Note: This is a post I wrote five years ago. It was written during a happy time but ended on a sad note. Since writing that post, my dad passed away at 98, a sister at 71, and now just yesterday my oldest sister passed at 79. There is only my brother and me left in the family. As my husband and I prepare to travel to Arkansas for the services I thought I would just share this old post. It brings to mind how quickly life changes forever.
I Remembered You Today (1/1/2017)
It’s New Year’s Day and a time for thinking ahead and a time for remembering the past. After a traditional lunch with black-eyed peas that my sister prepared at my dad’s house (he’s 94 and counting), we sat around and talked about things from the past about my mother, grandmother, and grandfather.
(Forgive the pic, it was made with an Instamatic camera and it was probably Thanksgiving or Christmas.)
It’s funny how some memories just stand out in your head as fresh as yesterday. I have three siblings, two older sisters (notice how I slipped older in) and a younger brother.
My oldest sister wasn’t present today, she lives in another state. But my middle sister, brother and I talked about several things we remembered.
Working in the Cotton Field
We remembered working in the field for my granddaddy (except for my brother, he was too young). Whether we were chopping cotton or picking cotton, we remembered how my granddaddy would supply us with snacks. My grandad would leave the field around 9:00 or so and go to the store at Pinedale. He would bring back soft drinks and candy. It usually was Pepsi or Dr. Pepper and Milky Way or Snickers.
We would stop, take our break and get back to work. At noon we would go to the house where my grandmother had fixed lunch.
Now we’re not talking about a quick sandwich and something to drink. Mama’s lunches were 2-3 different vegetables, maybe fried chicken, and biscuits or cornbread. Usually, it would be cornbread unless there were leftover biscuits from the morning.
The vegetables would be whatever was available in the garden. She would pick them while we were in the field. It might be green beans, peas, butterbeans, and stewed or fried potatoes in a skillet. Sometimes there would be white cake cooked in a skillet with chocolate icing.
These are great memories even if it was hard work. I shudder to think of the memories my grandchildren will have of my fixing lunch for them. I can just hear them now….”gee, remember those great hot dogs that NeNe used to cook in the microwave.” ” And those chips, wow, sometimes we had Doritos or Cheetos….those were the days.”
Lunch when Working in the Field
My grandmother always wanted us to rest during the lunch break, but as kids, we never could. She thought we ought to lie down for a while. She really hated to see us go out and work in the hot sun. But if you didn’t go back out to the field, you didn’t hang around in the house to watch TV. If you weren’t out in the field, you would be out in the garden gathering more vegetables for supper. Or you would be helping “put up” stuff in the freezer.
When we returned to the field for the afternoon work, my granddaddy again, just like clockwork, would go to the store. He would bring back a carton of drinks and more candy bars. He spent more on us than he made hiring us! He also paid us the same as he paid any other hired hand. I was probably only 9 or 10 at the time and couldn’t have been worth the wage for sure.
My sister said I never did even pick much cotton. I’m sure I was a drag, but I tried)). My sack was a 6-foot cotton sack. My granddaddy would occasionally come around and pick cotton to put in my sack.
Now you would think I would have appreciated this….but really I didn’t want him to. When I picked cotton it was nice and clean, with no burs, no trashy leaves, or anything. When he put cotton in my sack you could definitely tell the difference. When we would weigh up, the cotton I picked was nice white and clean. Then you could tell plainly the cotton he helped put in my sack. It was trashy with leaves and burs.
Life Changes with a Phone Call
The phone rang today while I was writing this post. It was a dear friend and she just found out that her son-in-law was killed in an accident this afternoon. She was trying to home get to her daughter and grandchildren.
I stopped writing and my husband and I headed to town to be with them. I don’t feel like finishing this post so I’ll stop right here.
Life (lives) are changed so quickly. In an instant, precious people are gone forever and leave behind heartbroken loved ones.
This is a very sad start to a new year for our dear friends. My heart is saddened for them.