This has been a morning of reflection for me. I have had the privilege of growing up in the South. Yes, I used the word privilege. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I did not have to go to a playground to get my exercise. My brother and I had the entire woods and lakes to travel. We would get up in the morning and get on our bikes, we would spend hours riding the back of soybean fields. Every summer day was a new adventure. Hours were dedicated to spending our day on the lake in pursuit of the biggest catch. Many days, I failed to beat my brother at fishing. However, there came a day that I caught the biggest fish. It was a ten-pound bass, and it barely fit in the 5-gallon bucket that I brought to haul our fish back home.
At the age of eight, my brother Thomas and I would go to the trailer park and cut grass to earn our spending money. We would take turns carrying the gas can to Barrontown Grocery to replace the gas that we used. “5.00 a yard! We will cut your grass for you!” People would line up and we would take turns pushing the mower over the small patch of grass that posed as a yard. We spent many summer days cutting grass. We finally got customers that we cut their yard every weekend. Mrs. Beasley and Mrs. Harrington were widow ladies who needed someone to do odd jobs around their house. My brother and I gladly did what we could to help these ladies. After completing their chores, we would be treated to cookies and sweet tea. It was the best of times.
Church was an integral part of our lives. We went to every service. My parents invested deeply into making sure their sons grew up to have a relationship with their Savior. Bible reading, quizzing, and prayer were part of our raising. It did not matter what else was going on, church and the Lord came first. My dad would reiterate this to his sons repeatedly: “If you take care of the Lord and His house, He will take care of you.” This lesson would prove to be true. It is with a grateful heart, that I learned this lesson from parents who did not only talk about it, but lived it with every fiber of their being.
Holidays were always about family. To this day, I can still remember the smell of my Grandmother’s kitchen. Thanksgiving, Christmas, it really did not matter the holiday, everyone cooked and brought dishes to my grandparents’ home. Laughter would fill the air, as we gathered around to feast. I can remember sitting at the table as a young boy watching my Grandmother roll out dumplings. It was a festive time, and I sorely miss it.
My grandfather would instruct his grandsons on the finer things of life. Lessons would usually end with men need to be busy: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!” The game of baseball was explained to us. Catch with grandpa was always a good way to spend the day. Fishing with grandpa was a time of tall tales about the one that got away. I miss my grandfather. In the corners of my mind, when someone fibs to me, I can still hear him whistle. He had the gift of gab, and he brightened the day for many people.
This stroll down memory lane has brought tears, laughter and more than one crooked grin to my face. Those long, hot, lazy summer days never seem to dim with the passing of time. I am thankful that there are more memories to make, and I look forward to sharing them with you all soon. Take care.