Story Submitted by Carris Williams Cash
MEMORIES OF THE BIG FARM
During those young years on the big farm, I lived outside for all the daylight hours. Roaming on the bluff with my black cat or climbing to the top of trees where the wind would blow me around. Pretending I was either flying or sailing and I had never seen the ocean at that time. The rest of my time was spent following Daddy around being the farmer’s daughter.
I spent the winters making fudge, peanut brittle, and cookies for everyone I knew. Making doll clothes for my neighbor’s girls – Cecilia and Pam Glenn. But spring was soon to come. I watched the ground for the first sign of daffodils yellow on the hills and paperwhites outside my bedroom window. Lots of my days were spent in the barn looking for kittens in the hay. I couldn’t wait for them to open their eyes. Then the apple trees would bloom, beautiful pink and white blossoms. Most of the time no one knew where I was, and I would live in those trees until the blossoms were gone.
When the ground was ready, Daddy would start plowing. I loved the smell of the loose topsoil, and I spent time literally “following in his footsteps.” I remember hopping in his deep shoeprints one to the other to keep up with him. I adored my Daddy, and he always allowed me to tag along with him. When he would go into the back fields, I would run to meet him so I could ride the mules back to the barn. They were so sweaty and slick I could barely stay on as I held on to their mane. Daddy would laugh all the way to the house. Imagine how bad I smelled when I got there. Thankfully back then I could easily fit into a #2 wash tub to clean up before supper.
One of my favorite places to play was in the big pasture. There was a small pond that never dried up, so in the spring it would fill up with tadpoles. I would watch every stage of their development as they turned into frogs. I lost interest when they matured, and I wondered what became of them because there where hundreds.
That part of my life on the big farm was filled with wonderful memories still entrenched in my mind. There was a grape arbor near the dirt road. I would sit there on top of the vines and watch for dust to come up over the hill, which wasn’t often as there were few cars. Now I look back on those vines as a symbol of life itself, so intertwined but always leading back to the base and the beginning, and so it has been that way for me.
I was thirteen when we left that place. I came in from school one day and daddy had my cat in a burlap sack ready for me to join him in the back of the truck to leave and go the new place. A smaller farm, easier to handle for Mama and Daddy. A new community, a county away, where I would go to a new church and a new school where I would meet my future husband. Daddy lived to be 92 years old, and I never stopped adoring and admiring him. He always had a great curiosity and zest of life that I know he passed on to me, and he never lost it. I would grow up to learn he had a fascinating life full of travel, adventure, and wars before he settled down with Mama to start a big family on that first big farm.