, had to shovel the snow back and dig in between.

Back then people in the community dug every grave there was and I always pitched in. Some we had to shoot with a stick of dynamite when we got in a big rock den.

And that reminds me of digging wells he said, we dug everyone by hand. We'd dig for weeks or even months before we struck water and sometimes we just got sand.

And today when I walk up and down these roads, it comes to mind so clear, of how many I help build and how many's still here.

I started out when Roosevelt was President, working with the W.P.A. That was the best thing to come along back then and I worked for em many a day.

You know Roosevelt got the country back in shape, it was just about gone. Some people almost starved to death it was the worst I've ever known.

We built roads and dams all over the place and everyone I still recall. A lot of them roads and dams are still around today but they're more large now than small.

Everybody had it rough back then but we managed to make it on through. Even after me and your mammy got married and we had uns younguns too.

I had to go off to work again down south with that road crew. We built a lot of roads down there and never got to come home but once every week or two.

Come Sunday evening I always had to pack up and go straight back. She never would say it but I think your mammy had a lot of trouble keeping uns younguns on track.

I had to use my belt a time or two but I never did beat anybody to death. You know if anybody gets caught whooping their younguns today, they'll stay in jail until they draw their last breath.

Well I think I'll get my old walking stick and go out to the old place. Need to check on that corn, if the crows has got it again, I'll need to replace.

But there's one more thing I'd like to say, you see these overalls I wear. When I die just bury me with my overalls and hat, I don't want no fancy attire.

And you see this walking stick here, just pass it on down. I won't need it anymore, let it help someone else walk these roads and get around.

And then he was gone, back in 1998 he passed away. And today this legend of a man is wearing his overalls and hat and telling his stories in heaven everyday.

And today I'm so honored to share these cherished memories of mine.Oh how I still miss and love my Dad, what a legacy he left behind.

                                             Susie Swanson, 2011

                                   In loving Memory Of my Dad....January, 18, 1904----April 27, 1998


  1. Ohhh, teary eyes, Susie. How sweet & beautiful. These tales we've heard often from our folks before they went to that beautiful palace above.

    Merry Christmas ~

    PS GIVEAWAY ends 12/9

  2. You were blessed, Susie. A lot of us were. Not so much of that these days.

  3. Aww, thank you both so much.. I know I was George and I thank God everyday that I still have these memories to pull out every now and then..

  4. Wonderful memories, Susie. This is such a lovely tribute to your Dad.

  5. A sweet tribute to your dad. He sure was a story teller.

  6. Hi Susie, your story-poem was just one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Truly. You have such an authentic "voice". You have a gift for being able to write how people really "talk" and it just made it all come alive! My Grandpa Mike was a lot like your Dad in so many ways. Your story made me think of him. I would hang on every word when he would tell a story about his life, and I would listen to them over and over. They are etched on my heart. His stories enriched my life so much and were an inheritance more precious than a chest of gold! Have a lovely and restful evening tonight and keep warm! Delisa :)

  7. Oh how sweet, Susie... Made me cry! I miss my Daddy so much. He was 53 when I was born ---and I had him wrapped around my finger... He took me everywhere with him... I loved him so much.

    He died in 1969 --right before he was going to be 80... I cried and cried and cried when he died...

    Thanks for sharing this.

  8. A wonderful tribute to your daddy. I've heard similar stories from my folks too. You sure have a way with words!

  9. Oh susie-your Father was extra special-and so is this poem : ) It makes me think of my Dad and my Papaw Wade too.

  10. Thank you all so much, glad you enjoyed it... As for me having a way with words and knowing how they talk, that's because I talk like that to, most of the time.. I'm just an old country girl, through and through.. Thanks for the comments and visits..

  11. A wonderful tribute to your dad. Mine passed away when I was three yrs old so can't remember him, only what was told about him.


  12. Thank you Yvonne, so sorry to hear that...

  13. Words and memories, so intimate and heartful! Bless your world!

  14. Susie-

    This was absolutely breath taking. Reminded me so much of my grandfather.


  15. Thank you Monika and Cathy, your comments mean so much, bless you both..

  16. Hi Susie! Just thought I would pop by and say hello! I hope you are having a nice Sunday afternoon. I have been laying around this weekend trying to get over a little sore throat bug that I caught. Nothing major, but just enough that I want to take it easy and bring my blanket out to the couch and watch old movies. :) It is cold and cloudy today and looks like it might rain. We saw a small herd of about a dozen deer last night, all huddled up by our garage door! What a surprise when we drove up! We have seen them drinking and lazing around our pond but never by the garage door. Barkley was throwing a fit when we came into the house, he must have heard them, but they didn't pay him no mind. I have been using some of my rest time to work on my knitting and do a little writing. I have also been drinking lots of hot tea and honey. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday afternoon! Delisa :)

  17. Susie,
    What a wonderful posting. Your father was a great man. I know you really miss him, but you have wonderful memories of him. I loved this posting. It reminded me a lot of my own father.

  18. Thanks Delsia, hope you feel better soon. I bet that wa a sight to see .. a whole herd of deer. We have some that walk down the middle of the creek at the back of our house..

    Thank you Brenda, so glad it brough back so many memories for you..glad you enjoyed it...Susie

  19. Susie I loved this so much. I could see it all. Life was harder and people did appreciate it more. What a wonderful heritage you come from..I can still remember my grandparents and the way life was. I am so glad I can, they were real people and real times. We were happy with little and were thankful for everything.
    Much love Crystal xxx

  20. This was so wonderful, Susie... I would have loved to have met your Daddy. His stories reminded me of my grandfather and his tales... life sure was hard back then, wasn't it?
    (Or maybe I'm just soft...)

  21. Oh, Susie, I love that! It reminds me of my grandfather. Another wonderful country gentle man of God.

  22. Thank you Crystal Mary, life was so much harder back.. But it was a more simpler time and people were satisfied with whatever they had.. I miss that simple life..

    Thank you Paula, I wish you could have met him too. You would have loved him, he never seen a stranger.Susie

  23. I love your header, and this post is wonderful.

    Stop by my blog if you like for an e-book giveaway.



  24. Thank you so much Elizabeth for the visit and comments. I surely will..Thank you for following..

  25. I loved getting to read this and the picture of him is so precious. I know you miss him so much :(
    This reminds me of stories my grandparents would tell. Especially my paternal grandmother. New Year's Day will be 16 yrs that she's been gone. I miss her so much. I wish I had written down things she told me, wish I had written down recipes while I was in the kitchen helping her cook.

  26. Thank you Tracy, so happy you enjoyed it and the memories it holds for you too.. We've all got our precious memories.. Come again.