Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Down An Old Dirt Road

Old country roads remind me of walking to church come Sunday morning and walking back come Sunday night. They remind me of walking to the little country store with mama's list in hand. Those early morning walks to catch the school bus and walking back in home at end of day, stopping long enough take our shoes off and wade across the little creek come warm weather, is priceless.

The fresh morning smells of honeysuckle, wild roses, mountain laurel or crabapple blossoms drifting in the spring time air, or walking in those big snows that were knee deep in the winter, rolling in the snow and throwing snowballs at each other along the way.

Taking refuge under a big tree come a hard, summer's rain and still taking a wetting and loving it to no end. Then we ran through mud holes with our bare feet, busting em wide open, never thinking about getting the toe itch till it was to late.

Ahhhh, how can I forget the huckleberries and that sweet taste. We knew exactly where they came up and picked em fast as they ripened, along side the road.

And those delicious blackberries we picked for mama to can and looking forward to that fresh blackberry cobbler, all the while eating more than we picked. Never thinking twice about the chiggers or poison ivy till it was to late.

Climbing over barbed wire fences and ripping our clothes to pick poke salat for mama. She didn't take to kindly to the ripped clothes or the dangers of getting snake bit but the poke salat changed the subject really quick.

  Riding an ole, rusted bicycle around every curve and bend, with nary a brake knowing we'd hit the ditch or the creek. It's a wonders we hadn't broke our neck or worse.

And trying to outrun the others to get the mail every day and stumping our toes along the way. They never did have a chance to heal. When cold weather settled in and we had to wear shoes we'd still hobble down those ole roads.

I couldn’t count how many trips we made to and fro carrying gallons of milk from the neighbors when we were between cows, hungry for some good cornbread and milk to go along with supper, sometimes making a complete meal out of it.

 And how can I forget taking a few poufs off of a cigarette butt after snatchin it outta the yard when daddy threw it down. Ahhhh, the sickness and turning green that followed, I'd sure like to forget and is still a reminder today. I said then and there, "never again.” Whewww.

It didn't matter the season or the weather, we made memories to last a lifetime and those ole dirt roads paved the way.

There's so many memories that still linger. I go back quite often and listen to the echoes of a childhood full of many seeds that's been sowed. How can we ever forget an old dirt road.

                                               © Susie Swanson, 2016


  1. Very sweet memories, Susie. You paint the images with your words so well.

  2. I love this poem, Susie. It brings back many memories of my childhood. I'm so glad you are preserving our mountain heritage through your wonderful blog. This photo of a country road is great, too.

  3. Susie, I drove down an old country road today, and how wonderful it was. There's nothing quite like being on the road less traveled. That rusted old bicycle you rode sounds delightful, and oh, those blackberries, so Yummy. I loved your story today, Susie.


  4. I really like this, Susie! My sister and I did a lot of exploring down those old dirt (or in our case sandy)roads. Precious memories.

  5. Susie I am going ti add a couple of berries that you didn't include in your picking. Wild strawberries and wild blue berries. The wild strawberries weren't that big but ohhh the sweet taste, and like your mom mine would can the strawberries in pint jars to be able to make strawberry shortcakes during the winter months. I didn't really have to help with the cleaning and prepping of the berries that we picked but I was looking forward to the pies and cakes later on. We had a couple of Concord Grape vines just above the house and when they got ripe the fox and possum grapes would be ripe also. I would skinny up the trees at the mouth of the hollow behind the house and pick bot types to mix in with the Concords.Sure made some fine tasting grape jellies too. We would also pick our apples and slice them into thin slices then lay the slices out in the sun to dry, Mom had some oil cloth bags that she would store the dried apples in for apple pies during the winter. I feel so sorry for the people that may not have ever tasted a sun dried apple pie.

  6. I Love love love reading your blog posts.... Even though our lives were different, there are so many similarities ---and you always say something which brings back memories to me.... I remember my Daddy getting up early to go to the basement and stoke the furnace... (We didn't have a stoker like some people did.) BUT--that furnace kept us warm. I'd stay in bed until my bedroom warmed up a bit..... I also remember as a teen sleeping a tiny bit later on Saturday mornings ---and waking up to the fresh of mown grass (after Daddy had mowed)....We could all go on and on with great memories.... Life is different now --and I thank God for the life I HAD back then...


  7. I love the romanticism and peace of a country road :) they make me feel at home. SO beautifully written.

    I wish you a wonderful Wednesday :)

  8. Susie, Your poems and stories take me back in time. So much of your experiences match my mother's or my own. We sure had some tough feet growing up. Now I can barely stand to be without shoes. :) Blessings to you sweet friend, hope you are doing well and holding up in this heat. Love you, xoxo, Susie