“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be”~ Marcel Pagnol
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”~Buddha
"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. " ~Elizabeth Lawrence
"The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give." ~Ellen Glasgow
It seems to come around this time of year for me. A pining and wishing for the simple life we knew as children. I well remember us running around the yard in front of the the little white house as dusk settled over the yard. The tall pines Mama had wanted planted around the yards edge standing as sentry's guarding over our home. The azalea's Daddy had planted on a Sunday afternoon scenting the evening air. Someone was hiding scrunched down in those flowers. We knew they were there somewhere. But in the faint darkness they were invisible to us. I can feel the tremors of excitement as we skipped along holding tight to each others hands. Singing out loud ~ " Ain't no boogers out tonight; out tonight~ out tonight! Ain't no boogers out tonight! Granddaddy killed them all last night!" And then with a screech the hider would leap up from the flower bed and away we would all run screaming back to the step where Mama and Daddy sat talking quietly together. Sometimes Aunt Lucy or Grandma Black might be sitting with them talking about grown-up things. They might even be shelling peas or butter
beans in the evening shadows. The porch light casting a golden pool around them. I can see them even now as if I am standing out near the pines looking back through years of time.Tingles of fear racing along my spine. Jimmy is hiding and he loves to scare us as much as he can. He will make us walk and sing forever; building the fear in all of us until he will leap from the shadows with a blood curdling yell as we race to the safety of the golden light around Mama and Daddy. He will cause us to scatter in fear, each running for their own life, afraid to hang on to each other. Afraid to look back.
Closing my eyes I can remember the smell of Daddy's cigar and can almost hear the whisper of Mama's laugh at something he said just loud enough for her to hear. We children would run and play until darkness was full upon the yard, then settle on the steps to watch in wonder as the fireflies flashed around over the same flower beds that had only moments before held boogers. Children don't play like that now. Dusk finds them on-line or playing video games or maybe just watching television. They miss so many wonderful things that happen in those moments between daylight and darkness. Nothing in life is simple now. Even small children have cell phones and I-pods and hand held games. I am so thankful for my childhood. I have tried very hard to give my own children a sense of the goodness of living simply. I know that they and their friends have laughed at my fondness for the simple life. I hope that one day, as they stand and look back through time, They too will remember the good times~ the fun~ the sew it up game~ the fireflies over the field~ the railroad hills~ me and my chickens~ The simple life.
Tonight I am going to share with you a story from the past. A story that tells of my love for some more of our childhood things. If there are children in your life, try to see that they enjoy some of the simple things. Maybe share with them a sunrise or a sunset. They may not appear to enjoy it but the time you spend on them will matter. I hope you enjoy the story and I hope you have a wonderful day.
A Poor Man's Vacation
Mountain Climbing, river rafting, flying and exploring...we did it all when we were kids! We were sure our plane could fly higher and faster than any other plane ever invented. Made from an old hog chute at an uncle's hog farm and fueled by imagination, that old flying machine could take it's passengers almost anywhere. We would fly over Paris one minute and land in the Australian outback in the next. Sometimes we would fly over to Tibet and climb our own version of Mt. Everest.
Mountain climbing could take us all day once we got started because somehow it was always just as much fun to slide down the clay hills on flattened boxes as it was to climb to the top. Of course we also had to take time out to discuss where the passing trains were going and who might be on board.
After several hours of climbing we would wander along the river bank to the clearing where the Indians lived in their snowy white tepees. These Indians were very friendly. They showed us how to make chicken feather headbands and how to climb the tall scaly pine trees. Sometimes our friends would invite us to share their supper of buffalo dogs. When we cooked them over a small fire and added some ketchup or mustard they were almost like the franks mom would fix. The river was a great place for rafting and exploring. The currents would swirl our craft around and around as we dizzily hung on and rode the rapids. After a while David's arms would tire and we'd drift into the still waters. After a tiring ride down river we'd wander around in the great forest searching the well trodden paths for bits of glass or colored stones that we called treasure.
We really looked forward to going on an adventure with the Big Chief. We would load up in his red windblower and go deep into the forest. behind the river, where we would track down and capture such dreaded enemies as the sworded wild rose and the dangerous dogwoods. The chief would chop around their feet until they couldn't move. He'd hoist them up on his broad shoulders and we'd tie a burlap bag around their long trailing toes so they couldn't crawl away. We would load them into our windblower and haul them back to camp. The Chief would bury their feet and tie them to poles so they couldn't sneak away after dark!
I guess with every day being an adventure I was pretty near half grown before I realized that most people took some sort of vacation each year. I thought they were luxuries reserved only for the rich. I'll never forget the day I sat in class and stared with open-mouthed disbelief as Mrs. Davenport gave her best English teacher smile and the command to write an essay on our summer vacations. I couldn't tell my friends about our family outings. Even our camping trips and trips to the seashore didn't seem good enough. It was hard for me to understand why my parents couldn't take their eight kids on vacations like my friends went on. It took a lot of travel brochures and a lot of imagination to get me through those years.
Now that those Years are passed away and I have children of my own I often feel a longing to visit the places of my youth. The railroad bank mountains aren't nearly so high or hard to climb anymore and the creek river doesn't seem quite as deep. The old flying machine is only a rotting hog chute and the red windblower has long since been traded in on a Ford Escort. The dreaded enemies captured in the forest have become beautiful plants in my parents yard and the bed sheet tepees are long gone.
Now as I stand back and watch my children and the children of my brothers and sisters scramble to the top of the mountain only to come sliding down on red seated britches or cross the river on fallen tree bridges to claim as treasures the pretty colored stones, I feel a sudden urge to join them in the priceless pleasures of a poor man's vacation.
Written By: Patricia Sawyer
Published: Southern Sensations Magazine