Texas This I Know...

Texas This I Know...
Texas Farm to Market Road

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Summer at Grandma's, 1952...

In the 1950s, I would spend summers at my grandparent's farm. My parents would drive up there in our 1941 Chevrolet Coupe on State Highway 77, two lanes of graveled asphalt, a big deal in those days.

It took 6 hours to get from Fort Worth to their farm near Marietta, Oklahoma. It seemed like we'd drive forever but it would always end.

We would stay the weekend and when they went back, I would stay behind.

I would put my shoes in the suitcase when we got there and not put 'em back on until they came to get me, two months later. By that time the soles of my feet would have developed a callus 1/8" thick and I could walk across rocks or hot sand with hardly a twitch.

My aunt and I would amuse ourselves by making designs in the soles of our feet with thread. We'd get one of Grandma's needles and put some thread in it then stick it into the callus and bring it over a little then stick it back in. In this way we sewed a design into the bottoms of our feet.

It didn't hurt because we would only stick the needle into the thick callus. Once the design was walked on for a while the thread would wear through and then we could amuse ourselves again by pulling the bits of thread out.

The place had no electricity or indoor toilets. The outhouse was about seventy five feet from the back door and we used old magazines for toilet paper.

The house was on top of a hill so there was always a cool breeze blowing off of Lake Texoma. For a little while after sundown we would burn coal oil lamps.

My grandma cooked on a wood stove. She would get up at four o'clock every morning to start the fire and fix a breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits, and coffee, by 6 am. Us kids drank milk that came from the cow the evening before.

She made the biscuits from flour, salt, lard, and water. Mixed, kneaded, cut out and baked immediately, no rising. She would cook enough extra biscuits and bacon so we could snack on it and eat it for lunch. And she always started a big pot of beans that would be ready to eat by suppertime.

We would eat fried potatoes, beans and biscuits for supper, with tomatoes and cucumbers. The potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers came from Grandpa's garden. Grandma hoed the garden three times a week.

There was a stand of little bitty persimmon trees about a quarter mile from the house and every year my grandpa would give me a whole dollar to chop 'em down. I used my US Army machete and would swing from the waist so when I was finished, there would be 25-30 stumps, two feet tall and 1 1/2-3 inches in diameter. They would grow back by the next year and I could earn another dollar.

These are some of the fondest memories of my childhood. Staying on that farm, watching grandma churn butter from the cow's milk. swimming in the stock tank, exploring the erosion "canyons" near the creek, doing the chores, sitting on the front porch and watching the cars drive along the highway a mile away.

Doing all these things with my aunt, who was two years older than me. I had an another aunt too. She was a teenager, though, and didn't have much to do with us little kids.

I feel sorry for the youngsters of today because they will never get the chance to experience life like that. Of course they won't miss it because they will have never known what it was like.

And they will make their own unforgettables too. It may be a memory of a certain video game but it will be just as precious to them as mine are to me.

Perhaps they too will feel real sorry for the others who never got the chance to live in that place and time. I think they will. I hope they will.

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