Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Boy And His Grandpa

A boy and his grandpa
Out to conquer the world
Traveling this way and that
Like falling leaves that swirl

The boy listened so close
He hung on every word
Grandpa was always right
So many things he heard

Come, I’ll show you son
The things that I have done
Always hold your head high
Nothing in life do you shun

Never forget where you came
No matter where you go
You’re smart as a whip son
More so than you know

Now let’s go fishing awhile
Don’t forget your pole
I’ll show you a trick or two
At that old fishing hole

Awe, look at that garden
Those taters sure did grow
You did a fine job son
None missing in either row

How about some supper
It’ll be dark real soon
I’ve been looking forward
To catching that big coon
Feed your dogs good son
It’s time to hit the trail
Don’t forget your lantern
That coon’s waited quite a spell

Awe, listen to the dogs now
They’ve picked up his scent
Tonight’s the very night
That old coon is well spent

Shine your light high son
Up in that big oak tree
Can you see his eyes
He’s waiting so patiently

 We’ve finally got us a coon
And he’s a fine one too
But we better get a move on
The time sure has grew

We need to head on home now
Time to hit the old tic
Your mama will have my hide
Where’s my walking stick

Well I do declare
For once I left it behind
Let’s gather up the dogs
That coon’s still on their mind

The fishing hole is still there
The lantern hangs on a nail
Grandpa is now gone
So many memories to dwell

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Dedicated to my son and his Pawpaw

Happy New Year's Everyone!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Memories

Christmas is a time for joy and happiness, spending time with family, remembering Christmas past when times were so different, simple but grand.
Sadly, a lot of the old ways have been left behind and Christmas has become a commercial holiday. Not so, back in the day when all we had to wake up to was an orange and apple or one present if we were lucky. We felt rich as a king in our hearts.

We’d search through the woods for the perfect tree and sometimes that took days and every year it looked the same. We had to tie the top of it to the curtain rod to get the star to stay in place. It was cut from cardboard with aluminum foil wrapped around it to make it shine. Our decorations were holly berries and popcorn strings wrapped around the little droopy tree. The stockings were hung near the tree the night before, anticipating our once a year Christmas treat.

Then as I grew older I noticed something was missing, mama and daddy never did get a present. I felt so bad on Christmas morning when we all opened our stockings or the one present that Santa had managed to bring each one of us. So one year I fell on a plan to make sure daddy and mama had a present. I started saving every little penny I could, mostly pay from an older lady that hired me to come in the summer and do some house cleaning and yard sweeping. I put them in an old quart jar in my bedroom closet. I didn’t want anyone to know about them so I kept quiet as a mouse. When Christmas Eve rolled around I kept asking mama if she needed anything from the store for her baking or cooking. I knew she always made a black walnut cake from the walnuts we’d cracked and hulled out earlier in the fall. We always saved some for our Christmas cake. She also made a homemade apple sauce cake too. The rest of Christmas dinner consisted of food we’d canned from the gardens in the summer and fresh hog meat that had been killed just before Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I prayed she would need something really bad, bad enough to send me to the store. We always walked to the little country store just over the road from the house. I kept asking, are you sure you don’t need anything from the store and finally she spoke up and said, well if you want to hoof it bad enough I need a dozen eggs for these cakes, just what I’d been waiting to hear.

 Since our hens didn’t lay much in the winter we only had enough eggs for breakfast if we had any at all. I ran as fast as my legs would take me towards that quart jar and grabbed those pennies and put them in my pocket. Mama gave me a list to fill and I found out she needed more than she thought. I just about run all the way to the store. When I got there I gave the list to the storekeeper to fill as usual while I looked around. I already had in mind what to buy for mama and daddy’s Christmas present. When he got done filling the list and I paid him with the money mama gave me and stuck what little change she had left back in my other pocket I reached in and brought out the handful of pennies I’d saved. I handed em to him and said will this much money buy a small box of Garrett Strong Snuff and a pack of Camel Cigarettes? He said, well let me count what you got. He counted each penny and told me I had just enough, which I surely doubt today every time I think about it.

He put the little box of snuff for mama and the cigarettes for daddy in a small, brown bag and I stashed them in my pocket so they couldn’t be seen. I felt happy as a lark walking back home. I didn’t even stop but long enough to sit mama’s eggs and stuff on the table and took off towards the bedroom. I took out the little bag and looked for something to wrap the presents in. I came up with a plan to wrap each one in a piece of brown paper cut from the paper bag that I carried mama’s groceries in. I slipped in the kitchen and found the paper bag mama had emptied and grabbed some scissors and run back into the bedroom and cut a big enough piece to wrap each present in. I felt so much joy in my heart and couldn’t wait to see their eyes come morning. I was all set, come bed time I’d slip back up after everyone went to sleep and put mama and daddy’s Christmas presents under the tree. I laid there so quiet and listened to the old clock tick away until everyone was fast asleep. I had the presents hid under the bed covers. I eased up and tip toed into the living room and laid the presents under the tree. Then I slipped back into bed and finally fell asleep. 

The noise woke me up come morning and I jumped straight up and ran for the living room. Everyone was there opening their presents and we all got one present. Daddy and mama must have had a little extra money to pay Santa with that year. I got a puzzle cause Santa knew I loved putting puzzles together. After all of us kids had opened our presents I crawled under the tree and got mama and daddy’s present and handed it to them. They both looked really serious and said what’s this? I told them it was something Santa left for them. They opened it up and their eyes lite up more so than the tree. Daddy said, I wonder who told him what kind we used. Mama said, I wonder the same thing but I sure can use it.

At that moment I had the most joy in my heart and worth more than diamonds and gold. Now, I know a lot of folks reading this are thinking how did she buy that snuff and cigarettes and her being just a kid. You gotta remember it was a very different time and era and everybody knew each other. We’d patronized that little store so much and the storekeeper was kin to us. I remember sometimes when we went in there and he had some bananas that were getting to ripe to sell he’d give us a bunch. Times sure have changed today and like I said the old ways have fell by the road side, left behind to fade into the past. 

Christmas is not about buying presents and spending big bucks just to make sure the kids are happy. It’s about love of family, sharing, thinking of the less fortunate, being satisfied with what you have, teaching your kids the true meaning of Christmas. The little things are the most important in life, not the big things and putting God in our hearts every day of the year. I cherish those long ago Christmases, although we weren’t rich in money, we had wealth a thousand ways more. I wish I could go back to that simple time when the little things were worth more than money can buy.

                                       © Susie Swanson, 2016

I wish all of my Blogging Friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. May God Bless you all!!  ~Susie

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Home At Last

Far away from the turmoil of this world
There’s a little house sitting on a hill side
 I want to go back to that childhood home
Where faith, hope and love chose to abide

I can see the chimney smoke rising above
Oh the happiness packed in that humble abode
A welcome warmth from today’s stress and strife
Where unity came together and love growed

I can hear the barking of that old squirrel dog
Upon that little hill he’s treed him a squirrel
It brings a world of comfort to hear it again
An escape and refuge for this weary, country girl

And the rooster crowing at the break of dawn
Still awakens my heart with a morning song
A little sleepy, eyed girl with a smiling, freckled face
Still knows exactly where she’ll always belong

There’s so much beauty to be seen in my eyes
Like that pretty laurel hanging by the road
There’s nothing more refreshing to my bare feet
Then the little branch where the cool water flowed

On those beautiful, sunny slopes and golden hills
Is where I spent my growing years so carefree
I want to go back to that wonderful old place
Where the living was good and life seemed so easy

I have never known but joy in going back home
In a changing world, only memories are made to last
How I long to step upon that old, creaky porch
Then my homesick heart will cry, home, home at last

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Yesterday's Winter

The mountains will soon be covered by a white blanket, a change is coming. Ice crystals will hang like the morning dew, frozen in time
across the wind swept hills of this beautiful Blue ridge.

It’s apt to be a hard winter better carry in plenty of firewood and kindling to keep the fires going in each end of the house. Time to grab the water buckets and tote in enough water to last or do without. Soon the little spring will become frozen over until the sun shines warm and the birds start to sing.

Dragging out the many clean and still fresh line, dried quilts, making more covers for the beds knowing one could be buried underneath such weight and never be found again. Made by steady and meticulous hands on old quilting frames that hang down from the ceiling more often than not, especially during winter’s hardest wrath.

The thought of fresh hog meat hanging in the old smokehouse makes mouths water on a cold winter’s day along with the taters and cabbage buried underneath the ground in that big hole that took all fall to dig, especially for preserving winter’s grub. And those can shelves  packed so full of filled cans ready for many a big table spread . All part of summer’s bounty and will beat a snowball any day.

Sitting around an old oil lamp after dark and listening to the scary stories while the cold, north wind makes its whistling sound around the house with a vengeance.  Playing fox and the geese on a home made cut out game board until eyelids start closing and need toothpicks to prop open.

Bare feet running and jumping in the middle of the bed buried under the covers until the break of dawn. Waking up to knee deep snow, eyes shining like sparkling diamonds gazing through frost covered window panes.

The smell of breakfast drifting through the kitchen door, anticipating  hot biscuits, gravy, fresh ham or tenderloin and occasionally eggs is about more than a body can take.

Slipping out the back door having snowball fights and gathering snow for snow cream, anticipating the sweet, frozen taste of only one of winter’s many treats is sheer heaven.

In one door and out the other never taking the time to warm frozen feet and hands, made for a nice, enjoyable winter even if it was colder than the North Pole.

                   © Susie Swanson, 2016

It's been a while since we can say the word Snow but according to the weather forecast we may be getting some late next week along with an Arctic Blast. It sure will be a big change since we've had a long Fall and such warm weather. Finally got some much needed rain this past week with more on the way. I'm so glad to see it and maybe it'll finish putting out those wildfires that's still raging. Let's continue to keep all of those folks and those weary and tired Firefighters in our prayers. Hope you all have a nice weekend. Blessings, ~Susie