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  • Honeysuckle & Ramblers

    2011 - 07.14

    Summer is a little more than half way through for school kids. I remember this time of year so well, when I was young. Right around the middle of July I was bored, though I had so much to do with taking care of my little brothers and cleaning house while Mom was at work, I don’t know how I got bored. I also hated to see it come to an end. I knew when those school bells began to ring, the leaves would start turning those awesome colors everyone goes gaga over but to me it only signifies the leaves are dying and that is rapidly followed by a long, cold, dismal and gloomy winter. Yeah I know, I’m a regular ray of sunshine. But there was also a trade-off. When the colder weather settled in, it meant wrapping up in a blanket and a boyfriend’s arm while pretending to watch a high school football game. It meant hearing a good movie was coming on TV and making sure you had hot chocolate ready, pajamas on, a couple of blankets and pillows, and snuggling with those same little brothers for the rest of the night till bedtime. Yeah, they got on my nerves but, boy!, did I (and still do) love them.

    My family was so great that I could almost forget we were so poor. We couldn’t afford to go to a movie; we’d have movie night at home with pop corn and Kool-Aid. We couldn’t go to amusement parks but we could go to Cove Lake State Park just down the road from us, use their playground equipment. Well, my brothers played; I was too old for that silly stuff—unless I thought no other older kids could see me, then I was swinging up to the moon and slipping down the slide to land, hard, on the packed dirt at the bottom. My mom drove a 1959 Rambler with fin tail lights. Oh yeah, it was hot pink! If you were embarrassed by your parents’ cars when you were a kid, think on this car. You would’ve been mortified, but it didn’t stop me from trying to borrow it every day after I got my driver’s license. Man, I loved that push-button transmission!

    Sometimes the car radio wouldn’t work, no matter how many times we smacked it. No problem, we had our own music. Nope, no MP3 player or fancy cell phone (had no idea those would ever be invented) that played all the latest hits. We had each other. I remember many of those rides back from the park. We’d all have red cheeks either from sun or wind burn, Mom would have her hands on the steering wheel at ten and two o’clock and she’d glance at us and ask, “Who’s going to sing lead?” It all depended on which song we sang as to who sang lead. My brothers said, and of course Mom agreed, I was the best lead on the song “Amen” so that’s usually what we started with. As with every song, the longer we sang, the louder we got and the bigger we smiled. We’d start with our favorite gospel songs and end with songs Mom had sung to us when we were little. The one that took us on in home was usually “Once there was a tree-a pretty little tree-prettiest little tree, you ever did see…tree in the hole, hole in the ground, green grass growing all around all around, green grass growing all around.”

    And if you don’t know which song that is, then I pity you. And if you didn’t have to come up with ways to entertain yourself and to do things as a family because you had no money, then I feel bad for you. I think that when life is handed to us on a silver platter, we don’t even notice how it shines and shimmers in the sunlight. And if you never got bored enough to create a chain out of honeysuckle vine, what a sad life you’ve lived. Of course I’m joking but I so hope that you have, at different times in your life, been forced to slow down, notice your blessings and pulled the stem from the honeysuckle to lick the sweet nectar free. If you haven’t, then poor you, you haven’t LIVED

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