The greatest memories of life are made when no one is thinking about it. There are big things in our life in which we feel certain we are making wonderful memories for our children and grandchildren. But it never seems to change that when children grow up and someone begins questioning them about great memories they have from childhood, it seldom ever involves the big times we would have thought they would all remember fondly. Instead they remember all those little times, no one could have prepared for, but at which love and faith are demonstrated so that it becomes unforgettable.
It has been a long time since I experienced anything near childhood. Perhaps it is the reality that such memories are so far in the past that makes them so interesting now. I remember walking as a family from home to church a couple of miles away, with everyone lined up walking down a path through the woods and Daddy singing gospel songs with the others joining into the music. It is interesting to me that I remember the efforts to get there better than I remember what happened after we arrived. I remember riding in the back of a pickup truck along with two brothers and one sister and dad stopping to give a man a ride who climbed into the back with us and rode along with us to wherever we were going. I remember picking muscadines from the vines for good eating and Roy and me making homemade wine from the muscadines. I remember going fishing at night when we would set out hooks all along the creek bank and go back and forth through the night to see what we had caught. I remember the swimming hole we ran to, down in the pasture from the Hollis’ home. We would arrive at the place on a Sunday afternoon and often see snakes swimming around in the water. There would be a swarm of boys off the banks splashing and yelling to drive the snakes away so we could swim. I remember the games we played in the creek where there never seemed to be a thought of how one could out do another. I remember the days when we killed hogs and neighbors came to help with the work and I suppose share in the meat at the end of the day. I remember the times when we would carry loads of ribbon cane to a neighbors down the road who had a mill where we made syrup for the next several months eating and some was sold to make a little money along the way. I remember the baseball games when we didn’t have a baseball and made one from a rock with string wrapped around it. I remember the day we were playing with such a ball and my sister Joyce was the pitcher. I think it was Ken who was batting at the time. She threw the ball right down the middle and Ken swung hard. He hit the ball straight back to Joyce, but not into her glove if she had one, instead it hit her right square in the forehead just above and between the eyes. It knocked her cold. Three boys gathered around her laying flat on the ground, wondering if we had killed our sister. I remember the hard winters on a dirt and gravel road that often became near impassable during the worst parts of the winter. I remember taking the Ford tractor and pulling the postman from the curve on one side of our property to the top of the hill on the other side of the property. I remember “Old Boots” the dog that was older than me I guess since I don’t ever remember him not being there. Boots loved to chase cars and on many occasions he lost the battle with a car passing by our house. I remember the Peddler who came by the house ever so often and mother swapping eggs or other goods to him for something else she needed. I remember helping dig a well for my oldest brother’s house. Roy and me were the helpers for the well digger named Leroy. Our job was to haul up the dirt as he dug away and get rid of it then to lower the empty bucket again for him to refill. As you can imagine, for two boys one about 11 to 12 and the other 14-15 years old it was often extremely boring at the top of the well. When Leroy had dug the hole between fifty and sixty feet deep, we were almost a whole summer’s worth of time into the process. Suddenly a young rabbit ran by where we were. As quick as a flash the thought occurred to hem the rabbit up so that it would run into the well. I no longer remember who had the brilliant idea. But we both bought into it completely. Leaving the well and the work station we quickly had the rabbit moving in the direction we wanted. Just then it ran at full speed toward the well. Down went the rabbit, loud screams ascended from the bottom of the well with a plaintive cry from Leroy to get me out of this well. Doubled over in laughter we were completely straight faced and full of compassion by the time Leroy reached the top of the well. I wonder what ever happened to Leroy. I hope he didn’t have a heart attack.
Now, you must understand, these only serve as a beginning spot for the memories that flood my mind today. Such memories remind me of the wonderful times we had in growing up, of the fun people that surrounded our lives during that time and of things that God used to train us into what he wants from us today. Think about how boring life would be if there were no memories to float through. Memories good and bad serve as markers for good life along the way. Thanks for letting me share a few with you today. Have a great day.