Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Finest I've Ever Known

                                          We no longer raise gardens, chickens and hogs
                                          No more smoking chimneys, we now use gas logs

                                          There's no more hog killings on Thanksgiving Day
                                          Only turkeys and hams grace the tables today

                                          We no longer carry water in for the night
                                          There's plenty of running water and baths delight

                                          There's no more sitting by an old oil lamp
                                          A light hangs from the ceiling, an electric revamp

                                          No more traveling preachers, a thing of the past
                                          Big new churches, log churches are in the past

                                          There's no more Store Truck making its way through
                                          Like kids in a candy store, we stood like a statue

                                          An orange and an apple used to be a Christmas treat
                                          Now days electronics are the only thing that's neat

                                         Keeping a milk cow and churning our own buttermilk
                                         They now snarl their nose if its not store bought milk

                                         There's not many clothes now blowing in the wind
                                         We now have clothes dryers and washers that spin

                                         No one takes time to visit their neighbors or the sick
                                         My daddy's not here with his big walking stick

                                        The canning and jelly making days are almost gone
                                         Just a few old timers left to carry on

                                        There's no one left to cure the thrash (Thrush) anymore
                                        My mama's gone and her cure is no more

                                        There's no more prayer and recess in school
                                        It seems everything now has become man's rule

                                        Those old aporns they wore with money tucked away
                                        Is gone too, like their hair tucked in buns of gray

                                        And those old time zinnas my grandma so loved
                                        They now grace heaven with beauty and love

                                        There's no more plowing with an old mule now
                                        They use big tractors but that old mule sure could plow

                                        There's no more hunting foxes, possums and coons
                                        And sitting by a campfire listening to the dogs croon

                                        That good squirrel gravy and dumplins I still smell
                                        My mama sure could make them so yummy and swell

                                        There's no more sleeping with six in the bed
                                        With three at the foot and three at the head

                                        And sweeping the yard with a worn out broom
                                        Praying for some grass to grow really soon

                                        There's no more swinging on those old grapevines
                                        Or playing hopscotch in the sand with hand drawn lines

                                        There's no more crawling through the barbed wire fence
                                        Trying to escape the bull, we didn't have any sense

                                        Playing in the cold creek was a summer time game
                                        Claiming to fall in on a winter's morning wasn't the same

                                        Going fishing at the old mill pond with fishing pole in hand
                                        Losing track of time, the fishing was so grand

                                        Helping mama find Poke Salad in the early spring
                                        Climbing through the brairs and snakes was her thing

                                        Or picking creesy greens from the creek bank each year
                                        Not knowing the difference with mama not here

                                        Going to bed with the chickens on hot summer days
                                        No time change did we have, we got used to the same ways

                                        There's no more robbing the hen's nest in the early morn
                                        Those old hens sure could lay, fed good with corn

                                        Those wonderful old days I loved and once knew
                                         Is now gone and the old ways too
                                        The living was so good, the finest I've ever seen 
                                         I love to go back it makes my heart sing                                    

                                         ©  Susie Swanson, 2013

Just a little more of my Appalachian heritage Folks.. I never get tired of writing about it.. So many things to tell about and although it's now gone, my heart still longs for that simple life when there were no worries and strife.. The Photo above is The Old School House where my Dad went to school when he was a young boy. He was born in 1904 and died at the age of 94 back in 1998. In later years it became a Community Center for various events..  It burned to the ground several years ago .. My sister in law happened to capture it in this photo before it burned and it will become the Cover of my New Book, "The Echoes Of Time". It will be coming out in the near future.. Many thanks to all of you for reading my posts and your sweet comments.. I look forward to reading yours as well.. Blessings, Susie


  1. Ok Susie, I just finished getting ready to go to my little grandson (Judslee's) 2nd bday party, got my makeup on and everything and this poem has about made me mess up my eye makeup .. I've got big ole tears.
    I love this poem ....
    I'm 42 so a lot of these things I didn't experience but ohhhh how it takes me back to stories my grandmother used to tell, and my daddy still tells.
    I had a great aunt who cured my oldest daughter of thrush by blowing in her mouth, that aunt has passed on now.
    I used to go out and walk through the pastures with my grandmother helping her gather poke salad.
    I can remember my Papa Hayes going squirrel hunting and bringing them home and my grandmother cooking them up for him.
    I remember helping my Papa Hayes feed the hogs, and I remember hog killing day. I remember helping bottle feed baby calves , then when those cows were grown I remember taking them to the meat processer.
    I remember my Papa Hayes buying a bunch of chickens to kill and freeze. Never forget him wringing their necks and how they'd run around a minute with their heads flopping down.
    I remember when I was in 3rd grade my grandmother got out her old big black wash pot and we got out in the yard and made lye soap, I was so proud to get to carry some of that to school for show and tell. I also remember us making hominey in that big black cast iron wash pot.
    I can remember asking my grandmother about where and how all her brothers and sisters slept, of course there were 6 or 7 of them piled in one bed (crossways).
    I've heard stories of the traveling store (a truck loaded with supplies and such)that came around.
    Thanks so much for giving me time to pause and remember my precious grandparents ...

    1. Oh Tracy your memories have brought tears to my eyes too.. You share so many like mine.. I'm glad I was able to bring it all back for you.. I'm going to continue this Poem at a a later date.. There's so much I left off.. Thank you for reading it and your sweet words and memories.

  2. Very nice poem full of sweet memories, Susie. Congratulations on your new book coming out too! That photo will make a great cover for it.

  3. Susie, I could live out almost every line of your poem. I'm older than you and remember just about everything you wrote about. These words make me thankful for my childhood, growing up in the Ozarks.

    1. Aww, thank you so much.. Glad we share the same memories.

  4. Hi Susie, I sure did enjoy reading this poem! It is so beautiful. Even though I grew up in a very different environment in the city, I still feel the same way when I think back to my childhood and all the wonderful things that are not here anymore. I was especially touched by the line about not knowing which greens to pick without your Mama being here to show you the difference. I really tried hard to listen to my Mom, Dad and Grandpa and remember their stories and how they did things, but every once in awhile I find myself in the same situation. Trying to remember just how much seasoning my Mom put in the fried chicken, or exactly what color were Grandpa's pancakes and why can't I ever make them as good? :) I really love this poem Susie, you captured that feeling exactly! Have a wonderful evening ahead. With Love Delisa :)

    1. Awww, I'm so glad you enjoyed it Delisa. Like you there's so many things I wish I had listened to more.. We all have our own good memories.. Hope you enjoy your evening as well.

  5. Beautiful memories, Susie. Have a blessed week.

  6. I remember so many of these things. Sadly we have become fast paced and selfish.

  7. I love your poem Susi. You've captured all the reasons we came to live our Log Cabin Life for a year (or more)! There is something magical about Appalachia, and even though times have changed, I am finding many things can remain the same if we try to make it so. The thing I love most is the people...proud yet humble, will lend a hand in a flash, and people still give a 'car wave hello' when passing by. I love my mountain life and your poem was a perfect reminder of everything I want to get back to...thank you:)

    1. Awww, thank you so much Lise.. I'm glad we share the same life and memories..Nothing better.

  8. Susie,
    This is a terrific poem and brings back many childhood memories. I like the photo very much, too. Congratuations upon the publication of your book, ECHOES FROM THE PAST. This sounds like a wonderful book and I would love a copy when it's printed.
    Great posting!!!

    1. Thank you so much Brenda. I will let you know when It comes out.

  9. Hi Susie,
    Many of the things you speak of in your poem, are long gone, and many of us (me included) have no knowledge of this way of life. that is why it is so important for folks like yourself to keep your heritage alive through the telling (or writing) of it! I miss the stories my grandma and mom told...they are both long gone, and i still have so many questions left unanswered...oh how I wish I would have paid more attention and asked more questions while they were both here!

    1. I'm so sorry but we all have our own memories in different ways.. I wish I had listened more also.. Thank you so much..

  10. Susie, This poem made me think of the Waltons. Some of it made me think of our own family growing up. The six to a bed thing. Bob Hope said once, when they got cold growing up, his mom threw on another brother.LOL. I have teased that our mother stack us kids like cord wood.:):) I miss my mommy today, so much. The longing never stops. xoxo,Susie

    1. lol.. You are a hoot..I've heard that one about the kids stacked like wood.. That's just about the way we were, especially when company came...

  11. Hi Susie, Great poem... YES---those were the good-ole-days... I have so many great memories also. I love the way you have written so many of yours down.

    My mother and your father were almost the same ages. My Mom was born in 1900 and died in 1991... Your Dad was born in 1904 and died in 1998... Neat, huh?


    1. Thanks so much Betsy.. That is ironic for sure.. Don't you know they lived and seen so much.. I miss them and I know you do.

  12. This was wonderful, Susie!! Parts of it were sad... but all of it was true. And how exciting about the new book~ I'm so happy for you!

  13. You captured a lot of the mountains in this poem.

    1. Thank you.. There's so much more I could have added but I thought I'd stop before it got to long..